Chapter Twenty Five
“You can’t go through life trying to avoid a broken heart. If you do, it’ll break from loneliness anyway.”
Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
As someone who didn’t have a lot of friends growing older, I didn’t appreciate what love really was until I could appreciate it. Love, as a child, has a completely different application versus what it represents as an adult. I suppose our perception of love grows and takes a different shape as experience gives us an opportunity to experience the different ways it can influence our growth.
Being emotionally closed off was a choice for me. I grew up believing that it took a special kind of person to see past all of my crap and love me for the person I was instead of the person that they could mold and shape into someone they could have that kind of attachment to and it be meaningful. It actually turned out to be more like that you had to give them an opportunity to let them show you why you were special in the first place.
There was a period of time where I didn’t want anything to do with anyone except my roommate Patrick. He lived with me and he was one of my great friends regardless of what was happening with other relationships. He still is one of my boys to this day. The point was that I was so heartbroken that I didn’t want to risk investing myself in other relationships. I was still caught up in all of the ones I was still invested in to focus on letting them go and attempting to build new ones.
However, there will always be common factors that enable you to open the door to such new ventures. Mine personally, it was Ultimate Frisbee. I had mad love for the game and I still do. The general gist of the story is that I was invited to play with some old friends. I wound up going to play and I also wound up making some new friends. Some of which are close friends at this point. But, one, in particular, understood my distress. I was very adamant about how I didn’t really want anything and that I was just there for the game and nothing else. I didn’t understand that he was practicing the concept that it didn’t necessarily have to be someone special. You just had to be willing to give them an opportunity to show all that you had to offer was unique.
Anyway, over the course of our developing relationship, I still was very hard of heart. I was willing to entertain the idea of him trying to prove me wrong. I may have been emotionally closed off but I was still fair. It didn’t take him long to earn my friendship. It didn’t take me long to realize after coming to the realization that the more I stayed emotionally closed off, the more I’d just isolate myself more from the deeper connection necessary to heal from that heartbreak. It was at that moment that I knew if that I continued on a superficial level, I’d be left even emptier than I was. At least there was something there to lose and if there’s something to lose, there’s a reason to protect it.
Tyler was patient with me. He knew that if I was ever going to get back to a point where I could be open and trusting again, I would have to surround myself with the right people. At first, it was hard for me to take him at his word. However, over time it the philosophy began to ring true. The problem was that I had an issue becoming invested again. I couldn’t find a logical reason to take that kind of risk. Especially knowing that he would just be leaving in a year. Why would anyone take that kind of risk? The kicker was that he gave me one. Even more to the point, I believed him. I believed in him. I believed that even though he wasn’t going to be around as long as I would have liked him to be, it wouldn’t stop him from keeping our newfound friendship intact.
The day he went away, I cried. I’m big enough to admit it. No matter what was exchanged between us two, I knew that eventually distance would catch up to us. To this day, it is still my hope that it doesn’t just because of how much that we’ve connected. That day, I knew what true heartbreak felt like. Nothing else really matches up in comparison. It was one of those situations that no matter what you did, it would still be made to end. It took a lot of convincing to arrive at a point that our friendship wasn’t over. It was just in a transition. It seemed like such a cop-out then but looking at it now, it may have been necessary.
One thing I’ve learned in having long distance relationships is that it requires a certain level of commitment to make that kind of connection work. You have to be able to make the best of the time and opportunities that you have to make the relationship grow. Whether they are at your right hand or fifteen hundred miles away, the philosophy doesn’t change. It is absolutely necessary that you treat it with the respect that you’ve built for it. Otherwise, it wilts and dies. As much as Life can get in the way of these things, it is still a choice to nurture those relationships. Looking at my prior relationships, it wasn’t something I didn’t do well.
Our friendship is both emotional and logical and it’s something that he understands about me. It allows us to interact on both levels and make connections on those levels. I used to think that it was either one way or the other and that they didn’t allow for a balance. The truth is, that productive relationships require a balance of both emotion and logic. They both offer a means to react and even compensate for each other’s shortcomings.
One of the most impactful lessons that I’ve learned throughout our relationship was that love must dare to risk. I love him. I don’t know any other way to put it. I suppose plain and simple is effective enough. You don’t need a reason to act on a feeling and perhaps a feeling is a reason in its own way.. It was reason enough for me.
And it still is…