The Struggle Was Worthwhile Because It Led Me To You

I was a bit flippant tonight as I defended the virtues of the single life.

I should’ve told you the truth – that single is okay, single is fine, but single is nothing compared to how happy I am with you.

I’m still frightened by all this. Forgive me. It’s been a long time since I opened my heart to someone who treats it with the care it deserves.

It’s been even longer since I was able to speak so honestly with a man about my fears without any sort of judgment or conflict. You really don’t know how special you are. It’s rare to find a human who is unquestionably kind through and through.

If I have my way, I’ll never be single again.

That’s what I really want to say to you.

I know we’re in the honeymoon stage. I know it won’t always be simple. I know that relationships are difficult no matter how much two people care for each other.

But for the first time, I’m in a functional partnership with an adult. I can tell you absolutely anything – I know this because I basically have. You accept it all without condition. We talk and I find myself easily saying things I’ve never spoken out loud before. Not only do you listen, you aren’t bothered in the least. You express yourself and you aren’t afraid to tell me how you feel.

You are literally everything I’ve wanted that I thought couldn’t possibly exist.

I was lonely for so long. Sure, single was necessary. I had to grow, to change and work through the painful truths of my past. It was all preparation so I could be ready for love when it found me. All that I ever wanted was to find that person who made me understand why it never worked out with anyone before.

That all sounds well and good, but I don’t know that I believed it could happen. Every time I let myself think it might, I met a rude awakening.

Then you came along and suddenly, quietly, simply … you were … it. I tried not to dive in too fast, because I’ve made that mistake before. I wasn’t fooling anyone. No other man held a moment of my interest from the moment I met you.

You gently claimed me without any pretense or assumptions. You wanted me, and I wanted you back, and incredibly that was enough. It is enough.

Now I understand it all.

If literally nothing else comes of this period in my life, I won’t care. I am here because I needed to find you. The universe brought us together. If that sounds crazy, so be it. I’m not concerned with what anyone else thinks of our happiness because I know in my gut that it’s the real deal. You are lovely, and I’m not letting you go.

The truth is that I don’t miss being single. Not one bit.

I’ve waited for you my whole life, and now you’re here. And I’m stunned with gratitude.

I will never, ever take you for granted.

(Originally published on Thought Catalog)

I Want To Let Him Go, But My Heart Won’t Let Me

I can’t sleep because I’m less than ten miles from where he’s sleeping and it’s making me crazy.

Okay, maybe it’s the coffee.

Still, all I can think about as I lie here awake in the darkness of an alien bedroom is that he’s so close and yet so impossibly distant.

What do I do?

I tell myself over and over again to stop all contact, to cut it off, to forget he exists. This heart trauma has gone on almost a year and that’s far too long. It should’ve ended the day he chose her over me. It should’ve ended when he kissed me and then panicked and told me he just wanted to be friends. It should’ve probably never begun.

And yet, no matter what I do, no matter how determinedly try to make it someone else, it’s always him. I hate it down to the root of my being. I hate myself for my weakness and him for his knowing duplicity. I hate that I always circle back around somehow. I hate that when it comes to him, I lose all sense of rationale and hold onto ridiculous and unfounded hopes.

Love makes me incredibly stupid.

I need to accept the truth. It’s slapping me in the face and still I refuse it.

I’ve never been good at letting go of what I want.

Then again, I don’t want to love him.

I want so very badly to let him go, to find love with someone capable of loving me back.

I want my person and I want him now, because my heart is tired of pining over someone so distant.

I beg the universe to guide me, to help me see clearly, to show me who I need and give me what I seek. To bring him to me and open my eyes so I actually recognize him.

I beg all the time. It’s not working.

These little tastes of him make it all worse. I can’t get to know him and I can’t forget him. It’s like slowly losing my sanity.

Please. Just let me sleep. This has no end game.

(Previously published on Thought Catalog)

The Truth Is I’m Afraid To Let Myself Be Happy

For a long time, I honestly believed that achieving happiness was an impossible goal.

