On Love... 2016 Style
I get it by now your Facebook feed is filled to the brim with people cursing this year and if you are like me then you are probably tired of it already. I'll admit since the first Tuesday of November I have cursed this year many times (but not because of famous people dying).
This year was definitely filled with heartbreak that I thought could never be possible... in more ways than one. First, let me address the obvious here... Hillary Clinton. I'll admit I was very much one of those people who thought it was in the bag, and those of us who thought like that have been put in our place. I have had so many emotions since that day; I have felt a (misplaced) insane anger at Bernie supporters for being so negative and hi-jacking my party (yes, I emphasize the word insane). I have felt devastation for a candidate and a dream that I have carried for approximately half of my life. A woman President. Will I ever see the day? If an Elizabeth Warren happens to get as far as Hillary did I know I won't feel the same way as I did for Hillary, and I'm just still insanely sad about this. I've been very mad at myself for living in a bubble and not realizing that so many in my country felt the way they do.... and I'll admit I have had my moments of accusing every Trump supporter as being a misogynistic, xenophobic, racist, person. But with some time and a lot of reflection... I've come to the other side (and to reality) and I see that even in this huge loss there is room to grow. There is room to expand and to be a better person and to demonstrate the ideals that I believe in and that's what I'm going to try and do.
Now for the not so obvious... in what already felt like a very feminist charged year I had the strangest thing happen to me. I developed intense inappropriate feelings for a woman! Now now let me clarify the feelings were only inappropriate because this person is not available, believe me I have no shame in the fact that I had feelings for a woman and here's why:
Because love is love.
And of course I always believed that but I never felt it so purely as I have this year. Trust me, as someone who has never had feelings like these for a woman before I was completely thrown. What? Who am I? I questioned every single thing I have ever believed and analyzed whether friendships that I "lost" to marriage had really hurt so bad because I had really loved those friends in more than a friend way? But, no. I can honestly say I have NEVER had the types of feelings for any of my gal pals that I had for this person.
This was a first.
And after many hours on a therapist's sofa I have learned that I don't have to analyze it to death anymore. I don't have to label myself or this circumstance. All I have to do is learn how to sit with the gratitude of knowing that my heart has expanded and my capacity to love has grown. And no, I'm not saying that until you can love someone romantically of the same sex then you aren't fully grown... I'm saying for me the girl who lived in self-preservation mode for almost a decade... for me this year has pushed my boundaries to places where there is no place to go but to expand.
Now, unfortunately due to the aforementioned fact that the person I've tortured myself over this year is otherwise engaged and committed to another lucky lady... I just have to take what I can from these feelings that developed on my side.
Now as most unrequited loves go, I have toiled over the inappropriateness of it all. I have laid in bed for days on end, I have cried, I have gotten on anti-depressants, I have acted like a teenager going over every conversation in my mind looking for meaning that may or may not be there, I have wondered if I have a brain tumor and that's why I've been so crazy, and as I mentioned I have been to therapy to try to figure out why the first time I have such strong feelings in a decade is for someone who is not available... maybe because it's safe. It doesn't feel safe to feel this crushed by a love that isn't returned. I've had friends tell me that I must just get something from her that I need, but that I'm not really a lesbian. I've had people tell me that I'm only into her because she's the only person paying me any kind of attention. And I have repeatedly wondered if this whole thing is just because of my fear and disappointment in men. See previous post here.
Because I like things clean and a New Year is approaching I've decided enough is enough. I'm honoring the friendship I had and the dream of what it could have been for just what it was. It was me becoming. It was me opening up. It was me exploring.
It was me expanding.
So instead of looking at this year as the second worst year of my life, I'm going to look at it as the year that I expanded. The year that I grew. A year that didn't look like all the others because I was brave with my heart.
Instead of going back into self-preservation mode I think the answer is more expansion.
Whatever that looks like.
Maybe I just love my family harder. Maybe I try to be a better friend. Maybe I learn to love myself fully. Maybe I am a better citizen.
Maybe I stay open, and maybe I'll find someone who can love me back.
Cheers to 2016.