"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Friday, October 11, 2013

there will always be another

Now Playing: All You Never Say by Birdy (all you never say is that you love me, and all I'll never know is if you want me)

I'll be the first to confess I'm not wonderful at relationships. People are so unpredictable, and I am the most unpredictable of them all. Affection always seems overwhelmingly intense and whimsically ethereal, all at once. I don't understand it, and sometimes it hurts, but I love it. I have always been addicted to love, and to people.

I come to uni as an unknown quantity, which simultaneously intrigues and scares the pants off of people. I am too young but not that young but not quite old enough, which is a frustrating thing to battle for all involved. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that legally I am a fundamentally different person on February 5 than on February 4; both when I turned sixteen and when I will turn eighteen. Seventeen is a frustrating and emotionally fraught liminal space, especially in the highly charged places and people I have found myself with. I've always been somewhat enigmatic, but I suppose that is exaggerated when you are a child in an adult environment and a bit of both.

I am much clearer about what I want, though. I have realised that some of the things I dreamed of in my younger and more vulnerable days are repulsive and degrading; I have realised some things I turned my nose at I actually crave more than anything else. I know that I don't really want a capital-R Relationship with capital-R Responsibilities right now. I know now that attraction and friendship and romance are neither mutually inclusive nor mutually exclusive; I know now that it's okay to want some but not all. I know now that even as young and reckless as we are some of us are hurting, and some of us are broken, and maybe some of us are even permanently damaged; and they will turn their back to you, literally or figuratively, and it will hurt you somehow, too - but you will love them anyway, because vulnerability has become dangerously beautiful. I know now that there are people who let you be afraid but refuse to let you be ashamed, and those are the kinds of people I love best of all.

But the one thing I have learnt is that love is infinite. You can't waste something you will never run out of - I felt drained and exhausted, like a corpse drained of blood by a monster in the night, but love has a way of replenishing. I have learnt that I will do things I will regret with people I will never come to love, but that's okay - the important thing is to focus on staying safe, and not to focus on staying whole. You are not what you do, and you are not where you are from; nothing you do and nothing others can do to you will diminish you as a person. There is nothing in this world that can destroy the fact that you are a child of the universe, and you are of infinite worth.

And the most important thing I have learnt, perhaps, is that there will always be another. Things seem so final and fraught when you're young and stupid; and men always had a way of tricking me into believing that this was it, he was my happy ending, even if it was neither happy nor an ending. I was always the one left wanting, the one left to pine alone, the one left to exist on memories, the one to wonder why they do not love me, do not want me. I have realised that two can play that game, and that it touches prides and wounds egos. But it is important for people to realise that loyalty only goes so far. My admiration and affection remains unchanged, but if you are loath to commit you won't get any commitment from me.

I suppose this resolution, to walk away from things that are dead ends and not fresh stories, is the lesson I have learned now that I have an emotionally abusive relationship under my belt. I know what it is to be hopelessly dependent, to feel like there's nobody else and there will not be anybody else, to feel like the world is falling apart when they leave. I know what it's like to feel as though you have to endure not only another person's faults and imperfections, but also blatant neglect, condescension, cruelty. I am the first person in the world to admit that I am not perfect, and I neither want nor deserve someone who is. But I know now what is the difference between tolerating faults and tolerating abuse. You may think me disloyal, but I have learnt to love like men; I will not put up with being cast aside. You can't expect to keep anyone you throw away; they will run, run alone, or run into the arms of someone else. There will always be another, and you are only one of many. Men are more or less much the same as one another; it is how they treat you that sets one above the rest.

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