LOVE IN RETROGRADE
This morning I found myself revisiting fond memories of a life I used to live. I found myself casually strolling down memory lane, snapping photos of the scenery and recalling all the things I felt in those moments. This was prompted by Google, see – I Googled myself (you should do this sometime, it's fun) and I came across all of the episodes of "Washington Heights" with Dutch subtitles dubbed over our Uptown slang. For those of you who know me solely through my writing on theGIRLMOB, here's a little refresher – in 2013, I appeared on an MTV show alongside some of my childhood friends, the show was named after our neighborhood: "Washington Heights". It chronicled the individual journeys of the nine of us as we pursued our respective dreams. It also served as a microscope into our lives and provided a much more engaging subplot: the way we felt about one another.
If you've been keeping up to date with my articles on here then you already know who I was and am – the sassy little lover with a lot to say and many feelings to share. While I have changed so much, both since the show was recorded and since it aired - at my very core, I have remained the same; however, one thing that has evolved over time is how I have felt/ feel about my then-love interest, Ludwin. While he and I are friends now and can both look back on our old narrative with grace, appreciation and love, it wasn’t always like this. So, I say that to say this – allow life to refine you. Let time take its course and heal you, and always – love yourself enough to remove anything that harms you. And sometimes – our own feelings can get in the way of identifying what harms us. So keep them joints in check and do regular updates on what you will and will not tolerate from friends, lovers or both.
So about Ludwin… our story began way back in 2012, when we met through our mutual friends and were instantaneously magnetized to one another. As time passed, we realized that we both had some commitments and loose ends to tie up. We went through most of the motions of our situation-ship in juxtaposition, in a very private manner on a very public platform. As two people who would rather eat a bowl of glass shards vs talk about the way we feel (when we don’t want to) – we were both happy to just ride it out and expected things to mull over. Well, they didn’t. Much to his horror (I know he was fucking horrified) and to my excitement – people loved us together. They loved us as individuals and loved the dynamic between us. And then there were the people who hated it – but I have never and will never have time for anyone who is off-put by my happiness. I think a lot of women saw themselves in me and either hoped we ended up together or wanted me to wake up and smell the "He don’t want to be with you" coffee. Both happened, so I guess we can all be happy about it now.
Anyways, while the show was airing – we were still in the inertia of our situation-ship and this put an incredible strain on us, it left the burden of commitment up in the air and that was exacerbated by my pursuit of wanting more and his indecision in where to take us next. In retrospect, I can understand everything he wanted to say to me, but couldn’t/didn't, and all of the things I chose to be deaf to. I can hear his voice in my head explaining how I deserved more than he could offer me in that moment. Luckily for me, I am one of those people who is happy to admit when I have been wrong – in the hopes that I will be able to correct the the aforementioned course of events. What I see now is that I was happy to accept less than I deserved because I thought I knew myself better than I actually did. I see now that he saw a truer form of who I was, he saw me in my vulnerability and he saw underneath my savior complex and into my very core. I know for a fact that I am not the only person who has been in a situation-ship and who has accepted a love that was beneath me, or a lack thereof. If you can relate let me say, girl, you are not alone and I am here to tell you that it gets better - but you must allow it to. Most of our suffering (aside from abuse) comes from our own expectations and I can tell you from firsthand experience with heartache and estranged friends that I was willingly putting myself through that.
One of the main reasons he and I get along now is because we were never a different version of ourselves with one another. We never presented ourselves as something we were not. I was my bubbly, outwardly loving self and he was his brooding, detached self – through and through. I think that thing is so important – that transparency. When you know what you want, share it. When you know what you cannot commit to or cannot give, share that.
The people who care for us should always receive the fullest truth about who we are.
I am grateful to have had that sort of dynamic with my friend and to have found love amongst that chaos. That’s another thing, love is as unique as the people who we find ourselves enamored with. It will be different, every time.
And the sooner we stop committing our energy and love to someone or something that does not fulfill us, the sooner we will find ourselves in a position to receive the caliber of love that is worthy of us.
This goes for friendships too. Sometimes, we get the short end of the stick – or it can happen over and over. As I have recently learned, that is not friendship – that is a sort of emotional usury. Which brings me to my second thought: don’t be afraid to chuck people straight into the trash if they treat you like your love and energy don’t matter. Let someone else deal with that shit if it is something you don’t have the intentions of salvaging. Sometimes, people need to drown in their own shit in order to re-emerge and come into the fullness of their being. Allow them to save themselves, we aren’t obligated to clean up the messes that people make of themselves. Sometimes, we need to let the people who we used to love drift away in the wind so that we can make room for better and more fulfilling relationships.
That’s an entire different beast within itself. One-way friendships hurt more than unrequited love, as far as I know. And again, these are things that we allow to happen to us. I'm someone who thinks that most situations are things that we can control – or more importantly, we can control the way we react about the occurrences in our lives. Again, I want to stress the fact that we have complete and utter control over who and what we choose to engage with. There is no reason we should ever stay in relationships/friendships that take more from us than they actually give. I have been in relationships and friendships of this nature and both times it took me quite a while to realize that I was romanticizing them – I was still in it for who I thought they could eventually be, not who they were. In hindsight, I now have a better vantage point of the both of them; I see how I chose to submit to those feelings and that dynamic. I will do that no longer.
Sometimes, we don’t know what’s best for ourselves because we have yet to experience the best. Know that you deserve the very best from anyone, everyone and everything in your life. Sometimes, we are so used to the way people are that we forget that there’s great power in using our voices to proclaim what we want and need from said people. We must be willing to change the amount of energy we give to the situations and people who refuse to do right by us. We must not allow others to give us half of what they should while we give more than they deserve.
I know that it hurts to lose friends and lovers, but what’s worse is keeping them around and allowing them to cheat us out of the greatness that we deserve.
The Universe is always paying attention to us because we literally are the Universe experiencing itself, so don’t ever feel like your pleas for change will fall on deaf ears. Sometimes, our hearts and minds function on two different systems, like AM and FM radio, with static cross communication. We try to rationalize peoples shitty behavior and neglect by taking their own lives into consideration – which is cool and all, but we owe it to ourselves to be frank and mindful about how that consideration will affect us. We owe it to ourselves to never tolerate anything less-than.
Sometimes, our hearts have the hotline to the Universe and they secretly call in to let it be known that we are unhappy. And then something crazy happens, the Universe starts to conspire for our happiness and remove the dead weight of fair-weather friends and lovers from our lives. But this happens when we are honest with ourselves about how we feel about the way people treat us, and not a moment sooner.
So my good and beautiful people – I challenge you all to consider who and what really matters to you and if they/it are/is something that deserves your effort and energy. Be critical of the love you give and the love you accept; if they don’t match – evaluate whether or not it’s worth changing course. In some cases and for some people, they aren’t worth the sweat on our brow.
Know your worth.
Know your worth well enough to designate what and who should have the privilege of being in your life. And no, things don’t always have to be fire and brimstone. Sometimes, when we separate ourselves from people who could not love us properly, we allow them to see us in a different light and that in turn allows US to see THEM in a different light as well. A new perspective can lead to a harmonious coexistence. Sometimes, these people are standing in the way and cast shadows in our lives that prevent us from truly understanding how golden we are. Don’t be afraid to tell people to step out of your light, allow yourself to see how golden you are when you stand under the sun.
You choose how you want to exist
within this Universe.
You deserve the very best - everyday, forever. Go out and get it!
image credit: zoe kravitz for wonderland magazine 2013