It’s funny if you really think about it. All the things you learned from the different people you have been with in your lifetime. Personally, I’m tired of all the life lessons, but I’m sure they’re “leading me to something better” or some other bullshit. Maybe I should think better of myself, but it’s hard to have self love when you’re constantly being shown that you aren’t worth it. That you’re not good enough for someone to stay. Too many issues.
I talked about some memories in an earlier post. Remembering back on some of the happiest moments in my life. Some things I’ve talked about in therapy. I think that now that some time has passed I can begin to understand some of the lessons I’ve learned from past relationships and talk about them. I suppose this is another form of therapy.
So, here we go. Lessons learned. Someone once told me that time is more valuable than anything. The one thing you can’t get back. So when it’s wasted you are a little harder on yourself. I don’t regret the time because overall it did teach me something, but I regret that some people had the privilege of having me for a short time in their lives when they absolutely didn’t deserve it.
The first: The one who taught me how to hate myself. To think I was only good for him to get off once in a while, but not invest anything else into. His family was great. Maybe a little hard on him at times. Maybe he felt like he wasn’t good enough so he felt the need to take it out on me. Maybe he felt pressured into it, but didn’t have the guts to say anything. We were such good friends at first. He was the one who told me I deserved better than the perfectly good relationship I was in at the time. I took a chance on him and he was the first person to make me feel like I was absolutely worthless. I ate less, I distanced myself from my family, I questioned everything I ever knew. Even years later he is in a happy relationship, but had the balls to comment that I wasn’t marriage material after I had just gotten engaged. Some karma. That he can be in a happy relationship where I am still alone and struggling. He helped my low self esteem and even now I am still trying to tell myself that I am worth love and I deserve to be happy, but in the back of my head there is always a voice telling me I will never be good enough.
The rebound: I’m sorry you had to be what you were. I really did like you and have feelings for you. You taught me how to have fun again. To enjoy the little things. You were even more important to me later in life which I’ll forever be grateful for. You showed me that I didn’t have to try so hard. I was beautiful as I was and you helped me work towards a better me when I asked. Honestly, for everything that happened I won’t be able to repay you and I’m glad that we’re still friends.
The ex: He was probably the hardest lesson I had to learn. The most time wasted in a sense. I was so young and didn’t understand that his whole family was manipulating me to be the perfect slave for this little boy. After so many times of him cheating on me and then begging me to take him back, I decided to stick it out with him. I lost eight years of my life to him. I worked so hard to make a life for us and he spit on it every chance he got. I worked multiple jobs, I joined the Army, I went to college and became an Officer, and it was still never good enough. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not available when he needed me so he sought attention elsewhere every chance he got. Belittling me in front of my friends who took his side in the end. The darkest pit I never thought I would crawl out of. Did I love him? Of course. But as they say the more the man cheats and strays the more he loves the girl and the less the girl loves him. My mind had stopped loving him and physically I didn’t want to be anywhere near him. My anxiety, trust issues, and codependency all comes from him. I was a chameleon for so long. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I tried to wash him away with anyone I could. I did everything I could to erase him. The one part of my life I can’t erase, but try to forget. It took almost a year for me to find someone who started to show me what I really deserved, but I still have a long way to go.
Seattle: He was the light at the end of the tunnel or so I thought. He was everything I wanted and needed at the time. He showed me that there were still people with common decency. The ones who thought “the little things” were important and he made me feel special to him. He was leaving a toxic relationship too. He understood that I needed to take things slow. I didn’t want to be vulnerable with him and yet it was so easy to be. He was the first person after years of heartbreak that I finally started to open up to. I told him I was falling in love with him. I cried so much and he never ran. But when it finally came down to it, he was just always one foot out the door. Distance is hard, but love is harder. He showed me that there are people who will still treat me how I should be, but he wasn’t going to be it. He inspired me to start writing again after almost three years. It took me over a year to let him go.
Germany: I told myself I’d be more open. I closed the door on Seattle for a while and didn’t think I’d ever talk to him again even though he ended up popping in and out of my life a bit. Germany wasn’t like anyone I’d met. We agreed on friends with benefits and then it was like a bullet out of a gun. Everything was moving so fast. I opened up to him (not quite fully, but more than enough). He told me he loved me first. He told me I could take it slow, he wouldn’t be like everyone else *eye roll* and he was everything I wanted and hoped for. He called when he said he would. This was the first relationship where I didn’t hold back my emotions and I cried almost every time we talked. He would hold me or tell me it was going to be alright through the phone. He wanted something serious with me. After I got to Korea we agreed to meet. I flew to Germany to see him and the day before I left he told me not to come. He didn’t speak to me the entire time I was there. I left with a cold, but stronger heart. He taught me that sometimes things are too good to be true. I also learned that travelling by yourself can be extremely freeing and I told myself I would do that while I was in Korea and start fresh. It was a new beginning for me. The start of loving myself again.
