• I’m bowing it

    by  • September 14, 2015 • * Safe for Work *, To You • 1 Comment

    M,

    You know, I thought we were friends. When we were studying in the UK, we talked all the time and hung out all the time. I opened up to you and told you things that I don’t share with many people. And you listened. And you cared. You flirted with me when it felt like no one else even saw me or gave me a second glance.You saw more than just a pretty face, you saw me. Everyone told us to just hook up already. We’d roll our eyes but secretly that made me happy – that affirmed to me that it wasn’t just in my head. But that’s not why I fell for you. You have it all – work ethic, looks, charming personality, smile, smart, talented, funny. But I fell for every imperfection of yours too. I saw everything you laid out and still wanted you. Now, I know what you think of me. That I am closed off and hate all men and just don’t give anyone a chance. And that may be true. I am closed off. I don’t like feeling vulnerable because that’s how you get hurt. I know it’s messed up, but the last thing I needed was you pointing that out to me. I’ve got it, I know. And it kills me every day because the moment I chose to be vulnerable with you and open up to you, you eventually dropped me. And what hurt the most wasn’t that it was just rejection, it was rejection from you when you know how I felt about that. You knew that I liked you. But maybe you found out too late. The girl that we both hated threw herself at you and, shocker, you fell for it. And it crushed me. You had your pick and you chose her. I’d bow out if she was gorgeous and nice and perfect, but that’s certainly not the case. But I bowed out because you claimed you were happy and that’s all I ever really wanted for you, M.

    We left Glasgow to go home for the summer. I thought, “Great. I’ll get over him and it’ll be fine” but it wasn’t. You kept talking to me and every time you did, I fell a little harder for you. When you kept talking to me over the summer, I thought that I might actually still stand a chance with you in the fall. But no. You were still very much with her when we got back to school. So I decided that throwing away our friendship just because I didn’t get to date you wasn’t worth it. I was in too deep, you knew my secrets and everything about me. I opened up to you and I didn’t want that to go to waste so I thought I might be able to do this “friends” thing with you. Because having you as a friend was better than not having you at all. Boy was I wrong.

    Turns out that ever since we’ve been back you’re too busy going over to her place and sleeping at her apartment to ever make time to just talk, hang out or really even associate yourself with me. What’s changed? Was it something I did or said? Because now all of a sudden every time I try to make plans with you, you’re busy. And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of putting all the effort into maintaining our quasi-close friendship. That’s bullshit. You don’t care. You forgot about me. You got swept away. In the meantime, I’m done. I’m done sitting here being sad and hurt because my greatest fear of all, getting hurt, has finally come true. But it’s because of you. Not because you chose to date someone else over me, but because you threw away our friendship. I can’t wait anymore, M. I won’t. It felt so nice to finally have a crush and really want to date someone, but now it hurts too much to stay and wait. I feel like I’m going to crack at any second. But I know that the second you text me, I’m going to want to go back. But I can’t do that, I have to be strong for myself. Now I’m going to bow out not just because your happy, but because I deserve happiness too. Just this time you won’t even realize I’m gone.

    -K

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    One Response to I’m bowing it

    1. Peter C
      September 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      ‘Friends’ is the hardest thing. The boundary between friend and more-than-friend is such a faded line, just some fallen fence posts and a few rocks. How much harder then when you have already lost your way in the meadow, have trodden back and forth across the faded line, and he never has? Your heart imagines what it could be, and your mind sees what it is not. And may never be.

      The word ‘friend’ creates safety, it makes a safe space where you can disclose your hidden thoughts, and all your painful feelings. It’s the laughter together in the tent in the middle of the night, safe by the glow of a gas lamp, laughing and yelling with big grins. It’s also the quiet words, the quiet arm on the shoulder, the wish to make it better, the caring without concern of boundaries. It is so easy, so easy for feelings of warm friendship to transform into something more in your mind and in your heart. And then what felt complete becomes incomplete again, because you have changed the shape of what you seek to hold. And then sadly, too, what nourished you before now hurts you in same measure. The friendship which warmed you now also reminds you of the cool empty space it cannot not fill, the connection of lovers.

      But everything you won you still have. The courage of disclosure, the knowing that you can allow yourself to be vulnerable, to tell your story. We can never know how others may react, that is outside our control. But we can learn that we are capable of great courage, of leaping into the wide blue, and that is a learning that is ours to keep forever. No matter what happens next, no matter what he said or she said.

      I fear you are about to throw this away, that you are about to learn the wrong lesson. Your lesson is not, I think, that it was a mistake to be open and caring. Perhaps your lesson is in part that friends and lovers are different, as much as they may have in common. But I hope the real lesson is that you can trust, and be hurt, and you can still trust again. You have survived all this pain, and from your letter despite the anguish I also hear someone who is still fully alive and open to love. Pain doesn’t only say “don’t do this again.” Pain is sometimes meant to say “watch this, look at this, there is something of great importance to you here. Learn what it is.” Sometimes pain warns us off, but sometimes it only points to the potential for growth. It is so easy to mistake these two.

      Yes it has also just gotten more complex because of the new girlfriend. Yes, you still hunger for more than he has ever wanted to give. Yes, you’ve heard things that others have said that he said, a long chain that has lost all context with no opportunity to clarify. But still your opportunity is to act, not to react. Act on what you decide is doable and bearable for you in this friendship; act on packaging all your feelings and deciding what your learnings are; and then act on taking your hard-won learnings and engaging others in the world.

      Don’t bow out – but do take a bow! The world is still your stage, you have talents and magic still, and you have so much more to still embrace and love. Do it!




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