Sunday, September 30, 2012

An open letter

I have spent too many days mourning loneliness. Since I turned nine and sat against the portables at my elementary school watching the boy I had a crush on chasing another girl around the playground, it has been all too clear to me that I'd always be a spectator. That girl who sits on the sidelines while other girls are chased, the one who watches movies where heroes find their damsels in distress and lay claim on them, the one who learns from seeing, but not from experiencing.

I grew up awkward, originally it was both physical and social. Eventually it became only the latter. Regardless of the situation, however, it was never in the cards for me to be a heartbreaker. I simply wasn't equipped for that sort of thing.

So it took me a long time to start dating. Almost two decades passed before I finally found a boy who'd be even willing to lay eyes on me. I was ecstatic. Then I learned he didn't actually want to date me.

I waited another half a year. Finally, I'd convinced myself that it wasn't impossible for someone to be romantically interested in me. The confidence boosted my ego enough to make me put myself out on a limb. I ended up winning over the boy I'd secretly fancied for a year. Things went well (on my side) and I set my heart on unreachable goals, getting passion confused with love and feeling the words bubbling up in my throat when I knew they were unwarranted. In time I'd learn he didn't like me all that much, and the "I love you" I felt wasn't real.

From then on I tried to be more casual. I knew that by investing myself in dating, in romance or even in boys in general, I was doing myself a disservice. I took an Economics of Gender class to remind me that a woman could be powerful and run a household. I watched Pride & Prejudice over and over again to see what real men should be like and how a strong woman turns down an unsuitable match. These were my lessons.

The catch was that I didn't seem to learn anything from them.

Even with the casual dating, I still managed to get my feelings all tangled up. And never for the right people, never at the right time. I was always too eager, too imperfect, or I'd learn quickly that I was only a rebound date. Amidst all the confusion, even I was occasionally guilty of playing the rebound card.

It took me a while to realize that even if that "I love you" from before wasn't real, it felt real enough to have distracted me from embracing present experiences.

That all melted away when I thought I'd met the right person once again. I no longer cared about that previous fascination, because I thought I'd found something more pure and more authentic. For a second time, I was run away with my feelings. I couldn't see any fault with the situation, even if it was in fact filled with errors. And I wanted to use those words again.

Through it all, I missed one absolutely unmistakable fact:

Even though those words bubbled on the surface for me, they were never even close to reaching the lips of my counterparts. In the same way I'd pushed for things to work out, I'd pushed for feelings that weren't true.

In the days afterward, it left a hole inside me where I'd always assumed love could exist and thrive.

After a long day of trying to erase the past, to forget the memories and embrace the future, I've settled on a conclusion. No boy is worth a broken heart. And even more than that, no boy is worth crying over. From someone who cries even when she's happy, this is a premise that can be hard to embrace.

An even harder one is that no boy is worth the effort.

When I woke up this morning, I didn't want to leave bed. Somehow staring at the wall and burrowing my face in my pillow felt better than doing anything. Then I talked to a friend of mine and he tried to help me. He told me that if two people really like each other, nothing will stop them from making that known. If the feelings are sincere, then there's no risk that the feelings will go forever unshared.

I didn't believe him. I still don't know if I do. And in my heart of hearts, I continue to think I will never find love because I will always be chasing it and never have it given to me in return. Like a relay race, as soon as I pass it to someone they're quick to move on and find someone else to pass it along to.

Later in the day I talked to another friend of mine, my best friend in the world. She reminded me that whenever you date someone you should always feel like you matter to them. There is no excuse for feeling unwanted. As the quote from Juno goes:

"Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with." - Mac MacGuff

I want to believe my friends. And I want to believe Juno's dad. So I'm leaving myself open to what lies ahead. Because in the bitterest of moments, the easiest solution is to say that I give up and refuse to open myself up to future experiences that could hurt me in the same way.

That would be weak. And to all the boys I've dated, the ones who've broken my heart and the ones where things just weren't right - I am not weak. I can guarantee you that you are not worth my thoughts, my tears or my concern. You never were.

To the ones whom I still believe there is potential with - the truth is finally out - if you want this girl, you're going to have to chase her around the playground. She's done chasing you.

No comments:

Post a Comment