Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ghosts of boyfriends past

i was driving by myself tonight, listening to a song about a past love. it got me thinking about my past relationships. i went through each one, starting at the beginning.

my first love, my first broken heart, my first kiss, my first mistake, my first...and last, best decision. there was a stream of faces that ran through my mind. some had smiling attached to them. happiness. others--grimacing, wincing. pain.

the beginning of my love stories, makes me laugh. the end of my love stories, makes my heart melt. the middle is what i find interesting to think about sometimes. i went through a pattern of intentional "dead-end" relationships. it's not the who that matters. it's the why.

and this is what i found myself focusing my thoughts on as i listened to that song remembering old heartache. but i didn't ache for the boyfriends that were now gone, i ached for the part of myself that was purposely subjected to self-pain. the ghost of my former self came forward as i remembered.

i often say to others that when you see a couple, you can see what an individual thinks of themselves reflected onto someone else. nevermind the outside, but the inside is what i mean. when a girl is with a jerkhole of a guy you have to wonder what she sees in him. but i also wonder what she sees in herself.

there were several fellows whose lives crossed paths with mine for a period of time. each one was attractive on the outside, but not so much on the inside. i call this time "the dark stages" for me, where i didn't know who i was and didn't know what i deserved. i knew exactly what i wanted, but didn't feel i deserved it. that kind of treatment, that kind of respect, that kind of love. i wonder, was this something that was instilled in me by someone else? or was it always just a part of me? something i needed to work through?

i often remember coming out of these self-destructive relationships feeling like i had been dreaming for a few months. the dream began as "just fun" but always ended in anger and sadness.

luckily for me, i woke up. i don't remember how it happened. it was before ben came along. i just remember crying angry tears and thinking, what am i doing here? why do i keep ending up here? why do i like hurting? am i a masochist? there was a moment where i decided i would no longer allow myself to damage my spirit. i truly felt, for the first time, that i was a daughter of God. and so the cycle finally stopped.

so did the music. the CD switched as i was lost in my thoughts. with the words of the first new song playing, i smiled. this song always makes me think of him, of the beginning.

I came apart inside a world
Made of angry people
I found a boy who had a dream
Making everyone smile
He was sunshine
I fell over
My feet like bricks under water

when he came along, i felt like damaged goods. i was sarcastic, cynical, jaded. especially when it came to love. poor guy had a tough road ahead of him. he had just come out of a relationship too so luckily he was a little gun-shy. a bit commitment-phobic. okay, not a bit. a LOT. this was good for me though, i needed someone who would move slowly.

3 months into dating, we couldn't even call it that. for two commitment-phobic people, it was called "hanging out." at first this was great for me. i liked "hanging out" ...laughing, talking non-stop, just being together. no pressure, no labels, no risk of rejection. but i soon recognized the pattern of past relationships. this was how it always began. and i realized that at some point or another, i had to take a risk. he & i talked. i told him what i needed. because i knew what i was looking for and i wouldn't settle anymore. for the first time, i became vulnerable.

and a real relationship began.

unfortunately, just because i recognized my self-destructive pattern didn't exactly mean that it just stopped cold turkey. we're talking about 21 years of self-sabotage here. there were moments that i reverted back into old habits, my thoughts turning cynical. he can't be this nice. what's he hiding? when is he going to show me his true self? how can he like me? i don't deserve him. the list goes on.

9 months into the relationship, we broke up.

i cried. sobbed, actually. for days. nothing helped. i listened to upbeat, happy music and still bawled. exercised with tears streaming down my cheeks, cried on my way home from fun girls nights. but this time the tears weren't angry. they were sad, broken-hearted tears. i couldn't believe i had lost him. had let him go. had walked away.

i tried to move on, began dating another guy. another good guy. i was really happy that i had broken my string of destruction. but in the back of my mind, he was always there. he haunted me.

after two months, i realized that this was one boy i did not want to become a ghost. i loved him. and amazingly enough, he loved me. and so, we began our future.

i know some looked at me like i was crazy. how could you know that you wanted to be with him for the rest of your life at 22 years old? you're so young. don't you want a little more life experience before you settle down, commit?

almost seven years later i sit at the computer and look at the back of his head while he yells at the x-box and laugh to myself. we have been through so much together, and have gained that life experience as a team. our memories, our moments, our happines, our sadness, our pain, our joy. what could be better? to this day, there is no one i would rather come home to.

when i'm not with him, i'm constantly wondering what he's up to. when something funny happens, he is the first one i want to call. when i feel like crying, or venting...unfortunately for him...he is the first one i need.

so i guess in a way, he is already a ghost. because he is with me, even when he's not physically. the ghost of husband present & future. i'll take it. :)


Sara and Company said...

Sounds like you two deserve each other. Isn't it so wonderful to find our match? Not someone who is perfect, per se, but someone with whom we compliment and that we work well together with. I loved your thoughts on this.....it's a good reminder how grateful we really are for the one we have.

Francis and Fawn Becker said...

Oh Benny Ben Ben, what a good guy :) I am glad you found each other because you two are awesome, funny, kind, smart, and Pier One loving people :) By the way Lynsey...write a book, you are such a great writer! Want to get together soon??

Rachel Chick said...

I love it Lyns! So perfect. You do have a wonderful guy. You two are a perfect match. Thanks for your sweet thoughts today!

Joel and Carrie said...

It's that friggin' movie! I'm on the same page my dear, being reminded of all the fabulous bull crap that a first love entails. Man if I was a swearer. :)