Once upon a time, dear reader, a long time ago, I fell in love with my best friend. I can’t tell you when that happened… only that it was years later that I realised it was true and could admit it. But as the immortal quote from How I met your Mother goes:
“If you have chemistry you only need one other thing – timing, but timing’s a bitch.”
This is true. We got together, but I don’t think either of us were ready for it. I was spiralling into in a very dark place. We were both so scared of hurting the other too… It all fell apart. And I truly understood heartbreak. That was years ago. He was the love of my life, and truth be told, he still is. It has taken even more years after the fact to accept that this is the case, know that there’s nothing that will come of it, and let go.
So why am I talking about this now? Because the chances of him ever reading this post are so very minimal. And, dear reader – I’m doing this for me. This is so much more than relationships and emotions. It about choices and learning lessons, and living.
My pinterest feed is full of platitudes and poems about love and loss and other such stuff. There were so many, I made a board for them. I visit it and my cynicism comes bubbling to the surface. Men lie – People lie. Promises are broken. I should know this by now. But this is where that old chestnut what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger comes whispering in my ear. Do I get to be angry? Yes. Do I want to be? No: it’s too draining.
The relationship I had before him wasn’t a happy one. In that life, I lost myself in trying to appease and meet the expectations of the family and their quirks. I had to be the adult in that situation, a mother role more than a partner. And it’s taken me to now to even recover from that. It meant with him I wasn’t going to stand on ceremony for anybody. And I didn’t. It didn’t go down well with some, but a lack of communication made it all the worse. The things you learn at the end of it all.
But, this is for me to thank him, them. Both of them. For helping shape who I am today. For introducing me to music that I love, people and places I would never have met or gone to, and experiences I was too chicken to try until I realised I could. And for hurting me so badly that I had to rebuild and re-find myself: who I am, what my passions are, where I want to be, and why I do what I do.
I found the birthday card he wrote me a few months before the break up, and it had me sitting on the ground and crying for hours the other day. It made me realise that there are things I do regret, and there are things I will blame myself for – forever – and I need to accept that its okay, as long as I can take something from it and not repeat my mistakes: learn from experience, and value what I was taught. And to remember that any relationship takes two. He and I are as guilty as the other here. That’s not going to change anything, but it helps with perspective for the future.
So I sit here, in my lovely home, with my view of the sea and my books, my yarn, my Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor (there are better quality ones, but I do love Rostropovich – his interpretation is more emotional than either Ma or Du Pré… and I haven’t found a good recording of Isserlis – even though I first heard him playing this live), and look at the photos of my friends, my adventures, and my list of projects I aspire to achieve this year, and I know I couldn’t have done this or been here if it weren’t for what they taught me about, well, me.
I think about where I will go and what I will do. That while there won’t be anybody else, it doesn’t mean I’m alone or a failure. My experiences have brought me a tribe of people to share life and laughter with, to learn from, and to have adventures with. It won’t be the one I called my best friend, but it will all be okay. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful.