We are bigger than we know

Dear Nora, 

First of all, let me say congratulations on the new masters program! That is badass Nora! I know it’s plan B (B for badass?), but who knows what new doors it will lead to, or who you’ll meet, or how it will move you towards your dreams or evolve your dreams. The important thing is that you are moving forward, in spite of doors persistently not opening. I am proud of you! (Um also… three words about your interview look: hot damn girl.) You’re slaying 2017 already. 

I’m excited for you to be back on the east coast. I feel like your heart has been there all along. Even apart from Cory. I know the hope you’ve held onto for so long has conditioned you to envision her waiting at the end of that road. Maybe somehow moving back there will be the last step you need to release yourself. Maybe her being within reach and now watching all of the magic dissolve, you will be able to once and for all disenchant yourself of her. I’m sorry that you’ve felt like you’ve regressed lately. It’s ok to take steps backwards—your feet are still pointing in the direction you want to go and that is where you’re headed. I know you’re tired. Feel what demands to be felt. Most importantly, have compassion for yourself.

As far as all of those things she said to you Nora… all I can say is… you deserve a great love (or many!). And someone who says those things is not it.

If someone doesn’t fight for you, they aren’t for you. Period.

Sometimes someone doesn’t fight because they’re afraid. Sometimes someone doesn’t fight because they don’t love you enough, or don’t love themselves enough. Sometimes someone doesn’t fight because they don’t believe, deep down, that they deserve you. Sometimes someone doesn’t fight because the timing is off. Sometimes someone doesn’t fight because they already have too many of their own battles they need to fight for themselves. I don’t know all of her reasons Nora. But I do know, you deserve to have someone who fights for you—through distance, or school, or families. Someone who doesn’t back away and make excuses like “it’s not logical to be together” and “the only reason I have to fight for you is love… and that’s not enough”. The truth is you really put yourself out there for her, risked a lot and sacrificed a lot and invested so much emotionally. You’re not just losing the future you hoped for, you feel like all that you put into it is now wasted. And that’s a shitty feeling. It’s like her telling you all that you invested just isn’t worth that much. (That’s a lie btw… she just doesn’t appreciate the value of what you’re offering.)

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “she may be who I want, but she’s not what I want.” (Isn’t that just the fuckery of life—Lily was totally what I want, but not who I want.)

I know I’m just repeating stuff back to you that you already know. I will say one more thing… actually, two things. 1) the pain will go away, however… 2) you’ve got to choose to let it go Nora. For the love of god delete those goddamn messages. Stop rereading that convo. Keeping them has served it’s purpose—you said yourself you’ve accepted she’s not for you. What good can come of rehashing it? Delete that shit woman! Obviously it’s about more than a series of text messages, but the first step of letting the pain go is to cleanse your life of things that keep bringing fresh reminders of the pain and rejection.

Boston is new and shiny and all yours. No one is going to dim your light. You are starting an exciting chapter all on your own and a bright path awaits you. 

I’m sorry to hear that Abby has not been a good support for you. That makes me so sad. I know her position is tricky, and I know you care a lot about each other. It is ok to take a step back if that feels like the healthy choice for you right now. For your sake and hers, I hope you will be able to work through that together. But I know that is not always possible when someone tries to remain friends with both parties of the breakup. Personally I essentially lost some friends when Kay & I ended, even though she was the one who wronged me… but then I left. Since she was still there in their daily lives, they remained her friends and didn’t reach out across the distance to me. 

I am sending all the good vibes your way Nora. 

I appreciate your word vomit because it makes me feel like I can do that too! So here goes…

At the end of every relationship, I seem to mourn the loss of that first one all over again. A fresh loss triggers a reminder of the loss. It’s like each new loss is an echo of the first. 

I’m not sure how to feel about that, or what to do with it. I think it just means I have yet to find something that is embedded as deeply in my soul as my life with Kay was. 

I received a message out-of-the-blue from a girl I went to college with. Not someone I know well at all. But had nice recollections of nonetheless. Let’s call her Becca. Becca messaged me on instagram and said told me she lives in my old house now. She gets mail sometimes and recognized my name and looked me up. That, by itself is a fun coincidence. But then she went on to tell me, that after graduating from our small, Christian college she married a man, but it wasn’t until she met and fell hard for a woman she worked with that she really experienced falling in love and sexual fulfillment for the first time. Her story is beautiful and heartbreaking. She spent years trying to suppress what she knew to be the real her. Her father is a pastor, her family is not supportive at all. But in spite of everything she said “fuck it” and was very brave and chose to live out who she is, married this woman, and they bought the very house in Indianapolis that Kay & I used to live in. 

Not only do they live there with her daughter and their cat, they were married in that house and when she sent me photos of them standing in front of what used to be our fireplace, sharing their “you may now kiss the bride” moment my heart exploded with joy and also shades of sadness.

It felt like I was almost looking at my own alternate life. I know a house is just a house, but when Kay and I found that place together it meant so much more than that to me. It symbolized everything I had always wanted. We had done about 5 years of dating during school & being long distance, and it had taken such a toll on my heart. We found this house when I was looking to finally finally move to Indianapolis and we’d be together and truly start our lives. Being in that house meant that my heart and home were finally under the same roof. We moved in and it was literally my dream come true. Gorgeous 3-bedroom, with a piano and a fireplace and a yard. Summers there everything blooming around the house, with parties of friends in the back yard. Winters snuggled up in bed together, shoveling snow off the sidewalk and making a fire. It was never about the house. It was about being there with Kay. Getting to see her everyday was all I had ever wanted. Waking up next to her and attacking her with kisses when she got home from work and taking a thousand pictures of our cats together.

