It’s November, so unless some really dramatic stuff goes down in the next two months, I think it’s safe to recap everything I’ve learned about loving and being loved in 2019.
In 2019, a friendship that was a major part of my life for the past 4 years ended. It’s been one of the more difficult heartbreaks of my life, and I still think about her almost every day. I hadn’t had a friendship definitively end since the fourth grade and I had seriously underestimated how much it would hurt. I don’t know if it was completely the right decision, if we could have fixed the toxic parts, if there was enough good in the relationship to stay. What I do know is that I will always wish only the greatest happiness for her, and I hope that she too, thinks of me fondly every now and then.
2019 was also the year that I fully healed from love not reciprocated. I learned that people are more than how they hurt you and that retelling stories of trauma, while sometimes helpful, can often be an echo of the trauma itself. This year I realized that specific pain was tied to other old hurts, things I never got over, things I buried deep. I was so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t get past this one moment, this one conversation, until I realized it wasn’t that one fractured point in time but so many. And re-telling that story – over and over and over – reinforced its ties to all those other unhealed wounds. And none of this served me. I finally let myself write about these things, I did some therapy. I realized all I wanted was someone to acknowledge how I had been hurt, that yes this pain was meaningful it was significant it was catastrophic. And I could be that person for myself. So I validated my wounds and I healed them and I put them past me. I don’t think trauma is ever a completely closed book, but you can put it on bookshelf and forget about it for a while.
Friendships are not just for getting through things together. I think college was difficult for me in many ways. And so – I forgot that friendships could be about having fun together. I got so stuck in using them as emotional crutches to just survive the emotional maelstrom I felt I was constantly drowning in. But post-grad, pulling myself back up on dry land, for what felt like the first time in years, there were still people to lean on for support, people to talk through big things with, but they were also there for the small talk for the juicy hookup details for some irresponsible weekday drinking. Yes, friendships are there for emotional support and validation. But don’t forget all the JOY these people bring to your life.
Emma Watson is really on to something with that “self-partnered” stuff. Even if you have a million friends, close family, a romantic partner (or many!), at the end of the day, it’s just you. You can’t break up with yourself so you might as well make the most of that partnership. And while I FIRMLY reject the notion that no one will love you until you love yourself, I do believe that your relationship with yourself is a foundation for all of the other relationships in your life.
Stop dating Libras. No pontificating here, that’s the whole lesson. Just stay away.