I want to preface this long and semi-sappy story by stating the cliche line of “I’m not like any other 26 year old you’ve ever met.” I’m what you would call a hopeless romantic. However, rather than trying to fit two puzzle pieces together that just don’t fit, I find just as much satisfaction focusing on my own internal growth as I do sharing that growth with someone special.
For the past six years, I’ve focused on the former. I’ve taken the time to truly understand myself, to travel and to just live a life acquiring knowledge and having experiences. I would still go on dates and be open to the idea of being with someone, but ultimately it wasn’t something I was looking to mesh into my life if it wasn’t meant to be. In those six years, I’ve experienced so much personal growth, and have had experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Next comes your classic boy meets girl story. Except it wasn’t even a meeting, more of a reconnection. The girl in this scenario was a person I’ve known for most of my life, but never really knew. I’ll spare the intimate details, but long story short this boy falls much harder, and much faster than he ever thought possible.
After reconnecting, we instantly start spending a lot of time together. The conversations, the interactions and everything about the encounters just felt natural. Some of the time, we didn’t need to be saying anything at all, or she could just be working on homework, and that would be enough for me. Just simply being around her filled me with joy.
I’m the type of person who wears their heart on their sleeve. Complete strangers could probably tell what kind of mood I’m in, just because I’m never one to mask my emotions. This special person, however, isn’t wired quite like me in this sense. She’ll ask how my day is going, and tell me everything is fine with her. It was only after we really began opening up to each other that I realized what all was going on.
I knew some of the things she was going through prior to this experience, but the weight of exactly how it was affecting her came through in a piece of writing she shared with me. Like me, this girl uses writing as a form of healing. When she shared with me a piece of what she’s going through on a daily basis, it hit me hard. It was hard for me to see someone who does so much for me, suffer so much internally.
Being the heart on their sleeve, gushy, ball of an emotion-type person that I am, I would tell her every day how special she is. I would tell her how genuinely happy she makes me, and how much I enjoy the time we spend together. Also like me, we both have self-esteem issues, and it’s hard for the words to truly stick if you don’t believe in them yourself. She didn’t view herself as this special person I made her out to be.
To give a little context, this girl was fresh out of a long-term relationship that ended sour, leaving her broken and trying to pick up the pieces. It was clear as day in her writing just how broken she really was, which in-turn made me feel broken, knowing I couldn’t string together the perfect combination of words to heal her. The healing had to come from inside.
After doing some critical thinking, and having some close friends weigh in on the situation, I suggested something that was absolutely painful for me to suggest: time apart. Having time to myself to figure out life was one of the best forms of medicine I ever received. It was still one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I knew it was for the best long-term.
I still continue to see reminders of her every day. The other day I heard people in the break room talking about Beef Stroganoff, and all I could think of were some inside jokes shared with her family during brunch. I see her initials in the most random of places. Her gifts and some belongings still sitting around my house, like the scented oil used to help with my anxiety.
Despite the sappy heartache, I’ve been getting small reminders that she’s doing well, which makes me happier than words can convey. More than anything, I want this girl to truly believe these things that I tell about her, and for her to see how special she really is. I’m confident that our story isn’t over yet, which is what’s been pulling me through everything.
She’s told me multiple times that I deserve the world, and true happiness. While I always wish her the exact same, I’ve learned you have to be willing to accept that gift from someone else. In order to do that, it’s important to truly love yourself, and believe that you deserve the world when someone is willing to give it to you.