On Wednesday, November ninth, I woke up at six a.m. and in the dim light, swiped through my phone to Facebook. News from the night before had not changed. I thought it would have changed.
I walked the few feet from my bed to my bathroom and peed while the fog of my dreams lifted. I stood up to brush my teeth and wondered what I’ll do if I ever need an abortion. Instead of reaching for my toothbrush, I gripped the counter and crumpled to a squat, crushed by the force of my sobs.
Eventually, I brushed my teeth. The sight of my puffy eyes and red face in the mirror threatened to propel me to further ugly crying. I didn’t look at myself again.
You know those slasher films, where the stupid teenagers decide to split up to go looking for a murderer? The movies where you KNOW what’s going to happen and you just DON’T UNDERSTAND why those teenagers are such idiots? Well I’m pretty sure that can be applied to relationships too. Like when you see your friend making the same mistakes she always makes while you’re just sitting there like WHY CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
But then you end up in the exact same position with the most successful tunnel vision that’s ever occurred in the history of mankind. We all have certain patterns that we’re comfortable with which tends to cause history to repeat itself. To what extent do we try to change these habits, though? To what extent should we accept certain aspects about ourselves, rather than trying to change them, and instead make the most of what we have?
At some point we’re all saddled with some sort of baggage. I mean all a relationship really is is two people whose issues are compatible. Try as we might to improve our weaknesses, we’re all flawed and we always will be.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Karma. What goes around comes around. Summer and winter, fire and water. Yin and yang.
Blah and blah and blah some more.
In the past, I have not had particularly high standards for the guys that I have dated. I had this idea of what I wanted but I pursued it with people who I wasn’t right for and who weren’t right for me. This may sound like a fairly typical thing for people to do, but I go about it a bit differently. These people who aren’t suited for me are, in my opinion, pretty obviously so. If I were a sane human being, these are things I would have noticed (and done something about) after a month or two.
Ah, but I am me, and thus… well… you know.
I like to give people chances to prove themselves, chances far beyond what’s reasonable. I’m great at overlooking the negative in favor of the positive. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s when the negative shouldn’t be overlooked that I get myself in trouble. I haven’t been great at distinguishing what’s an acceptable flaw and what isn’t.
We all have them. Flaws, I mean. If this is something you have not yet realized…
I recently went on a few dates with one guy. By the third date there were little things that were already starting to drive me crazy. I could already see our future together and in consisted of me being constantly annoyed by him. My first reaction was to try to see past it and to focus on all the things I liked about this guy. We had a lot in common and conversed pretty easily.
Yeah well, those are the worst. Reasons. Ever. Do you know how many people are out there who I could say the same about? You probably don’t and it’s because THERE ARE SO MANY. That’s like, the most basic criteria for a relationship ever.
I really do not have to give every single person I meet a chance. There are SO many potential suitors out there. Why in the world would I settle just because we like the same books? Like seriously. Having things in common is definitely a plus but is NOT the be all, end all of a relationship. Not by far.
And there I was, considering trying to change who I am in order to accommodate this guy who was more or less still a stranger, who had given me absolutely no reason to do so. Like what is that? Why in the world would I do that?
Given my history, this isn’t surprising in the slightest, but if I don’t learn from my history then I am doomed to repeat it and that is something I don’t particularly want to do at all, thanks.
I mean it’s really not difficult for my standards to be higher than they previously were, but apparently I am now too picky, according to Carey. And she hears about every god damn detail of my meager dating life, soo…
I really don’t think that’s true, but even if it is, it’s still better than my former approach, so I don’t really mind. I’m not aggressively pursuing anything serious right now anyway, so why would I bother with guys who I’m not attracted to or don’t really interest me? Why should I waste my time on date after date, hoping that things will improve, when I wasn’t that interested in the first place?
After several failed attempts in the whole boyfriend department, I’ve learned what definitely doesn’t work for me and I’ve learned to respect certain aspects of myself that just aren’t going to change. Unfortunately, those are aspects that I don’t exactly like, but try as I might, I’m unable to change, and I think that’s ok. There was a time when I felt like I needed to improve everything about myself, and while I’m all for acknowledging weaknesses and addressing them, not everything that’s “wrong” is a weakness.
So I’m easily irritated. It’s probably just a reflection of the sort of mood I’m in, and if I’m in a mood, the best thing for me to do is just be by myself. I like being alone, so this really isn’t a problem. So if I need to be alone, I just go be alone.
I’m sensing a theme here, actually, with this whole “alone” thing. I just don’t have time for any of you plebeians. I can’t be bothered.
Eh, really though. My time is valuable. It’s valuable to me. I see nothing productive coming from investing much of it to giving everyone I meet two or three or ten chances. I already tried that. It didn’t work too well. If it were my dream to befriend every living human on this planet, then I would be all about that. As it is, I find most people to be terrible and I don’t really want to meet them at all. Maybe that’s horrible and self-absorbed of me. I don’t care. I’m trying something new. I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum to the very other and it’s actually working out pretty well so far.
Go fucking figure.
So rather than changing these parts of myself, these parts that cause me some problems, I’m just learning how to live with them in a constructive way. Because when I’m annoyed and need to be alone, I usually end up writing. Sounds like a win-win all around.
