This photo was taken on the day that I encountered the person who would be responsible for my greatest heartbreak to date…wait woah, let’s try that again in a way that doesn’t wildly externalize blame and shift the responsibility for my own experiences onto others— I encountered the person who be the catalyst for my greatest heartbreak to date.
In my experience, love never looks the way we think it will. This time was no different. Meet a stranger at a festival, get a gay vibe for a minute, think that he’s definitely not my type, and then wait, why does he seem so familiar? Ah yes, our souls have danced together for millennia. He recognizes me too, and he’s willing to go all in. We spend the week in a state of pure bliss. Slight issue, he’s from Alaska and I’m moving to Australia in two months. I drop him off at the airport after the festival. He needs to go back home to run his business, and I’m heading to Burning Man.
Then comes the dramatic goodbye, which I love (hello, I’m a leo). He places his favourite necklace around my neck— “This is a promise, that we’ll see each other again. Come visit me after Burning Man, I want to wow you”. My heart knows that it wants to go, that it wants to spend whatever time it can with him. But my mind, well it goes into overdrive, finding all the reasons why it could never work, nit-picking at him, creating stories…So much so, that the night before I fly out to Alaska, while he’s telling me how excited he is to see me, that he’s filling out passport paperwork so he can come visit when I move to Australia, I freak out and make him promise not to fall in love. “What if you fall in love”, he asks?”. My reply: “That won’t be a problem”. I know, so cringe to think that those words came out of my mouth. Not proud of my past of emotional warfare tactics.
So what happens? He keeps the promise I forced him to make. We have a couple of days of magic, and I’m thinking “fuck, I actually really want this person in my life”. But it’s too late, I see him pulling away, guarding his heart now, the way that I told him to.
I couldn’t get passed my own stories, my own judgment, my projections that this relationship would be as suffocating like the last ones, so I pushed him away until he was so far gone that there was no coming back. “Come back air sign, you’re so far away, I can’t reach you all the way up there”. On day 6 of what was meant to be at least a few weeks trip, I ask him to drop me off at a hotel because it’s so painful to be in his presence without the ability to see his heart. I fly home, move to Australia a month later, and from the opposite side of the world, I cry myself to sleep for months.
Wow Dré, bit dramatic to cry so much about someone you barely know. Sure, but it really wasn’t about him. It was about my inability to soften into the experiences that my heart craved. It was about the fact that I let my own stories prevent me from living in the way that I truly desired. It was about the fact that I let my mind sabotage my happiness, my ability to connect with others, to experience the love that I told myself I wanted but clearly felt unworthy of receiving.
I remember friends and family trying to comfort me by telling me how much of a dick he was, and for a minute, I believed them. I blamed him for not loving me. But how could he love me when I couldn’t love myself? How could he give me everything I wanted when I literally told him not to? How could wow me like he wanted when I shut him down at every turn? This individual didn’t break my heart, I broke my own. Looking back at all my past relationships, I’ve been able to see the truth in the words of Stephen Chbosky: “We accept the love we think we deserve”. For me in this case, it was no love at all.