Do you remember the first time you saw the person that made your blood pump through your heart? You felt every gushing movement, and you anxiously waited to catch a glimpse of them, a waft of their scent or even be in their near. If you were like me, I’m sure you doodled their name on paper, with hearts, and day dreamed of a day when he’d notice you.
For some, our first loves are our lasts, but for others, we have to kiss a couple of frogs until the prince appears. So, instead of dealing with that reality, we play the “what if” game. I HATE THIS GAME! It is a song of desperation that is played over and over on repeat, as we think of ways of how we can change ourselves to finally garner the attention of the one we’re attracted to.
When I was younger, I was enthralled with a young man. My friends were dating his friends, and I thought he was cute enough. Finally, we went out and it was one disaster after the next! At the tender age of 14, I realized that fiction was better than the reality of an overzealous teen, who knew nothing about me, and wanted to know nothing – arm candy, that is what he wanted and what I never wanted to become.
We fast-forward to my next attempt at love, and my being pressured to have a particular fit. It hurts me to realize how mean of a person I was based on the pressure I was receiving from others. Being a teen is difficult. Luckily, this cycle of suppression, I was eventually able to break away from, but this too took time. The lessons we don’t learn, we repeat – be it through the hardheartedness of someone who only regards you as a joke, or a box made by others to hold you that keeps you trapped.
It took me several years to learn about me- who I was and what I would settle for. Sometimes those moments still haunt me, as I remember singing love songs so loud that the neighbors would bang on the walls. I desperately wanted the happy-ever after promised to me by the great romance writers. I wanted my crush’s heart to beat, to thrash like my own. I wanted someone to love me as desperately and utterly as I indeed loved them.
Can you recall a significant moment that gave you wings to not settle for second best? I sure can. It was when I decided to be bold, no longer hide behind me pining away for someone who never even saw me. He never realized what a gem I was. To me, everything he did was one million times more significant than what it should have been. A smile that I saw from him sent my heart aflutter each time, until I realized he wasn’t smiling at me.
Finally then, learning about myself and my being worth more than a shadow of a romance, I washed my hands of living in hopes of capturing his attention, or anyone like him. I moved on knowing that when it came to loving me, my love was not unrequited. I learned to love me unconditionally; to bask in the joys of my likes and dislikes and to not change myself based on someone else’s list of prerequisites. On that learning curve, I was finally able to develop my interests, and break free of the chains that divided me from who I truly was and who others wanted me to be.
Cutting those strings gave me the self-confidence I needed, and made it possible for me to truly fall in love with someone, and for someone to love me in return.
I'm forever thankful that the unrequited love murdered the innocent and naive ideas of what I thought love was. It rid me of my misconceptions. Just as weeds are plucked from a garden to make flowers grow, so is the same for me. Finally, when my whirlwind romance came and my prince swept me off my feet, I was comfortable in my skin and ready to live the fairy tale but that’s for another post…