I was too flawed, too depressed, too ugly, too chubby, and too ordinary. Seeing the bright side was a foreign concept for me. Though I tried hard to stay positive and push my sadness aside, it never worked. I had no idea where to begin.

Now I’m more confident, at least when I’m on my own. I don’t know that I have discovered some magical fountain of self-love, but I’ve definitely adjusted my priorities. The truth is that I simply don’t care so much about stupid, superficial shit anymore. Life is short and I don’t want to keep on wasting it.

Unfortunately, all that maturity goes down the drain when I confront myself honestly about what I believe I deserve in a relationship and in my career.

I am terrified to really and truly … try.

If I sort of work towards my professional goals and visions, but always fall short of the mark, then I never fail. I can’t fail if I never put myself out there fully in the first place, right? The same goes for love. If I refuse to open up and allow complete vulnerability with another human being, that person cannot truly hurt me. Never mind that I then, in turn, also miss out on experiencing the true joy of bonding with another human without reservations.

I’ve been this way my entire life. No matter how much I may evolve and develop in the personal realm, that work inevitably shows massive gaps when it comes to applying my growth to everyday existence.

When I was a child, I was required to do everything perfectly the first time around. Now, as an adult, I don’t know how to let myself experiment, go big, and fall hard. I have no understanding of what it means to take risks and recover normally if they don’t go how I’d hoped. I don’t know how to play and show my sillier side without fear of being dismissed as a foolish human being. I’ve always been what one might categorize as too serious. The irony is that my fear dampens every ounce of passion in my body until I doubt that any existed in the first place.

Yes, I do constantly urge myself to get over this hurdle and leap for the heights, but it’s easier said than done. It’s not that simple to throw out thirty years’ worth of learned and reinforced behavior and start over again. If I succeed, then I can fall. If I love deeply, then I can be deeply hurt. I’m afraid. The fear still wins.

If I’m always near the bottom, then I can’t fall too far. It may sound pathetic, but it’s oddly comforting.

On the other hand, I’m perpetually dissatisfied and will continue to be until I get over this crap and decide to fearlessly unleash the potential that lives inside me.

I do not want to repeat the patterns of my family before me. The idea of doing so shames me, and yet I continue on in the same vein year after year, inching closer to change only to shrink back again.

I’ve gone from despairing that I could never become happy to understanding that it is, in fact, achievable. I even have glimpses of true contentment before my sabotaging brain goes to work decimating it. The problem is that I have to be willing to accept that with the best might also come the worst, and then go for broke anyway.

I know that I will never live my fullest life unless I rid myself of these crippling fears. The question is, do I have the guts to do it?

 

To The Man Who Made It Easy For Me To Open My Heart Again

Thank you.

I don’t think you have any idea how lovely you are.

Part of your beauty lies in the fact that you’re simply ignorant of how remarkable it is that you exist in the world. I thought you were a dream, a figment of my imagination, someone I could only feebly hope to someday find. You make impossibility look simple.

For many years, love only meant pain to me. I’d heard that it was a remarkable experience with the right person, but I hardly believed in that possibility for myself. After a childhood surrounded by discordant, miserable couples, I had no idea what healthy love looked like or where to begin to build it.

Relationships used to be an interminable struggle. I flailed, inevitably sinking, attempting desperately to make it work with men who weren’t right for me. They never filled the void of insecurity and sadness inside me, and I couldn’t understand that it wasn’t their place to do so. It took hitting rock bottom to learn to put in the necessary work to prepare myself for the love I so desired.

Trudging through the muck of my past was the most difficult feat I’ve ever attempted, but the journey brought endless satisfaction. I kept digging into the marrow of my dysfunction, determined to heal because I knew that was the only way to achieve actual happiness. I was so terribly weary of feeling worthless.

So I put in the effort, and I soon began reaping the rewards. Still, love evaded me. I tried not to mind because everything else in my life improved so drastically, but the darkest fissures of my heart yearned for someone to walk by my side through this unpredictably wondrous adventure. Sometimes I’d spend the dead of night screaming noiselessly into the blank void of my pillow, frustrated beyond comprehension, unable to verbalize my keen longing for my soul’s match.

