I have not written a note in a while. Call me jaded, but I had lost touch with my romantic side. I felt undeserving of any semblance of romance in my life. I lacked a muse. I was disappointed with my lack of direction. I had writer’s block. For any number of reasons, I struggled with dissecting the jumble of emotions floating around in my head and my heart.
A recent discussion prompted me to think about all my past relationships and how they’ve shaped me, for better or for worse, and how each person I’ve shared my heart with could and would forever change the trajectory of my life and the person I have grown to be. I don’t regret any of my relationships. I regret some of the choices I’ve made that have led to people getting hurt, but I don’t regret any relationships outright. No matter the heartache, at some point everything I did was exactly what I wanted. Of course, hindsight tends to shift things into perspective a little better, and I’m sure I could have done without the collateral damage.
I have been broken and mended and shattered and stitched back together again. I love greatly, and I have loved often. My heart is a mosaic of romantic nostalgia from boys who believed, at some point, that I was worthy of a piece of their own heart. I am humbled and grateful, as each has taught me more about myself than I ever could have learned on my own.
I have learned that you cannot love a person’s potential any more than you can enter a relationship hoping to change them.
I have learned that a strong foundation of friendship is an integral part of a healthy and successful relationship.
I have learned that sexual chemistry is just as important as emotional compatability and that neither is any more or less important than the other.
I have learned that ethical differences are a dealbreaker; never compromise on your values, for they are the cornerstones of who you are.
I have learned that loving a person means carrying both their happiness and their grief in your heart.
I have learned that lust is just as intoxicating as love, and twice as dangerous. Grown women can be just as susceptible as high schoolers.
I have learned that laughter fixes most ailments, but not all. But you’d be surprised at how far it can carry you.
I have learned that not all love is romantic love, and that no matter how hard you try, you cannot ‘bend the pieces til they fit, like they were made for it.’
I have learned to ‘trust love one more time, and always one more time.’
But above all, I have learned that I am flawed. I have learned that some mistakes are irreversible, but not irredeemable. I seek not forgiveness from others, but for understanding. I am forever grateful to those who have stuck by me, through all my blunders and stumbles, and told me time and again that I was still a good person worthy of love, even when I felt least deserving.
I thought that I had it all figured out. At 27, I thought I knew what I wanted. I was wrong. There is always room to be surprised. There’s always room to learn. Life has a funny way of shaking your world apart, just when you think the pieces are falling together, and it’s not until you walk away from it all that you realize you were looking at everything upside-down in the first place.
"I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is one’s own self."
- Maya Angelou