I bought a card that symbolizes a relationship that failed because of my bigotry. It reminds me to keep an open mind. There's a picture of a dog and cat snuggling up to each other. Inside the card it says, "And yet, it works! Happy Anniversary!"
I didn't buy this as a way to hang onto the past but as a way to guide me in the future like a gentle lesson expressed through a beautiful idea. I don't think about the card very often. But since I came to my realization that I have been in love before (what a weird thing to reveal or come to grips with even), I thought of this card and what it represents.
Opposites attract. On paper we're completely different, but we have qualities that bonded us, something I completely failed to acknowledge. Specialists say that opposites attract, but the more you have in common with your significant other the more likely that a relationship will be successful because there are more interests to keep the couple connected. That's true, but I exploited that expert opinion as credibility to build on my self-sabotaging battle.
It's interesting because a friend of mine observed that as different as we are it wasn't our differences that caused tension but our similarities. He was right. I wish I had known then what I know now. Maybe then the relationship could've developed into something real, instead of a learned experience where we both got unnecessarily hurt.
Then again, maybe it was supposed to happen like this. No, I chose this outcome. I saw the premonitions. I saw the possibilities, but more importantly I could sense them. I know how the relationship could've turned out. I made it like this. I have to make sure that all the hurt and pain won't go in vain.
I'm beginning to understand the saying, "Better late than never." Part of me wanted to let these feelings go even though they won't escape me. Even after I discovered the truth I wanted to release it because why would I want to dig up the past and surface feelings that are still a part of me when the relationship's gone? The last thing I want is a distraction that can never be. It's like a depressing daydream, pointless and my cynicism ruins it anyways. Not that it's much fun to begin with.
At first I resorted to addressing these feelings because I realized that's the last step I have to take before I can truly move on. And that's what I want - to move on. Maybe not yet at this exact moment and maybe I'm not as ready as I'm anticipated to be, but I certainly want to get started. When I explored these feelings, though, I wanted to become more intimate with them. Forget about the notion that it was too soon, I didn't think he deserved these feelings from me, that it seems unfair that I feel the pain most vividly, that too much time has passed that I can't spend anymore thoughts on this than I already have because these empty desires (for lack of a better word) are delusions I can't manifest into reality.
Things are the way they are, and it's high time I accept it. This is one battle I'm rooting my stubbornness loses because my heart's at stake here. I'm less concerned with the way I believe things should be and I'm becoming more receptive and open to the way things are. It's making me feel less left out and more connected to how I feel.
I was confused when I first realized that I fell in love because it wasn't at all what I expected it to be. You hear that love is painful, but shouldn't there have been more positive memories, too? When I look back on that relationship, I can remember so many great moments. I wasn't absent of those positive feelings, but I see others embrace it so fully. I didn't have that and I assumed it's because the love wasn't there, not yet. But as it turns out, I've perfected the ability to detach even from myself to a disadvantage this unthinkable and unjust as this.
By embracing how I feel, things aren't as imbalanced in my mind anymore. And there was a lesson to be learned there. There are valid reasons why experts say that opposites usually don't work out, but we weren't that opposite. We had different interests when it came to the superficial stuff like music, movies, and what not. But we're both open-minded enough to appreciate the interest of others without straining ourselves. And we bonded at a much deeper level than conventional activities.
Relationships, real relationships, the ones that matter go much deeper than movies and tunes. We related to each other and understood each other. Our distinct and sometimes contrasting taste opened up our realities and expanded our minds. We were able to grow because of it, not pull further and further away from each other.
That's what I did. If anything, it's as though we were being magnetized and pulled towards each other. That scared me so much that I lashed out and tried to tear us apart by ripping everything into shreds. He tried to protect me from it and took a few blows because of it, but he persisted for a while. Each time we both opened up to each other more. It just felt so natural.
Instead of appreciating it, I exploited it to further my own perverse agenda. He's manic and I'm neurotic. That's a classic case of incompatibility if there ever was one. Most couples like that become self-involved and driven by their own psychological issues and overpower the other with it. It can feel suffocating and the person struggling with the blow will feel unappreciated and unheard, so as a way to overcompensate would spark their own issues with the concept of fight fire with fire. Plus mania and neuroses is a coping mechanism, so it tends to surface when people feel pressured. It can create a perpetuating and toxic cycle, but we didn't have that.
Our challenges weren't used against each other. Our own struggles made us empathize for what the other was going through. It made us understand how difficult things can be at times, and we'd calm each other. It would alternate back and forth, so there was balance within these emotional elements. We never accused each other of undermining one another. We knew what it meant to feel that way and knew that we didn't mean to exclude others. Sometimes we'd just feel consumed. And it was enough knowing that someone understood and was there for us.
Everyone's different. Every relationship is different. These "expert" generalizations gloss over complexities, so it's dangerous and idiotic to put a lot of emphasis on it. Each situation is too unique to fit neatly into categories, something I'm guilty of doing despite this knowledge. Life is so unpredictable and unexpected. I become so desperate for stability that I invent my own, but the truth is that it's nothing more than an illusion. I'm too afraid to accept that truth, but it's the only way for me to take risks so I can experience great things.
Everyone hears that things don't turn out the way you want them to. People believe it, but they don't fully realize or even accept how real and fluctuating life truly is until they experience it themselves. I, on the other hand, over-analyzed to such an unhealthy degree and developed the ability to not only notice patterns of undeniable unexpectedness, but I've learned to calculate possibilities of how things could fail before they do with frightening accuracy. I always knew that things never turn out the way you expect them to, but that doesn't mean that you don't get what you want at the end. That's something I didn't know.
I found myself ruining possibilities for success before an external source did it for me. I never stopped to realize that nothing was going to sabotage what was growing except for me. I pay attention to when everyone says something won't work that I've become completely untrained at noticing success rates. You need a more refined eye in some relationships to make it work because not everyone has it as lucky as others.
Some people are richer and therefore life has been less difficult. Others grew up poor and adversity has seasoned them. Both face challenges but some things are easier for some people than others. Writing comes naturally for me, but I'm not nearly as talented in it as I'd like to be. I have a friend who has a real skill at writing, but he has to be diligent, attentive, and put a lot of effort into his work.
You can't think that if someone presents something extraordinary that it was effortless. Some people have to work for it. That's the kind of relationship I was in. That'll probably be the kind of relationship I'll continue to pursue because I want to be with someone with varyingly different interests from my own so that I can reach beyond myself. The last thing I want to do is ruin the next relationship with my own insecurities contaminating prejudices against successful relationships.