I decided if I ever truly want to write a best-selling novel about the “real things”, I should actually start practicing writing about the “real things”… sans the Splenda-coating I tend to add to every detail in the fabric of my life. The pathological optimist in me has always wanted to reserve my (cyber) space at Suburbs of Utopia (SoU) for all the wondrous things I love; my own little happy place to relish in fancy and rejoice in fabulous. But I tend to ONLY write about the amazing and when I find myself in a less-than-incredible rut, I catch myself bottling up the negatives and sadly, losing sight of the happy(s) having no outlet to psychoanalyze/process the hard things (which I’ve learned is imperative for me to do in order) to properly let them go… and get back to celebrating the serendipity!! For that is who I really am + I mustn’t ever lose sight of my happy-go-lucky self.
I’m calling these rare entries of tribulations + turmoil SoU(l)Casts- little time-outs in LIFE to remind me that it’s okay to be brutally honest. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be human…
I think there comes a point in every relationship where you have to decide if this is going to be the forever-is-not-long-enough kind or the it-was-fun-while-it-lasted type. Some people reach this milestone with such admirable ease; either via an amicable split or a beautiful engagement. But some of us are less fortunate as any sort of separation would be an unfathomable severing of one, whole heart back in to shreds of two ... and on the contrary, any type of serious commitment would be scarier than being alone. This crucial point, more so a breaking point, is often complicated by the intense emotions that are catalyzed by the merciless act of letting someone in to your fragile heart. And when coupled with the fear of failure, the ability to see clearly or think rationally at such a difficult time is virtually lost…
I can’t pinpoint when I first started falling in love with M. as the fairy tale that plays back in my mind says it began at about ten years old but I think the real kind started budding at the age of seventeen. He was handsome. He had incredible blue eyes that squinted when he smiled and a distinguished gap between his front teeth that was incredibly sexy. He had a laugh that was contagious and a carefree attitude that made all your worries melt away when you were with him. I don’t think I giggled more in my entire life than the semester I flew West and started feeling myself fall. During this time, I was known to have a permanent “M. smile” on my face as my eyes lit up when I talked about him and my heart was so happy as reality was finally more amazing than the life in my dreams. Most fittingly for our kind of love, the first time M. tried to use the “L word” he whispered “I’ve never had so much fun falling in love with you!” in to my ear as I boarded a plane and I remember thinking “How apropos!” for that was exactly what being in love with M. was: fun.
Like every relationship ours waxed and waned over the next couple of years, naturally coming in and out of each others’ lives as we tried to figure out who we were/what direction our own lives were headed and how we would fit in to our futures. Being at very different stages and in opposite parts of the country, it didn’t seem like we would ever be on the same page but I always believed the day would come where it would all fall magically in to place and we would live happily ever after.
I had patiently waited for that day for so long and I truly thought we had finally figured it out last year when I moved to Winnipeg. We would finally be able to start a life together. We could carve pumpkins in the Fall and decorate our first Christmas tree in the winter. We could stay snowed in wrapped in my snuggie til April and spend the weekends at the lake in the summers. We could cook dinner together every night and wake up next to each other every morning and be spontaneous throughout every day for our time together would be limitless. We could finally get to do all the simple things I envied about couples who weren’t separated by long distance and it would happen in the one place we both always considered home: Manitoba.
I had moved to Canada from Los Angeles where I had never felt more full of life – great friends, my dream job, so much to do and so many places to see. The sun shined every day and I was genuinely happy. But I often felt like I could not apply meaning to it as I had no one there to share it with. When M. + I decided now was our golden opportunity, I gleefully walked away from the glitz and the glam of Hollywood because as exciting as my life was, none of it ever really mattered to me… & while Winnipeg wasn’t ideal, I didn’t think it mattered where we were as long as we were together. I truly believed that. I believed in him and in my love for him and had never felt so sure of anything.
I wasn’t in Winnipeg very long before I realized how out of touch with reality being in love had made me. It wasn’t rainbows and date nights and flowers. It was me in a strange place at a job that I hated with none of my best friends to help me get through it. I was cold. I was scared + most of all, I was lonely. M. was incredibly focused on his own goals and wasn’t emotionally invested enough in the relationship to make them our goals/dreams… He didn’t understand how to live his life for anyone other than himself and I began to realize my role in his life wasn’t going to be the best friend he loved to do everything with that I had dreamed about; it was to solely be his supporter, shoes only a mother should have to fill.
