“We care about you and your memories. So we wanted to remind you of this post you shared 3 years ago today.”
Oh really, Facebook? If you cared about me, you wouldn’t show me a picture of my ex-boyfriend kissing me underneath the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in our matching Northface raincoats. I guess your invasive, all-knowing algorithms haven’t quite figured out how to detect heartbreak via timeline posts.
I was going about my Thursday, drinking some ginger tea at my kitchen table, and thinking about how excited I was for a free, catered Qdoba lunch at work today. And then you had to go and remind me of where I was three years ago. I didn’t carry the same burdens I carry now. I didn’t live in a story that ends in rejection. We all know that if we want to be happy, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others – but what about comparing myself to me? Look at that girl being cradled, gazing up into the rain, with love-beams shooting out her teeth. I don’t even recognize that girl anymore. I haven’t smiled like that since you left me. I had to learn to cradle myself. To appreciate myself. And in the process, I hardened like the Magic Shell topping I still put on my ice cream.
I know that hindsight bias is real. It’s easy to look at this memory and ultimately declare that I was simply happier back then. But I’ve always been the girl that is thinking 10 years ahead. When I was 8, I wanted to be 18. When I was 18, I wanted to be 28. And now that I am closer to 28, I’m thinking I have sabotaged myself. And I sabotaged us – by asking us to be something we were not. We were so young and so fragile – but the story in my head ended in shared dishware, a packed car headed for our apartment in Southern California, and cheesy photos with our “Save The Date” written in the sand. You fell in love with a very different girl than the one you left. But I fell in love with a very different man – when in reality, you were always just a boy. Because the minute things got rocky, scary, and tough – you were gone.
I know I can only count on change. We could have never stayed gallivanting around Europe and making fun of the monkeys at the Copenhagen Zoo. We both had dreams, goals, ambitions, and things we needed to prove. And that’s exactly what I did – I proved I’m capable of graduating college, moving to an unknown city, becoming a yoga instructor, standing up for myself as a woman in business, and throwing an adult dinner party with cloth napkins.
I didn’t expect to stay the same as the girl underneath the Brandenburg Gate. But when I thought about what my life would be like in the future, I never pictured myself alone. And the loneliness is what eats away at me. The loneliness is what sabotages my almost-28, wishing I was 38. Surely I will find steady, reliable love by 38.
We never write or post about our tragedies, our heartbreaks, our failures. So Facebook is left to assume that I have nothing but pleasant memories worthy of resurface. But even the pleasant memories cause pain. Because love is kind of like breathing – you don’t really notice it, until it stops. Our love stopped, and I’ve been trying to prove that I am still worthy of it ever since.
I’m slowly learning that the only person I need to prove this to is myself.
So you can keep the memories, Facebook. I won’t be sharing, and I don’t appreciate being reminded. But I think I will take a few extra moments to appreciate this tea, appreciate this loneliness, and remind myself that I am not a story that ends in rejection. I’m simply still living my story.