When I was young I didn't understand why people in relationships would treat each other in shitty ways and make each other cry, but now my eyes have been opened. I get it so much more. I don't judge people for making mistakes in relationships, hurting each other inadvertently[i] because of fear, selfishness, misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions.
I was really struck by a statement Rashida Jones made in an interview for her movie, Celeste and Jesse Forever which she co-wrote and acted in. Paraphrase: “I’ve learned not to take things so personally. When people hurt me, I’ve learned that very rarely are they doing it maliciously or intentionally. So I just need to get over that.” Ugh, it seems so obvious, but it’s so helpful to remember this.
The Bingley/Bennett saga I’ve off-handedly mentioned in some of my past posts is now over and done. And what could I possibly write to express the odd mixture of relief, sadness, anxiety and peace I am feeling[ii]?
Last July or so I started being interested in a person, kind of out of the blue. As my dad says, “The heart wants what the heart wants,” but I didn’t know why my heart wanted what it wanted. I was confused by my own feelings and attraction to this person, who, in my opinion, was not necessarily the kind of person I’d usually feel drawn to.
My first instinct when I sense that I might be starting to “like” someone is to suppress the feelings and try and amputate them, as if they were something unnatural, undesirable and foreign. I do this because I have internalized 1 Corinthians 7[iii] beyond what is actually healthy and helpful. I automatically assume that any “crush” I may have on a person must be an idol that must be destroyed as soon as possible. Joshua Harris, if I ever encounter you in the street, I will jokingly strangle you but it won’t be a joke at all. Ugh, curse you and your “infatuation” talk and “one size fits all” Christian courtship paradigm!!!
That rant aside, I continue my narrative. I sensed that I “liked” this certain person last July, and decided to take a gamble, be mature, and not just deny and stuff down my feelings but actually acknowledge them, feel them and see where it would take me. Maybe a romantic relationship with someone could be something good and useful, not just a means to distract me from my devotion and life lived in service to God. Perhaps God could have a good purpose in two people becoming partners and working as a team together. I was willing to give it all the benefit of the doubt.
And yet, I found myself embroiled in the often overly complicated “dance” of not knowing if this other person liked me back, and of not knowing if I was making it clear enough that I was interested. Throughout it all I was praying, “God, what do you think? If this isn’t supposed to go anywhere, would you make that clear? If you want it to go somewhere, would you please talk to [insert person’s name] so that they’ll take the initiative to talk to me about it?”
And I waited. Oh, did I wait. It was so confusing! It was uncomfortable.
I told close friends and family: “I think we’re on the road to nowhere.” Now I know without a doubt that we actually were. And now it’s over.
I don’t regret opening up my heart and allowing myself to “like” someone. I’m proud of myself for being fearless and putting myself out there, even if it meant getting my heart moderately broken. I applaud myself for being vulnerable.
I may appear strong and intelligent, articulate and competent, but I’m never going to apologize for or hide the fact that I am human, sensitive and deeply desire to one day to be with someone that will love and care for me.
It didn’t work out this time. You know, that’s okay. Six months of unemployment and a failed graduate school attempt have taught me that despite the seeming “dead ends” of life, God’s always got something greater up his sleeve.
God, you devious bastard. Looking forward for what you have for me next.
[i] I wrote “inadvertently” for a reason. Keep in mind that I absolutely believe that those who perpetrate psychological and physical abuse, any kind of intimate partner violence, must be held accountable. If perpetrators aren't seeking active treatment or counseling in order to develop non-destructive ways of coping and engaging in conflict, they should be condemned and penalized to the fullest extent of the law, goddammit.
[ii] I made a weird break-up YouTube playlist that is speaking to my soul, if you’re interested in listening. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLasRvYvSQDcVvhbUhMetxz8jR6jAo6bVH
[iii] “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:23-35).