Half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it. Sidney Howard
I just spent the whole weekend recovering from a cold and watching Twilight. …All five movies of Twilight, actually. And I remembered how much I want that kind of love. And then remembered that it’s just a movie and how unlikely it is that I’ll find someone who will love me that much, and who I’ll also love that much, and who will also be ready for what I’m ready for and willing to give me everything I deserve. Because I love hard. And I want to find someone who is fearless and willing to love me hard too. But it’s hard to find a person you can have all of that with, because sooooo many things have to go right. Timing, shared desires, common interests and goals, emotional availability: these all contribute to relationship readiness. But then I started thinking: what is it that makes me believe I won’t find that kind of love? What am I still holding onto that’s blocking my path and delaying my happiness?
I have been through a lot of nonsense and pain in relationships. Some have left scars that I can’t even talk about. Others I learned from and haven’t thought about since. I used to think I was the problem. That it was my fault. That I’m too intense. Too successful. Too independent. Too intimidating. Too full of love. Sometimes, I think it’s the other person. He is too selfish. Too inconsiderate. Too insensitive. Too concerned with his own feelings. But now, I don’t think it necessarily has anything to do with one person.
Everyone behaves differently in every relationship and interaction. There may be established patterns of behavior, but our responses to things and people change over time, whether for the better or for the worse. With that in mind, I’m starting to realize that the reasons why some relationships don’t work out is not necessarily because of the flaws of one person, but because of bad timing or the incompatibility between two persons. The square peg doesn’t refuse to fit in the round hole because there’s a problem with the hole any more than the hole not accommodating the peg because there’s something wrong with the peg. The real problem is that the two were never meant to fit in the first place, or simply haven’t evolved enough to be the right fit. The two people together are the problem, not as individuals.
Maybe they don’t mesh well because one refuses to adjust itself in honor of the other. Maybe they both failed to realize that compromise is necessary to make any two pieces fit together. We as people aren’t static; we are polymorphic. We are emotionally evolutionary creatures during our lifetime, shaped by experiences, molded by environments. Every thought, every breath, every step moves us closer to our hopefully better, stronger, wiser selves. We shape-shift, constantly under scrutiny yet always reinventing ourselves. We are each our own greatest creation. And in finding ourselves, we in turn hope to find what we want for ourselves and also from others.
Love, ultimately, is what we long for. Acceptance. Appreciation. Understanding. Honesty. Companionship. Affection. Love. Love. Love. It is what I want. It is more than fulfilling to have that kind of love from my family and closest friends. But there is something special about finding someone to share your soul with. And that’s the kind of love I’m hoping for. I’ve dealt with misplaced love, abused love, fool’s gold love, unrequited love. Now I’m waiting for love that knows where it belongs. Love that dims no soul and bruises no hearts. Love that is as true and golden as the sun. Love that is fraught and ready to spill over into more love. The kind of love that could survive poor timing, carry-on luggage from previous relationships, emotional unavailability, insecurities, temptations and all the things that can break many relationships. Because true love is a survivor. A warrior. A ray of light in a dark room. An echo through a quiet forest. A ripple in a still lake. It may come quietly, it may leave loudly. But its subtlety or intensity cannot change its reality. Love is, and always has been, all that matters. Love is everything. Everything else in our world simply descends from its throne.
I’ve realized that I spend too much time holding onto things and people that cannot help me move forward. Holding on to past pain cannot give me future freedom. Some relationships are held onto for so long that they aren’t smooth at the edges anymore. The more we hang on, the more jagged those relationships become.
I fell in love with my best male friend over a year ago. He broke my heart. Valentine’s day 2013, to be exact. He went back to his ex/the mother of his child. She got pregnant again a couple months later and they just had their second daughter a few weeks ago. Typing and reading that sentence is pretty messed up but…it happened. It was real. And by some miracle of the universe, I was able to overcome that. Maybe because I’m strong. Or maybe because I realized that sometimes, life happens. And as much as he may think so, or as much as I often thought so, he and I are not supposed to be together. Not because we were incompatible, not because our love wasn’t epic, but because of baggage and circumstance. And those are two very big obstacles in any relationship, the kinds of obstacles that cause shapes to not fit.
