One Four Zero

I haven’t written about him in a long time. Mostly because I’ve had other things, other people on my mind, because my life has been filled in other ways- not because I haven’t thought about him.

Truth is, I still think about him most days, and not just once or twice. I still wonder what he’s doing, where he is, who he shares his life with now. I thought I wouldn’t anymore, especially now that I have O in my life. But I do. And I want to stop but I don’t know how or when or why I can’t. The thoughts manifest into dreams and I can’t escape him even in my sleep. I like to think that I think about him less as more time passes but honestly, I don’t know that it is. That scares me. How much longer will this failed love haunt me?

I believe that we carry all the tenses of our being, that all the past versions of who we were shape the who we are. Maybe it’s that the past versions of who we were roll into who we are now, that they’re intrinsically woven together. The girl who had her heartbroken is so familiar to me still, it’s hard to differentiate what was then and what is now. I can still draw up the pain of rejection and unrequited love and feel it keenly. Certain songs will instantly knock me back to that place of brokenness and hopelessness.

The one thing that I keep coming back to is knowing that I did all that I could. I said everything I wanted to say and that’s all you can ever do. There will be people who don’t reciprocate the way you feel and that’s life. But I will never have to regret not saying enough. If there’s any regret, it’ll be on him.

Some months ago, I couldn’t fathom a life that didn’t perpetually mourn the loss of him. Now I can recognise that the loss is an event in the past and while my present self can remember what that awful time was like, I’m not currently experiencing that loss at the moment. I’ve been reading The Body Keeps the Score and learning that we need to integrate painful past experiences into our present so that we can live freer futures. So that’s progress right? I’m part of the way there! One day I won’t think of him anymore, in the same way that I don’t think about my first boyfriend. I’m not there yet but I will be, one day.

Advertisements

Seventy

Even though the past month has been really really good, there are still times when I think about how easy it was with him – that instant connection and surety of those feelings. Tonight is one of those times, and I miss him.

I miss the him that I knew when we were together, before all the heartbreak and hurt and pain. I miss having endless conversations that feed off each other like gas to fire. I miss the excitement and anticipation of knowing that I’ll see him at some point in the day.

I know that I’ll have that again, with someone who will stay. But that would also be a lot more convincing if I was already there, with someone else, rather than now where I can only cast my hopes for something like that in the future.

Sixty Three

Home.

What does that mean? I used to think it was a place, somewhere familiar and known, somewhere I knew like the back of my palm – the place where I grew up. But recently, the place where I grew up has started to feel more and more foreign, my old haunts dredging up nostalgia that sits at the back of my throat. I don’t feel like I belong there anymore, I’m like a tourist visiting the sites of old memories. Here is the place I went to school, here is the place where I had my first kiss, here is the place I watched the river for hours, trying to calm my soul.

Hometown.

It means the place you’re from, but more than that – it is the town that you call home. My hometown doesn’t feel like home anymore. When I drive through the streets, I see everything that I left behind and each return feels like a regression, a return to a past life that I’m disconnected from.

I was thinking this today when I was back for a wedding. I was in the town that raised me, saw me slowly morph into the person I am today, the town that homed me for so long. I saw old friends who had stayed and remembered the friendship we had once, which is so different now, and the distance between us. I guess this is what happens when you leave a place and settle in another. You have to redefine what home means.

The place that I once was so fond of, and proud to be from, holds nothing for me now. At least, for this time in my life.

Today, after the ceremony and catching up with old friends, I had a little bit of time to kill  before the reception. Growing up there, I always loved going down to the river and reading or writing or, mostly, just watching the water currents. It’s muscle memory that takes me there, I drive without a destination in mind. I parked, and walked to where I used to go with my first boyfriend after school.

I found the rocks where we used to sit and watch the river from, talking about things that teenagers talk about, remembering the excitement of that first relationship and the rich potential of what could be. I sat there like we used to do and watched the river for a while.

When we broke up, he said that I was naive about relationships and love. I think I still am, twelve years later. Maybe the disconnect with my hometown comes from being reminded of a younger version of myself, and how I’ve failed her in where I am in life now. I thought that by my twenties, I would know myself, know others, and know love. But I don’t know any of that, and that’s the only thing I know. Maybe hometown doesn’t feel like home anymore because I’m not comfortable there, always confronted with who I was, who I thought I would become, and the reality of who I am.

At least in my new city, I don’t have that history to bargain with. I don’t have to justify the present me with the past me. There’s a freedom that comes from breaking away from the past.

But isn’t that just running away? The past is still there. I can’t actually be free from it. I have to face the fifteen year old me and tell her that life doesn’t work out the way you think it will, that there will be times of deep sadness that will elbow its way out of you in silent cries, but that there will also be times of intense joy that leave your abs sore from laughing so much. That you won’t have the experiences you hoped for, but that there will be experiences so beautiful and wonderful that you couldn’t have imagined or hoped for them. Yeah, I think that’s what she needs to hear.

Forty Nine

Went to see the Wellington Phoenix play tonight. There was a time in my life when I had a few consecutive season passes and would never miss a game. I think of who I was then, and how much I’ve changed, how far I’ve come. It’s bizarre, thinking back on then and feeling like that person was a stranger. It’s even more bizarre, thinking about who I’ll become in the future, and wondering if the person I am now will be a stranger to them too.

Twenty One

But something told her, some new wisdom about the way things are that she seemed just now to have acquired, that even if they did, it would not be the same. I would have moved on a year, she thought, and I wouldn’t be quite the same person and I mightn’t think the same things at all. I mightn’t, she thought, be interested in the swing and the ilex tree any more. Or Harriet. So it is nice to make the most of it while I am.

– Penelope Lively, A Stitch in Time

I’ve been thinking about this idea that who we are in the future will be different from who we are today. And that maybe these existential crises won’t ever go away, but the best we can do is to just make the most of where we are now.