I had a nice long talk with a new friend the other day about how I got to be where I am, and I realized that I have a lot of feelings that I haven’t really found much resolution for. Maybe writing a post about it will help me feel better, or maybe some kind soul will read it and have something nice to say that guides my heart in just the right direction.
I know I’m not perfect by any means. There are so many things about myself that I could sit and criticize for hours and hours. It’s not really a big deal to me that I’m not-so-great when I’m just bumbling through life on my own, but since being in a relationship and settling down a little with my partner, I’ve become hyper-conscious and critical of how I am.
These feelings started way back in the beginning of our relationship when I had first met him and we started getting closer and closer. We had the best adventures then; staying up late to watch old Doctor Who, freezing our wet hair off my balcony in -30 degree weather, and cuddling till we fell asleep next to each other are all some of my favorite memories with him. It was obvious that there was more than a spark between us, but there was a catch to this seemingly-perfect story; he had a girlfriend. She didn’t live in Laramie though, she went to school in Colorado and he would occasionally visit her on the weekend. I remember a time when we were cuddling on my couch together and she called him; without a second thought, he answered. ‘I love you,”I miss holding you, too,”Good night, my love,’ I heard him say as he lay with me. It was a bad situation. Every time we slipped up and got too close to kissing or fooling around, we would tell me that he didn’t mean anything that he did and that we would only ever be friends. Eventually he broke up with her and then our story started taking a (rocky) start. Even though he had left her behind, she stayed with me in a completely different way.
I would look at his pictures on Facebook and scour them at night time when I was alone in my room. They looked absolutely perfect together. No arguments, no fallouts, no typical high school relationship crap. Every dance was recorded with volumes of photographic evidence; him kissing her, her showing off her corsage, him hugging her from behind. Travel photos, school photos, friend photos; they all showcased their flawless love. They played Benedict and Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing; if that didn’t mean that they were meant to be, I couldn’t tell what did. They were a perfect couple. I don’t think I was ever really jealous of that. I was happy that he had so many great memories that made him who he is. I think I felt more sad that I didn’t fit that space in a relationship. My heart hurt because I knew I would never make a perfect girlfriend.
Looking at his pictures turned into looking at her pictures. She was (is?) beautiful. I would compare every aspect of my life to hers. Are my parents wealthy and supportive? No, But hers were. Did I have a great smile, beautiful hair, and a perfect body? No, but she did. Was I getting my degree in the most distinguished school in my field? No, but she was. Every single thing I could think of to compare, I fell short in. I wanted to be in a relationship very much with him, but it just seemed like the space I had to fill was too great.
After a while, things got better and I started going to the doctor for some mood problems that I had been experiencing. Things were starting to look up as far as being in a relationship went; we hung out a lot, spent the night together a lot, and pretty much did all the things that dating people do. In the back of my mind, I still felt like I was falling short; that I wasn’t enough to actually be his girlfriend.
Then everything happened with the other girl and again those feelings of inadequacy came roaring into my mind. Again I caught myself looking at her pictures and comparing myself to her. Again, I didn’t stand a chance at comparison. All of this happened within a month of finding out about my brain tumor, and I was in a dark place.
Eventually, everything fell into place and I ended up with him. We decided to be in a relationship and the rest is history.
Now, almost two years since the beginning of that story, I’ve found myself with those feelings once again. She is still living her perfect life in Colorado, more beautiful and popular than ever. I broke down last night about it. I cried and cried and talked it out with him, but he didn’t know what to say except that he loves me with all his heart and that he couldn’t imagine a partner who would be a more perfect fit for him. And honestly, that should have been what changed my heart. Those words are exactly the ones that could heal my heart and calm my worry. But I still feel so inadequate. I still compare myself to those girls and I still tell myself that I fall short. Somedays I wish I had a little pocket book that could tell me exactly what to do in order to move past my feelings and finally feel some inner peace.
I know that there’s no magic secret to getting over myself, but I’m going to keep trying every damn day to make myself into the person that I want to be and transcend those thoughts of comparison and self-doubt.
PS – Here’s the song that inspired this blog post’s title. I had it stuck in my head the entire time I was writing this.