Missing Him

At my job, two co-workers I am friends with, one of whom is a manager, recently began dating. Granted, I’m not sure how long “recently” is, but to the best of my memory, about two months or so. He had a crush on her and the day he planned to finally ask her out, she (the manager) did it first. It’s a cute story, and I genuinely hope things work well for them. At the same time, I’d be a liar if I wasn’t a little bit envious.

Not because I want to date either of them, but because I wish I had the privilege of seeing my boyfriend as often as they see each other. Make no mistake. I absolutely adore my boyfriend and have eyes for no one except him, but the thirty miles between us across our neighboring states kills me inside at times. To be blatant, every time I see a couple together, I think of him and wish we could be together at that moment. I know it could be worse. He could on the other side of the country or on the other side of the world. That we can see each other the one or two times a month we manage to is a privilege in itself. But that truly doesn’t help me miss him any less.

I know there is such a thing as too much time together. That applies to us too. We’d probably kill each other if we had to spend every waking moment together. But I’d rather have too much time together than not enough. At least, we could avoid each other for a few hours or days if we were getting aggravated and make up later.

My co-workers, when they have shifts together (this particular manager does not make the schedule), will share their lunch break with each other. When she has to be on the floor, he’ll usually work with her and they’ll talk about whatever they please as they do returns or clear the floor area. Or if she’s counting out at the register to close them down for the night and we have no customers in line, they’ll chat together as she counts and he’ll walk her to back as she carries the register drawers (policy is that two people must walk with the drawers, though of course, she doesn’t let him in the cash office). I’d give anything to have that with my boyfriend. Perhaps it’d get old after a while, but again, we could avoid each other until we felt better. Really, I’d give anything for us to live in the same town, let alone have the privilege of working together at a job.

I feel bad for being envious of them. They are my friends, after all, and friends should not be jealous. I am truly happy for them since they are both sweet and funny people, and they don’t get angry if an employee talks to the one who’s the opposite gender (we had a couple at work before where the woman harassed me because her boyfriend, who was my boss and hers, would have to speak to me or I’d have to speak to him). I feel like I sound unappreciative of my boyfriend, which is not the case at all. I’d certainly rather see him only twice a month than not have him at all. I took off Fridays so if he’s not scheduled, we’re almost guaranteed to have that one day of the week together for a few hours (though I do have to work this coming Friday, and he has to work on the next, so that won’t really go into effect for two weeks).

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Absence also makes the heart break and causes it sorrow. I want what my friends have: the privilege of being a couple who can share their job. I want the thirty miles between us to be a 30 minute walk between us. I want being apart to be an option more often than it is mandatory.

I just want him to be here.

Has Anyone Seen My Heart?

To my shock, my last post in the “romantic” category was back in March! And it wasn’t about our relationship so much as it was about my personal feelings about our relationship.

I’ve no doubt I’ve mentioned this somewhere in a previous post, but I do not want to dig through my archives right now to find it. I am positive I’ve never made it the topic of a post, however, and it’s been on my mind a lot lately for some reason unbeknownst to me.

This upcoming January will make it four years since my boyfriend and I have met. I know four years isn’t long to most people – I’m not sure if it’s long to me, though it feels like it – but I’m certain we’re past the “new” stage. Lately, I’ve been unable to shake the thought of how close our relationship came to not happening. Despite it’s nothing more than “what if”, it scares me to know how easily we almost missed each other. It was literally a tiny bout of curiosity that led me to him.

I wasn’t unhappy when I was single, but being single is different before a good relationship versus after one. If I didn’t have him in my life, my life would still be full because I wouldn’t know him. I wouldn’t know what I know now. I wouldn’t know the relationship we have today or how it feels to love romantically and have it be returned. Because I do know those things, when I imagine us not meeting each other, it feels like my life would’ve been empty without him. I know if we broke up and I was single again, I would undoubtedly miss him and feel like a huge void opened up in my life. Prior, however, my single life would’ve continued fine without him because I wouldn’t know him. You cannot miss what you don’t know.

It’s a strange feeling, I admit, somewhat similar to the feeling I’ve talked about of being the age my mom was when she became a mother. It feels a bit surreal. If nothing else, I relate a little more to some sappy love songs, though I still hate cheesy romance. Ironic, I guess.

