Why Can’t We Stop Looking?

As a child, I began to realize that my nose only itched at times when I couldn’t scratch it. As a teenager, I began to understand the concept of our subconscious picking up on the subtle hints around us; the most obvious of hints that we miss because our minds simply gloss over them. The thing about retrospect is that despite 20-20 vision, we still miss certain things, and these become a part of the most common lies we tell ourselves. 

I don’t know what compelled me to check his FaceBook today. Maybe it was the month, maybe it was the melancholy, maybe it was the general disappointment with my life right now, maybe it’s because I’ve never felt so lost or so unhappy before, but I peeked, and it was exactly the bad idea I thought it would be as I was typing his name into the search bar. 

But despite that, the first thought that surfaced when I saw his picture with her was this: 

He looks happy, and if he is, then I’m happy for him.

I know now that the pain of heartbreak doesn’t fade. Like energy, it merely shifts forms, changing the way we view and acknowledge it. Time scabs the wounds the way our platelets congeal our blood and our minds redirect their focus to another part of our lives.

The truth is we all move on at our own paces. Some people come into our lives like comets, lighting up our worlds, and once they’re gone, we’re filled with wild longing; dreaming of them and the days with them. We equate happiness to being with them, but it’s so much more than that, I know now through heartbreak, more clearly than ever, that my happiness is no one else’s but my own.

Maybe what makes it hard to accept is that someone who once meant so much to you could fade into being absolutely nothing, or that you, who once meant something to someone, could cease to hold that space of importance.

What I’ve realized as the years have passed is that while I still love him, while I’m still hurting over him, he has moved on, and I wish I knew how to as well, instead, I’m still running.

I never thought that the profound hurt I felt at 19 would be felt still at 21. I never thought that the slice would be just as sharp, just as succinct; but no… I’m wrong. The pain has become more localized. I know now exactly where it hurts, and I no longer feel harpooned by his absence.

His smile doesn’t slay me the way it used too. I thank Time for that. He is no longer the beautiful boy I fell in love with; but that doesn’t keep me from feeling broken, and acknowledging that I can’t move on doesn’t heal me anymore than if I pretend he never existed.

How then, do I reach this elusive Nirvana?

I have this twisted fantasy in my head that if I ran away, back to him, I would be happy again. The thing is… I know that’s the biggest untruth I tell myself, but I can’t bring myself to accept that it’s a lie.

The years have brought with them a brighter clarity than I could have ever hoped for. There are things we would do for love, and there are things we won’t. I loved him past tense, and what I have to do is relearn how to love me, present tense.

Maybe the truth about what hurts is that he had too much self-respect to wait for me, and all I’ve ever done is broken promise after promise to myself regarding him. I knew it would hurt me, I knew he would break me, but despite the premonition, I went for him. It was the Warren Harding effect.

How do you love yourself more? How do you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn to love yourself more? We accept the kind of love we believe we deserve; the thing is… I don’t think I equate happiness to love anymore, and I think what really guts me is that he looks so happy. What is his secret?

I used to buy into the cliché that in every break up, there is a person who wins and the one who loses. I’ve always believed that the one who wins is the one who moved on first. I’m thinking now that my juvenile thinking was partially wrong; maybe the one who wins is the one who’s simply happier.

With this logic, how do I become the winner? 


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