If I’m going to be completely honest with myself, there’s a part of me that’s still a little torn up about the breakup. I mean, when you go all-in in a relationship that lasts four years, that sort of love never really dies, does it? The circumstances just change, I guess, as does the way you feel that love.
This is the first Christmas in four years I won’t be spending with Lauren and her family.
I’m sad, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a reason to celebrate Christmas. I have an awesome group of friends, I feel like I’m finally on the right path to self-actualization, and I guess being alive is always something to be thankful for. This is my first post-breakup post, though, so if you don’t mind, I want to write about the relationship. If you don’t mind, I want to take a little time to celebrate it.
See, I believe that every relationship – or any significant portion of your life, for that matter – is a song. Every great chapter in your life has its own beat, timbre, rhythm, melody, and mood. It’s filled with words that give a voice to your feelings. A life-song, if you will, is the music to which your heart and soul dance, and just like any good song, a great experience will keep you dancing long after the final note is played.
When it comes to the exceptionally extraordinary people who enter your life, they tend to have a song all to themselves in your personal soundtrack. I’m not a songwriter, but I appreciate music enough to connect aspects of it to certain people. For the things I’ve learned and the ways I’ve grown in my time with Lauren, the best I can do is borrow lyrics that fit.
Here’s what my soul has been dancing to since January 2009:
I’m in love with the world
through the eyes of a girl
Lauren introduced me to Elliott Smith with “Say Yes”, and I struggle to find an expression of love as beautiful as the first two lines of its chorus. When you fall in love with someone, when you truly, deeply fall for her, you don’t just fall in love with the person – you fall in love with how she sees the world. You’re mesmerized by her point of view, by how she thinks and by what she believes. You want to see life through her eyes.
Love isn’t a mirror. You don’t ever fall in love with someone identical to you. That’s just narcissism. Love is a prism. It breaks apart your narrow view so you can see the full spectrum of life itself. When you’re in love with the right person, your world is literally filled with colors.
I hardly got to experience that in my first relationship. I’m grateful I got to experience it in my second. If and when my third relationship comes around, I hope I can see the world through her eyes just as beautifully.
Thinking ‘bout tomorrow won’t change how I feel today
You can’t let your worries about the future dampen your current happiness. You shouldn’t take all the good that life is giving you today for granted. If you’re happy, you’re happy – regardless of what tomorrow brings.
I needed to remind myself of this from time to time before this relationship. Hell, I used to have a hard time accepting happiness. Part of it came from insecurity (I had to earn happiness to deserve it), and part of it came from the worry that whatever good I experienced could go away as easily as it came.
These days, I’m a lot better at being happy. I hardly ever doubt the positivity I feel, and I feel confident in my ability to find it again when it leaves. I don’t think I’d be this way if I hadn’t met Lauren.
I have been dreaming you’ve been dreaming about me
People want to be wanted. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize it, but this is something I learned in my relationship with Lauren. Maybe it was because I never really thought of myself as someone people would look for, so part of me was guarded against that sense of wanting.
The mutuality of wanting I had with Lauren extended to my friendships. In the last four years, I’ve learned that it’s more than okay to tell friends that you miss them, even if it’s just out of the blue. It’s okay to admit that you like being with someone who isn’t romantically involved with you. In fact, your own life will be better by letting others know how important they are to you.
I guess it’s because wanting works both ways. People have a need to be wanted in the ways they want to be wanted, if that makes any sense to you. If you’re really into board games, for instance, you want someone who really like playing them with you, and who wants to learn new ones with you. It can be a good friend, or it can be your lover; it doesn’t really matter so long as you make each other feel important.
I try a little harder to remind people they’re important to me these days; sometimes, I even say it explicitly – “You’re important to me.” It has been nothing but emotionally rewarding.
You know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today,
so stay with me and I’ll have it made
I’ve gotten so used to feeling alone in life that there used to be a part of me that honestly believed I didn’t need people. I could just hole up in my cave, writing stories and drawing and playing video games, and I’d be fine. Maybe not entirely happy, but fine.
But being “just fine” doesn’t really cut it. How many times have you said “I’m fine” while holding back tears? Being “fine” doesn’t bring you any joy or contentment. “Fine” is a state of denying emotion. You’re not really living; just existing.
I hardly had to say I was “just fine” with Lauren. I told her when I was sad or frustrated or angry. I told her when I felt ecstatic and depressed and ambiguous. Sharing my feelings with her helped me recognize them, which in turn affirmed that I was alive.
We need people to validate our sense of living, that we aren’t just existing as rocks and soil and plants do. We need people to share our highs and lows with, because that is the absolute best way to embrace all those feelings, and the only way to really experience life is to take it all in. We can’t do that being alone. We can’t expect life to penetrate the shells we hide ourselves in. That’s just not how humanity works. We’ve got to let ourselves be vulnerable to the people we care about.
I may not be in a relationship these days, but I don’t feel so lonely anymore.
It’s been a long December, and there’s reason to believe
maybe this year will be better than the last
I started this post thinking I could capture all the things I felt, but I don’t think I can, given the four years I spent in the very best relationship I’ve ever had, romantic or otherwise. It’s done now, but I will treasure all the love I’ve shared with her and the people I’ve met through her for as long as I live. I’m honestly still devastated about the loss, but appreciating who I’ve become because of the relationship makes me incredibly happy, too.
And maybe – just maybe – I’ll meet another person who changes my life just as wonderfully as Lauren did.
Look at all the love we found
Seriously, just look at it. Take some time to appreciate all the love in your life, from your friends to your family to your partner to the random strangers we learn to smile at, in both the good times and the bad. Take all that love in, and learn to give it back. We forget to do either way too often.
Merry Christmas, everyone.