My Conscience is my Subconscious
April 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
My dreams have a way of seriously fucking with my head and heart in my waking life. I have intensely vivid dreams with long, elaborate plot lines that tend to last for what feels like hours. When they are scary or emotional, which is 95% of the time, the dream sticks with me through the rest of the day, and sometimes for longer. It’s unfair to me that my subconscious should have so much power over me, that it can control my mood for hours after, and that it’s so fucking callous in the way that it bulldozes my emotions. I guess I’m really hard on myself, when it comes down to it, even if I’m not consciously beating myself up for things in the past.
A funny thing about me is that I don’t have that good of a memory. I tend to remember very specific moments, not events or daily occurrences. I don’t know if it’s a result of my brain being so busy all the time, that I just don’t have the space to pack in daily life to my “Memories Saved” file, if I’m so focused on moving forward at any cost, that I lose so many memories along the way, in that sometimes destructive process. After five years, I only have a handful of memories of our life together. In some ways, I think it’s a self-defense mechanism, that to protect myself from the emotional overload that would result from reliving those years, my brain simply deleted them when I left DC. It leaves a somewhat empty feeling, looking back, when I can’t remember what it was like to wake up every day with him, to ride the train together into the city, to meet him at his office after he got off work to get frozen yogurt and walk down the mall watching the summer sun set. I guess if I try, I can remember some things, but it is heartbreaking to do so, so it makes sense that my brain would make it as difficult as possible to go there.
I hate feeling conflicted about my choices. It’s incredibly rare that I ever do feel conflicted, and I usually take steps to prevent any change of heart when I foresee that I will feel conflicted about doing something. I knew I would regret, at one point or another, breaking up with alec. I knew it. And I doubted my own strength and resolve, so I took steps to prevent me ever changing my mind. Today, I wholeheartedly and painfully regret those steps. I should have trusted myself instead of doing something that could destroy him, like he wasn’t hurt enough already.
There are a lot of complicated issues that led to my making that choice, though. It seems simple when I lay it out like “What can I do that will be so unforgivable it will guarantee that alec and I can never get back together and thus force me to move on immediately?” but the truth of the matter is that things were more complicated than that, though that was in some ways the ultimate goal — to force me to move on by tearing down that bridge and ensuring that it could never ever be rebuilt.
In retrospect, I feel like that was a bit childish. People can change, people can grow. My thinking was that I gave alec five years to make things work, and they didn’t, so he doesn’t get a second chance, he doesn’t get any more time. That was a very harsh way to look at it, particularly since it’s impossible to predict where people’s lives will cross in the future and how people grow in times of turmoil. I’ve changed a lot in the short time since we broke up. I’ve gotten way more patient and a lot less paranoid, but those changes may stem from a general apathy related to heartbreak. Anyway, my point is that it was rash to think that I had to burn the bridge because I thought alec would never deserve a second chance after all the time he had to fix things and didn’t.
Another angle, perhaps the one I have the hardest time admitting, was that I was genuinely interested in andrew for a day or two. andrew and I were a thing before alec and I were (that’s how I met alec), so it’s not like there wasn’t chemistry there, still there even after all these years. It would never have worked out with andrew, I knew that then and I for damn sure know it now, because I don’t trust him any farther than I could throw him, but for a day or two, in my heartbroken, desperate haze during the whirlwind floundering of my first month home, I really thought that I wanted to date andrew. He and alec are opposite sides of the same coin. In some ways, they seem almost like the same person, particularly in their social interactions but in their ability (or lack thereof) to communicate in a genuine, emotional way. I guess in some ways, it was comforting to be around that again, I suppose because it reminded me of alec. In soem very important ways, they are exact opposites as well, and that was what made andrew so appealing to me at the time. I wanted everything that alec had never given me. I wanted passion, I wanted to feel desirable, I wanted an intense physical experience. And that’s what I got, but in retrospect, I don’t think the cost was worth it.
