I examined the picture above and I had to admit that that is the image of a mature woman, a grown-up. It is clear that I’ve done all my growing.
I thought I’d be saddened by this especially since I’m currently struggling with other realities of aging (such as salt&pepper hair (you know where!) and stubborn jelly-belly), but the realisation that I am no longer a girl, that I no longer even look like one, and that therefore I can demand not to be treated like one, came at precisely the right moment. Two days ago I had the sort of day that at any other time would have been debilitating for one prone to depression like I am (triggers are real). Incredibly (and a part of me is disbelieving and wary of my response), instead of falling headlong into that dark place (Lake Depression) and sinking unresisting to the very bottom, I asked: heartbreak for what?
The truth, I realised as I examined that image (as one does #leothings), is that I’m grown. Surely the thirty-four Christmases I’ve seen have not failed to impart a few lasting lessons on love and loving?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (but this time with heartfelt meaning): it’s ok not to love someone back, not to want the fairytale trajectory they’ve mapped out, or to want it with someone else (it’s not ok to lie and pretend to buy into the dream, though. Not ok).
It’s ok not be loved back, even though it stings at first. The only alternative is to be lied to, and that’s not ok. Don’t worry, you’ll heal (again) and you’ll love (again). After all, love is the point of life.
It’s ok, it’s especially ok, to excuse yourself from the company of those who take you for granted, who demand emotional support but give very little in return, who treat you like you should be grateful when they spare you a few moments inbetween ‘things of great import’.
It is ok to walk away from situations and relationships that do not grow you. Life is too short to spend it with people who do not value you and have no room for you in their lives. Realise however that there are people who will choose not to have you in their lives in turn. Make no mistake: you’re neither martyr nor saint, just perfectly imperfect human.
It’s ok to hold people accountable for their words and their actions, on condition that you say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you’ll do, too, and offer sincere apologies when life happens. As it does.
It’s ok to admit that you were wrong, and to change your mind, and to allow new information to direct your actions: stagnation is opposite to human nature.
It’s ok to mourn missed opportunity and to weep over failed endeavours and to cry for what might have been.
It’s ok to cry for what might have been.
In the morning put on your game-face and tell yourself that you didn’t live this long and make the choices you’ve made, only to surround yourself with caricatures, imitations and holograms of love. Hold out for the real thing. It’s worth it. You’ll recognise it because you won’t have to beg it.