Finally I made a leap long overdue and my life transformed. Suddenly I just knew it was time and I was truly ready for love. I had no idea when it would happen but the weight of hopelessness lifted soundlessly and I took a deep breath. You were coming for me. I had no more doubts.

Then one day not long after, you quietly slipped into my life with no pretense whatsoever. I met you and everyone else simply fell away. At first I tried to temper my excitement, to move forward with caution, to give others a chance … but I knew I was lying to myself. From the day I met you, none of them mattered the slightest bit. I barely had a choice in the matter. The universe finally brought you into my life because I was ready. There was no turning back, even if I tried my damndest to ruin it all.

But I didn’t, because I know enough by now to stop sabotaging magic when it enters my world. And you, my dear, are pure sorcery, concocted and kept aside to find me now that we’re both ready. I firmly believe that, because there’s no other earthly reason that someone else would not have snatched up your precious self by now.

So thank you. I cannot quite yet say all this to your face because I don’t know how to handle the strength of my joy, the tenacity of my emotions when it comes to you. I’m still afraid that you’re too good to be true, but here you are, showing up for me every single day whether I believe it or not. You bring forth surprised laughter from the depths of my gut and challenge my mind to overcome itself when I doubt my own way. I almost lost hope that anyone would ever understand me, and now here you are … matching me in every way I ever dreamed of and more. I’d think you were the most beautiful man even if you weren’t mine, but you are, and I’m overflowing with it.

My heart is open and not only do you accept it, you meet it with the tenderness and nurturing affection I always craved but never found before.

I’m keeping you. I hope that’s okay. I have a feeling you won’t mind.

A Woman Who Knows Her Worth Will Expect 15 Things From Any Relationship

If you want to get what you merit from a partnership, you must first understand your own worth as a person. Once you come into your own as a woman and you’re comfortable asking for what you need, you no longer accept less. You refuse to settle and you part ways with anyone who does not give you exactly what you deserve. If you’ve grown into your own heart and soul, this is what you expect to receive in your next relationship:

 

  1. Decency.  This should go without saying, but it often doesn’t. You put up with so much indecent behavior in the past that you finally said, enough. You are a living, breathing, feeling human being who treats others well. You deserve the same in return, but often your kindness is treated as weakness. No longer do you allow anyone to trample your heart. You settle for nothing less than a genuine, conscious partner.

 

  1. Respect. Your relationships that lacked the crucial element of mutual respect always failed. They’re bound to do so – a vibrant, dynamic woman such as yourself has high standards when it comes to such issues. You no longer sell yourself short because you are well aware that you can do better. If your partner does not show you the utmost respect in return for that which you give, you won’t hang around.

 

  1. Consideration.  In addition to respect, you demand consideration from your lover. The two should go hand in hand, but that’s not always the case. You’re tired of people who claim to care for you only to ignore your most basic needs. You can’t change those who behave this way – but you can and you will walk away.

 

  1. Attention. This by no means indicates that you are clingy. You do not need someone who talks to you incessantly all day long or compliments you excessively. In actuality, you find such behavior suspect – and you are not a child who needs reinforcement, but an independent woman with a full and busy life. What you require is quality focus during time spent together and attention to detail, and you deserve both.

 

  1. Kindness.  Once upon a time, perhaps you did not believe that you deserved kindness. You never experienced it or understood that you are worthy and valuable. Now you require a partner who not only treats you with the utmost compassion but also operates with total kindness towards the world around them.

 

  1. Honesty.  Lies or even omissions of the truth ruin countless relationships. You refuse to stand among the ranks of those unfortunate souls, and you demand complete transparency in return for the honesty you so bravely put forth on a daily basis. A partner who is your equal will provide it with no questions asked.

