I finally caught that yellow chariot.
It whisked me away through Central Park, glittering past glowing street lamps and weaving through semi-windy roads. I sat alone, my purse laid by my side, listening to the cabbie mutter to himself. His stammering made me feel better about my tears at nearly two in the morning. He probably thought I was just another wounded drunk girl coming in from a Saturday night out where I spilled my beer and kissed a faceless boy at a bar.
But no, I was sober. And now, I was single. I mean, I am single.
It’s funny, I thought, once we reached Amsterdam and my heart released the anxiety that always comes from trusting a stranger to take you where you tell them to. A year ago, on this very day, I was crying in the bathtub, depressed over my birthday party where I didn’t get asked to dance, where I didn’t feel very pretty, where I was so sick of being single that I was an absolute mess. I hysterically cried and then made up my mind — I wasn’t going to feel this way anymore.
Am I right back where I started? Really Lindsay? I rolled my eyes at myself, glanced down at my silent Blackberry and felt the freshly Autumn air hit my cheeks. Here I was again, even with all this daily hard work for the past year, crying over some guy. At least it isn’t in that disgusting bathtub, huh? I thought and grinned. I also wasn’t an emotional wreck or crying because I hated being single. This time, they were movie-star tears that glistened through mascara eyelashes, and I wasn’t upset because I feared being alone but because I wanted to be.
That was the final straw, Linds. You really had no other choice but to walk away. You’d be selling yourself short and giving away yourself if you stayed, I reassured myself to gain enough courage to brave the face of the cabbie to pay him. My birthday had brought the next season, and with it, I was moving on to the next chapter. As much love as there is, as connected to my heart and my New York life as he was, Mr. Possibility didn’t turn back into Mr. Unavailable or grow into the only possibility, he just became impossible.
Maybe if you just gave him some more time or ignored him for a week or two, then he’d come around. Then he’d see you were worth it, the other side opposed as I turned the chunky silver key, allowing access into my safe haven, my home. I knew I could have stayed longer, I could have played the manipulation card as fiercely as he did – but there is a difference between being able to do something and wanting to do it. That was, after all, at the crux of our relationship: he may have wanted to give me what I needed but he couldn’t, and I could have stayed but that isn’t the type of love I want. It’s not what I deserve.
I deserve so much more.
Because I’m not that distraught girl anymore. I’m no longer afraid of being alone, but afraid of being alone in a relationship. There are worse things than being single, and unrequited love is one of them. There are worse things than having to go through the emotional warfare of a breakup, and settling for less, I can assure you, is much more painful. You’ve really come so far and you did the right thing, the rational voice came back with easy clarity. It hurts to essentially give up on Mr. Possibility but he needs to go through the 12-step program more than I do now. He has to love himself before he can ever love me, or anyone else, in any way that matters. I can’t love him enough to change him, and he can’t love me enough to change my mind.
So here ya are, Linds. You’re back to being single again and the blog is over, I thought as I looked out the window of my room, watching the lights flicker with the arrival of the morning. I couldn’t sleep, too much thinking going on. Too much aching for something I never quite had but know I’ll find one day. I’m different from I was a year ago. I’m much stronger, more settled. I’ve loved someone in New York and I’ve loved myself enough to walk away. If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is, I sat up and felt my heart sink back into the bed. Sometimes the hard thing and the right thing are the same, and sadly, also the adult thing to do. Mr. Possibility isn’t a bad guy – he’s actually quite the opposite. He’s a wonderful man with so many possibilities but the past isn’t allowing him to have a future, and we’re in such different places that nothing between us makes sense anymore. It’s not worth fighting with someone you love, it’s better to love them enough to calm the fight by leaving.
And the fighting had been too much. We were starting to destroy what we had, the friendly foundation was turning into resentment. I couldn’t put my heart on hold or allow someone to love me with only half of their heart, and he couldn’t be there for me in a way that was constant and dependable. And so, on the corner of 12th and Third, I gave him one last opportunity to make amends, to step up to the plate, to prove his committment. But he passed and I turned the corner, only to look back and see him catch a cab in the opposite direction.
Well, looks like there’s no game of cat-and-mouse here, huh? I crumpled to the side of a building, wishing I hadn’t worn heels and covered my face, preparing for the flood. My friend M braced my back and promised me he was only the beginning of New York love, not the end. But the devastation didn’t come. Instead, I felt just a little bit of fear and longing, but mostly, I felt relief. Now I could be happy, he could find his happiness, and the happiness we had won’t be overshadowed by the disaster of the last month. After all, what I’ve wanted for him from the beginning was just to be happy, and now I see that I wasn’t helping him to happiness, I was just keeping him from really trying out those wings and learning to love himself as I have learned. I miss him, I will miss him but his brightest years are still ahead of him, just as mine are. We just won’t be sharing them together.
So does this blog end with the end of Mr. Possibility and I? Have I really completed the 12 steps because I found enough security in myself to not have to lean on a man for support? To not stay in a dead-end relationship because I couldn’t stand the thought of being single while all my Southern friends got married? How do you end something that’s been part of your life for the past year? How do you put that into words?
You don’t. So I’m not.
I won’t write every single day anymore, but I’m still going to write. Confessions of a Love Addict isn’t ending, it’s just changing. It’s going back to Step 1 to repair myself through the five-moods of a grief over impossibility. To learn how to put back together the pieces I lost of myself in the relationship, even if this time, they aren’t as scattered or jagged.
I wanted to blog for 365 days and I have – so now it’s not about meeting my own deadline. Now, it’s just about writing as I feel, sharing what I want, and starting the journey all over again. Really, the process of accepting and loving who you are is never-ending. Because just like the New York skyline is always changing, so are people, and so is time. Stages come and go, love grows and then it hurts. Friends go their different ways, luck comes around ever now-and-then. Sometimes you get what you want, but mostly you get what you need.
And I still need this blog. Because now, a whole new journey is about to unfold, and if the last year is any indication of the thrills ahead of me, I couldn’t be more excited. Especially since now I’ve traded that bathtub for a cab, those tears for a red dress, and that fear of being alone for the option of having something extraordinary. And that hatred for the word “single” into a thankfulness that through it all, I still have just what I’ve always needed:
And of course, a bottle of champagne, some great friends, a heart that’s still beating and believing, and the faith that the best is yet to come. Stay tuned.