“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl
“But no. We can give it another chance; I know we can. We just have to try harder…” were my desperate words to him as he was breaking up with me for the second time.
As I am reading those words, out loud, I feel a little sting in my heart. It’s been a while since I revisited this experience and for some reason, it feels bittersweet.
It’s been about nine months since he told me that he didn’t see a future for us, that he felt like he was pretending when he was with me, and that sometimes he just didn’t want to be around me.
But I didn’t hear those words. I heard it, but I thought knew that I could change his mind if I just tried a little harder to convince him that he did want to be with me; he just didn’t know it yet.
I felt beaten when he firmly said, “no.” I was even more devastated after suggesting that we remain friends when he again said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea, since he didn’t think I could handle it.
That’s when I knew it was over and I knew that there was no way in this lifetime that I could change his mind.
A flood of thoughts and emotions ran across my mind and body:
What could I have done that was so horrible that he couldn’t even stand the sight of me anymore? How could I have missed the warning signs during the last three months that we were together? If he wasn’t happy, why didn’t he just say so?
There were countless questions that just would not stop.
I finally realized he’d been telling me all along that he didn’t want to be with me. His actions spoke loud and clear, but I was so involved in trying to change the situation that I didn’t see the reality. And that reality was: He just did not want to be with me.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first relationship that I allowed myself to get lost in. So how in the world did this happen to me? Again?
The idea of being in love happened. That’s what.
I wanted that romance, that fairytale. I wanted to finally know what it was like to be in real. Grown up love and not kiddie, high school love. I wanted all of that.
I was so tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. I was starting to feel like maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for me.
And that scared me.
When I finally woke up from this, I started to ask myself, “Who the hell are you, and why did you allow yourself to go through that?”
I used to think I was this strong, independent woman who knew exactly what she wanted in life and wouldn’t tolerate any BS from anyone.
I was always so proud to list all hundred qualities that my future husband would definitely have, and I told every one that I was never, ever going to settle. I was all talk but never walked the walk.
After much soul searching, I finally had the courage to put my foot down and say enough is enough. That was when the real challenge began.
Who am I again? I don’t even know anymore…
I had to find a quiet spot and re-evaluate me.
I figured out that I’m one person with friends and family but the complete opposite when I’m in a relationship. I try a lot harder to please; I’m less outspoken, less confident, and less of myself. I was scared to let the real me out in fear that maybe they wouldn’t like me.
I was too scared to say no to something that I knew I was against.
I felt like I had to create this façade of someone that was fun, loving, and patient, and what I thought was “perfect” in someone else’s eyes. Not saying that I’m not fun or loving or patient; I just tried too hard to be seen that.
Far enough that I even agreed to hang out with his ex, who he was good friends with, if that’s what he wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, many people are still friendly with their exes and their current significant other is fine with it, but I was never fine with their relationship.
They had a history—friends before dating, four years as a couple, and three years living together. I knew about this from the beginning of our relationship and I was absolutely fine with it.
In my mind, I thought they broke up on good terms and talked to each other occasionally. I didn’t know about the late night phone calls, meeting each other for dinner, going to the vet together when “their” dog had appointments, and the fact that she still had a key to “their” condo.
He made an effort in the beginning and assured me that they were just friends and that I didn’t have anything to worry about, and of course I made myself be okay with it.
I made myself okay with anything if it meant that it would make me the person he always wanted to be with.
What I didn’t realize was that it was slowly killing my spirit.
She always came up in conversation, not because I brought her up, but because he wanted to share his past. I put on a brave face and would listen and laugh at some of the stories, but it made me feel like I had to live up to what they had.
And what I had just wasn’t good enough.
I’ve come a long way from where I was nine months ago. I’m admitting that I have made huge relationship mistakes, but my biggest mistake wasn’t that I tried too hard or that I would’ve given anything for my relationship.
My mistake was not being true to myself—not standing up for myself, not keeping true to my morals, and not loving myself enough to just say no when I wanted to.
I’ve discovered that I am not flawless and that it’s okay to not be perfect. But most importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to love yourself first, and if you have to lower your standards to get the love that you think you want from someone else, then it’s not worth it.
These challenges haven’t been easy but if it’s challenging me to define my true self then why not jump feet first and go all in? I have made a promise to myself that I will love myself first and not be in love with the idea of love.
Sometimes letting go of someone or something is the best thing that you can do for your soul. Write the last chapter and tuck it away. It’s time to start a brand new book.
Sometimes The Uncertainty Of It All Kills Me
Reality tells me that maybe
The little hands around my heart
Are singlehandedly the only thing that makes this all bearable
I say things are good, I say things are so good
And I mean it
I can hear the honesty in my voice
And I know other people can hear it too
But these little hands around my heart
Are they holding rose colored filters over my eyes?