He who must not be named: It was so much fun when it was happening. I felt like a new person. I didn’t think I’d be as happy as I was with you. It was innocent fun, but at the same time I felt a certain type of way about you. You were harsh sometimes when you didn’t want to open up about how you felt. I started having feelings for you even when we agreed there wasn’t anything. It was an easy partnership. Of course when push came to shove you ran for the hills. You taught me that I shouldn’t be so open in the beginning. I don’t have to tell my life’s story to someone right away. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to anyone. I realized later that you wouldn’t give a second thought about me. It hurt a bit, funny that you got married right after. Typical I suppose. It taught me that you don’t always have to hold on. You pushed me out of your life and set me free.
E²: It had been pretty tumultuous for a while. I was doing my own thing and not thinking about the consequences. You came along like a Rory. Someone who came into my life unexpectedly. Seemingly insignificant at first and then becoming something so much more. We fell into an easy routine. The old married couple everyone called us. I barely had to try around you. I never felt like I had to hide who I was. you met my drunk alter ego the first night and didn’t run for the hills. You watched me flirt with other guys all night and still agreed to spend time with me the next day. You were my NYE date. You cancelled plans with friends to spend time with someone you just met. I never knew you were dealing with your own problems. Whenever we were together I felt like there wasn’t anyone else. There were days you were moody and distant. I tried not to read into it. There were so many times I wish I had just asked you to talk about things with me, but I can’t force things anymore. I feel bad because by now we’ve both been broken down. How does one person try more or equally without feeling like some imaginary shoe is going to drop? You took care of my boys when I was on duty, you came to see me after I got out of the hospital, you always came home to me after nights out. After you left it didn’t feel like anything had changed, but everything had. I miss you every day. One of the few people who I think I could have a future with. You helped me remember that I don’t have to be anyone, but myself and people will still love me. That no matter how many faces I put on the right one will understand them and roll with the punches.
My not so little finch: Last but not least…. you turned my world upside down. It’s easier to talk about this one because it just happened. It’s the one at the forefront of my mind and will be for a considerable amount of time after you leave even though I will try to move on as soon as humanly possible. Up until this point you have been arguably “the best I’ve ever had”. It will be strange knowing that you can see certain parts of my life anonymously while I won’t have any idea what you’re doing after this, just hoping you’re happy doing whatever it is. I’ll just be another notch on your bedpost, a fleeting memory. It’s funny to think I was going to write you off after the second ‘date’. I didn’t want you to be this significant in my life. I could see the writing on the wall before it was even ending. Accepting that I was second. Understanding that I didn’t have a choice in the matter. You absolutely consumed my whole being. As you say; mind, body, and soul. Sometimes you’d joke about me meeting other people, but that isn’t something you really wanted. I knew you were upset if I talked to other people. I let you have my room key, my card, I didn’t keep anything from you. I wanted to give you the most even though you couldn’t reciprocate all the way. I do hold some resentment. It’s hard feeling like the second choice. Feeling like you’re being used for things. It wasn’t always that way, but my brain would sometimes whisper that you only wanted me around for freebies or sex. Something I wasn’t foreign to, but that I wasn’t comfortable with. You helped me so much in the beginning. Helping me understand my feelings and explaining myself. Wondering why I’m never good enough. Even then I knew we could never be together, but I still accepted it. Maybe I was afraid of being alone. I enjoy having someone to share my time and feelings with. No one wants to feel empty. My therapist told me to enjoy things in the moment. If I was happy then why should I take away from that? Even told me to use you for the things I needed at the time since it was a mutual agreement. I never call things that can’t be serious ‘relationships’ and so we had our puzzle. And now I have you permanently branded. A reminder that you were something important enough to rock my world and change my perspectives. Thank you for showing me what I could have. Even though I don’t think it’s something that will be a reality for me, I appreciate it nonetheless. There’s a whole letter I have penned so I’ll just leave this where it is.
I’m sure there will be more lessons before I leave this country and before I move on to bigger and better things in my life. Most things in my life revolve around relationships and my love life because it’s easier to associate points in my life with people. I feel like these specific people created turning points in my life that have altered who I am as a person and have helped me grow for better or worse.
As another chapter comes to a close I’m reminded that everything happens for a reason and people come into your life exactly when they’re meant to. I might be angry or sad or disappointed for a while. I might force myself to hate a person for a while. Turn them into the bad guy to help me rationalize and work through the pain, but I’ll get over it like I always do. Whether I like it or not, all of these people are woven into my life story. It’s just important to remember why they were.
5 thoughts on “Lessons learned…”
This was an amazing read and your writing style is great. Can’t wait to see more from you.
Thank you so much, Rachel. I really appreciate it.
I ABOSOULUTLY love the title and great read
Thank you, Terry!
This is very beautiful and relateable. I love it:)