Six Years Later

toa-heftiba-274947A few months ago I was talking with a friend and a question came up… if you were given the opportunity to make something right or tell someone something and it was the last time you were able to do that, who would you choose and what would you say? I didn’t have the answer then. I think I chose something that would have been nice but I don’t think it was the real honest answer. So, because I’m not a verbal processor and I’m a writer, I’m going to share this answer with you & the universe.

To be honest, I think we all have that one thing we wish we would have said, that one apology, I love you and I’m really glad your in my life kind of thing. The following is a short and concise version of that for me. These are words that are actually too late to say but nevertheless they are true.

So here is my very real, honest and vulnerable apology love letter.

___________,

Sorry it’s taken so long. I’m not great with relationships. You know that all too well. It’s been a very long time. My fault of course. I cut you out of my life entirely. I do that and I am sorry. But the truth is I miss you. It use to be every couple of minutes, then every hour, then every few weeks, then every month and now every few months I think about you. The less and less I think about you the more it makes me kind of sad. Sad that would have, should have moments exist in our lives. Sad because it was of my own making. But,  it’s very easy to romanticize the past. It’s simple to reminisce about rose colored glass versions of people. I have a very real and rosy version of you in my mind. But… that’s all kind of changed.

This year was really difficult in ways I could have never imagined. It made me question  a lot of different things I thought to be true. One of those things was love. Once upon a time I thought I loved you. You were my best friend. But, the timing was never right. The gumption was never there. And, even though I was young and not a fully formed adult, I knew that I was way too much for someone like you. You treated me with so much kindness and grace all the time. You cared about what I cared about. You wanted to get to know my crazy family. You supported me in ways a lot of people didn’t. And… at the end of the day, you were there. You were there when I needed someone. Until… you weren’t.

The reason I could never tell you I loved you was because I wasn’t sure it was true. There were things I loved about you, but other things I really really didn’t. You were passive. You weren’t ambitious. Your number one priority was to get married and mine wasn’t.  And, most of all, you never fought for me. That’s the hard part. No one does. I leave. It’s what I do when things get hard. But, it’s not always what I want. I expected more.

I’ve learned a lot about love since then. There’s many different types. The fact that you can love people in different seasons of your life. And, when you want a person, you don’t get to choose which part, you take the whole thing and hope that all the good outweighs the bad. You also don’t get to choose when a person enters or leaves your life. I’m learning to embrace my seasons with people.

I use to think our timing was just a bit off. If I had met you later in life I would’ve been ready. Truth is, I’m not the same person. You’re not the same person. And, at the end of the day I cared about you in the right season of my life. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. I’m sorry that I left and that I wasn’t a better friend. I’m sorry I broke your heart a little. I didn’t love you well. Love is a choice and it’s manifested through action. I didn’t choose you and I left. I chose me. My goals, ambitions and selfishness were my priorities.

Ours was the healthiest unhealthy relationship I’ve ever had. Complicated. Messy. I don’t do any of those things for very long you know. And I’m really good at cold cut endings. I’m sorry you were part of that. You were my best friend. Now you’re not.

Truth is, you don’t need my apology. You are happy. I know because you’ve found your person. You’ve made a life. A life you wanted, a life that you deserve. I’m happy that you are happy. This apology was really for me. Parts of me are still pretty selfish. I blamed you for all of it. I sowed a seed of bitterness towards you that made it super simple to walk away. But in all honest, I very much bare a lot of the blame.

So, one last I’m sorry and I’ll be done. I wish you well. Thank you for being the one who made me happy for a little while, for showing me what a good and decent man looks like and for treating me with kindness when I didn’t even know how to give that to myself. I’m glad we met. I’m glad you’re a forever piece of my story. Go, be happy.

with love,

Kate

Inciting Change

Stay in and

I’m currently reading/listening to Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I love it already. Mainly… I need it. I need to be reminded that my crazy, insane and really full life still has meaning, still has purpose in the midst of all the chaos. I so often fill it with activities, things, or work that has no purpose. To reassess current priorities is something we all often need to do.