Even though there was virtually no distance between us, I had never felt further from my happy ending with M. In so many ways, we had made many serious commitments to each other but when I tried to envision our future together, I couldn’t see where it was headed for M.’s future was contingent on reaching his own goals.
I began to resent him. I felt unappreciated as all the little gestures went unnoticed and the grand gesture, relocating my wonderful life in LA to Winnipeg, was beginning to feel like a mistake. My heart was starting to get heavy and slowly a wall was being built around it. While I had known for so long exactly what I wanted, he was still trying to figure out just what it was that he really wanted and his uncertainty took a detrimental toll on our relationship. Distance no longer was the bane of our existence; we had a new obstacle to overcome: reality.
I was so saddened by the reality of it all. I tried until I had nothing left to give to the relationship and then it broke me. It made me angry… and mean. So. Very. Mean. I had given him my world; I so badly needed to know it wasn’t all in vain and pleaded with him to let me know he felt something, anything. M. was emotionally unavailable and when no amount of love could make him tell/show me, I desperately tried to evoke any emotion. I held on to things I usually let go of and I got mad. A lot. I said a lot of horrible things; I didn’t know I was capable of saying the things I said.
It made me even angrier that I was so encumbered by the pain, I was beginning to compromise who I was. I was incredibly unhappy both in the relationship and in who I had become. I had lost sight of who I was and I spent most days wondering how I had let myself get this point. Where did the strong, confident girl who was known for her smile and spending every moment making amazing memories go? Who loved life and everything in it! Who was this scared, insecure little girl in her place that had manifested from relentless devastation? Why couldn’t I recall the last time I giggled? Why couldn’t I remember why I had moved here?
It was about this time that M. started to realize that maybe he was crazy about me and if things didn’t change, he would lose me. He began to work on the little things that I had learned to hold on to but it was too late. I was already gone. I had given up on him and couldn’t even try to appreciate the small efforts he was making for me/us. Most of the time I saw his small acts of kindness as an insult, mocking all the effort I put forth by letting myself love to the fullest that brought me to my current state of brokenheartedness. I became callous and cruel.
This is when the real troubles started. We were both so entrenched in our own self-loathing, we turned away from each other. We were constantly looking for an escape. It became a contest to see who could care the least and because I am driven by emotion, I failed. Miserably. I would use words as weapons to try to get any rise out of the seemingly emotionless M. He would see it for exactly what it was and ignore me until I came back to my senses to apologize. But at the same time, he used his level-headedness as a vice to ignore the issues at hand and it became a vicious cycle in which the problem was never actually repaired.
We were both terribly hurt by the pattern that neither one of us knew how to break. You become so jaded when every interaction is saturated with immense pain, open wounds that screamed louder than our weeping hearts, that the only cure for the blurred vision is to remove yourself from the source of pain.
So I left.
I’m not sure it was the right decision but when I/we had exhausted all other options, it felt like the only option. I had given everything I had to try to make it work and in his own love language, I know M. did too.
I never wanted to be leaving him. In doing so, I know I took an incredible risk: I could very well loose him, for forever. In fact, most days I feel like I already have… but I could hardly blame him if he realized he is better off without me. I am better off without the terribly hurtful person that being defeated by disappointment brought out in me, too.
But it wasn’t about M. anymore. It is about me and my need to find myself again. The paradigm had shifted to making myself whole again by reinvesting my love back in to the outlets that (once) made me genuinely happy. To love who I am, in order to love him properly. To allow my heart to heal and regain the confidence needed in order to rebuild trust. To relocate the internal optimist that makes me uniquely me.
I also know that if a reconciliation were to ever occur, M. has important decisions that would need to be made, too. The decision that while love is an incredible risk that makes you vulnerable and consequently feel weak at times, the reward is worth it. To embrace it. To take responsibility for your emotions. To commit.
As we take this time to independently heal from the heartache and sort out what is salvageable and what simply cannot be forgiven, I know that there is a petrifying chance that our happy ending may not be the end result. If I lose him in this process, that would be tragic for I know we had a really good thing… the forever-is-not-long-enough kind… but the fear of losing myself in a less-than-incredible rut, to settle for a life less than the one I imagined, seems like a much greater compromise I am not willing to make.
I have always found comfort in knowing that everything truly does happen for a reason. If M. is my meant-to-be then no amount of time apart will prevent true love from prevailing. And if this a parting of ways, where we mutually split the blame for the failures at hand and wish each other well, then I will find solace in knowing I will eventually be okay without him, for I will still have me.