when you find out.

a little over a year ago, i received word that she'd met someone else. the only girl i'd ever loved, and the only one who ever loved me back, had moved on. it wasn't fair. i was devastated. i drunk-dialed her. it must have been three, four o'clock where she was.

did you sleep with a married guy?
did you sleep with a married guy?
that's none of your business.

we exchanged a few more words, and then i hung up. i woke up the next morning, and something was off, but i couldn't immediately remember what it was. it was similar to those moments in college when my computer would break down, and i'd spend the entire night futilely trying to repair it myself. in the morning, i'd wake up and instinctively know there was something unpleasant i had to deal with.

even though technically we've been broken up for over three years, that night, the night i found out, solidified it. i wanted revenge. i thought of unspeakable things. how could she? after all i'd done for her. after five years together, i felt i deserved better than that. i spent the following weeks in a haze, hitting on random girls at bars to no avail. it was my turn, goddamnit. didn't these women know what i'd been through? didn't they know how creative, funny, and caring i was? what the hell was their problem, anyway?

i look back now on that particular time, and it amazes me that the word that comes to mind to describe how i really felt then is not shocked, disappointed, hurt, or heartbroken. sure, i felt all those things, but the one that really sticks out above all the rest is relief. it's amazing what one will put up with to keep the loneliness at bay. it's crazy now to think how badly i needed another person's acceptance, how important it was for me to feel needed.

and then there i was at a bar, asking a girl for her number. there i was at another bar, asking a girl if i could buy her a drink. there i was, writing heartfelt emails to girls i kind of knew. of course, these little exchanges never led to anything other than some humiliation on my part. but i did those things because i didn't want to be left behind. i didn't like waking up alone in the middle of the night and feeling anxious. i wanted to come home and tell someone about my boring day at work.

what i've learned in the last two years of living alone is this: my expectations for life have been ridiculous. just like how i thought high school was going to be zany and brightly colored as saved by the bell, i thought my mid-twenties was going to be like friends and how i met your mother - an active social life, a lot of dating, and maybe a couple of really great relationships. maybe it's that way for some people, but for most people, especially the ones i know, it's not even close.

being alone has its benefits, though. in the time that i've been alone, i've gone to new york. i've been to canada multiple times. i've gone hiking. i saw a bear in the wild. i've shaved my head. i've learned a bunch of songs on the guitar. i've gotten back into running, and i go to the gym regularly. i reach out to strangers, and i invite them out for drinks, for dinner, for karaoke. i buy clothes that i think will look good on me. i've saved money. i've caught up with old classmates and friends. i've said yes to girls who've invited me to coeur d'alene for a weekend. i've applied to the peace corps. i've unsuccessfully flirted. i'll pretty much go anywhere and do just about anything. i try to make the most out of each day.

because when you're on your own, you've gotta go at it hard. there's no other choice.

1 comment:

Aby said...

Lovely post dear ...lovely post. Every single word that you've written makes sense and seems so logical. Every now and then you write about something that touches the readers and makes them feel good about the fact that they follow your blog. Loved it :-)