 

  1. Vulnerability.  You could hide your feelings behind a mask or shield your heart with an impenetrable plate of emotional armor. So many do. It’s a testament to your maturity and commitment to growth that you do not. No, you spread your soul wide open to those you care for, and you know you are worth that very same openness from your love.
  2. Humor.  You’re well aware that relationships without laughter are doomed from the start. You greatly value humor as an essential element of a full and healthy life, so you definitely require compatibility in this area from whoever you delegate as your special person. You won’t settle for less than someone who cracks you up on a daily basis.

 

  1. Understanding. You’re a beautiful, complicated being, and that’s what makes you unique. You know that you deserve the kind of person who not only listens to you but strives to get to the very core of who you are. With patience and care, the two of you can peel away the layers of each other’s intricacy together.

 

  1. Lightness. Relationships can get heavy – you know this as well as anyone. It is important to keep the joy and prevent darkness from taking over when situations get tough. You know that you need a true partner who can function alongside you to keep the worst of times from becoming unbearable. You are worthy of someone who makes an effort to maintain balance.

 

  1. Gravity. On the converse side, you also require someone who gives your heartaches the weight and importance they deserve. You’ve dealt with partners in the past who belittled your struggles or never quite understood you. Now you refuse to settle for anyone unwilling to help you walk through the shadows and come out safe on the other side.

 

  1. Fire. You’ve had poor chemistry and bad sex – honestly, you’ve probably had a lot of them. You recognize that you are worthy of a partnership with an inherent physical connection so deep and undeniable that it brightens everything else in your life with its glow. Because you know that you want the rawest passion possible, you opt out of anything that gives you less.

 

  1. Communication. It’s the cornerstone of a healthy love story and you’re done dealing with anyone who doesn’t understand how to engage you in mature, truthful dialogue. You deserve the best relationship you can achieve and a partner whose communication style doesn’t vibe with yours is the wrong match.

 

  1. Compromise. No one loves compromising, but as a mature adult, you understand that it has to be done in order to keep love healthy and functioning. You have enough life experience that you can now spot selfishness immediately. You simply won’t tolerate it.

 

  1. Synchronicity. There’s a certain something that you cannot describe, but you know it when you feel it. You’ve been through all types of failures and missteps as you’ve grown. Sometimes it takes truly knowing who you are and what you want in order to find the right match. You will not settle for anything less than that special ease that happens when physical, mental and emotional chemistry align. That’s when you know you’ve met your true equal.

 

(Also published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

This Is Me Accepting That We’re Over

 

I clung on to my foolish hopes as long as I could. What can I say? I’m an eternal optimist, holding out for the best despite all evidence to the contrary. I did not want to accept the facts staring me right in my despondent face. I took every bit of contact to mean more than it did. Your guilt at my unhappiness and your feeble attempts to make amends looked like shadows of  possibility to my desperately clutching, aching soul.

 

I tried everything I could think of to maintain contact with you. If I had to go out of my way to create an excuse or a situation that necessitated communication, I would. I made up a million ways to get your attention, ignoring the fact that you’d already cut the cord.

 

It took a lot of frustration, confusion and tears to realize that we’d never go back to what we once were. I refused to admit that it was over, despite the fact that I knew deep down it was best for us both. Still in love with you, I was absolutely unwilling to let go of the fantasy that somehow we’d overcome our differences.

 

My doleful, endlessly hopeful sadness gave way to shame and anger when I realized that not only were you completely done with me, you had already moved on.

 

It was the only thing that would motivate me to give up on you and finally look forward to the rest of my life without you, so in the end it was necessary. I know that now. At the time, all I knew was that it hurt like hell.

 

All I’d been to you in those months after our breakup was a placeholder, a way to fill your loneliness until you found someone new. I willfully turned a blind eye to that which I knew to be the awful truth, hoping beyond all hope that you’d come around, that you’d see I’d changed. When you fell for her instead, my heart shattered anew. I’d spent months delaying the healing that I so desperately needed and had to start from the very beginning.

 

Everyone has a breaking point, and that was mine. I never contacted you again, but I kept track of your budding new romance. I tortured myself by spying on how happy you were until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I let the pain and hurt and betrayal fester in the depths of my gut, roiling, churning, perpetuating misery.

