He was funny and sweet. He held my hand through tough times. But then… he left. I threw myself a pity party for weeks when it happened. Nobody wanted to hear about it, so I shut my mouth and suffered in silence.
Little did I know that would be the summer I changed for the better.
To find yourself you have to want to find yourself. I didn’t. That summer, I wanted to lay on my couch and watch Gossip Girl for hours on end because immersing myself into the problems of other people sounded much more fulfilling than dealing with my own problems. I wanted to feel bad for myself because no one else was doing it for me.
Eventually, I turned things around. A lot of things contributed to my happiness that summer: photography, family parties, the beach at 6 AM when the sun was just about to rise. The simplest things helped me to get back on my feet, to shape me into the person I’ve been for the last two years.
And then I met you.
You told me how weird it felt to not be able to stop thinking about me. You told me that you didn’t think any of it was real: the back and forth messaging, the sitting together for hours at the diner, the idea that somebody actually cared about you.
You didn’t think it was real that I fell for you.
You couldn’t look past the fact that someone actually wanted you or needed you. You couldn’t come to terms with the idea of there being a person who actually enjoyed all of your habits and personality traits. So, you left. I fell for the things that you hated about yourself, raw and uncensored. You were the person who changed my life without knowing it. But still to this day, you’re a damaged, beautiful soul that maybe no one will ever capture.
“I’m sorry I can’t be a better map to you, I’m still looking for the map to myself,” you said.
You’re lost. Maybe more than I am, and it hurts to admit that even though I wanted to find you so badly, there was nothing I could do about it. I spent so much energy focusing on how to help you be happy, that I lost myself again in the process. I couldn’t remember what it was like to feel as free as I did a couple of years ago.
I lost myself while waiting up for your messages, driving thirty minutes back and forth just to see you because you didn’t want to come to me, and in hopes that you would suddenly see how truly invested in you I was. So when you left, I didn’t know what it felt like to be myself anymore. I just felt numb. I couldn’t remember how to be single. I forgot how to stop checking my phone for your messages… I forgot how to stop worrying whether or not you were feeling sad and needed my help… I forgot what it was like to be on my own.
I’ve been realizing a lot over the past few weeks, but the most important thing to note is that you can’t change someone. They have to want to change themselves. Trying to be with someone who is in the middle of trying to change themselves is like putting yourself in the middle of a tornado. It feels like the universe is testing you, making fun of you by putting someone in your life who just can’t be with you right now. They need the space to act freely and figure out how to be happy before they can interfere with you. They need to be happy without you before they can be happy with you.
I got lost in you, just like I had done with another one. Except for this time, I’m choosing to find myself.
Feature Image via Brandon Woelfel.