Take a second to marvel at how so many different, seemingly insignificant choices can shape your life.
For example, I chose to come to a coffee shop this morning- this particular morning to this particular coffee shop. Upon arriving, I decided to sit at the espresso bar instead of at a table.
Before I even did that, someone chose to put at old globe on the bar, and someone decided to turn it in such a way that what would ordinarily be the bottom of the globe, Antarctica, was facing me.
So I found myself staring at a crude representation of our most under appreciated continent as I sat on pin and needles, waiting for a chance to fix some terrible mistakes I’d made.
My stomach is flipping over and my arms feel like they would detach themselves and float away towards the ceiling if I wasn’t constantly giving them a task.
I really can’t be sure if thats because I’m nervous, or because I’ve had 2 shots of espresso and a cup and a half of coffee, which is the most caffeine I’ve had since I moved back to Atlanta from New York 4 months ago.
While I’m sitting here, waiting for someone who is somehow very important to me to show up, and knowing they probably won’t, I’m reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paradise” and wondering how different my life would’ve been if I’d read this novel when I was 16 before “The Great Gatsby”. Of course, I also have to wonder if it would have made as much sense to me, because what the main character, Amory Blaine is going through as he grows up- what he’s discovering about how people are shaped is what I’ve been going through…but I have a feeling I wouldn’t have realized that while it was happening to me.
I think that even if a person is significantly more self-aware than usual, that self-awareness grows continuously throughout their life, and until they reach a certain, immeasurable point where they realize that they will never stop discovering more about themselves, they are unaware of their growth until they look back and reflect on it.
That was a fancy way of admitting that I’ve been pretty arrogant about my abilities to self-analyze until recently.
I’ve also been pretty impatient with others’ abilities to self-analyze.
For example, when one time the person that I’m waiting for told me we should take some time to clear our heads and really think about what was going on, I holed up in my room for a day and a half and was able to devise a life plan for myself that actually gave myself everything I wanted. And somehow, I excepted him to be able to do the same.
To summarize, I’m no longer moving to London- I want to live in Atlanta and have a job that makes good money so that I can fund ALL of my life passions, instead of trying to pick one and forcing it to become a career. And since making that choice, I’ve found a fantastic job thats supporting me until I make real estate appraisal work for me, I’ve kicked some bad people out of my life, reconnected with good ones, got a wedding to plan and finally taken up rock climbing. I should honestly be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, but the thing is I’m not…because when I was deciding this, I thought that now that I had sorted out all of my issues, he and I would fall into place as well.
Now that its a month a half later, and I’m reduced to posting pictures of notes on instagram asking him to meet me at random places at random times (I don’t’ have his number anymore and I’m too proud to ask a friend for it), its obvious things didn’t work out quite how I’d imagined.
I’ve finally realized that I was scared because of how much I cared about him, and how I think I rushed things because I knew there was this time limit on us, and how that fear made me lash out and say mean things to him, instead of what I really wanted to say: “I think I’m falling in love with you and I just want a chance to see if this will work”.
The sad thing is, I’ve gone through this before, and even though I was scared, it felt easier- so much easier to make that choice! The choice to say to myself “I’m not giving up, because there is no life I could possibly live without knowing that I tried.”
That was the first time I understood why people do things in stories, like infiltrate an enemy fortress with only 5 people, no matter if its to save their best friend or the entire world: even though they know that they might fail, there is absolutely no way that they can’t try. No amount of fear can stop them.
I know it might sound silly to think of asking your ex-boyfriend for a second chance in the same way you’d think of doing what Captain America did with Hydra, but I did it, and Kevin and I DID give it a second chance, and then we figured out that it really wouldn’t work. But it was ok because now we KNEW.
But now that I want that same chance, and I want to fight for it, I’m way too scared, and when I first realized that, I was also angry with myself for obviously not learning my lesson the first time- especially when it worked out in my favor.
But then I realized that maybe this was an entirely different lesson- you should never slack off when it comes to bettering yourself. No two situations are exactly the same, and you should always be conscious of letting yourself slip back into old, easy patterns. Because getting scared and lashing out was easy. Sending one last angry text message and then cutting him out of my life was easy. But it wasn’t right.
I was cowardly and unkind, and its been a long time since I’ve behaved that way and this man was possibly the least deserving of what I did and said.
Because he was scared too. And instead of telling him that I knew he was scared and that I felt the same way, and that I would be there and wouldn’t let him down, I told him I was going to stop caring about him. I actually said that. I didn’t mean it. And I haven’t stopped caring about him.
I want to tell him that he didn’t let me down- I let him down. I want to tell him the truth that I was too afraid to say out loud a month and a half ago- I really believe that I was falling in love with him, truly, properly, like the way that only happens a few times in our lives, and I want the chance to see what would happen if we both admitted that we’re scared, and what we’re scared of is fucking up, and hurting the other, and having it be our fault that someone else is hurt. And of course, the fact that I’m not leaving the country in a few months might even the playing field as well.
And maybe I’m not fighting hard enough, because I’m more scared than I’ve ever been scared of anything that he will absolutely refuse this second chance, because maybe I’m more certain than I’ve ever been that this second chance could be the last second chance I ever have to give somebody. So maybe I should try harder, instead of just posting an extremely passive request for a meeting by means of stupid social media site.
I really don’t know. But thats ok. I’m still discovering myself.
There’s a rule I came up with, the night I hit rock bottom when I was living in New York:
Never run from something; always run to something.
It means that its ok to change your life, or try something new, even temporarily, but you have to do it for the right reasons. For example, I’m feeling the urge to go somewhere new in the world. Just for a little while. Maybe a week. But not to run away from all this- to shake myself up again. Because I think that I need that. The last thing that truly shook me up was him. And I landed on my feet and I made my life 1000 times better. But now that I’m stuck in this limbo of needing some sort of ending or beginning with him, this “happy” place I’m in just isn’t feeling very happy. I’m having trouble being the best of me, and its because I know I’m NOT being the best of me right now- I need to make things right, but part of me is too afraid to. I need to find whatever confidence, or push that I’m lacking. And while Antarctica may be a little out of reach for now, I need something like that…I need to see another side of the world, even if its metaphorical. I need to do something besides trying to evaluate myself in my head, because I’m stuck in a loop and its driving me mad.
So the moral of this story so far is that always try to be the best of yourself, and always believe, and don’t be afraid to consider things outside the box. Or the Northern Hemisphere.
And one day, you’ll get what you truly want.