There’s a lyric in the My Little Pony movie Pinkie Pie sings that goes: “One small thing can be the biggest thing of all.” She’s absolutely right. One tiny “hi” (on his end) and one little curiosity (on my end) led to what we have now almost four years later. Our anniversary date is in late June, so as a couple, we’ve been together for almost 3 1/2 years instead of four, but the further along our relationship gets, the more those six months we weren’t a couple blend in. I don’t think in another four years, I’ll be saying “we’ve known each other for eight years, but we’ve been together for 7 1/2”. Does it really matter at that point? Does it matter now?

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t occasionally turn into that stereotypical lovestruck teenage girl present in so many comedy sitcoms. Speaking for myself, the best way I can describe my feelings in a summary is feeling like I’m drowning in his love and I don’t want to be rescued. And just typing that makes me want to retch a little because I know if I read it from someone else, I’d roll my eyes. I’d think it was cute, but I’d still roll my eyes. A hypocrite am I.

Notice I said that was a summary. Typing out this full post is making me smile and blush like a smitten pre-teen because it’s about him. There are a lot more feelings I could say here, and I’ll probably make a lot of eyes roll. More than anything, every time I think about us missing each other that day and never meeting, it’s the silly, sappy feelings that make me saddest to think of missing out on.

  • Being curled up in his arms, as close to him as possible, and still not feeling close enough.
  • Never feeling the time we have together is enough. I say this as someone who is a huge introvert who loses her mind without her alone time (it does help he’s also introverted and needs his alone time).
  • At the same time (no pun intended), it feels like time freezes when we are together. Like this could last forever and I’d be fine with that.
  • His mere presence being comforting and lighting up my day or night. Even when he’s annoying me a bit, there’s still something about him being there that makes me feel better than if he wasn’t.
  • Hugs. Hugs! HUGS! I always need more hugs from him.
  • Waking up to find myself held in his arms. This kind of hug is actually my favorite. Feels very secure.
  • Holding and squeezing him tight
  • All of my troubles fall away when we are together. I thought it was being at his house that did this, but anywhere with him gives me this feeling.
  • That anything bad I go through feels doable if I have him. It’s not good for a person to be your only source of happiness, but at my worst, he may be the reason I wake up another day. I say “may” because love (of any kind) can’t do everything.
  • Him. Just him. Knowing there is this person in the world who loves me in a way I have not been loved before. Who I love with a strength I only ever felt for my best friend (platonically; get your mind out of the gutter!). Who made me not regret dropping my guard and (cheesy) unlocking my heart.

I am so glad we met. I can imagine my life without those feelings. Without meeting him, it’s still a good life. But since we did meet, I’m glad that life without him didn’t happen.

I wasn’t looking when I met you, but you turned out to be everything I was looking for. The best thing to find when you’re not looking for it.

So very glad it didn’t happen.

Motivations

Many people say you should want to improve your life for, above everyone else, yourself. And I have always agreed with that.

However, I believe I can understand how and why it sometimes takes others to really motivate someone to move forward. I liken the concept to how it’s easier to forgive others than ourselves, or how we often see our own faults against everyone else’s spotlight. It’s a wildly different perspective.

Something I often hear about parenting is children tend to motivate them their parents to work toward a better future, either financially, physically, or emotionally. While I have no children, I’ve found I do have a powerful outside motivator: my boyfriend.

At one time, my boyfriend told me he was doing poorly in school until we met. After we did, he began doing very well, to the point he was passing his assignments and tests with flying colors. This would be romantic… if not for the fact we hadn’t met in person yet, let alone become a couple! Answer? He’s a hopeless romantic.

I’ve always (playfully) laughed at him for that story, but it seems the tides have turned, and while he’s not my only motivation, he’s definitely the biggest part of it. Yes, there are things I want for myself in life, like my own apartment and car, but I want him most of all to be a part of any future I have. My answer to the question of where I see myself in five years has changed from “I don’t know” to “With him”. Maybe it’s not a good answer on its own, but it’s what I have and what I feel most confident in. Even when I try to think about myself, he tends to come into it.

