Thought Catalog

It’s OK, But I Still Think We Could Work

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I am writing this for you. I’m publishing this anonymously, because I know that you are a private person, but I am hoping that on the off-chance that you click on this article, that you will read this and know that I am writing this for you. I’m not sure why I’m not on the phone, telling you all of this in person. But I’m a writer by nature. Being awake at 2 a.m. writing out my thoughts is what I do best. Perhaps I am hoping that others will read this and be able to offer words of advice, of encouragement.

I don’t understand why I keep thinking about this. It baffles me, really. I mean, it is utterly astounding. I thought that once we got everything out in the open, I would be able to move past it. It was a time of more-than-crushes and unreciprocated feelings. I had gotten my hopes up and let myself start to think that we could be something more. But you didn’t feel the same.

And, stupid me, I asked that horrible question. Why?

I wasn’t sure why I wanted to know. I suppose to get that closure I mentioned before. I mean, we’d been friends for almost ten months, I guess I figured that I should at least know why. You stood there, racking your brain for what seemed like the longest minute of my life. I sat there, waiting for an answer. And then you said it. I was bad at communicating emotionally.

Ouch. What a blow, right? In the moment, I accepted it. I had received my answer, and I could leave it at that. I thought I knew what you meant. My difficulty opening up…that’s all that I could think of. Which was ironic, because after you told me that, we spent the next two hours talking about our childhood and our daddy (and stepdaddy) issues. And I didn’t understand how you could tell me that I turned out phenomenal and “pretty damn great” when just an hour ago you told me that I was bad at communicating emotionally. But I didn’t want to press it. I wanted to preserve our friendship. I wanted so badly to just go home and sleep and then the next day be okay with everything.

But then I began to think about it. And I told my best friend what happened (because, you know, best friend and all), and we realized that we didn’t understand what you meant. I didn’t understand what you meant. It sounded like a copout reason. Because you weren’t so hot at it either. Most people aren’t. We clam up and get socially anxious and have trouble letting people in because of all the times that the world has knocked us down and then extended a friendly hand to help us up, only to knock us back down again, harder. I feel too much and care too much, but I am absolutely terrified of people leaving. Of being vulnerable. But I’m learning. Aren’t we all? It’s a process that only gets better as we progress through life and meet people who accept us as we are and push us to become better and to see the beauty in being vulnerable in their own individual ways.

So I did something even more stupid. In the nicest way that I possibly could, I asked you if that was the real reason. Stupid me, right? I was basically accusing you of lying. But I wasn’t angry, just confused. Who does that? You even told me that you’ve never had someone ask you to this capacity before. But I figured that we were close enough friends to where I could push you to think deeper than before. We had had enough late night talks and heart-to-hearts for me to ask you that, right? I suppose so, because at the end of our conversation, you said that you needed someone to make you think about these things.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I remember it vividly. And then you began to question your own belief in whether or not the reason was valid. Then we started to get somewhere. You told me that that was really the only thing that you could think of. You said that I was great, and that if we were in a relationship, there wouldn’t be any problems. You hit me with that line. It felt more like a punch in the gut rather than a comforting statement. What was missing? And then you told me about this “subconscious feeling” that you didn’t know how to put into words. I am still not sure what you mean by it. You still don’t know what you mean by it.

You say that the people you end up having feelings for are people that you know aren’t good for you, that you aren’t compatible with, people that you’ve said are “awful” and that you feel awkward around and like you can’t be yourself, but at the same time you still want to be around that person. That can’t be healthy. But, you say that you still make the conscious decision to not pursue that person. And you also say that the people that you “know” you’re compatible with, that you could see yourself being in a healthy, happy relationship with, you don’t have what you called this “subconscious feeling” with. So you make another conscious decision to not pursue it. You’re waiting for something… something… but I’m not sure what it is.

And when you told me, I thought that I would be happy that the reason really wasn’t about me. But instead, I became worried about you. You know me, I’m a worrier. That was to be expected. But as I listened, I could tell how much that this affects you, how it frustrates you, this “thing” about yourself, that you have tried to change, by “living,” as you told me. You even asked me for suggestions. I almost wished that I had left it. That I had left it with the knowledge that I was just bad at communicating emotionally. That I hadn’t pushed it, because now the spotlight was on you, and I was the one who had shined it brightly on you. But it was out now.