I knew my actions would destroy alec. I knew it when I did it after we’d started “hanging out” or “hooking up” or whatever, while he was still dating marie. I knew my message would get across then, and it caused enough damage to still present problems years later. In some ways, I think if I hadn’t done that, that we wouldn’t have had the problems that we would have in the later years. Certainly, if he hadn’t stayed with marie while he was with me, I wouldn’t have the issues that I still carry with me. I guess that’s part of growing up, though, isn’t it? Learning what hurts you and learning how to really hurt others. And learning how the aftermath will last so much longer than the action itself, how your conscience will continue to beat you up for doing the wrong thing for years and years and years. And then I went and did it again, knowing full well the damage that was already there that I had done from similar actions in the past with the same guy.
I was really hurt. That’s not an excuse, but I think it explains a lot. alec had a year to fix things, a year to try and convince me to stay, a year to work hard to keep me, and he didn’t do anything. After all I’d done, all I’d sacrificed, all I’d compromised on to be with him and to make him happy, I was beyond heartbroken that he didn’t lift a finger to prevent our end. For a girl who already has some serious self-worth issues, that was a real punch in the stomach. My thinking was that he had a year to fix things and he didn’t do anything, so he must not care what I do with my life or my body. He let us fall apart in the end, so he can’t care about who I do or do not sleep with. You can’t be hurt by the actions of a girl who you let walk right out your front door without so much as a “please don’t go.” You gave up your right to care about me, and in doing so, you destroyed any loyalty I had to you. That’s how I felt.
In some ways, I think I was in the right to do what I did. If alec wasn’t in the picture at all, I wouldn’t regret my brief time with andrew, but not for the reasons you think. I never ever thought it would work out with andrew, and honestly, I would never have wanted it to. He’s not the guy for me. But in a lot of ways, he really gave me what I needed in that brief, overwhelming period of pain and confusion. I needed to feel someone be passionate about me, and he did that. I needed to hear that I was beautiful and special and desirable, and he did that. After five years of not having those things, I really needed them and andrew gave me them. I’m glad it didn’t last any longer than it did, but I’m glad I got those things, I’m glad I realized I could have those things. I remember I kept thinking, “oh, so this is what it feels like to be wanted? I thought that just happened in movies.”
But deep down, as my subconscious likes to illustrate in harsh, vivid dreams, I deeply regret the pain that I caused to alec in doing what I did. I desperately hope that he will never hear about what I did, that his heart will heal from our breakup, and he’ll be okay. He’ll move on. If he does ever hear of it, I desperately hope with all my heart that he finds some magical woman who will make him believe again that the disaster that was alexa is an isolated incident and that relationships don’t have to be that hard, that exhausting, that destructive. I hope he finds someone who is gentle and patient and kind, who will love him wholeheartedly without ever demanding that he love her back, though I hope that one day he does learn how to love and that the scars on his heart no longer prevent him from living life to the fullest, from really loving again. I think he loved me as much as he was capable of, but it wasn’t the level of love that I felt for him, and it wasn’t the love that we both deserve.
If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think my love for him was the right love for me, if such a thing exists. I absolutely loved him, and I still do, but that’s not the same kind of love I’m looking for now. I want a love that embraces flaws instead of trying to change them. I want a love that is consistent, that keeps my perspective steady. I want to love absolutely everything about the person I’m with, and if I can’t love everything, I want to at least be able to wholeheartedly accept the person as they are. I’ve never felt that. In fact, I’m not sure I’m capable of it. I need more time to grow up and move past this incredibly exhausting and damaging period of my life. I need more time for my heart to heal, for me to forgive myself for the damage I’ve done to myself and to alec. I need time to find who I am before I find the right person to love for the rest of my life. I may need time to realize that this kind of love doesn’t exist, that the storybooks lied, that happy endings are broken promises. For now, I’m young. I’ll keep looking, keep pushing forward, keep trying to find that perfect match. I doubt I’ll ever forgive myself for what I’ve done to alec, no matter how many times I rationalize my behavior and try to balance my actions with his. I hurt the man I loved after I’d already broken his heart. What kind of person does that, and how can that person ever expect to love again, knowing the risk I pose to another person?
Thanks, subconscious, for starting me off the right foot for a weekend alone when I’m supposed to be studying. Asshole.