“I want to a car… to travel around with him.”

“I want my own apartment… for us to live under the same roof.”

“I want school to work out… so I can get a job in this field and have enough money for both of us in case he loses his job.”

There are other reasons I could give that would make these statements about me. For example, I also want trade school to work out for the sake of getting myself far away from retail, a career path I’ve come to consider to be taken intentionally only by masochists. Yet, I feel stronger about the reasons that boil down to us being physically closer than the ones that boil down to my own independence. And yes, I’d be fine with financially supporting him temporarily if I had to while he looked for other work. He’s better than me at doing domestic chores anyway, so he claims.

This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try to better myself if I didn’t have my boyfriend, but I may have less drive to do so. The future frightens me. Having someone to go through it with makes it a little less scary. For a reason I’ve yet to grasp, he often has confidence in me I envy because I can’t find it in myself. Perhaps that’s what makes it easier to fight for someone else: they believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. It’s a different situation than parenting in that his survival doesn’t depend on me, but it is similar in that children usually have unshakable confidence in their parents. Whatever makes him have the confidence in me he does is something I may not understand, but I am ultimately grateful for. Of all the reasons I have, he’s one of the few positive motivations that drive me. I don’t want to be motivated only by getting away or acquiring things, even for the convenience the latter would bring me. Much like I’d only marry for love (if getting married were an active desire of mine), I’d rather be motivated by friendship and love than the ability to run away. I don’t want to feel like I need to run away to improve my life. There’s not much to life if you can only run away. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t want to be alone. It’s not so much that it’s romantic love as it is I have him in my life as someone who does love me and vice versa.

Treat Others… And Yourself

A long conversation with my boyfriend this early morning gave me huge insight into something.

I enjoy writing, particularly fan fiction and my opinions (gee, what gave the latter away?), but it dawned on me less than half a day ago I’ve been writing fan fiction for twelve years – nearly half of my life!

I never put thought into it or considered it a hobby or noticed it becoming one. I don’t recall what sparked it. All I remember is I started shortly after I watched “The Little Mermaid” when it came out on DVD in 2006, when I was 12 years old. It was the first Disney movie I ever watched, and what introduced me to Disney to begin with. I don’t remember that being any sort of inspiration, but it’s closest I can think of as a reason I may have started writing.

There were other hobbies I tried to develop later on, but I failed at them, despite genuinely liking them. As it turns out, it’s not always a bad thing to be selfish.

When I wrote, it was always for myself. Even if I made it public, and I do enjoy sharing, I was still writing for my own sake. I did it when I was bored or had some random idea pop into my mind. Most of the stories I write are kept private. As a pre-teen, I kept it secret partially out of embarrassment because they weren’t good (not to suggest my more recent stories are), but being a reserved person even back then, I didn’t care for anyone to know anyway.

But when I started drawing or playing some games or learning languages, it was for other people from the start. Drawing was sparked by my then huge love of Winx Club and jealousy of others’ amazing art, and the goal was becoming skilled enough to create fan art to share with the fandom. After finding the Sims community, I played the game more and more to create stories to share with the community. I first began learning another language in second grade, but when I got older and tried to study on my own, it was for the sake of being able to communicate with other people, not because I wanted to study. And I should mention I hated writing too… when I was forced to do it.

None of those reasons are necessarily bad, especially not the last one. But the pattern there is I became miserable with those hobbies because I was doing them for other people’s sake, not my own. Yes, I truly liked them, but they reached a point of solely being done to share with other people for their enjoyment. I stopped caring about my own. Realizing that, it’s no wonder they eventually died when I tired of trying. Yet, I never tired of writing stories, nor can I remember ever feeling burned out. I once wrote eight pages in a day. In the huge world of literature, that may be amateurish at best, but for me, it was a big deal because I wasn’t trying to.