I like to think that I believe things are good
Because they actually and truly are good
But when I think about it
I really don’t know for sure
But that’s how it is with everything I suppose
– Eyvvne Doue
Today, I chatted with two former co-workers from my old work place. One of them is based at the institution I work at and the other was observing her for the day. It was good to catch up and talk about new office dynamics and life in general. At one point in the conversation, we started talking about going out/staying out late with friends and our parents. I shared that I wanted to go to a wedding for a friend this weekend but it was about an hour and a half drive south and thus I was planning to spend the night. My mom had some reservations about this and advised me not to go. She started lecturing me about the dangers of being a female and having to be security conscious of your surroundings and the situations you put yourself in.
I asked the coworkers what their opinions were and if they thought I should just go against her wishes and just go. They asked if I thought the long-term benefits would outweigh the short-term cost and what the consequences would be. I told them I thought the long-term benefits would outweigh the cost in that by explicitly going against my mother’s wishes, I would be taking a stand and sending the message that I was doing what I wanted to do for myself as an adult. I shared how the weekend before, my mom had asked me if I was available that weekend to babysit because she and my dad would be busy and how we my mom, dad, and I had gotten to this point – basically because on the weekends, I would go out and do what I wanted to do, whether that was shopping, working out, or just hanging out with friends. They knew they could not count on me to be free and available.
I further expressed my feelings of having to physically remove myself from my household for my parents to realize that I was an adult who could take care of herself and make her own decisions and not a child anymore. This turned into a conversation about curfews and the two confided that their own mothers were just as overprotective, just as nagging, and just as guilt-tripping. One of the coworkers said this was her year to be selfish and she’s going to do whatever she wants because all throughout college and up until now she has been making decisions based on her family and their desires. She said she realizes that it is kind of sad when one wants to run away from one’s family and feels the way she does but she can’t help it because all of her life she’s been living 1/4 of the life she should have been.
Her words really resonated with me because I understand her and where she is coming from 100%. Sometimes I get frustrated with my parents because they expect that I will always be there and that I can do the things that they cannot (not only for them but for my siblings as well). And yes, I can and I want to but that is so much pressure to put on one individual person. One person should not have to be the keeper of 8. One person should not have to live the lives of 8 other individuals. One person should not have to sacrifice or be able to live only 1/4 of her life for herself especially when she has not consciously made the decision to live that life.
Additionally, good friend has told me before that I need to stand my ground with my parents otherwise they will continue to perceive me as a child. Furthermore, he said I should become comfortable with the reality that I may have to walk away because eventually my family will learn to adapt with my absence and make it in the world somehow. But I care too much and have too large a heart to walk away.
Lately, I have been feeling the frustrations of fighting for my own freedom and respect and it is wearing me down. I am frustrated for having to deal with the consequences of the choices that my parents have made, to be expected to deal with the situations that they have put me in. I believe they truly do care about me and my growth but do not realize that they are holding me back from my real potential. I have been picking and choosing my battles but I don’t want to have to choose; I want to have my freedom, to be able to do. I admitted to my co-workers that I have been avoiding confronting the issue but I realize that by avoiding an issue will never be resolved but I don’t currently possess the courage to fully confront the issue. It was heartening to hear that I was not alone in the frustrations that I have with my parents but disheartening that we have to go through this struggle.
I will go to the wedding this weekend and I know my parents will be furious that I disobeyed but I will deal with that when I come back.
There are many exciting things going on at the moment… or perhaps saying “in the making” would be a better description. I recently transitioned out of my AmeriCorps position into a real, full-time position at a higher education institution. It’s very different – a new environment and a new system to adjust to. In a way, it is exciting because there is this thrill of learning new things and meeting new people but at the same time there is the apprehension of going through something different and new. I am slowly starting to meet more staff and students and hopefully next week after things are set up, I will be able to introduce myself to the departments that I will be working closely with. I have already run into a few students that I know from my AmeriCorps position and it has been exciting.
Something else that is “in the making” are that my future plans are starting to develop and take more shape and form! One of the perks of working at a higher education institution is that you are able to take classes for free or for a reduced cost. It works out well for me that this institution offers graduate programs and even though I won’t be eligible for at least another year, I have already started looking at possible programs, degrees, and certificates and planning out different options.
Another thing in regards to future plans taking shape and form, is that I will be able to start investing in a retirement plan. This, also won’t go into effect until a year after my initial employment, but it is something to look forward to being able to do.
My last “in the making” is my recent membership in an advisory council. This council will be addressing disparity issues that affect communities of color in the state and will be presenting solutions to the legislature in less than 6 months. This is my first time doing anything of this sort but I’m very excited to be able to be a part of this council with so many other great minds and passionate individuals. Just a few days ago I received my official “welcome” letter in the mail a few days ago with details about the group’s first meeting.
I anticipate this next year to be very busy but also full of many new opportunities to network and grow. It is exciting to have my life so full and I feel very blessed to be able to be a part of so many wonderful things. I feel confident that my life’s course will start to take more direction and form this year and in the next few years to come.