You came into my life during a time when the only person I was willing to date was myself. Despite my unwillingness to give anyone else a chance, it was your charm, charisma, and the little gestures that won me over. You had me choosing not to sleep because reality was becoming far better than any of my dreams.
Being with you was like riding on the bare back of a rescued elephant – surreal and filled with different waves of emotions. The initial excitement; the flashes of fear and anxiety of falling off and being trampled; the anxious sighs of relief after surviving the walk over bumpy terrain; and the pure sheer bliss in connecting with something so magical and beautiful, I could not help but feel lucky.
Despite all of its beauty, our relationship was far from perfect and you were incredibly flawed. But I loved you and you were the kind of problem I wanted to have. Or so I thought.
You were the highest of highs. But you were also the lowest of lows.
You were the nightmare that rivaled the imaginary monsters that used to scare me during my childhood. You were the storm that refused to pass, the constant downpour that convinced me that I would never, again, get to feel the warmth of the sun. You were the barrier, the obstacle, the ten-foot wall – the reason why I struggled to move forward and constantly felt stuck.
When you left, you left me broken. I became nothing more than an empty shell, a body missing both a heart and a soul. When I lost you, I wasn’t just grieving the loss of our relationship. I was grieving the death of me.
One year has passed, and I still miss you sometimes.
However, hindsight is always 20/20.
Your presence was a gift. Little did I know, your absence would leave me an even better present: the opportunity to rebuild.
All of the time I devoted to you became absorbed by my career. Newly discovered passions became fueled by the energy I would have otherwise spent on you. Your warm embrace was replaced by the supporting hands of the most surprising set of friends who lifted me up when I did not have the strength to stand or the will to carry on.
I no longer had your love (that is, if I ever did), but I had something better — my love.
The void in my life and the hole in my heart no longer felt like sad empty spaces. They became rooms that I could decorate and fill with new experiences; new memories, new hobbies, and a newfound appreciation for life. How the many areas of my life began to flourish with the abundance of this new love. My renewed confidence allowed me to accomplish more than I ever imagined possible with or without you my life.
Even if there were days I missed you and wished you were with me (and trust me, there were many), I knew I was with the person I really needed to be with: me.
You taught me that ripping the chapter entitled “us” out of my life story meant having an incomplete narrative. You are a far greater influence in my life than I would ever have dreamed or imagined. The role you played in my life was significant, and it was one that you played very, very well. You were the catalyst that highlighted all of the things in need of change. As the old adage goes, the best kinds of relationships are the ones that make us want to become better versions of ourselves. Although you are not here to see how far I’ve come or how much growth has taken place, just know that you were the one who helped me evolve and grow.
Even though you have become nothing but a fragment of a broken memory, I still hold you in the highest regard as the man who, in the most profound way, taught me what it meant to love.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for you.