It was a little over two years ago that I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance at a relationship with a friend. I realized it tonight as I was cleaning out my inbox and my Facebook messages. I reread messages full of humor, excitement and hope. It was honestly the first relationship in which I was open and trusting. One that I chose for myself rather than succumbing to other societal pressures or conveniences. I met someone who shared my sense of humor and appreciated my brains and, likewise, my moments of whimsy and ridiculousness. It was quite moving to feel that I could be so real with someone. To be with your best friend all the time.
Some people say that being the first one to say “I love you” makes you weak or inferior. I don’t believe in that nonsense. As far as I’m concerned, you never know when you might go, so you shouldn’t be afraid to tell people how you feel, especially when it’s a genuine feeling. I did say it first in this case, though I also didn’t expect it to be returned right away. Everyone has to take their own time for such proclamations. I was overjoyed when the sentiment was returned several months later, randomly, while watching a movie and eating takeout. I felt that I’d accomplished something great–I gave someone time while still being true to myself. And it felt amazing. I’d reached a new emotional “level,” so to speak.
A little more than seven months later I found myself wondering what those words had really meant. After a long, silent drive home from a long, cold weekend up North (both outside and emotionally), I was told that there weren’t any serious feelings for me. That they weren’t really into me “that way.” I was blown away by the revelation since I’d taken the words spoken months ago to heart. I was left wondering, how does someone say one thing and then stop feeling it only months later? Or did they mean it at all when they said it? I felt a mixture of frustration, confusion and great sadness, enhanced by the fact that it seemed to be told to me so nonchalantly.
I won’t say that I haven’t struggled with it since then–that’d be a lie. I have gotten to a place where I am good on most days, but I still have moments where I am left wondering about the scenario. About myself. About my own perceptions. How could I not see the reality? How could I just throw myself out there? No safety net. Then starts the self-blame and over analysis. It is hell in my head some days, though I’m sure most people can relate.
Honestly, though, I’m not ashamed for letting myself be vulnerable. While parts of the end were unpleasant, it wasn’t all bad. There were a lot of good times. And I know that, after some time, I will be able to look back on it and pick out all the lessons I’ve learned. All the things I’ve learned about myself and others. All is not lost. There is a vast set of painful feelings and lovely experiences I’ve collected from it, ranging from laughing till I can’t breathe to crying till I can’t see straight. But it’s all there, and, like Casper the Friendly Ghost, through loving someone I’m more human than ever.
At the end of the day, my loving someone was not a sign of weakness nor did it make me inferior. It was most spectacular, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat with the right person. Call it brave or stupid, but I don’t think my hope cactus will ever stop blooming.
After clearing out my inbox and sorting through the good and the bad, I realize now that the only thing I need is a bit of time. Time to heal and time to enjoy the present. Time to spend with good friends, family and a mischievous, most amazing little dog.
“But I’ve got high hopes, it takes me back to when we started
High hopes, when you let it go, go out and start again
High hopes, when it all comes to an end
But the world keeps spinning around”