I'll cut to the chase. We all know that pessimistic person in our lives that says they will "die alone" or "never find anyone". And sadly, I've been one of them at many times throughout my life. Rewind to about 2 years ago and you could find me in a college freshman year relationship where I thought I was the happiest I could ever be. I couldn't have been more wrong.
I know I'm not the only one who understands that relationships scar. You are not okay overnight and you are not okay next week. Or in my case, you're not even okay after a few months. A person that doesn't deserve your time or your energy still holds all your attention. You don't hear from them anymore, and yet you still cry over them and fight the urge to send a text. You still always notice when they walk in the room. You miss them, wonder where they are and what they're doing, and avoid certain songs and places that remind you of painful memories. When people ask, you either avoid the topic or falsely explain how you're doing so much better and are so glad they're gone, even if it's not true. You put so much effort into getting everyone else to believe you're okay, even if you're not. And you do everything you can to make sure the person that broke your heart knows you're "fine without them".
So then you might spend more time with friends and feel like you're getting better. You're making progress and starting to let go. And then...you see them with someone new and it burns and hurts all over again. And once again you are stuck.
I don't think people understand sometimes how vicious and draining of a cycle relationships can be. It can be devastating. I can speak to that from personal experience and watching the relationships of those close to me as well. Love can hurt. Gosh can it hurt. But why? I've always wondered. At one point in time, one of my good friends and I were both going through breakups and she asked me, "why do these guys that don't even care about us anymore, that were terrible to us, affect us so much?"
And it got me thinking. Because you give parts of yourself to that person. You sacrifice time and energy for them. You invest. And when that investment comes back void, it's heart-wrenching. You may have stayed up later than you should've and lost sleep to comfort them when they were upset. Maybe you sat and talked to them when they were going through a tough time, instead of studying for your test the next day. You gave them pieces of your life, and it's like they just took all of that and smashed it. All of this can quickly consume your mind, heart, and soul. And we can be left with a dim, dark view of the world and people around us until it is the only thing we see.
This is how I walked around. I was so convinced that love worked for other people, and hey, that was great and beautiful, but it could never work for me. After a string of bad, devastating breakups, I prepared myself to give up. I was meant to be alone and if I just accepted that, I would be able move on with life. I was done looking. I was done waiting to be found. I didn't want a guy to get near my heart ever again. I was never going to find what I was looking for, so there was no point. Because most of all, I was done being hurt. All I saw when I looked at relationships was pain and hurt. Even when I looked at happy & content couples, I just got angry. So much so that I forgot about all the beautifully real things that love can do and is capable of.
Until I met the right person and watched it all fall into place.
Suddenly, I found myself overwhelmed with thankfulness that none of my past relationships worked. Every night I spent crying and staring at the ceiling...felt more and more distant to the point where it was like it never happened. I found someone where it was simple, it was easy. Our visions, dreams, and hopes for the future matched to a T. He wasn't trying to argue with me, but trying to understand me. He put me first and showed me that love truly can be selfless. He showed me that love doesn't have to be confusing. It can be upfront, open, and honest. That all the pain from my other breakups was worth it, because I had found what I was looking for.
And that was the thing. At this time in my life, I hadn't been looking. Just when I was ready and willing to give up, he came out of nowhere & dropped into my life. And as happy as I am now, life is not perfect and it never will be.
Because most of all, I learned that love can be real. It can be raw. I don't have to be this perfect, polished version of myself in order to find what I was looking for. I think sometimes we have this idea in our heads that we have "to be ready" for someone. Once we "perfect" this part or that part of ourselves, then we'll be ready. But I've realized that that's not always the case because oftentimes, life hands you stuff when you're not ready. And it's the action of not being ready and taking on the challenge that makes it so incredible. Recognizing that as individuals, we will never "arrive". We will always be constantly changing and adjusting who we are. And that in itself can make it it's own version of a fairytale, not a fake and perfect one, but an adventure.
Over the past few months, all of my problems have not been solved. I still struggle at times from past wounds. Sometimes I get sad, scared, or anxious. Everyday is part of the process and holds its own uncertainties. But one thing that I am certain of is that every day I am healing. Sometimes it may be baby steps, but I am learning that love can work and that it doesn't have to be as complicated as society makes it. It does not have to fit into the box that society has given it. It can be your own, and that in itself is beautiful.