This is not restricted to hobbies either. I did poorly in a number of things, particularly school, because they were for the sake of pleasing someone else. For a while, I succeeded in school over, but after a certain age, being a people-pleaser became too exhausting to keep up and I stopped trying so hard just to hear some praise that meant nothing to me because I didn’t want to do it in the first place, nor was I getting anything valuable out of it. Yet, I’ve discovered I am good at finding friendships, as I’ve made friends even when trying to avoid it, and I am good at holding my own relationship. But I am good at those things because although they involve other people, they are still for me. My friendships and my relationship make me happy, which is why I’m rarely hesitant to and very much enjoy doing things for my friends and my boyfriend. And the reason I hold them so highly is because they care for me. What I got out of friendship is love (platonic and romantic) and happiness I didn’t find elsewhere (please forgive the cavity-inducing sweetness). And I clearly have no problem sharing my friendships with the world!

Of course, there’s such a thing as priorities and some things have to be done, no matter how dreadful they are. This is not about that. What I’m referring to are things that are optional (yes, that now includes school). The truth is I have missed those hobbies. I miss when I did draw in my sketchbook, drawing either from imagination and tips I read, or trying to recreate a specific picture. I miss when I played video games because they relieved my boredom and I was interested in continuing the game’s story, not trying to create a story from the game to upload (though I have been slowly getting back into this one). I always hated studying, but I did like to try reading books in other languages after some weeks of classwork in my language classes, and much of the time, I could. I didn’t care I couldn’t understand what it was actually about (because I couldn’t translate quickly). I just enjoyed I could read it. I once got fun out of reading an Italian dictionary when I was still taking Italian class in tenth class, and I used to play around with DuoLingo, an app for learning languages, for the fun of the games. There may be other hobbies I’ve dropped as well, but I don’t recall them.

All along, the burn out wasn’t from doing too much, but from trying to give so much. During most of my childhood, I heard how “giving to others is a gift in itself” and “it’s better to give than to receive”. Maybe there’s such a thing as too much giving. As I said, I rarely am hesitant to give to those I care most about because I also enjoy sharing. It’s much simpler than I’m making it sound. It makes more sense to go through so much effort for someone you really love instead of dozens or hundreds of strangers you’ll never meet.

My boyfriend asked me if there’s any way to reignite those former hobbies. After realizing what I did, I think there may be. If I choose to try picking one or more of them up again, I have to remember who they’re intended for: me. They’re for myself and my pleasure. If I make them public, it’s because I want to have another place for them, not because I’m after attention and recognition. I realize those can be good motivational tools for some people, but I’m clearly not one of them. For me, hobbies are much more fun when it’s my enjoyment I have at heart. Thinking only of myself is selfish, but this is not exactly hunger I’m talking about. I’m talking about pastimes. I’m positive no one’s getting hurt.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever overcome the shock of taking twelve years to discover this. I now fear for what else I may be oblivious to. Can I trade this “identity crisis” thing for some more sketchbooks?

Some Things Are More Important

Including today, I’ve had two days off from work. Today, one of my bosses called to ask if I’d like to come. Normally, I would’ve said yes and gotten ready as quick as I could. This time, however, I had to decline.

Well, that’s not the complete truth. I didn’t have to. Nothing was really stopping me from saying yes. But at the time she called, I was with my boyfriend, who I do not have the pleasure of seeing as often as we’d like. I was also in pain. Pain I deal with every month, but it’s still pain.

Accepting would mean I have to leave immediately, cutting my time with this person I see infrequently with barely a chance to kiss him goodbye. We’re used to the distance. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to use every minute we can have together.

It sounds strange for someone who needs money to turn down an opportunity for it, especially for a reason many would consider flimsy. I know very well jobs are hard to come by. But so are good relationships. While I would love extra money, there are some things money can’t make up for. In my situation, that was time.

Yes, more money would let me visit my boyfriend more often, but what would be the point if I had no time? My next day off is after three straight work days. The day I see my boyfriend, if we are both fortunate, may be on that day off. Three scheduled work days to one possible day with who I call the love of my life. Perhaps it’s me sounding haughty, but it’s not really a hard choice. I know I’m fortunate I can turn down the chance without worry. Some people would need to say yes.

When our time was finally up, we had to run to ensure my boyfriend got the bus he needed to get back home (it came earlier than expected). We hugged and kissed each other goodbye, and he waved at me through the window as the bus drove away. There will undoubtedly be many more goodbye affections and waves, but at that moment – when it was happening in the present – it meant everything. Nothing could replace it.