What I’ve Learned Is The Best Lesson On Love And Relationships

This is a very well known quote. We’ve all read it and most of us have hoped love would live up to this with those we dedicate ourselves too. But many of us know that it hasn’t. Many of us have been disappointed and left with broken hearts we will never quite fully be able to heal from. Disappointment leaves our faith in fragments and we are cautious when it comes to loving again. Those who find this true representation of love are rare and I respect each one of you because love isn’t always easy and loving takes courage and dedication and selflessness. Most of what I have learned of what love is comes from knowing what love is not and until now, love has been my most elaborate form of self-harm. But wait… It was never really love then, was it?

I have always been one of the many girls to believe in fairytales of love learned from Princesses in Disney movies. I have been one of those girls to dream of the big day in a beautiful dress and a long life with kids I already had names for. But I have also been one of those girls who learned the hard way that love is fire and at some point, you’re bound to get burnt.

It took one night of an impulsive delusional decision to make me realise what I had really known all along. A guy I fell for was strike 4 in my impeccable record of failed relationships and again I thought he was the last to cross my road towards the happily ever after. Just like all before him, it started off with the honeymoon phase of sweet talk where being with me was “easy and comfortable” and I was approached with sensitivity and gentleness and compliments galore and sparks were flying. Obviously I trusted him much faster than I should’ve, but I was attracted to his kindness towards others and the sensitivity that seemed to radiate from him. So, my infatuated mind made the decision to give herself away completely; mentally, emotionally, physically…

As time went on, his sensitivity, compliments and interest in my heart and head waned but his interest in my body grew stronger. I knew I had to walk away, yet I held on and I let myself go with the flow. I remember one day as I sat on his bed alone and he watched TV how alone I felt right in the middle of the relationship. I had never felt more alone and I no longer recognised myself. I changed. I learned to tell myself that sex is what love demands, that times had changed, that men not expressing their emotions towards you was a normal thing and that superficial talk was good talk – because who wants to be with an over-emotional girl? I had defied every belief I ever had and every rule I had ever made when it came to giving myself away. Why did I let things slip so far into a relationship that consisted of sex… I cared about him very much but I didn’t love him. How could I when he no longer saw my heart and he stopped opening up his to me too. I realise now that I craved a closeness from him and sex with him was all that made me feel that. As time dragged on I could however no longer take the emotional emptiness and knowing he didn’t feel much for me either, so we split up. I cried my heart out and ached and broke all over again. The most frightening thing is that feelings are not fixed. You can be everything one moment, just enough another and nothing at all the next.

Months went by and then not too long ago he started messaging me with smiley faces and seemingly interested conversation on how my emotional health was and videos of huskies which he knew I loved. He knew about my depression and hospital admission, but he never judged me for it while everyone else ran from it. Perhaps that was part of the reason I had trust in him. It wasn’t long before he told me he wanted to have sex with me again and we should go on a date. I wasn’t stupid. He was an utter asshole for blatantly telling me he wanted sex. I was the one who f***ed myself over… See, I missed parts of him and his reappearance resurrected a lot of intense, buried emotion. I ignorantly agreed to the date… And then after a movie which involved “romantic kissing” the sex came. It was about 1AM when he dropped me off at my car so we can both head home and he greeted me with the type of insincere, split second hug that has now become a common greeting in our society amongst strangers and the words, “Thanks for an interesting night.” He didn’t want to get back together. 

I woke up the next morning trying to convince myself that it’s fine. He didn’t want to date me again and it was just sex, no big deal, I’ll move on now. But as I drove to the gym and saw my face in the rearview mirror and the expression of a totally lost girl with eyes being stung by impending tears I knew that it messed me up emotionally and mentally far more than I let myself admit. Sex is never just sex. You give parts of yourself away to a person and I realised I had disrespected myself and gone against all I stood for. Again. More so, I had been used by a man who might not have loved me ever but who I thought cared about me enough to at least regard me as a person with dignity. That was the worst part of it all. It was like that one night had negated every good moment we had ever shared. Everything that might have ever been true and an honorably agreed end to a relationship. All of that was negated the minute I was used as a thing and not a person. I thought if I continued to be a good woman, he would eventually return the favour and be a decent man. Or that if I stayed patient and understanding, eventually he’d realise his mistakes. But being a good woman to a man who doesn’t understand her worth only gave him someone to use. And being patient and understanding only gave him more leeway to continue hurting me. My mistake was, when his words hurt me I apologised because I felt guilty for making him feel bad. 

I just remember feeling like I wanted to take everything back from him; my touches, my love, my kisses, my sex, my emotions, my loyalty, my time, my energy, my conversations, my compromises, my efforts, my vulnerability… Myself. I had moulded myself to fit him. And then, I absolutely hated that he was walking around happily on a daily basis with all of me while I was walking around feeling disturbingly empty. And in that moment I had just wanted to take back everything I had ever given to him.

