I’m an idealist. I’ve always been an idealist.
I think a lot of that comes from having grown up with such a firm belief in God. I knew that things were supposed to be a certain way, and even if they temporarily went awry, God was so amazing and powerful and all-knowing that He would somehow make it all align with his plan in the end, amazing and delighting us that the things that we saw going wrong and how could He ever let that happen? were actually key contributing elements for the full and complete realization of His plan. You know, the all things working together for good sort of nonsense.
A lot of my idealism also comes from having been an avid reader all my life. In the majority of fiction—and, perhaps surprisingly, non-fiction as well, because we are, after all, only human, and we do like our stories—all sorts of debilitating setbacks occur, scary events happen, dangerous threats loom, but somehow, often in spite of great adversity and against all odds, the protagonist ends up saving the day. The challenges are only there to provide a delay between wanting a thing and getting it, to increase the tension in the plot, and to make you doubt, but by the time the story is over, the main character has achieved his goals.
I’m older now and smart enough to know that life doesn’t follow the supernatural myths of religion or the artificial plots of our favorite books. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. My problem is, I don’t know how to stop being an idealist. I don’t know how to let go of my dreams. I don’t know how to accept—fully, finally, and absolutely—that something that I desperately want, something that seems so right that it must be inevitable, is never going to materialize in my life.
The fact is, Girlfriend will never again be a part of my life in a meaningful way. I’m certain the discerning reader already knew that, even though I haven’t written directly about it on this blog before because I find it so incomprehensible that I haven’t even known how to put words to it. I mean, I would have fought the world for her. The whole fucking world. But the fact is, she made choices that excluded me from her life, and how am I supposed to fight that? I can stand beside her and fight the entire world for her, but I can’t fight the world and her. And no matter how much I wish that hadn’t happened, no matter how fiercely I yearn that her decisions might have somehow included me, no matter how certain I am that life just has to turn out differently eventually, it never will. Because she chose a different path.
In the past few months I have finally come to understand that while I am fully aware on a cerebral level that what happened between the two of us is over, I have not yet been able to accept it emotionally. I realized that even though I’ve said that I’ve moved on, even though I’ve committed to leaving the past behind me, even though I’ve tried to focus on other things and find a new path to happiness, I’ve still been holding onto the hope—the certainty, really—that like all great fiction, the hero of my story (that’s me, by the way) will get the girl in the end.
It’s silly, of course. I know it in my head. But I can’t figure out how to communicate it to my heart. Emotionally, I’ve been waiting each day for her to call me up, confess her true love for me, relate her inability to live without me, and commit to doing whatever it takes to make things right between us. And while I know logically that it’s an impossibility, I can’t seem to shake it. I can’t seem to move past that point emotionally. I’m still waiting for that call.
I feel like I’ve processed the majority of the pain of our separation already. Certainly, I still have days where I suddenly find myself almost inexplicably in tears, but those days come more rarely any more. I still have days where I find myself in complete panic again, when my mind can’t seem to let go of the feeling that something vital has gone horribly wrong, that I have to figure out immediately how to fix what I know can’t be fixed. Thankfully, though, that too has been gradually diminishing. Mostly, I just have this hollow angst, this hunger that isn’t satisfied by food, this yearning that shares a common name with her. I deal with it, mostly, by distracting myself. And, mostly, I’m okay.
So it’s not that I’m just afraid to deal with the pain. The deep pain, the constant pain, the sharp and urgent pain clamoring with its immediacy, demanding to be felt, to be appeased, that pain has mostly come and gone already. The problem, I’ve come to realize, is that I’ve refused to let go completely. I’ve held on to these tiny threads of hope, threads I’ve hardly been willing to admit to myself exist, but which I’ve deliberately and pointedly refused to cut.
Because: what happens if I cut every last thread? I know that she is an impossibility, but life is long, fates are unpredictable, and what if?
What if in five years … ?
What if in ten years … ?
How will she find me again if I’ve severed all threads? How will my awful reality ever be made right if I’ve made final—100% final—what is only 99.9% final now?
Yes, it’s silly.
You know it’s silly. Deep down, even I know it’s silly.
She is never going to return to me.
If she were ever going to, she already would have.
She has made her choice, and it wasn’t me.
She is aware of the cost of that choice, and she is satisfied with it. Nothing about that is going to change.
I have to accept it. In my head. And in my heart.
Yet it’s that sliver of idealism in me, it’s that deep primal shout of certainty that it will work out if I only just keep believing, that prevents me from closing all doors, cutting all threads. And the fact that I haven’t cut those threads has given me this false hope that someday, somehow, against all odds it will finally work out the way it should have from the start.
And hope is wonderful, because it gives you strength after you’ve expended all that’s in you. It lets you keep trying when you’ve tried until you can’t anymore.
But false hope? That’s awful. You give all you have, then you give a little more, and then you give just one last push. False hope will take all that, and still want more. And because you believe, you keep trying to figure out a way to give whatever it takes. But it always lets you down. Always.
Okay, so yes, it’s true. She could, potentially, one day, be a part of my life again. Right?
Nope. See that? That thing right there? That’s a perfect example of false hope.
Because I know she won’t.
At least, my head knows it.
My heart, though? I’m not sure it can ever stop believing. How do I go about convincing it?
There is no God. Stories are just stories, no matter how beautiful they sound. Fairy tales aren’t true. Reality often sucks, yes, but you have no other option than to deal with what’s in front of you. Or in my case, what’s not in front of me. What hasn’t been in front of me for years now. What will never be in front of me again. Because she isn’t coming back to me.
The hope I’ve been silently guarding in my heart is false hope. It’s time to accept it. Time to force my heart to accept it.
Idealism is a sucker’s game.
There’s really not much more to it than that.
That and cutting the final threads.
As easy as cutting my own heart out.