And I had no idea what to tell you. I have been there before, pursued people that I feel aren’t good for me and writing off people who are, by telling myself there is something wrong with them, because that’s easier. I was gravitating towards the people who, as I got to know them, I felt like I could be myself with, while also waiting for the whole package to drop into my lap. It’s supposed to be effortless, right? I wanted to help you–I still do–but it’s something that you have to figure out for yourself. For me, it was a question of self-worth. I broke out of that mindset by finding my worth in Christ, but again, it’s something you have to figure out on your own and in your own way. Because I can sit here and tell you how much Jesus loves you and how you deserve so much more than what you’re giving yourself; I can tell you that you should stop referring to yourself as a “piece of shit” or saying that you feel like a “complete and utter failure” because you are incredible; I can tell you how great you are and how many people love you, just as many people before me have done, but you won’t do anything for you if you don’t, on a fundamental and personal and spiritual and emotional level truly realize for yourself just how worthy you are. Maybe we really do accept the love that we think we deserve.

It’s a matter of realizing your own self-worth. I don’t know how to explain it or why it happens, but that “subconscious feeling” of being drawn to people who you know aren’t good for you and don’t make you feel like you can be yourself all goes back to your view of yourself. These are people that you say make you feel awkward or like you can’t be yourself around, yet you still want to be around them. Why? How do you view yourself, when you’re basically saying that you want to be around people who make you feel like you have to be someone other than you? That’s what this boils down to.

And, your “subconscious feeling” meant romantic chemistry, then that would actually be kind of funny, because I didn’t have that with you. I didn’t feel that. No, I thought that we would be really great together, so I was willing to give us a try. Do you know why I liked you? There was no “subconscious feeling.” There was conscious feeling that I was fully aware of, sure, but really, it was made up of moments. Like the fact that you will watch telenovelas with your mom. Or the way that you can make me laugh so hard that sometimes I forget where I am. How sometimes I can say sentences with my eyes and with a glance, it seems like you’ve understood what I’m thinking. Or the fact that you love listening to the Dead Flag Blues–it’s 16 minutes long and I have no idea what it means, but you love it, and for some reason, I love that you love it. And sometimes, when you speak, your eyes appear old and soulful, like you’ve been through so much, and during those times it seems like I can see the universe in your eyes if I look close enough. Other times, they’re child-like and lively, and it’s like we are riding on swings seeing who can swing the highest in a carefree world. And there are so many other things, little things that I’m not sure you notice about yourself, or maybe you don’t think they mean anything. Romantic chemistry has to grow, unless you’re really lucky. I wasn’t there yet either, but I thought that we could get there. And if we didn’t, then we would laugh about the time that we actually tried dating. But that’s not what matters anymore. That’s not the point of this article.

There’s this quote from Doctor Who, where Amy Pond says, “sometimes you meet people and you think, ‘eh, they’re okay,’ but then you get to know them, and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality’s written all over it, and they just turn into something so beautiful.”

You are one the most beautiful people I know. You aren’t perfect, but none of us are. You told me that you were scared, that you don’t want to pursue someone only to find that you still don’t have that sense of “attachment.” Which is a rational fear to have. But then you told me that you tried to make this “subconscious feeling” grow with people you could see yourself being happy with by focusing on their positive attributes and hanging out with them in a friendly setting. How you think things will go in your head and actually doing something are two very different things.

Someone once said (you know I love my quotes) that ideas are safe; that “we can sit safely in our imaginations all day or we can fully commit to taking action, embracing the notion that we might fail or get hurt.” And that the other person might as well. How will you truly know if you don’t try? But ultimately, it all goes back to your view of yourself.

So perhaps I do understand why I keep thinking about you. About this. It is not in a romantic sense. This is not a plea for you to give us a chance, for I know now that our ship is departed, and I have watched it sail away while you have already gone back home without bidding it farewell. It is now off in the distance, going towards some unknown destination that we will never know of. And that is something I’ve accepted. But I care about you a lot because no matter what has transpired with us, you are someone I consider a very good friend, and I told you that I would always be here for you. You’re always so used to being the one that people come to for advice, you tell me that that’s just “who you are.” And I wondered who was that person for you. I’m sure there are a bunch of other people who have known you much longer than I have that you feel more comfortable talking about this with. I’m here for you, but if not me, then I hope that you will go to one of them. Sometimes, it’s not about giving advice, sometimes it’s just about being with that person, both of you knowing that the other person is there, to listen, to rant with you, to let you rest a head on their shoulder, to cry, to understand.

You always did say that I was relentless.

We ended our conversation amicably. We hung out with another friend of ours the day after and I think we did a pretty good job of not making things awkward. But remnants of our conversation were still sitting there, in the back of my mind. I wondered if it was sitting on yours. TC mark

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