About 8 years ago, I saw someone who I had not seen since high school at a mutual friends’ birthday party. Before he left, he looked at me and said, “Love you.” I think I replied, “Love ya back” or something close to it.
I saw him again recently. He said something along the lines of “Let me know when you divorce your husband.” I laughed and said, “Why would I want to do that?” After it came out of my mouth, I half realized what he say saying. We let it drop and talked about something else.
Now that I am back living in my hometown, I have been thinking of him and these interactions that we have had. The thoughts made me sad, and I put down a lot of my questions that have been causing me to suffer.
Are you serious? Why are you saying these things? Why now? How long have you loved me? Why did you never say anything to me when you saw me all the time and when I could have said yes to you? Were you ashamed of me? Afraid? You once said you were intimidated by me and my smart friends. Was that true? Even if I said yes, would it have worked? Would you, the knows-everyone townie, and I, the caged animal who yearned to break free at a full run, really would have worked in a relationship?
The thoughts kept haunting me. I felt sad, so I decided to pause, relax, and let myself feel it. I cried and then realized that I was perpetuating my own suffering.
In high school, I would have given anything for this gentle, kind, funny person to ask me out. If he had asked me out, held my hand, gave me kisses, been proud to be seen in public with me, I would have been propelled into outer space happy.
With that, I felt a shattering of my high school image of myself: unlovable and unloved. I was only those things because I told myself so, and because I hinged my inner self worth on the meaning given to me by the affections of other people. Because of that, I suffered then, and I suffered now.
I am reminded to be ever so gentle with myself. Being gentle with others results when you are gentle with yourself. You cannot be judgmental and gentle at the same time. You cannot know your own worth or your own sense of self love if you are hard, judgmental.
Once again, I recommit myself to letting go of the past, the things I cannot change, the false beliefs in myself that caused me immense pain, and to be gentle with myself.
Surrender. Release. Hope.