I’ve kind of got an idea of who I am and what I want. I expect a lot from myself and as such, I hold other people to the same standard. I want to surround myself with exceptional people and won’t settle for anything less. So haters to the left, k?
The following is a letter to one of my dearest, most darling friends.
I love you. Fate and a mutual pal brought us together and I’m so thankful for that. I had my reservations at first, you being a stranger and all, not to mention the stories that I’d heard of your shenanigans. I needed someone to live with and so did you. You came highly recommended though. What was the worst that could possibly happen?
That was one hell of a year.
You brought me out of my shell. You were so kind and open when I was very alone. You included me. You respected me. You were one of the few good things in my life that first year that we knew each other. It was during that year that you became someone who will be important to me forever. I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I appreciated your friendship during that time, but I did. I still do.
You have such good stories and I’m so glad to be part of them. Well, some of them, because girl, you have quite a few. It’s because of you that I discovered that I have the ability to create my own. To live them. Maybe not as wild as yours, but you sure did love trouble (your words, not mine). Life was crazy and you were wonderfully fun and young.
Let me remind you: you still are.
You are still wonderful and life is still crazy. It always will be. There’s never any rest. You are an incredible human being and you have survived far worse. I know that you know this, but I felt like reminding you. You have an amazing support system of people who love you. You’re an amazing friend, one of the few that I’m lucky to call my best.
There is this spark in you that draws others to you like moths to a flame. I recognize you as a kindred spirit in that way. But you burn far brighter than many realize. Too often, you’re somehow the one who ends up burned. It’s so unfair that someone so bright and fantastic has such misfortune, but I suppose that’s the way it goes. You set the bar so high just because of who you are. Few can measure up.
You will be ok. I know you know that, but it’s always good to hear anyway, don’t you think? Don’t let anyone stifle your flame. Don’t settle. I think that’s one of the hardest things in life, especially for people who shine as brightly as you. It’s difficult, but you’re better than that. You are not alone. You will never be alone.
The catalyst was a question. “I wondered if you’d ever love me as much as him.”
The answer was no.
The reason was that I didn’t want to feel that way again.
Not that I knew it at the time.
Morgan’s wedding was the first nudge. More like a huge push. There were so many connections to be made, and so many connections that I couldn’t make. That I found myself wanting to make.
Then, of course, there was the couple themselves. They were so in love. They were perfect. Their story was perfect. It wasn’t a movie, and it was real.
I didn’t have it. I wanted it.
So I tried to go about it in my current relationship and failed. Utter failure, but at least not for lack of trying. It wasn’t there (you know, that inexplicable something you just have with the right person), but I was still trying to convince myself that it was me, that I wasn’t allowing myself to feel feelings that were definitely there.
The next nudge was New Year’s and the stupid, embarrassing drunk fighting. I knew what that meant. I’d done it plenty of times before. And then San Diego, when all I could think was how great it would be if it was just me and Kari out at the bar. No responsibilities.
I am not a responsible person. I have the attention span of a child on crack and my ability to commit to anything is on par with a rock. I took a small load of laundry on my flight 3,000 miles across the country to do at my parents’ house because I’d run out of quarters.
Being back at home was it. It was under unfortunate circumstances, but an intense relief. I’d left with an “I don’t think this is working” and a confirmation via text a few days later. Not my finest moment. Space was what I needed, and seeing my friends more than anything else.
I can’t say exactly what it was that made everything ok. It was all familiar and comfortable, but that’s not it. It was a reminder that not everyone was staying, that much of that familiarity would eventually leave, just like I had.
Alright, I’m listening to Tom Petty, and the lyrics were literally just I’m learning to fly. How convenient. That was it though, I think. That we’d all gone through difficult times in the past several years, and everyone was finally at some level of being ok. I’d gone out and done something completely out of my comfort zone without a second thought. I’d done it because I believed in myself. And yeah, it kind of sucked for the first few months, as much as I tried to convince myself that it didn’t. Everyone else was ok, and I would be too.
Sidenote: How abysmally sad is it that we’ve gotten to the point that our old crew will never all be in the same spot at once, no matter how hard we try? There will always be someone who couldn’t make it, stuck in a different state across the country. Or South Korea.
Back to California I went, sure of my decision, minute nagging doubt aside. Because I’d finally realized something, with Morgan happily Snap Chatting us snippets of her married life, another friend in constant contact with a new love interest, and yet another friend planning on meeting her boyfriend’s parents.
I was totally sure I had it figured out. It’s not like the movies, it’s not magical, not intense, not everything I’d expected and wanted. I learned that by getting my heart broken. I thought that was hindsight, and I was wrong.
He was nice and that was good. I desperately needed nice. It wasn’t enough though. He loved Star Wars and I preferred Lord of the Rings. It never could have worked.
I’m sure that at some point Jenn will read this. Yes, I still read your blog, and no, you are not the one who ruined my idea of love. That as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, 100%.
It’s not ruined though. It was just confused for a little while. One year, to be exact.
Now I am single and on the prowl once more. Watch the fuck out.
(Not you, Jenn. Just, like, the world in general.)