I’m not going to lie, this is really hard for me to write about. Again, I hate—nay, loathe—being vulnerable. This would be the reason I have five million doubts running through my mind at the moment, and why I’m on the third draft of this piece in under an hour (I’ve also listened to three full albums on Spotify, worked out for an hour and stress-ate three little bags of gummy bears in procrastination). I know it needs to be said, and I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this. So, here we go…
I just want to give a quick background as to why I am the way that I am. I’ve been very perceptive to relationships from a young age, taking note of the rewards and consequences of them. I saw the happiness they could bring, the laughs, the comfort, the inside jokes that made each person in the know smile when it popped into their thoughts. I also saw the hurt relationships could bring. I saw people fake feelings, I saw people anxiously wait to hear words they knew they would never hear. I saw people change into someone they thought would please another. It was from all of these observations that I subconsciously built an arms-length distance between myself and everyone I built a relationship with.
It seems rather crazy, but it was only within the last year that I even realized I did this. I kept wondering why it was so easy for me to let go of people, when to others it seemed rather detrimental for a long period of time. Not to say I didn’t cry a few times—that I didn’t think through the should’ve/would’ve/could’ve process after something didn’t work out—but nothing ever really stuck with me. I also realized that after one problem, I was able to be done. I had no problem cutting them out of my life, moving on for what I thought was better. Once I decided to be done, I was done. I never saw a problem with this.
And then I met a guy. The story of how we met is equally hilarious and embarrassing (it may or may not involve me falling off of a table), so we’re just going to skip ahead a bit! Listen, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but this wasn’t one of them. We clicked pretty fast, and I found myself doing things I never normally took the time or energy to do when I was talking to someone. I absolutely hate talking on the phone, but I would easily spend two or three hours talking about nothing on the phone with him. I caught myself smiling when he would tell stories about his family, whom I didn’t even know. I was even starting to listen to country music. No, not even the pop country that most of us can endure. This was deep, twangy country music—what I would earlier classify as “gross” and shudder at. The worst part was, I actually liked it. I liked all of it.
Moving forward, I realized that in a very short period of time, I’d become very comfortable with him. It was a level of comfort that I hadn’t really known before, and it was slightly terrifying, but I pushed back those thoughts. Things took a turn and slowed down a bit. Keeping in touch went from daily, to weekly, to monthly.
This is usually where I thrive. This is where I’m able to dive into work/school/whatever else possible and walk away clean. I couldn’t figure out why little things still made me think of him, and why I still wanted to text him when something funny happened. I couldn’t figure out why it was still causing me to be distracted, why I hadn’t woken up and been able to push the memory aside as I usually did.
Then, out of the blue, I got a call from him. He came over, we talked for the first time in a while and it honestly shocked me when I literally felt the same exact way I had before about him. Like I said, when I decided to be done, when I stopped talking to someone, I was done. I’m not kidding when I say I was able to turn my feelings off for them. I only ever thought of them as friends from that point forward. This was different. I had gone through the same process, but still felt the same way—still happy to have him there.
Before we went to sleep, I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He grumbled something into the pillow while I was laying back down. I turned to let him repeat what he said. “You would spoil me,” he said, head still in the pillow. He left the next day, but that line replayed in my head long after he was gone.
I couldn’t figure out why I was still thinking about it, so I enlisted the help of my friends. It seemed the common response from my friends was that it was upsetting that he would say that when we weren’t together—that he was able to disconnect from the situation in a way that I wasn’t able to, and ultimately that men were idiots (sorry, guys). I listened to all of their opinions and looked through that perspective. None of it was the right answer for me.
It took me two whole days of thinking about this line to realize that what he had said hadn’t made me upset at all. It was quite the contrary, actually. Without knowing it, he had actually said one of the greatest things I had ever heard about myself.
Guys, I did it!
He was absolutely right, I would spoil him. There was no arms-length distance between us. For the first time, I had put my arm down and allowed myself to fully and truly care about someone else. With his help, I broke a cycle that I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be able to break. I had subconsciously built such a defensive response towards relationships for so long that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to change it. He showed me I could.
I didn’t hear from him again after that night. This is probably the most important part of this piece. I’m telling my side of the story. There’s a good chance that he never felt the same way I did, and that is completely okay. Of course it hurts, and of course it’s embarrassing, but the takeaway from this was so much bigger than all of that. I kept wondering why I’d met him in the first place (the chances were one in a million), but this was why. He was honest, he was kind and he showed me that by putting my guard down, I could meet someone truly incredible.
I don’t have one bad thing to say about him. He’s an amazing person with a big heart and deserves just as much time to find himself as he needs. The only thing I have to say is thank you. Thank you for letting me in, thank you for letting me care, thank you for showing me I’m capable of so much more than I thought.
I’m not quite sure how to end this, but I do want to say one more thing: It’s always easier to see the bad than it is to see the good. If I had settled on the response that what he’d said was mean in some way, I would’ve never been able to realize this huge detail about myself. Don’t settle for the easy answer. Settle for the answer that feels right, that you know to be true.
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