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Sometimes in life and love the only thing you can do is let it go and move on. Maybe it will come back around and maybe it won’t, but you know you can’t stay there waiting and hoping, not going anywhere, and not getting anything done. Yet other times, you know in your heart there’s absolutely no way you can just let it go and you have to learn to carry it with you and become stronger as a result.

The real trick is learning how to carry it without letting it eat away at you constantly, and I’ll admit, that’s one I’m still working on figuring out. I’ve had relationships in the past that when they were done, I knew that was it and it was soooo easy just to walk away and get on with whatever life had to offer next. But on the other hand, there are those I know will stay a part of me for the rest of my days and that the love I felt will never fade.

For me, that second sort, the type that I know I’ll carry with me until the end, are the ones that never really had the chance to become anything. I know that may sound a little odd, but stay with me for a little bit and maybe it’ll make more sense. Of course, there IS the definite possibility that it won’t, seeing as it’s all rather jumbled and nonsensical in my head just at the moment.

It may seem logical that the love that would linger eternal would be the long-term relationships, as they are the ones where the love really had a chance to grow. But, at least for me, this turns out to not be the case. See the thing is, what also comes with that longevity is all the reasons why the relationship wasn’t meant to be. This is why the ones that never had a chance to be are the hardest to let go of for me, they’re the untapped potential of the relationship world, the ones that had all the wonderful feelings of new romance and what could be, but they don’t have the opposing negative memories to counteract the longing for the good times.

In my heart I can only feel the pure, unblemished, fresh love; and in my mind, I see only the wonderful paths they COULD have taken if only they’d had the chance. Sometimes, particularly when I’m feeling a bit lonely, I find myself mourning the missed opportunities at happiness and without a concerted mental effort, it can start to drag me down a bit. But then I remember the wisdom shared with me by one of these loves from my past. She taught me that a love like we share that was simply not meant to be was not a thing to be mourned for its absence, it was a thing to be celebrated for it’s presence.

Rather than being sad about what couldn’t be, it’s better to be grateful to have experienced it at all and to have that grain of pure, untainted love to hold on to as a reminder of what love feels like in its purest, truest form. It may feel a bit bittersweet, but it also holds, in its core, the seed of hope that it, real love, is there and it can be found again.

Sometimes it’s an incredibly difficult thing to hold onto that hope and open yourself up to experiencing it in a new way. We compare and create expectations that get in our way and when those expectations don’t seem to be met, our tendency is often to give up and either continue looking elsewhere or stop looking entirely. I know I’m guilty of this, particularly that second one. Things don’t work out for whatever reason and my first instinct is to put my metaphorical armor back on and seclude myself off away from the world.

Every once in a while though, someone will come along that sees right through that armor and knows exactly what you’re doing and why. They won’t judge you for it and they’ll let you decide whether to take it off or keep it on and continue as you were. I’m not really sure if I’ve just been incredibly fortunate to so often find just such a person exactly when I need it most, or if, perhaps, my “armor” is just fuckin’ shitty and incredibly obvious, but either way, I’m grateful for them.

Despite some of the negative experiences I’ve had in the past, it’s moments like this when I look at the love that I hold on to and carry with me, and the women that have seen straight through my defenses that I find myself not only overwhelmed with gratitude, but also simply in awe of just how absolutely mind bogglingly amazing women really are. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a heterosexual male who’s been enamored with the fairer sex my whole life either. We men are pretty remarkable in our own right too, but in a very different way.

Par for the course for me, I seem to be digressing from my original topic so to steer things back on track let’s get back to the idea of experiencing gratitude for what was/is instead of longing for what could have been. Though I have been doing a bit more of that latter option than I’d really like to admit to as of late, the choice to shift focus and perspective remains. Tonight, I choose to just be happy that I have experienced what I have and wake tomorrow with the knowledge that there are new and ever more exciting experiences awaiting me, if only I can continue to choose to live in gratitude.

P.S. With my main writing focus on the novel I’m working on, I almost forgot just how healing writing all this stuff out and sharing it with you all is for me and how much peace and clarity I gain just by sitting down to get all this shit outta my head at the end of the night. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts and for sharing your precious time with me in return and, as always, thanks for reading!

~C. Kiehl