Why do we let people make homes in us when they end up destroying everything we have worked so hard to build? How many times have you been called beautiful by a person who eventually made you feel ugly on the inside? Did he really break my heart over and over again or was I the one who kept breaking my own heart by settling for a relationship that didn’t sit right with me, hoping over and over again that it would magically change on its own? I was, after all, responsible for myself, wasn’t I? I had choices in this world just like everyone else, didn’t I? It was up to me to teach people how to treat me, wasn’t it? I screwed up. Somewhere along the line I misplaced parts of my self-worth and blamed it on him. Somewhere along the line I started lying to myself and blamed it on him. Somewhere along the line I started hating myself for a relationship that was killing me on the inside, and instead of taking accountability for what I was doing to myself, I blamed it all on him. I screwed up. See, what he did and his views of how woman should be treated may not be right and he may legitly and clearly be classified as an asshole, but I knew this, yet I chose to ignore it. He may not realise it but he is accountable for his own actions and perhaps someday he would realise it isn’t okay, that what he is lacking is humility and respect.

I had to take a step back and get all the way real with my life and ask myself why the hell I wanted a man who made it obvious with his actions that he didn’t want me. Why I kept trying with a man who never made the effort for me. In doing that, I realised that he wasn’t the problem anymore… I was. I had become my own problem by sticking around a horrible situation and I needed to fix myself.

So what did I learn from love?

Sex is never just sex and it’s never okay to keep someone around just for it while they think you care about them as a person. You’ll play games with her mind, mess around with her emotions, disrupt her sense of security to the point where she feels like she is never good enough. Never worthy enough.

“The biggest coward of a man is awakening the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.” – Bob Marley

Accept that not everyone will understand you. That every soul is its own equation. While you may be little more than senseless gibberish to some, others will only need a single look to get a grasp of who you are. Never dull, dumb down or adjust yourself to fit somewhere you don’t belong. Rather be alone in dignity than in a relationship that demands your self-respect.

Lastly, stick to what your heart knows and has always known about love; that it doesn’t just fall on your lap. It takes dedication to get to know a person and it takes commitment to honour and love them. It takes humility to see someone’s heart and compromise to respect each other. Don’t ever set yourself on fire just to warm the cold hearts of those who do not burn for you.

What I Will Take With Me From You

Love always seemed to be a solid, clear concept to me. Like I knew exactly what it was and what it wasn’t and if something wasn’t love it wasn’t worth it. Now those clear-cut lines have become obscured and the concept of that word vague. Love doesn’t seem to measure up to what it’s supposed to be anymore. The lines have now too often become blurred between love, lust and infatuation and today, staring at the blurred mess makes me angry. It makes me angry that women are made vacations and a hotel room out of when they are promised a home. It makes me angry that today, you did that to me. You passed through my heart’s city a while ago and then you left because you didn’t know how to make a home. I let you leave. I let you go. I hurt and I cried and then I said goodbye and then one day I smiled again. I smiled. And after all those months and all the people who came after you, I still had your face standing out most in my heart, and you came back and this time you faced me today, you know what you want and at that moment, my heart skipped a beat, until you opened your mouth and said I want you for fun, for a vacation, right now, not a home, but for fun and a smile after as though you you were giving me a compliment. But you don’t know about me, you don’t know how hard I try, this is my body and this is my war and my body is not a vacation for you to use at your disposal. My flesh and soul are intertwined and you cannot have my body if you disregard and discard my soul. I thought you cared enough about me to at least respect that much. But you smiled like a fool as though I would jump right in and be a vacation. You smiled, and I turned around thinking, “What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way and what a wicked thing to do to have made me dream of you.” 

Here’s the thing though, I used to shrink myself down and become a vacation with the hopes that you’d make me a home, but this time, I will not. I have already made my home. I have built it up alone from the ashes of blurred messes of love and I live in it alone. I am home. I don’t need to have vacations with heartless lovers. My city is open and you are welcome to pass through, but I will not be here crawling for you. 

So I’m taking back my dignity and pride and I’m turning around to tell you goodbye. I won’t shout or scream or fall or cry. I’ve already done that for you once and you don’t deserve it twice. I won’t speak and tell you of these aches in my heart you just caused, because I realised, you’re blind to colours of emotions. My emotions sing the greatest song in a sky painted full of colours, so bold. Beautiful shades with stars that implode and are born again. And that sky, that is my heart, that is my home and you are blind to it. What a pity it is that you only wanted my flesh. So I will take back my years I spilled over you and I will take back my body which never belonged to you. I will take back my strength and I will take back my silence. I won’t take back the memories my heart deemed as love because they don’t own any place on my shelf. I will walk away with dignity and integrity, knowing I did what was right, knowing I chose to see the best in you and care, knowing I did everything to open up to you and knowing I can wash my hands clean of this. I won’t take along void memories of seemingly good times because they have no place in my life anymore. So what I will take from you is knowing I am enough and being brave enough to walk away.

I am not a vacation, I am not a hotel. I am a home and this is my body and this is my song. 

30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge: Day 29 & 30

So we have reached the end of this challenge and the last post for it. I missed yesterday again as I was just super busy and tired but finally I have now gotten a chance to answer.

What false beliefs have you had about your illness that you have now overcome?