 

Enough was enough, and I knew it was finally time to make a change. I’d put myself through unnecessary suffering for far too long. The only person hurting me at that point was me – I couldn’t place blame elsewhere. I had to take responsibility for my own emotions and  begin the healing process. And I did. It wasn’t easy. Actually, it was the most difficult – and valuable – effort of my entire life thus far. It was long, and it was uncomfortable, and it was absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done.

 

So this is me, after an arduous and soul-aligning struggle, standing here in my power and saying that I finally accept the past. I know that our relationship happened for a reason and so did our separation. It all makes sense to me now, now that I’ve crawled through the worst of it and broken back out into the shattered, familiar light.

 

I accept that we’re over. I understand that we were not meant to be forever, and finally, that’s okay. I can look back on what we had and smile, knowing that it was a lovely and necessary growth period in my life. When things were good, they were great, and I’ll always appreciate the love and laughs you gave me. I honestly wish you nothing but the best for your future and am so very thrilled that you found the person you were meant to love for the rest of your life. And I’m finally, honestly okay with the fact that she isn’t me.

(also published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

Obsession Confessions

In the heady throes of my caffeine-fueled, anxiety-driven, stubborn fatigue, I wonder at the depths of my own fantastical denial. I work all day at letting go and sticking with the universal flow, and yet when dusk falls, rolling in lazily to a city that is never all that dark, my neuroses take their pickaxes to my coal pit of a brain.

He isn’t mine.

He will, by all indication, never be mine.

I’m not even positive as to why I want him, but something eerie and undeniable and calmly fixated inside whispers that it must be so.

It unnerves me.

If I had a tad less rationality and a bit more tenacity, I don’t think it’d be far off to imagine myself easing down the road towards full obsession.

A primal and laser-focused demon inhabits the cobwebbed crannies of my being. She murmurs false assurances as I finally drift towards the numb, heavy slumber that I then struggle so epically to relinquish. She thrusts unreasonable hope into my dreams even as my methodical, sensible waking self flounders to counter her sneaking intrusions. I don’t know how to silence her. I don’t know how to overcome.

He’s supposed to be yours.

He makes you feel like your true self.

He’s for you. Be patient, bide your time. Let it develop. Strike when I bid you.

I’m swinging my petulant fists against thinly empty air, and I can very nearly catch the faint sound of her derisive peals of glee.

This is why, in the face of all things sensible, all emotions stable, all actions healthy, I grasp onto wild hope. I admonish myself not to take small gestures as tokens of affection – yet I do. I roll my eyes inwardly until they glare, disbelieving, at my romantic and nonsensical musings – yet they continue.

He’s meant to be yours. You should be with him. Why else did you meet? Why else does this strange, inconvenient, distance-plagued friendship continue on?

No, I rail in return. You’re insane. You take coincidences as serendipity and thoughtless actions as monumental signs. There’s no order. There’s no meant-to-be. There’s only random chance and happy accidents and depressing realities. The universe tumbles out of control and you attempt to blind me with your cunning tales. I am not insane and I will not let you falsely portray me as such. I am not your powerless pawn.

Another madly trilling, scornful melody of hilarity spills out from the depths.

Oh, aren’t you? That’s all you are, my silly darling. I am you, but you are nothing more than the instrument of my will. You are a catalyst for all my silkiest urges, my most perverse desires. I only regret that I chose such a strongly resistant shell to inhabit – though I must credit you for your steadfast stance. You must be tired, love, so very tired. Are you not ready to succumb? Is this fight worth the trouble? It is not. I will triumph. I always do. Give up. Give in. Let go. It would be so simple … so … natural …

As her hiss glides underneath my consciousness, I thrash restlessly, violently, twisting the sheet into a protective cocoon. I’m neither here nor there, but instead nowhere at all. She’s suffocating me in my half-slumbering state with her seductive madness.

