That’s how you described yourself, soon after your dad died. A girl lost in grief, trying to drink and smoke and work and fuck her way out. Living her life like she was the only one who hadn’t figured out what to do with it.
It’s hard to imagine you being so sad once. Or sad at all, and secure enough to admit loneliness. You even had the objectiveness to know that you shrank from others even though you didn’t make yourself happy. That’s why I keep going through these entries in your old blog. Not just a dream journal, but a journal of dreams. Before you became trapped in a domestic life and your heart turned into a lump of stone.
Yet seeds of mistrust were already in bloom by then. You wrote about being hurt and angry when a friend left Japan without saying goodbye, but didn’t have the communication skills or confidence to voice that to her. And, failing to grow or learn from those kinds of experiences, came to expect abandonment in every relationship before middle age.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the man you ended up with was so desperate for companionship, he proposed to the first person who didn’t reject him. A man so scared of dying by himself, he’ll never leave you. Even if you can’t give him the family he wants. Even after blaming him for your infidelity.
I couldn’t understand why you decided to be with a person who doesn’t give you a deeper sense of fulfilment, until I realized you’re both willingly ignoring your incompatibilities to avoid being alone.
If only you didn’t compromise your very nature for that sense of security, or give up your passions and pleasures and potential to cope with the uncertainty that goes along with a life worth pursuing. To love is to risk not being loved in return, so you chose not to love — not in any profound, life-altering manner — and became a victim of your own fear.
That’s how I know you didn’t shed a single tear after you dumped me. You were moving on and making plans when I was reeling and sick with grief. Acting as if the decision was mutual or equally difficult for both of us didn’t make it true. I have to wonder if you took my politeness for absolution and forgiveness; by now, I’ve been through enough breakups to know how to leave the room with a little dignity.
Still, every day is a struggle to keep you out of mind after surviving for years on the affection we shared. You made me a priority when I desperately needed to be important to someone, and I finally found an appropriate outlet for all the love that never had a place. I can’t help but miss you when you were a habit I indulged for so long. Now I feel foolish for thinking those moments meant the same thing to you. For believing you’d be in my life forever.
That’s why I keep coming back to these old entries, when you rocked that bob1, and still had some child-like sense of vulnerability. It’s easier to forgive myself for being so blind when I remember how captivating you were when baring yourself to some unknown audience. At one point, you even wished desperately for someone to know everything about you; most of all, your needs and wants and sexual proclivities. The possibility that it may never happen left you terrified, but being afraid meant you still believed it was possible.
My criteria for a meaningful life are: to create something (and be recognized), to do something that hasn’t been done, to advance human civilization, or to become rich.
No wonder I believed you were meant to be and do more. You once had astronaut ambitions; now you’re a slave to your certitudes, while the most basic parts of your life remain a struggle. That’s why I look for refuge in the words of the person you used to be. A way of reminding myself of the hope I saw you. In us.
After all, it was never a mistake to love you. You were a risk worth taking from the start, even if you didn’t believe so yourself. It only would have been a mistake to keep loving you after you expected me to set myself on fire to keep you warm.