I really could have used my own sassy, gay friend when I was beginning to navigate the waters we call “relationships.”
Several weeks ago, I found the notebooks I used in high school for personal writing. I didn’t know what they were until I opened one and realized most of the writings were either terrible lyrics for songs or terrible “compositions” about the boy I was dating. It was painful to get through those notebooks, not because of the memories they stirred up, but because of how naive I used to be.
“They say I don’t know what love is,” was one line I used. Hey, guess what? “They” were right. Apparently, my idea of love in high school was equivalent to unhealthy obsession and attachment. Needing to spend every single moment with the same person was a huge problem of mine, probably because of personal insecurity. In other words, I felt like so few boys ever reciprocated my affection that when one did, I had to keep him around by any means possible. Even in a steady relationship, I felt desperate.
Towards the end of my relationship with C, I reverted back to my outdated relationship model, which was clingy and needy. I believe that subtle nuances indicated his lessening interest and therefore sparked my clingy reaction. Trying to pull him closer ultimately drove him away.
Granted, the break-up worked out well for me. I was able to establish myself as a true individual for the first time since graduating from college. I focused on myself, focused on the positive, and looked to the future, even though it was scary. But by facing the pain and uncertainty directly, I emerged stronger, and I did so relatively quickly. I remember feeling astonished when I started writing a post one month after the break-up. Full disclosure: Super Ninja is totally one of the crushes I talk about at the end of that post. We had only exchanged a few Facebook messages at that point, but already, our short chats made me feel inspired, smart, funny, and so on and so forth.
And that’s how a relationship should make me feel. I have said it a lot to Super Ninja, but there are many relationships I have (or had) in which I feel as if only one aspect of my personality is accepted. With those close to me, that is not the case. The people who enjoy the entire spectrum are those who deserve my love.
Nowadays, while I value the time I get to spend with a certain person, I appreciate the individual life I lead outside of a relationship. I don’t need a relationship to define who I am as a person; conversely, a relationship should complement the life I lead, by providing new perspectives, opportunities, and shared growth and caring.
To wrap it up, when double-checking to make sure I was using the correct form of “compliment vs. complement,” I found this:
Complement – 1. Something that completes, brings to a whole or makes up a perfection
Yeah, that sounds about right.