Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reminiscing: Part III

I started to cry immediately. I felt set up. I felt like the heart strings I'd been patiently mending and caring for had suddenly been torn. I was reminded how vulnerable I was. The weight of love lost and hopes for a different kind of love pressed down on me. I made up some excuse for why I was crying - something that made sense in the greater context of our conversation but allowed me to pretend that it wasn't his actions that had hurt me. It was some sort of an analogy for what would become my greatest fear in facing life on my own: that the person I would fall in love with someday would not fall in love with me because I just didn't have all the pieces that they did. It's a confidence issue to the core - worrying that because I haven't read the right books, or learned to play more than a few chords on the guitar, or lived extensively abroad or created something artistically significant and tangible - that I won't be good enough. And yet this is just stuff. I don't evaluate people based on these things - I just tend to be drawn to a certain type of spirit and some of those things come along with it - and I worry that somehow my spirit won't match up. How awful to be attracted to something you feel you cannot match? I am working on this.

Anyway - our conversation closed with me supporting him - I knew it was a huge step for him to make a commitment to someone - I knew this was not a situation he could have possibly foreseen. I knew he was handling it the best way possible by being honest. I didn't doubt that he thought he had feelings for me when he shared them with me - I just think this other person came into his life and swept him off his feet as all the things he was looking for in the back of his head were suddenly in front of him. It was something he couldn't walk away from. And I totally got that.

So though I was disappointed, I wrote him the most honest email I could. I told him I was hurt - our friendship had been built on honesty, it was not a hard thing to do. But I also told him that I understood - that I got how significant this was to him - this was not just a guy blowing off a girl, this was a guy that had suddenly been presented with a reality of something I think he didn't really think existed by finding someone with such a similar background, faith, life view etc. And I left it at that. I thought that by being honest, but also being supportive, we could maintain the friendship that beyond all romantic feelings I'd let seep in, had become really important to me in a continually vulnerable time. I was wrong.

While he was in Israel I got maybe three emails (over the course of 4 months). They were for the most part fairly superficial - and this is when I really grieved. Because I felt like I'd been robbed of something I hadn't asked for in the first place. I let this person in, I confided in him, I shared my life with him - and I supported him even when he had more or less led me on, because the friendship was worth it to me. And suddenly he was just gone. This was a much bigger blow to me than his relationship with the Mennonite.

A couple of months before he came home (he ended up leaving his program and moving back to Arizona last January) I received a mass email he sent to his closest friends letting everyone know that he and the Mennonite were no longer together. It hadn't worked out - they wanted different things and he wanted to let everyone know. I didn't really think anything of this at that point - I had more or less come to terms with his absence in my life and I did my best to squelch any sense of pride or satisfaction. I still really just missed my friend, but I'd long sense come to terms with my own path and why it was best that things happened as they did for my own growth and well being.

Fast forward to this spring. A is back in the U.S. and starts to get back in touch. I am uncomfortable at first - I'm a naturally forgiving person and because I treasure the opportunity to open up with someone and A was always someone I could simply spew my take on the world or my life with, I wanted to jump back in. And yet I'd been wronged. I still felt like I'd been seriously dissed - and the stronger pieces of me that have gradually been building up and taking control over the weaker pieces held me back. "Don't be stupid, don't get yourself back into something where you're going to be let down." So I kept it at arms length. We've talked every once in awhile for months - sent messages but until recently it hadn't felt the same. I have become closer with his best friend who lives by me and we discussed it once - the first time it had come up since it all happened. He told me he'd felt bad about how everything had gone down, and asked me what my experience had been. It was nice for him to acknowledge it - it validated that I didn't make the whole thing up. He encouraged me to talk to A - and I wanted to, but I didn't want to be vulnerable and a comment A had made to a friend made me think his take on the whole things was so off that I didn't want to risk getting misinterpreted again.

Fast forward to last Monday night and the start of this epic post (which if you can't tell has been highly therapeutic, if not brief or well written). A and I had set up a phone date after he left me one of his famous singing messages on Saturday night. It was the first time since he's been back where I somehow felt totally comfortable again - like finally I had the friendship back that I'd lost. Enough time had gone by, I've had a whole host of other experiences - and he was making an effort again. I was ready to let the friendship back in to be what it was - a joyful person in my life who was willing to share some of his struggles, and hear mine. It felt good.