Breaking up with him was the hardest yet best thing I could do for myself. But dealing with the aftermath of what he did to me only caused me more pain because it made me feel inadequate. I felt like he didn’t love me enough to stay. It triggered my deepest insecurities and for months, I couldn’t find a normal sense of self. I didn’t have balance and forgot my purpose. But the one thing I realized, other than the natural cure of time healing all wounds, was that holding on to him wasn’t bringing him back, nor was it giving me the kind of love I hope to find. The idea of him used to be this shiny, pretty thing, a round, glittery sphere of what I thought the shape of love was supposed to be. And the longer I held onto the idea of that version of love, the sharper its edges became until I realized I was holding onto something that would only hurt me because it couldn’t endure the strength of my grip. That isn’t the love I want. The love I deserve will be a balanced embrace and an abstract shape. Felt, not seen. Evolutionary, not frozen.
Since that relationship, I’ve dated here and there and have liked some awesome guys who I decided were ultimately not for me. I’ve also really liked one in particular in recent months. Someone who just isn’t ready for what I’m ready for, and who was so afraid of being perceived by me as more than a friend that he forgot to be my friend in the first place. Forgot how to treat me, appreciate me, and empathize with how the situation made me feel and focused mostly on his own emotional state instead. And truthfully, I probably did the same exact thing to him, the difference being that I was a friend to him and always tried to understand how he felt and what he thought. To his credit, he has every right to focus on himself right now so he can figure out what he wants. Unfortunately, he hurt my feelings in the process. And I had to realize that for a woman like me, with my standards, goals, and all I have to offer, his neglect and insensitivity–despite his occasional effort–was simply unacceptable. And depending on the vantage point, maybe he didn’t try enough because he wasn’t ready, and/or maybe I tried too hard because I am ready. My readiness can’t compensate for his lack thereof. At this moment, in this dimension, space and time, our shapes simply don’t fit.
I tried to make my mold fit his. But I shouldn’t be the only one ready for that kind of adaptation. I can’t force that kind of transformation either, nor should it even need to be forced. It should be a natural convergence. I have to let the idea of that potential loveshape go. I also realized that because I was so focused on him, I haven’t been able to focus on others who have been trying to build something beautiful with me. And I noticed, again, that holding onto the hope of that strained situation won’t allow me to find what I’m looking for. I’m not much of a believer in things “just happening” or “just working out” on their own. Everything requires effort, so I think the success of relationships is a combination of both internal (personal) and external (universal) input. I thought that sometimes my efforts weren’t good enough. But you know what, my efforts may not even be the problem. This is deeper than shapes simply not fitting. It’s about mutual readiness and willingness to change and grow together. It’s about the peg and the hole shifting into something much more compatible. It’s not about the forms they start with, but the forms they end up in. And sometimes things mesh; sometimes they don’t.
Some say I love too hard. I say most people don’t love enough. The love I’m capable of giving is both a gift and a curse. I don’t like a majority of the men I encounter (I’m extremely particular, especially since I had a bad habit of picking the ones who are terrible for me), but when I do like a guy, I like him a lot. I’m very much “all or nothing” when it comes to that. I don’t half-ass my love life. It’s too important to me to compromise or ever settle for less than I deserve. And I deserve exactly what I’m capable of giving. Everyone loves differently. I just want someone who is capable of loving me the same way (the tricky part being that he has to be someone I want to love that much as well). I usually know very quickly what my potential is with a guy. I just…”know”. And I’ve never had that “knowing” feeling just appear over time simply because I gave it a chance. I’m trying that method now to be fair to myself and see what can happen with other people, but it just hasn’t occurred before. I know myself and I know what I want. And it damn well better be epic, or I won’t want it at all. I’d rather be alone forever than settle for mediocrity. …Or settle for anything, for that matter. Instead of focusing on failed attempts, I’ll free my mind and search for better opportunities.
How stuck are you on your dimension? Are you willing to evolve with someone? What past/pain/problems are you holding onto that could be preventing you from finding what you really want? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to free yourself and get what you deserve? It may not be easy. But it will be liberating. Even if you have to chop off a hand to free yourself from the shackles. Let go of your fear, your form. Lost limbs will grow back stronger. Let go of the idea of who you think you are and how you think things should be. If things aren’t working out, it’s likely because something needs to change. Maybe you need to shift. Maybe the world around you needs to shift. Maybe both. But I can promise you this much: it all starts with letting go.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill