Thursday, 5 March 2015

LET'S TALK: Closure and The Past Being Left in The Past

I read a lot of stuff online - articles, lists, advice posts - all out of curiosity but mostly out of comfort, I suppose. I take comfort in knowing that people have similar thoughts to those that whirl around continuously in my own head.

Many of us are taught that the past should be left in the past and that it's not always good to hold onto to it; whatever it may be for the individual. But everybody is different and what works for some, well, it won't necessarily work for others.

In the past, I met a boy. When I say the past, I really mean that, years ago in my teens. Our relationship was relatively short, being of the age we were, but I fell seriously head over heels for him.   If I'm completely honest, and if he ever reads this I will want the ground to swallow me up, he's the one that set the bar.

Let me go back in time a little...we met under fairly normal teenage circumstances - a college house party, lots of alcohol, everybody waking up in the morning with a sore head. But that's not really where it all started; we chatted a bit but it progressed after the party when we started talking more and eventually meeting up.

Spring was about to end, summer about to begin and we were together. The problem? In October he would be leaving our hometown and heading off to University.

We enjoyed our time together, went here there and everywhere, created stories, made memories. It really was perfect. And I can look back and know, in those moments...I was content, happy and lost in it all.

But obviously, summer had to end...we had already agreed that we would 'part ways' when the time came because we were both so young, didn't want the back and forth at weekends...and, to be honest, I wanted him to have the best time he possibly could because, a year later, I would be in the same boat.

The time came. It crushed me and I mean like really crushed me. It hit me so hard and I didn't know what to do with myself, didn't think I'd ever get over it and I felt so much hurt that he'd 'left me'...I'm sure, at that age, it felt ten times worse because of the whole first love/first lust thing - whatever it was. I got over it after a few months but my mind always wandered back. I was hurt that he didn't really stay in touch, convinced myself that it was all one sided.

The thing is, I always thought he was too good for me. Well educated, well off, everything going for him...and I stupidly convinced myself that, although we were happy at that point, we would never have anything of a future. I really beat myself up over the whole thing when he'd gone. While we together, it was fine, we were living in the moment. But when he had gone, I thought about everything. Every detail, replayed conversations in my head...envisioned scenarios. Thought that maybe one day he might just turn up unexpected and think to see me. But it never happened.

I met other guys, I had other relationships. When I got to university and after graduating, I lived with my ex. It's not like I spent all those years waiting. I really didn't, and despite my lack of confidence, I had enough self respect not to pine for somebody that didn't do the same in return.

It is funny how much of a healer time can be, but my problem, I never, ever got closure. I lived my life but every now and then, he would sneak back into my head - 'I wonder what he's doing...', 'I wonder if he met somebody else...' - every now and again, I'd be left wondering. And then I wondered if he ever thought of me, which, to this day, I still doubt.

Then something weird happened. I was walking down Tottenham Court Road to an event for work and through the crowd, I saw a face I recognised. I passed by, not really registering that familiar face. Then, it came to me, it was him. By that point, we'd passed one another and it was the end of the working day...Surprised/excited/unsure I messaged him to see if it was actually him.

To try and cut this long story short - we arranged to meet. It didn't happen as I was ill. Then 2015 begun and I thought 'you know what, I've waited seven years to get some kind of answers, some kind of reassurance that 'it's not me, it's actually you''. So I figured, right, one last try. And I did and we arranged to meet. The nerves were there, we could see it in each others eyes. But we caught up, it was fun and I knew we would again.

A week later, we were sat having dinner. It felt like old times and it was worrying how easily I fell back into his company. We reminisced, we laughed about the silly things that happened, the awkward situations, 'the time when...'. We walked down the street holding hands, we giggled...we did all that stuff my mind had sometimes wandered to for the last seven years.

I sat on the train that night, grinning from ear to ear. Thinking about what could happen. Then I thought 'this guy pretty much broke my heart, and look how easily you're willing to give it again'. I'm unlucky in like/love/ the point my mum jokingly calls me Bridget now (Jones, for those of you that didn't know..) So I felt a little silly in getting ahead of myself.

He, surprisingly, kept in touch with me for a couple of weeks...something I hadn't expected but we arranged a couple of days that we could meet up.

The first night, I met his work colleagues, it all felt really surreal I suppose. I was being introduced into his new life. A little while into the night, one of his colleagues girlfriends turned to me and said, "I'm going to say something to you that I say to all my friends, I'll say it to you in English first but it sounds better in Chinese..."

Well, as you can imagine I thought, what the fuck is she actually on about?

She looked at me, put a hand on my shoulder and said "Don't boil the same cabbage twice"

Then said it in Chinese; she was right, it did sound better in Chinese.

I stood there, a little bewildered, but did manage to force a laugh.

A few more G&T's and I guess I'd pushed it out of my mind. But, waking up the next morning, I couldn't shift it from my head.

And in a way, it felt like a bit of a bad omen. And the weekend, well, it didn't really feel the same nor did it go how I imagined it would.

I just needed to know, you know?

I needed to see if the feelings I had were teenage feelings, whether it was familiarity, whether it was a daydream for all those years or whether there was still something there.

The one thing I did come to terms with? I am worth so much more than I gave/ever give myself credit for. I felt like I was never enough for him but, you know what I've realised? I don't think he's enough for me. Not because he hasn't still got all of those things going for him but because I want different things. And I want things that I can't get from another person. But that's one of the biggest things I've learned lately. I've changed as a person so much in the time that's passed by - I've changed a bloody lot in six months - but, I couldn't see too much change in him.

I left feeling a touch of disappointment, but more than anything, a sense of self worth. I felt like I left with a bit of a spring in my step and a feeling of not needing anybody or anybody's reassurance but my own.

But after it taking me years to write this, at least now there's one thing I know more than anything - I think the cabbage needs to be thrown in the bin.


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