There are two ways things turn out:
- You lose a thing, you replace it with something else, it’s better than what you lost, you’re happy.
- You lose a thing, it doesn’t disappear when it’s replaced, not having it becomes as much of a presence as having it was.
You’re told the things you can’t forget about are meant to be in your mind – the simple aftermath of having loved somebody so deeply: you hold onto a someone and someday that was supposed to be yours.
We are told to believe that not being able to let go of the things we lose does nothing but prove how much we loved them in the first place, and I don’t think this is true.
Living with a ghost, crafting an idea that you need to hold on to – to fill a space or insecurity with – is using the idea of someone to fix something about yourself.
We love heartbreak, and we love putting it on ourselves. We’re more nostalgic for things that never happened than we are grateful and present in the things that are. We start missing things we never had, that we just created in our minds, in this false, alter-reality.
The things that are easily replaced are usually the ones that you haven’t attached existential meaning to. That is to say: they’re the things you don’t rely on to give you a sense of self.
The things that don’t leave your head are not the ones that show you what’s ‘meant to be’ they’re the things that show you what you’re still not okay with on your own.
You know what unconditional love is? Unconditional love is loving someone even if they don’t unconditionally love you in return – that’s affection without pretense. That’s what we claim we’re after, and yet we can barely grasp the idea.
Most people we enjoy because they’re contact highs. The idea of types and standards are proof that we’re just looking for somebody to play a role. Heartbreak is the aftermath of when somebody steps out of the very specific notion you had of them. Suddenly, they’re not doing what you think they should be doing and so they are wrong. The inability to detach is holding onto the fact that the package looked so perfect, the pieces seemed to fit, and yet. But still.
Being in love with somebody that you only used to know is like falling in love with a book (which sounds like a dumb example but people really do fall in love with them). The point is: you can love it all you want, but it’s a story that runs parallel to yours. At the end of the day it’s static. It’s memory. It’s a sentence and you can’t change it. It ends how it ends. It says what it says.
A friend once told me that the secret to finding love was not to actually look for it, but to heal the things that were preventing you from seeing and receiving it. I think the biggest one of all is “what will having this love fix?”
What will having this person next to me make me feel better about? What do I need them to tell me? What do I need them to prove? Who do I need them to look great in front of? What purpose do they serve for my ego?
This is true of many things, not just of love: we confuse genuine affection and real love with the light, happy, free feeling we experience for a few seconds/days/months when we have fed our egos.
That’s why it doesn’t last. That’s why we hold onto ideas of things that were and things we need to be: the idea of someone saves something about ourselves. And the more we hold onto those fragments of a person, those soundbite dreams that distract us from the moment, we end up with a few distilled memories that we’ve turned into life-sustaining hopes, and we piece it all together and place it on the shoulders of the person who we thought loved us enough to make us love ourselves.
And if you’re not careful, that person will become a part of you. They will become the good part, the whole part, the love of your life.