And then, out of the blue, he apologized. After an hour long conversation he said he wanted to talk about what happened 13 months ago. He said he felt stupid for having been unable to follow his heart and keep me in his life at the same time. He said he regretted missing out on my life in the past 13 months, and having the opportunity to have shared his with mine. And then he let me share my experience, and he accepted it with honesty and with humbleness. And while I no longer needed that from him, it makes me feel immensely better to have had it. To have been able to express that however he interpreted my tears over a year ago, I did, in fact, understand. That yes, I was hurt. That yes, I felt led on. But that I let it go immediately because I trusted he was following his heart. That it wasn't because of me that our friendship was suspended - I would have carried it on if it had been an option - without guilt. The friendship that had so blessed me by falling in my lap last year was back. The honesty, the joy, the openness was back.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Me: The Sequel said...

"How awful to be attracted to something you feel you cannot match"

That puzzles me - aren't we attracted to things in others that compliment us (round us out)? For me at least, I find I am drawn to others who have qualities I aspire to in some sense...

I'm so glad that this came full circle for you. Your open-hearted approach is healthy... I think I would have been much more wary to let someone back in... you are also lucky that he did, in fact apologize. I think that really helps the healing/moving forward process. It's when someone hurts you and it is never acknowledged by them that can leave a festering wound. Anyway, it's a testament to him though, that he addressed things head-on of his own initiative... I guess that makes him "worthy" of re-entry. ;)

Good luck with the re-communion :)

11/21/2006 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate 100%. I had a soo-similar-it's-scary experience with a long time friend. We had taken it to the next level and suddenly, like yours, had to follow his heart and what he believed would be the best decision for him. It was tough supporting him, feeling like he was making a mistake and that we were the ones meant for each other, but I know now that after being apart for a few years and now back in each others lives that we served a greater purpose. We had that hiccup, something that likely hurt me much more than him, separate us but our strong friendship brought us back. I think had we continued a romantic relationship we would never have the same connection we do today. I really believe that the hiccups fast track us to the lessons we need to learn and thus evolve.

11/21/2006 1:06 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

yay! elliptical personal non-fiction... with emotional closure... what a rare treasure! i'd been suspending all comment til the 3rd installment, and now i really don't know what to say other than that it was a pleasure to read (and suspenseful) i'm so glad you filled the 'A hole' with self-inspired support (after a time...) to salvage a strong friendship. perhaps it was a silent recognition for all the good you helped him see in his life? like, without you he may never have felt swept away elsewhere? perhaps you 'mused' for him some? what i find sliiightly inconsistent here is that, well, it took his relationship to end to be able to appraise his and your friendship. or perhaps that's just an inconvenient coincidence overlapped with the lens of time...

11/21/2006 2:32 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

me: - I do agree that we are attracted to things that compliment us - like I said, this isn't a rational issue I have. What I worry about is feeling outdone I suppose. I guess I see it as two people bring a collective energy and ability to contribute to the world to the table in a relationship. I have things that I long to be able to do, and am thus drawn to in others. But they're not my talents so I worry that they won't see in me the passion that they have for their craft. I'm trying (and possibly failing) to clarify this point...

montrealgurl - that is great insight. And heartening to hear that even with distance a relationship can come back together, just as strong. I love this, "I really believe that the hiccups fast track us to the lessons we need to learn and thus evolve."

S'mat - love the "A hole" play on words ;) Funny that you should bring up the idea of "musing." After that experience, and one shortly thereafter that resulted in someone falling in love with my best friend I started to think my destiny in life was to be the girl that helped the guy figure out who his soul mate was. This hasn't actually been disproven yet (it might in fact be alive and well in recent experiences but I've got my fingers crossed I have a different fate).

I don't find the inconsistency that surprising. I think it's pretty frequent for both men and women in the face of a new relationship to cast aside the importance of existing ones. Plus, ours was very new - perhaps it would have been different if we'd been friends for longers. I know not...

(reading through I see I spelled 'longer' with an 's' but I kind of like the way it sounds so I'm keeping it in)

11/21/2006 2:49 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

What amazes me is your resilience. that is a gift. To have a hard edge of reality mixed with compassion and openess.

11/21/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger should-be-working said...

I'm just glad that you got some form of closure from this. Things will work out for you. I know they will. You're one tough chick. :)

11/22/2006 5:57 AM  
Blogger H said...

It sounds like you've got an amazing grasp of your feelings and where you stand, and this will carry you through difficulties of all kinds, I'm sure. So, hats off to your maturity, honesty, and integrity.

11/22/2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

*sniff* thank you guys :)

11/22/2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Wow, you are much more forgiving than I am. Although I agree with me:, apologizing is invaluable.

Do you think helping people find out what it is they are looking for, "I started to think my destiny in life was to be the girl that helped the guy figure out who his soul mate was." Although this is what you are looking for yourself, I think being able to help others find that is incredibly valuable. Power to you.

11/22/2006 5:35 PM  

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