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.
It’s 10pm and I’m sitting in bed, typing this out and thinking about my counselling session tomorrow. It’s my first session with this counsellor and it feels daunting, thinking about all the ground we have to cover to catch them up on my life.
I want to be honest but am scared to be vulnerable with a stranger, want to be able to say the right words for them to feel what I feel, but don’t want to expose my weakness. Even with someone who has probably seen the worst of worsts, who is trained to be empathetic and understanding, I still somehow feel like I have to prove something? Still somehow feel like I need to downplay my pain even though the fact that I’ve made an appointment is admission that I’m not okay.
In the last few months, I’ve had to learn again that it’s okay to not be okay, but more than that – it’s okay to be sad, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we’re so used to being comfortable and hearing good stories, we forget that life isn’t always easy. Life is ugly sometimes – it’s crying in the bathroom at work, it’s running until your lungs burst because you need to feel something else hurt that wasn’t your heart. It’s sitting in the uncomfortable with friends who are hurting and not trying to fix them, just sitting.