Here is where Becca & I’s stories take different paths. She met and fell in love with a woman who was where she was at. Out and proud and knows how lucky she is to have found Becca. Building that life together and living openly and creating their home. Unfortunately when I was with Kay she was not in that place. So although we had all the ingredients to start that life together, Kay wasn’t ready to accept herself, love herself the way she would need to in order to live like that. Instead of getting married in front of that fireplace (not that we could have at the time anyway, it still wasn’t legal in Indiana), that is where the final scenes of our relationship played out. 

It makes me really happy to know that the house gets to have a happy (and gay) future with Becca & her wife there now. I am sending her this drawing I did of the house when I lived there with congratulations and best wishes. 

I also sent Kay a text and thanked her for the beautiful life we had together. Truly, I’m thankful for it every day. I had a really good thing, for so many years with her. And even though I wanted a different ending, at the time, I know now it’s ok that it didn’t go that way.

Not every love story has a happy ending… but it is still a love story.

My sister told me that once. It’s also ok, that 2.5 years after it ending, I still am mourning it’s loss in some ways. 

As I gain perspective with time and distance, more than ever I have been able to let go of the sad parts. Thank them for what they taught me, and remember the good. I was reminded of this the other day, when Jill reached out to me. Jill is a girl who was unfortunately quite tangled up in Kay & I’s relationship at the end of it. She was a co-worker of Kay’s, and they were sleeping together behind my back. I was jealous of her, without even knowing the truth of what was going on. When I did an attitude adjustment and let Jill into our lives the three of us really bonded and together we all proceeded into emotionally dangerous territory. Kay and I ended up breaking up, I found out the truth of their affair, and then for reasons I’m still a little hazy on, I dating Jill for a brief spell. I mean, it was clearly a rebound, but it was much more than that. It was me hiding in terror from the pain that was about to ensue from losing Kay and being betrayed by her. As I’ve reflected on it over this time it’s also been a source of shame for me that I would date someone who had been sleeping with my girlfriend (aka who had played a big role in causing me immense pain). It felt disrespectful to myself. Anyway, fortunately (and with much hard work) I’ve been able to forgive myself for that, considering all that I was going through at the time I think all I owe myself is compassion and grace.

So yes, I surprised myself when I heard from Jill that I have zero bad feelings surrounding her now. I went through periods of lots of anger and sadness and pain, but now I am able to view her as she is, just a human who fucked up. I have forgiven her, and Kay, and myself for all that happened and Nora, it honestly is the best feeling in the world to be able to have let that go. Repeat it? Never. But harbor it? Useless. Forgive it? Freedom.

She reached out to me to let me know, that she is considering a move to the Pacific Northwest, and possibly Portland. In the future. Maybe. And she wanted to respect the life I’ve created here and just make sure it didn’t make me uncomfortable. Of course that’s unnecessary, but kind nonetheless. I am happy to say that I could genuinely respond to her, without hesitation, that it wouldn’t make me uncomfortable, and that I think good things about her and I’d welcome her to Portland if she made that decision.

We are bigger than we know. So much bigger. If we choose to be.

That’s how I’ve been feeling these days. Bigger than I knew. I feel full and alive and just at the start of something. I am stepping up my self-love game. I think it’s time for me to start writing in earnest. It’s always been a dream of mine to write but also my biggest fear is to try that and fail and I’ve let that hold me back. I have been trying all the things lately that make me scared or uncomfortable. Getting my first tattoo (I say first, because now I just want more). Going to new groups and events to meet new people, that are outside of my comfort zone. Trying out with as a solo or small group for a choir song (I prefer hiding in the big group). Giving more of myself at work, even in areas I don’t feel confident. 

water / feminine divine / balance / creation / harmony

I am not anyone’s other half. I love just being a whole.

Why do I feel so alive when I’m not in a relationship? Is this just an indicator of a thirst that needs to be quenched? Or does it mean something else? Like… I am meant to be alone? And if I feel this strongly why do I still do a double take at a cute girl? I’m not sure, but I do know that I need to continue down this path.

I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t all been easy so far. It’s been almost 2 months since breaking up with Lily. I miss having someone to hold me at night sometimes—I love cuddling so much. I miss having a go-to person to tell things to. I miss sex. Good lord do I miss sex. I’m still aiming for 3 months being celibate but it is… a challenge. 

I’ve been spending some time with Hannah, one of the girls I had briefly dated this summer. That’s been really fun as we’ve been able to move past the dating side of things and begin a genuine friendship. (Elise and I have also been tentatively venturing into friendship territory. I have some mixed feelings about that, but so far it’s been a positive thing.) 

Is it possible to be in the honeymoon phase of singleness? Because if so, I think I’m in it. I can’t really say this without sounding like an ass, but I think I’m falling in love with myself a little bit.

Single and not ready to mingle,

Love, Ruth

P.S. Did you end things with Karina or Key? It sounded like you were right on the edge of that last time you wrote…

P.P.S. Magpie says hi to Toby.

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