There’s a certain sense of liberation that comes with the end of a relationship. It’s an odd feeling, since one would imagine there’d be no such sense after a break-up, but those who would imagine this are perhaps exceptions, or else have not had such a relationship before. I am not here to judge. Only to observe.
For all intents and purposes, my last relationship was perfect. He was everything I could want in a man, and he said I was equally as much as he could ask for. Even with nearly five thousand miles between us, we made it an impressive six months before things came to a halting end. That’s still about a hundred and eighty days longer than any of my in-person relationships have lasted. So where’s the irony in that?
What’s most curious for me is the general lack of sadness I feel. When I broke up with my first boyfriend (of two months, for those asking), I was devastated in my reserved way of feeling emotions. Yet, in all honesty, that was an end I had not foreseen, whereas this was an ending I had made peace with before it had happened.
Where’s the irony in that?
My point today, however, is not about my relationships, is not about my break-ups, is not about these large failures spanning two years of my life. Then again, I hardly identify either as a failure at all–on the contrary, my first relationship led to an incredible and lasting friendship, and I’m nearly certain my second shall meet the same fate after this rocky discourse dies between us, and even if it should not, these past six months have been wonderful regardless of the premise of furthering this pleasure being no more.
Anyways, I’m falling on tangents that do not lie upon the curve I’m trying to follow. It’s not the in-throws of a relationship that I’m here concerned with–the so-called dependent stage from which I’m now venturing. It is this severance, this breaking apart into two beings, that I’m most amused with, fascinated by. It’s thrilling.
I’m suddenly reminded of how I remember to spell “independence” correctly: I often want to write “independance,” because the “a” seems much more appropriate than an “e,” so I tell myself that the e must do it on its own–that the e is independent, so to say, or perhaps so to spell. And along the same lines of these mnemonics I’ve made for myself, instead of writing “seperate,” I tell myself that the two a’s must separate the two e’s, and then I’ve got it.
English and grammar aside, these two points seem paramount in the point I’m trying to make: We are independent when we can do it ourselves and sometimes it takes likeness to separate likeness from itself. Paradoxical, perhaps, but perfectly profound, should you follow me long enough to see it.
I said I had foreseen my recent break-up, and I was not playing cards, but being honest. It was a slow festering of discontent, of innate and profoundly irreducible unmistakable incongruity. My dreams for the future, quite simply, had begun to diverge from his, and although in the present moment I could reconcile these differences and assert to myself that we existed in the same moment in this moment and that that was all that mattered, it also bred a core of expectation beneath this external crust of my own inner earth that forecast the eventual demise of our relationship. Although I knew what I felt for him was strong within me, I knew that someday even that strength could not be enough. But the future is the future, I told myself, whilst thrusting my mind and heart back into the perpetual perfection of the present.
In a way, this fear had steeled myself to expecting his words when he told me we could not go on, for other reasons entirely. And so although I felt saddened, and at first clung to what we had said, only within hours of speaking with him I knew that he was right, that it was best if we break. So we broke.
The interesting narrative is what follows this, at least for me. I found suddenly, in the softened days to come, how much I had tied myself to him, intertwined my life with his. I found, on numerous occasions, a lead-in on other conversations by relating his experiences, which I had so vicariously made my own, to broaden that realm through which I could relate to others. I can barely count, in a matter of twelve hours spent sleeping and waking, how many times my mouth had moved to open with the words “my boyfriend…” at the helm before my head stopped my lips and reminded me with delicate firmness that he is my boyfriend no longer.
At one point, so bemused by this revelation, I jotted down the following:
I still think of him as my boyfriend
When I raise my voice to make a quip
but quiet myself the moment I realize
He’s not my boyfriend anymore
But so rote is he a part of me
I react to think he’s still mine
Then I remember, bite my tongue, taste my blood
Realize he is gone, we are gone
I’m not his boyfriend anymore
He isn’t mine
This decimation is natural, an obvious part of any division, but it’s the remainder I find most intriguing. Within a few days, things I had drawn into myself I found now falling out; things I had thought had developed inside of me of my own wanting, I found to be wilting without the sustenance he provided them. His own little garden in the plane of my soul, a glorious place inside me where only his hand could reach to pull up the weeds. Incredible. Amazing.
And my own hidden wonders, those places that had been shadowed by the terrifyingly awe-inspiring plants he’d sown inside me, those areas are now beginning to see the sun again, to thrive and blossom once more. It’s liberating, returning to myself. It’s inspiring, seeing myself with new eyes, with new interest, with new hope and new longing.
Yes, at first there was this emptiness, this spot he had filled inside me that was suddenly vacant, an emptiness that seeded a momentary longing, a craving for someone, something, anything to come inside me and fill that space with all the love and kindness and warmth it required. But after a few days, as my own fluids flooded this deserted plane, that feeling has diminished, has weakened, will disappear as fast as it has come.
Then I’ll be me again, totally free again, to be as I wish to be and to do as I wish to do. It’s this liberation of the end that leads to full independence. I can speak for a decade straight on all the reasons why independence is overrated, why and how we’re all somehow, someway dependent upon each other for everything and anything, but to truly appreciate that connectedness we all need to share to thrive, we must first be able to feel and to appreciate our own independence–our own ability to think and to do and to feel all on our own. It’s our right, to know ourselves, to believe in ourselves, to wholly be ourselves, and it’s this gift that independence gives us.
Years ago, around this time of year, I wrote this little thing that I think is perfect to conclude this narrative. It was one of many word-ramblings, things I spoke to the forest and trees and wrote down for its amusement I perceived, and perhaps, just for a minute, just for a day, you’ll be able to share in this reverie with me.
And if not, my friend, may your Fourth have been wonderful in its own right.
It’s Independence Day
So get out and get gay
Put your head up high
And reach for the sky
Know what you’ve gotta do
Bring it back–it’s all about you