old pasta in the fridge (feeling through it) part one
In the fridge, there’s pasta that you made for me however many nights ago. The look of it in it’s container, glossy, and I’m on the verge of throwing up. I don’t know how we got here, even though there has been this ache for some time. All I know is that I lost track of time, and I lost track of my heart.
It is Wednesday, June 15th, 2022. I decided to end things Sunday night when I picked you up from your friend’s place. It was a spontaneous evening for you and as much as it brought me joy that you made a solid group of friends, I felt overwhelmed and neglected (yet simultaneously calm). You left me hanging and there has been a lack of communication for some time. I felt forgotten about, with heavy grocery bags still and waiting. Like that one night at the airport. Like that one night I compromised my boundary because I respected your need for fun, over myself. I know you never meant to hurt me. You are a good person who is generous and kind. I simply was not as important anymore. I think too the pandemic has led to it being difficult to find our points of connection. I was missing our evenings together. Relaxing at the end of the day, making dinner, and love. I know that your energy is at a different place than mine. You often returned home past midnight and spent more of your free time away from me. Gradually showed up less, fluctuated, but less. When I’d ask to play a game, share a meal, go for a walk, etc. It’s not like you never did those activities with me, just felt like there was less opportunity so when I had asked, I wanted to be an absolute yes… You listened when I shared with you and I loved the routine of walks together, eating together, getting ready for bed together…having at least one shared activity that we did daily. Together. We had that for most of our relationship, but there came a point where I felt like I was trying to use the energy I had left, at the end of the day, to keep asserting that was what my heart needed.
These past few months, gaslighting my own needs at first became a comfortable fire until it started to burn at my own feet. It became harder to eat and feel my best self with the routine of the day. I was followed by a faint shadow of relationship anxiety that I couldn’t ignore. And it grew. It grew hard to move in a space, to feel at ease when we should be floating and growing as partners. I realized on Sunday that we are at different places, not just with energy but in life stages, phases. Navigating different worlds despite dreaming in the same bed. Though I verbalized the end of things, I can not help but feel that this was mutual. As much as I want to make sense of it all, trace its roots, and have answers, I know that won’t change what’s here now. I feel a different kind of pain now, grieving and processing our time and love together. My whole body is in a state of shock. Maybe I could’ve been more prepared to voice how much my needs and boundaries are crucial; I tried my hardest. As a grad student, having energy for myself, for nourishment, and joy, has been a constant struggle. A tug of war where at many moments I felt my grip on life grew weak. I understand these aren’t your battles to fight. I understand that it is not your responsibility to show up for me when my energy is minimal during the week. You didn’t know (and often I felt like you didn’t want to know) how to meet me where I was at. I felt like you had more free time and flexibility compared to my schedule as a grad student. But I understand that doesn’t mean you had to meet me. I understand that it was unfair to you that I expected you to meet me. But that was what I needed. I needed someone to show up for me despite confusion of what I was going through. I knew not to expect to come first every time, especially with family and long-term friends. I felt like I was hanging on a thread. Over-explaining and over-asserting my needs and boundaries. I knew you needed breaks from them and I had little energy to break it down further. I knew that the nature of our conversations these past few months drove us distant too.
You told me that you couldn’t read my mind, and I tried my very best to tell you, each time it came. I felt that you also expected me to understand you, when you told me things once, or when you were experiencing mood fluctuations. And to understand when you needed space and some time for yourself. Through and through, I wanted to love you and to support you. I did everything I could to respect that.
These past 3–4 months, I felt like there was an expectation that I should “get it once”. This contradicted my own needs, boundaries, and love languages (touch and quality time). I understand the energy it took to hear it over and over, again and again. I tried my hardest to share my heart with you. I wanted to be heard. I felt my current values and needs in the relationship were up for debate, would sometimes get crossed due negligence, and not completely (consistently) honored out of love for me. I was able to practice patience with it for some time, because I know love takes time and effort. But this past weekend, I was left hanging again and expected to compromise. I picked you up and you asked me how my walk was at the arboretum, like it was expected of me to compromise and pretend that I wasn’t at home waiting. I had been waiting. With these new experiences and realizations, it was difficult for me to simultaneously process and exert more energy explaining what is needed for me to also feel reassured and safe. Exert whatever energy was left from the day if any. I need presence and validation. And I know in my heart, that it’s not too much to ask for.
I fell into the remembrance of our conversations of love; I yearned for them again. How love is a practice, as said by bell hooks, a verb that is translated and expressed through different dimensions. For four years, you and I learned so much about this practice and art together; through our bodies and our hearts. You did everything you could to be there for me, and everything you could to let me know that I was loved. I was carrying a lot. And everyday, I do everything I can, to release some of that weight; through walks, poems, songs, cuddles with Kubo…I try not to tell myself that I have too many needs/expectations and carry too heavy of a baggage that’s unworthy of love and care. I know that I am worthy of respect, support, and love. I deserve to be shown up for. I deserve to feel safe in my relationships. And I deserve to feel like my needs are also integrated into the practice of love.
At this stage in my life, I am learning more about who I am, where I come from, and who are the people that raised me/that I want to grow with. What are my values, desires, fears, and dreams. I know you are also on your own journey of self reflection and discovery. I always basked in the moments we shared our innermost thoughts as we processed this life.
I will miss you a lot. I miss you now. I miss you when you’re right in front of me, like our souls took different directions unknowingly. As much as I wanted this to work between us and a part of me still wants it to, we are on different wavelengths. Maybe you’ll understand what I mean when you embark graduate school too? But I know that this is not the only factor and I need to stop with the questions. This is my first post as I feel through the hurt in my heart, and with knowing that a piece of my heart has gone with you now. Lost in your pocket or soiled under your shoe. Living with you for over three years has taught me so much; it has been a wonderful experience in my life. I will miss your smell, your smile, and your warmth. And it hurts to know who we are as people right now, are not in alignment. I see you differently now, and have felt for some time that you were growing away from me, not with me. But maybe I was too. I plan to spend more time on that thought. I don’t know if the universe will ever bring us to connection again. A part of me prays. But I know that our separation will evolve us, to be strangers again. Even as strangers, even as friends, even as lovers, my love for you will always remain. It will remain to the very end of my memory. I love you