A long time ago I was chatting with Tolkien Boy. I was telling him something--I don't remember what--but he stopped me and said, "It sounds like you're saying good-bye." This was an old theme. I was always threatening to go away, not from a place of emotional manipulation, but because staying in any close relationship made me feel stressed and frustrated. So it was not unusual for me to take breaks, or disappear for a few days, or discuss the possibility of not being a permanent person. Honestly, I'm still a little puzzled as to why TB is still around at all.
But I've come to a number of realizations since that time and I think I'll share here, a tiny bit of what I learned.
I was saying good-bye. Not in the way TB meant, but definitely bidding a farewell of sorts.
You see, many times I have ideas and wishes which involve another person. Those are deeply felt and, I believe, sweet and good. However, they belong to me, and not to us. In truth, there really is no "us". When reality would hit and I would look at one of those things in my head or heart, and recognize that the wish was not shared by the other person involved, it was difficult for me.
I assume this type of thing takes place in adolescence and teenhood, when most people learn about feelings and reality. I did some of that as a teen, but I was also very separate from the effect of feelings. When a friendship or romance went badly, it was easy for me to look at it logically, briefly feel sad, and move on--effectively circumventing the natural process of grieving.
What I'm talking about now is different, of course, but I don't believe it's abnormal to wish to spend time with loved ones, regardless of whether or not those loved ones are platonic or romantic. And I don't believe it's unusual to have expectations or wishes within those same relationships that are not shared by both participants.
There was never anything profound about the things I wanted. Those wishes were small, insignificant, and to mention them would be silly. But in my heart, they had deep meaning, connections only I could understand, and were deeply rooted in the desperate needs I developed a long time ago.
So I was saying good-bye. Not to Tolkien Boy or anyone else. Not to my relationships or chat times or hopes for continued sociality. I was saying good-bye to those tiny little things I wanted; things that would make me whole but which I had no right to ask. I was understanding that who I have become will always be broken in some ways and I cannot ask well-meaning, kind friends to help me mend.
It's a difficult process--coming to such an understanding and letting go of the desperate hope that has always existed, but has never been acknowledged. I still do it. I have piles of such wishes and dreams inside of me. Slowly, very slowly, I have let them go and accepted the hole left behind. It's okay to be broken. One can still love and be loved. Life continues, relentlessly passing, and I can choose to hide behind the piles of all the wished-for things, or I can grieve the loss and take life as it comes.
I'm getting better at recognizing what's happening when one of those tiny needs and wishes dies; when I recognize that I have no right to ask anything of anyone when it benefits only me; when I assume there is an "us" when there is not. I'm getting better at not expressing the good-bye because it only serves to confuse whomever might be with me in the moment. I'm getting better at moving on.
But the cost seems to be that I am less hopeful, less brilliant, more willing to accept that life cannot become better and other people cannot help. I am saying good-bye but I'm not going away. I need to think about this a little bit more, because I don't really know how I feel about it.