I hate that we live in a world where people are not free to be themselves. I met a girl who is sweet, beautiful, kind and thinks about everyone else, before herself. And she cares a little too much about what people think about her as well. I met her about two years ago. We connected almost instantly. Maybe a little too quick. I didn’t think anything strange about it, because I liked her energy. She was positive all the time and had this perspective I think not too many people are able to witness.
Over the next several weeks of us talking, she let on that she had been in a relationship for 7 years with a boy who did not deserve her love. She felt more like his mother than his girlfriend. She told me she was always picking up after him. He never did anything to help himself. She was more or less of a maid for him. I sat her down multiple times and asked her what her worth was. She never seemed to have a good enough answer for me. Whenever the conversation started to get too deep, she would run from it. A couple of times, literally, she got up and left. One of those times, I said to her that she was enabling this behavior in him. I told her that if she really had an issue with the way she was shaping out her life then she would take active steps to change her reality. She literally just got up and walked away.
We linked up a few weeks after that conversation. She looked different. She seemed lighter, freer. She told me that she had found the courage to leave the relationship she was in. She said she was happier. She said she was ready to explore herself and whatever came along with that. I told her I was happy for her and that I was glad that she was finding herself. We parted that afternoon, both happy within our own thoughts about the progression of life.
To my surprise, that night we linked up again, upon her request. She said that she had something heavy on her chest. We met at a park with the moon looming overhead. She didn’t waste any time. She told me to not interrupt and she had to say it all, otherwise she never would. She said that she never had anyone in her life who was honest with her the way that I had been. She was scared, because she was falling for me and didn’t know what to do. She felt that I gave her the attention that she had never been given her whole relationship. She knew that I was in a relationship. I was not up for catching what she was trying to throw. I laid that out to her. I told her that it felt like she wanted to be lost in someone in order to be whole. I told her that she should go learn her worth before wanting to explore anything with anyone else. She wasn’t happy with that answer, but she said that she understood. She needed to find herself. She had never been with a girl and this was not how she should be exploring that part of herself.
She and I stopped talking for a while after that. I would have been perfectly fine continuing our friendship, but I felt distance was important to her, to her heart. So, I abided by her unspoken rule and did not attempt to reach out to her. A few weeks later, she sent me a text that we should go grab some dinner. I was busy and couldn’t make it, so told her I would reach out when I had some time. A week or two after that, I had some time available and reached out to her and this time she was busy. We ended up playing this cat and mouse game for several more weeks.
The next time that I did see her was by complete chance. About two months had passed since we spoke. I was out with my girlfriend and ran into her at a restaurant. She was seated at a table with a guy whose face was away from me. I went over to say hello. She was taken aback by my presence for a quick second, but quickly recovered. She got up to give me a hug and turned towards the guy and said,
“Nav, I want to introduce you to my fiancé.”
I hope the shock was not as prevalent on my face as it was in my mind. I reached out to shake his hand. He seemed like a very nice guy. Very innocent seeming. I could tell by the way he looked at her that he was completely and hopelessly smitten by her. She cleared her throat and said,
“Sometimes you just know. From the first date, we knew it was special. So, he put a ring on it and I accepted.”
I told her I was happy for them and wished them the best and walked back to my table. I had my thoughts, but they were meaningless compared to what she felt was right for her. I put it out of my mind and enjoyed my night out with my girlfriend.
That night as I was getting ready for bed, my phone lit up. It was her. She said,
“I don’t want you to judge me. I respect you a lot and really carry about your opinion. But, no one has treated me like he treats me. He’s good guy and I can see a future with him. I know this was sudden, but I wanted to do this. Why wait, when you know?”
I responded by telling her that she did not owe me any explanation, this was her life and she is more than welcome to live it as she chose. I told her that the route I would have taken would have been different from the one she chose had I been in her position, but, regardless of that, I wished her nothing, but happiness.
And for anyone reading this who does not believe that, well, that’s too bad. I truly do wish her the best. I cared for her as one would a good friend. I wanted her to be happy. There was just this little voice in my head that kept pestering me. It kept saying that she was running away from truly exploring herself. She was not willing to face the fact that perhaps she was not straight as she thought. That perhaps she was rushing too quickly into another relationship, so she didn’t have to face herself.
Now, I can be pretty egotistical when I want to be, but I was not thinking these things, because I believed her to have been in love with me. I truly felt and do feel to this day that she was too scared of the judgement that she would get thrown her way by the people in her life. I also believe that she was afraid to be alone.
This story does not end with her figuring it out and realizing that she needed to truly love herself first and foremost, before someone else came along. In fact, the story actually continues on; as do most things in life. She married him a month later, having known him for three months. And that was that.
I don’t mean to be cynical. I know there are people who will swear by their relationships that they have been in for decades after going on one date with someone. The way that everything played out with her, did not lead me to this possible twist in her story. But, it is not my life. This isn’t the first time someone has confessed to me that they were curious about their sexuality and exploring it further, but they did not want to do something that would make their family or people in their life look at them differently. They were scared of the consequences of how life would change for them. A lot of these people are minorities who come from traditional upbringing. An upbringing where the concept of sexuality is taboo to think about, let alone talk about.
Yes, we get it, its 2019, but the reality is, there is a long history of homophobia and conditioning that people are dealing with to this day. And I understand that with her, it wasn’t just about exploring her sexuality, it was also about loving oneself first before loving another. And that’s also problematic in society. It’s like we aspire to marriage or that significant other. I don’t know, man. I’m going to stop this here. This will turn into a whole novel and half if I don’t… (I say this as I realize it’s already about 1500 words long).
I want to leave you with this thought. Live your life in a way where you don’t wake up one morning, staring at the ceiling, wondering where your life has gone. Don’t live your life through the eyes of a stranger. Live your own perspective and live your truth, even if it feels like your living it alone. Your perspective is important. And I hope that you’re shifting your lens every now and then to capture the bigger picture, whatever that is.