When you’re depressed you obviously have false beliefs that just come with the illness and you’re completely convinced they’re the reality which is why you feel so shit. You don’t mentally choose to believe them, your heart just tells you that they’re true. I have had much distorted thinking like I’m not worth it or good enough for anything. I have felt like I am too weak to survive the world. I have believed that I am too damaged and I should just be written off and subtracted from life. I’ve felt like all I will ever gain is loss – having my mom die, losing my ultimate dream of being a Veterinarian when I got sick, having a great friend die in Afghanistan, being dumped by guys who couldn’t stand by the three words they so easily and carelessly uttered and having depressive relapses that put me behind where I thought I would be in life by now. Loss kind of became all I knew and I was broken in thinking it’s all I ever will know. I’ve also had issues with my physical appearance thinking I am just so terrible looking or I need to lose more weight. Then there were thoughts of severe anxiety, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, to the point that I developed OCD which lead me to fear. I was afraid of more things going wrong so I tried to be an absolute perfectionist; in controlling my weight (which ironically was rediculously uncontrolled in starvation), overworking myself at university to make sure I got distinctions, showing up way too early for appointments in case something happened that made me late, thinking up worst case scenarios and catastrophising and a myriad of other things. Right now I have none of these distortions anymore and I am so beyond glad, because when I think back on them all I feel is suffocation and dread. They ruined my life. I still have a low self-esteem and I still struggle with anxiety but my anxiety isn’t over fear of things going wrong anymore, my anxiety is just an overwhelming feeling making me freeze or feel so restless and make my heart race sometimes and I have no explanation or reason as to why. Also the anxiety linked to my low self-esteem as I explained in the previous post with being unable to perform in front of others and doubting my ability to succeed. As for depression, I don’t have its lies anymore because I’m back in remission and I see things from a realistic perspective and I am able to evaluate my emotions in a realistic perspective. I don’t really want to die, depression’s pain made me want to die. I don’t believe that I am worthless, too damaged and unlovable because I also see all I’ve overcome, all I’ve been able to achieve, how I become when I am back to me again and free from depression and traits from my personality develop that are actually pretty awesome. Yeah, I just said I am awesome. Feels super weird because I don’t think I ever have. I’m an empath which means I feel too much and hurt easily but I also love the hell out of people and care. I may be sensitive but I am also intuitive and I am strong enough to easily raise my voice and speak out against people’s unjustified opinions, basically, as my friend put it; my inner bitch can come out if it needs to, and sometimes it does. Also, I’m not all serious. I can be incredibly silly and sarcastic and funny and dramatic if I want and I actually enjoy it quite much, especially with friends. Also, I am spiritual and I am not moved easily by resistance in my beliefs and if it wasn’t for my spirituality, my heart would’ve been incredibly empty. So basically what I’m saying is, just because depression distorts your mind and your heart is thrown down into the depths of pain, it doesn’t mean that is what you are and if anyone judges your character by it, feel free to walk as far away from them as possible.

What are your current wishes for right now and for the future and what are you going to do about it?

My wishes for right now are nothing earth shattering. Right now, I have just started finding my feet again. Right now I have just started living again and started loving parts of it again. Right now I am still working hard in every area of my life; physical health, mental health, my studies and taking time for myself. So right now, I am just learning to find my strength again and so, I am not in a place of wishing and dreaming, I am more in a state of just being. Right now, if I had to wish for anything, it would be for gaining confidence and being happy. It’s pretty basic and it’s all I want really; to develop myself continuously and grow in character and live for things that make me smile. 

Wishes for the future I do have. There are still things I want in life and dream of. I want to be a Doctor and open up my own practice and maybe immigrate. I want to believe that there is someone out there who can love me and whom I can spend the rest of my life with. Right now, I don’t know if I believe that that’ll happen for me and my heart is somewhat hurting a little still. Having been in 3 relationships over the past 2 years (yeah, I know, too much) there was one of those three that impacted me the most and that was most real to me and there are days my heart has a pang of missing that person. So I am still in a stage of healing from all this and even thinking of being in a relationship again ignites my fight or flight system in the fear of getting hurt and in all truth, I have enough on my plate and don’t need any more hits right now. But I’d be a liar if I said I never want to try again. Just not right now. I also hope for depression to never hit me as hard as it did and that I will only grow in wholeness and have it well-controlled. I’ve said before I want to be a Psychiatrist, but I am afraid it might trigger me as I do get easily triggered by stories of other people’s severe depression and suicide attempts. I couldn’t handle “13 Reasons Why” or “Girl Interrupted” or a book called “Perfect Chaos” which is about a woman who went through depression and her journey and she recounts the events up to how she recovered and now she is a great mental health advocate. Even though it is so inspiring, our stories were similar on a few levels and it left me feeling very down for a while. But nonetheless, I still want to specialise in Psychiatry because firstly, I am truly interested in it and the brain fascinates me. Secondly, I want to fight for this cause in which ever way I can and so many people don’t get proper help. I don’t think I could ever do a job which my heart isn’t truly into and so, this is what my heart has chosen. I believe there are ways one can learn to adapt and separate your own emotions from those of others and that is something I’ll have to work on.