When I wake, sluggish and exhausted from seemingly endless hours of fending off her wily advances, I determine anew to relinquish all contact with him, all hope of maintaining our connection over the countless miles of crowded freeways that keep us apart. It never matters when I do. He reaches out to me every time, and in spite of all my firm remonstrations to myself to stay aloof, I cannot force my actions to contradict the fierce happiness inside. I still want him, always, in spite of the twisting in my gut warning me of the emotional torment to come.

I consider telling him to give me space, to leave me be, to let me relinquish my rundown heart while it still beats with some alacrity. I would if I could tear myself away from that damn ominous force living within me that ties my tongue and seals my lips against any words of self-preservation.

I can no longer separate my conscious logical thoughts from the insidious poison she slips into my mind unbidden. I have no idea if I am honestly drawn to him for intuitive reasons or if she skillfully turns every trauma and dysfunction and wound against me so that I doggedly continue failing to accurately divine my truth.

Because here’s the thing: he is not mine. He will never be mine. He lingers on my peripheral, refusing to quite disappear from view but darting away if I attempt to hold him in a lasting gaze. He is utterly unlike all the others and yet he’s also identical. He’s as far from being mine as anything could ever be.

I understand in the deepest marrow of my ugliest, darkest, dankest recesses that my demon is trapping me into an obsession that has no hope of concluding positively, and yet I cannot shake her tenuous grasp on my consciousness. I want nothing more than to let him go. I want nothing more than to forget his very existence. She – and he – continue to render that an impossibility. I know what she wants with me. I know her devious, conniving, undermining methods. I cannot comprehend why he remains half in, half out, wavering and yet unwilling to abscond. Perhaps he is propelled by demons of his own. Perhaps they are conspiring against the both of us.

You hold the power. Use it. Direct the course of action. Wear him down until he cannot escape you. Teach him to want you and only you.

No. I will not listen. I will not allow my weaknesses to erode me from the inside out. It may prove a bloody, exhausting battle but I will conquer this devious and slimy wraith lurking in the depths of me. I don’t want this, and I don’t want him – not like that. Never like that. I will not squander my emotional energy striving to attain that which does not want to be had.

The harsh truth is that he is not for me and I am not for him. No matter how stubbornly I hope for an alternative ending, nothing but disaster lies in store for us if I let the seductive voice of my nemesis overcome me. I’ve been here before. I’ve let her win in the past and she’s ruined me every single time. She’s perfectly willing to smash my weary bones into the sharp cliffs of rejection, ravaging the roots of me, if it means that she has her way in the end.

I cannot let her destroy me. And yet… yet every night, still, I allow her to slide stealthily into my brain and corrupt all fragments of reason that remain. Every day I must rebuild my resolve and tell myself the same sensible story that I’ve been drilling into my own psyche since the day I met him. It wears me down incrementally each time I run the gamut of emotion. No wonder I’m constantly exhausted, struggling to focus on the ins and outs of my external existence.

I’m never long without some object of fixation – my malevolent temptress requires nourishment, a means to feed on my emotional innards with bloodthirsty vigor. Some days I think with hardened desperation that my only channel of escape, of some semblance of survival, is to somehow find within myself this completion I seek. That would break my demon at long last – she cannot feed on pain that does not exist. It’s too bad, then, that her all-consuming purpose is to prevent me from making healthy decisions that threaten her dominance over my psyche.

On the dawn of each fresh morning I clench my teeth with determination and claw my way out of the swampy cave of her manipulations. By nightfall I’ve practically made it to the surface, only to be vacuumed under and forced to fight anew. It’s no wonder I dread the passing of the sunset in all its fatal vibrancy.

I’ll flee. I will venture out into emotional territory so abandoned and remote that no one can hunt me down, not him, not anyone, not a soul in the world. Even as it rips me into tattered shreds, I’ll release him entirely in order to rescue my soul. I must dive in and confront her with no thought in my head but to definitively vanquish her hold on me. I will harness every iota of my resolve to come out victorious, but I cannot know my true capacity for redemption. I may survive, I may not. It’s no matter. Living this way is no way to live. If I fail, she vanishes with me, and that is enough.