"The circumstances of our pasts needn't dictate the quality of our present or the promise of our future. We're not products; we're creations!" --Jeri Elster
My friend in recovery and survival, Jeri Elster, posted the above on her Facebook page a month or so ago. I told her how much I loved it and warned her that I would be stealing it. I wasn't sure what I would be inspired to write about it until today. People and situations pop into my head at weird times, and this morning while cleaning the litterbox, I thought about a friend whose relationship had ended fairly recently. I'll avoid the obvious insult that the kitty litter somehow reminded me of his ex and instead choose to believe that I become meditative while performing mundane tasks, leaving me open to receive inspiration.
So, while scooping away, I remembered this friend once telling me about how unhappy he had been in relationships with women and about how he believed that if only he could have another chance with an ex-girlfriend, he could finally be content. I understood his feelings, having once believed that an ex-boyfriend had been "the one who got away" and being caught up in the myth of him for a long time. Knowing how things had turned out in my fantasy and having some knowledge of his past relationship, I was skeptical, but I truly wished for him that he could find happiness.
I remembered also the night that he called me to tell me that his ex-girlfriend was coming back into his life. He told me that they had been talking for a while, that she was moving back to the area, and that they were going to give the relationship another try. I was happy for him, but still felt some doubt since the circumstances of their reunion and her recent past remained shrouded in mystery.
Long story short, they dated for about 3 1/2 years before breaking up abruptly, amidst quite a bit of drama. The girlfriend and I never really got along. She started off on the wrong foot with me and never overcame that negative first impression. In fact, she never even attempted to. I tried to get to know her, but she always had a wall up with me. She never asked me one thing about myself and didn't seem to be at all interested in me as a person. I wanted desperately for us to get along, but always felt that she viewed me as competition.
In any case, now that they've broken up, I'm worried that my friend is having a hard time moving past the relationship, past his belief that she was "the one" for him, past the way he had defined himself in relation to her, past what he had hoped would be, and past how he judges his ability to trust another person. He is a tremendously talented guy, with an artistic, creative, and unique personality, but I don't know if he's able to see in himself all of his wonderful traits. I worry that for so many years he saw her as the path to his happiness and that now he isn't able to recognize that he can create that path for himself. I know that he's been hurt by at least the last two women that he's dated, and I wonder whether he is willing to open himself up to a woman enough to have an honest and intimate relationship.
I sense that my friend feels stuck right now, that he feels that he has failed somehow. I know what depression feels like, and I know how lonely it can be. I also know that it is temporary. I know that it's possible to move through the darkness, and I know that even greater light exists on the other side. I hope that he will trust in himself and others enough to find the lessons that he can in his present pain that will help him attain happiness, contentment, love, acceptance, and fulfillment in his future. I want him to know how much I care about him, how scared I have been for him, and how deeply I believe in him. I also wish that I could tell him that that sometimes you have to shatter all of your preconceived notions about what you thought you knew, who are were, and what you wanted in order to truly find yourself.