I have tried to write about this before, but so far, none of the stories have come out right. It’s a story about love, anger and denial.
I thought it was so powerful to be able to come away from a relationship unchanged. To learn that sometimes the lesson is that you were doing it right, that you could do your absolute best in the relationship. But even that does not mean someone has to love you back.
Being in quarantine has forced me to finally process my feelings rather than hide behind a front of being powerful, unapologetic and stubborn when in fact, the relationship was messy, awkward and raw with no clear winner.
We build people up into these marble statues of who they could be, and then are horrified when they’re not who we said they were.
I never realized just how wrong I was about him because I was so blinded by how amazing I felt around him. This is due largely in part to the unchecked narcissism that grows when you’ve felt like an unfunny, quiet person for most of your life. When I was around him, I had a biting wit and was so brazenly hilarious.
His approval was a glinting knife’s edge pushing me to always be a caricature of the best parts of myself, to become bigger than I had ever allowed myself to be. It was stifling. It is so easy to get drunk on this false sense of confidence because it is so deeply entrenched in someone’s approval.
Normally in life, hard work leads to success. But love doesn’t necessarily work that way. Whether it’s your academics, career or hobbies, if you put in the time and effort, you are going to get better at it. It was mind-boggling to think that love isn’t something that you could just perfect by working relentlessly.
Creating a role for someone to fill and deciding who they are going to be to you are futile attempts for us to try and feel like we’re in control.
Love is about unpredictability. We don’t fall in love just to be happy, we fall in love for the adventure. If you just wanted to be happy, you could go buy something really expensive that you’ve wanted since you were a kid. But we don’t want that; instead, we want a sense of the unknown.
Everything feels like a gamble, and sometimes we don’t admit it to ourselves because vulnerability is terrifying. It’s also electrifying, because you never know what’s going to come next.
In all the time that I had known this person, I realized that I had spent so much time trying to figure out what made him laugh. I didn’t even realize that he didn’t know anything about me — and I didn’t really know him either. I knew the person I thought he was, the person I wanted him to be, but it was never the person that he really was.
I try not to think about the relationship too much because it was only a sliver of my life. But when I catch myself slipping back into my familiar ways, it pinches me on the arm.
I am reminded that love can blind you to the reality of your relationship. We all owe it to ourselves to look past the feelings we hold for another person in order to have a true sense of ourselves.