It’s easy to be away, to take a step back and say I need to prioritize my life to be more about experiences. That’s easy. (It’s probably why I adore being anywhere but here most of the time.) But in the most mundane of days, weeks, months… priorities become skewed in the search for perfection. I am often guilty of pursing that I forget to be present in the moment. Blame it on so many things… anxiety, fear or the feeling of not “enough-ness” of it all. But I’m afraid that pursuit, that constant doing it all, can also be traced back to heartbreak… at least in my life.

Anyone has the capacity to break your heart. That’s why “guard your heart” is so often given as a warning in works of literature, the Bible, and by various intelligent people who’ve gained the fortitude to be quoted. We often think of heartbreak in the capacity of romantic love. While that is often an intense kind of heartbreak, mainly because it’s a different kind of vulnerability than we give up in any of other relationships, heartbreak comes in many different forms.

It’s uncomfortable to talk about. It’s not an easy thing to acknowledge. You have to lean into it. You have to feel it. And it feels well…heartbreaking. Soul crushing. The most resolute form of “not enough-ness” that you can feel probably comes from grief and heartbreak. The two are synonymous emotions.

So, recently, I’ve been digging into these feelings. You can’t ever really heal until you do. It all started with a few questions that came from a friend, questions that were hard to answer. Things that were hard to think about. I bury things. Well… at least the dark and twisty things you don’t even talk to your best friends about. I shove them way down deep, because not everything has to be talked about. I can be open and honest and authentic without being too vulnerable…right? I digress.

Heartbreak. The idea of crushing grief, anguish or distress. For me it’s come in the form of friends dying too soon, missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime after I’ve spent months praying over it and having incredible anxiety over it only to lose out at the last minute to someone more qualified, it came when the people who were suppose to be there for me in my darkest hour just weren’t, it came from the shaming that members of the church put me through, family that doesn’t really acknowledge so many things about me and yes, the most intense form being a couple of different relationships that were suppose to be, but just weren’t because I wasn’t enough. The “not enough-ness” is soul crushing.

The more people leave you, whether it’s forever or just their presence when you really need them, the more you just expect it. Heartbreak is one of those things in life that is cyclical. You can let it destroy you, or you can let the wounds heal and find the good in the situation.

So, needless to say, when I read this quote today I felt a pang of relief. The idea that all of this heartbreak has purpose. It beckons a call to change. Change your life, change your relationships, change your circumstances.

Losing my friends taught me to live life to the fullest, to periodically check in with myself and make sure that I’m adding value but also enjoying my life. Stop putting things off. Travel more. Knock things off my bucket list, now. Several failed romantic endeavors saved me from making terrible decisions or spending time and energy on people who ultimately are not right for me. Love is a choice. When someone doesn’t choose you, they are not right for you. The situation with the church forced me to reassess who and what I believe in and realize that the church is full of broken and fallible people and that they are not synonymous with who God is. God is love. He gives grace when humans fail to do so in so many ways. I’ve had to give up friends, distance myself emotionally from my family and break up with relationships because of situational heartbreak. I came out stronger. The change it incited made me who I am today. I am strong. I am smart. I am tenacious. I am caring. I am empathetic. I am funny. There are many other things that I am, qualities I would have probably not leaned in to had it not been for heartbreak. And… I learned to take care of myself. To be alone. I am really good at it. Sometimes you have to learn to be alone before you can think about being with anyone else.

While what I want, what my priorities are, and how I choose to spend my time may fluctuate… who I am doesn’t. Growth and evolution have come from these changes. These changes, apparently, can be chocked up to heartbreak. So, perhaps heartbreak doesn’t have to destroy us. It doesn’t always have to suck the wind right out of us. It can lead us into different seasons that we are ultimately suppose to be in.

Heartbreak can be redeeming.