It’s New Year’s Eve, 10.25am, I’m sitting on the floor of the kitchen of my best friend’s place where I’ve been sleeping on the couch for the past 4 months or so. I’m silently sobbing, my glasses pushed up onto my head because they steam up when I cry. My best friend and my brother are in the only bedroom of the flat, lost in their new found love. I’m happy for them. It makes me cry harder.
I am surrounded by beautiful, supportive, wonderful friends and family. I am loved. I am respected. I am supported. But I feel so very alone.
I’m stronger now than I have been in a while. I’ve made peace with the shitty things that have happened this year. I’ve been apologised to by the person who broke my life. I apologised to the person before me for my part in breaking her life. I’m looking better than I have in years. I have a new job, I’ve started writing music again, I’m generally calmer and I laugh a lot.
I’ve been told that I have a new love on the horizon, that 2018 will bring me great happiness and success. I’ll take the happiness and success, but I don’t want the new love. My heart is already taken. Yes, it is in the hands of someone who by all accounts doesn’t deserve it. But that’s who I am. I made the biggest commitment I have ever made in my life to her. It was legal, it was sacred, and it created a bond that is nigh impossible to break.
And I have no shame in admitting that that makes me feel like an idiot.
It’s not a case of not being able to let go. I can and I have. I don’t expect a happy ending to all this, even though we’re both doing our best to heal. She has been humble, contrite and apologetic. She has acknowledged the bullshit she put me through. She has asked nothing of me except an ear to listen. I have not been soft on her. I have been hard and blunt and unwavering. She has taken it and is hopefully applying it to her life. I haven’t forgiven her, not yet, because at times the pain is still so great that it leaves me breathless. Things were done that cannot be undone. They cannot be fixed. That’s okay, things happened as they happened, and I have learned so much and grown so tall.
But she doesn’t love me. At least, not enough to try to mend our broken marriage, and that’s her prerogative. I, on the other hand, still love her. It makes me feel foolish and I know it’s useless, but it is what it is. True love isn’t always reciprocated. Real love isn’t flowers and rainbows. Real love connects two people by an invisible thread that never breaks, no matter how far apart they are. Authentic love understands that people fuck up and do horrible things and it accepts that truth and loves anyway. My love understands that underneath all the crap and narcissism there is still a good person who deserves compassion. My love accepted the imperfections in her perfectly.
So, I can let her go, but I will always love her. I don’t want someone new because I won’t be able to give them the fullness of my love because it belongs to someone else. That’s not fair to them, whoever they are. It will take me years to learn to live with that unbroken thread, and I would hate to have the spectre of my failed marriage to hang over anyone else’s head. At least, not now.
So, I’ll be alone. And that’s honestly okay. This whole experience has taught me that my value does not lie in others’ opinions of me. It has taught me that despite the bad things I’ve done, I do not deserve to be treated badly. It has taught me that I don’t have to give up my life for someone else, that I don’t need to constantly prove that I’m worthy of their love. The only person I have to be worthy for is me, and I can be happy with that.
Even if I am an idiot who still longs for the person who almost destroyed me.
I’ll cry when I need to. I’ll be sad and I’ll miss what might have been if we had taken the chance and healed together. I’ll feel the tug of her, of this person I know so well, who I loved at her darkest. I’ll feel that tug and it will stop my heart for a moment but then I’ll keep going.
The American author Elizabeth Gilbert once said: “People think your soulmate is your perfect fit and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”
That’s all I wanted, really. Just that. I had it once and I’m happy I have.