22

The day I turned 22, I realised that a lot of things have changed.

I realised that as I sat in the same living room with someone I tried to date not once, but twice, and how platonic it sat between the both us came the certainties of our relationship. I realised that while we weren’t together, we were in this together — how he took care of my heart when it was broken by other people over the course of almost a year that I’ve known him and how he searches for ways for me to leave toxic, co-dependent relationships around me. He takes care of me in ways that I crave but without the romantic attachments and I realise that I found a gem when I thought I lost one prior to meeting him.

I realised as I sat in the same car with a potential love interest that meeting people outside social media and dating apps is possible. The first and definitely not the last. As we sat listening to music and talking about nothing important in particular, I realised that relationships transcend beyond appearances, age and time. Being 13 years older than me had no effect and he certainly did not make me feel small for my age in comparison to his. He smiles when I say something outside of our generation gap and when we clash, he smiles because he accepts his age and I accept mine. The understanding that nothing will ever happen between us stands clear in our relationship and when we both understood it, neither of us broke each other’s hearts.

I realised when I sat in the same room with my family that we break apart but we don’t abandon each other. We seek for our own personal space and companionship and if it means finding ourselves by ourselves, then we do it. I realised that if it meant sacrificing our own sakes for the sake of others then so be it.

I realised how much I’ve grown. Over this quarantine period, I’ve almost sent text messages to my ex-boyfriends and I stop myself — a feat almost impossible in the months before I turned 22. This is the growth that I didn’t think I needed, the path to another form of redemption for myself because of the things I did and hardships I put myself through over the last few years. I had always tried to go back to toxic relationships and this time around, I have the strength and discipline to tell myself that I deserve better than someone who doesn’t want to be with me.

22 is the age of luck, at least to me. It reminds me that as we grow older, we grow up and make better decisions. It reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned over the last years. I wish I could describe the things I’d learned from the start to the finish but it wouldn’t be enough to express my feelings and the journey I’d undertaken.

I’m excited for 23.

to err is human, to forgive is divine

Every day, I spend some time to read and it fills me with an immense knowledge for everyday things.

The internet is a toxic space, that much, I admit. I am hateful of the company that fills the surroundings and many times, people find validation on the internet only to be disappointed and filled with more remorse than before.

However, in my reading travels online, I came across a post on my favourite forum website, Quora.

It tells of the tale of a man who was in an unrequited love with a girl who he hoped for, and tried to shower his love for her in order for her to fall in love with him and it took him over a year to realize and understand that she will never look at him that way. He was only hurting himself by continuing to pursue her, and that in itself is his fault.

When we pursue someone despite continuous efforts of rejection, we hurt ourselves in the process and it is never the receiver’s fault. They are not obligated to love you.

It is our own.

My mistake in my first and last relationship was putting in 100% before the commitment. I put in my 100%, and I loved him. I loved him to the point that I would have done anything for him, even traveled the world to see him. He was not from here, and we were together for a few short months before he had to leave. He was in no position to be obligated return my affections and I never blamed him for it.

It hasn’t been very long since he left and we last saw each other but I do not want to make the mistake of loving him even when it is clear that there is no hope for us. It is clear that he doesn’t return my love, and he has repeated that multiple times.

I am in denial.

I keep loving him in hopes that he will see how much effort that I put in for him, and realise that I would do anything for him. I wanted him to see that someone was capable of loving him this way, as much as I do, as he lacked affection and company from the people around him. I showed him passion, put in effort and loved him like how I would anyone I wanted to potentially spend my life with.

I wanted him to see his worth.

In turn, it made me forget mine.

I’m glad that I came across this Quora post as it had lit a bulb in my head. It helped me realise that sometimes, we give things up to make room for new, better ones. It made me realise that I deserved better than what he offered me and I was a fool to have thought that he could offer me the world. I was in denial.

Was.

Keyword.

Now, I realised something much more. I realised that it’s better for me to stop chasing after dreams and instead chase a better reality. I deserve someone better, and it took me a while to understand it. I thought that he was that better but I was wrong.

I was hurting myself in a continuous motion. He didn’t love me, and would often talk about his ex-girlfriends by putting them on a pedestal higher than me. He would point out my flaws that he couldn’t deal with and he would be the one who berated me for my lifestyle that I was accustomed to. In many ways, he tried to help me. In more ways than one, he couldn’t accept that kind of person that I was. He wanted me to change for him and it was impossible.

In more ways than one, he wanted someone who was a pushover.

I was opinionated. I was optimistic. I was open. I was none of which he wanted but I made myself available to him because I wanted him no matter the circumstances, the pain and the unrequited love.

That was my mistake.

When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

I keep this in mind whenever I’m down. Whenever I feel like I’ve lost everything, I remind myself that when life is taken, another will be given. When we lose someone, someone else will come by.

It’s time for me to move on from unrequited love. I was a fool to think and hope that perhaps, I can make him see how much I love him but in turn, he took advantage of that love. He took it, knowing that I wouldn’t say no to anything. He exploited me, and he wanted my love to only be for him without returning mine.

We need to know when we deserve better and when we need to move on. For me, I’m moving on and moving along because I know that now that I’ve lost him, someone else will come into my life and take me.

That is all that I hope for.

It was completely my fault that I got hurt in the process of pursuing unrequited love. This is my punishment and whilst I welcome it with open arms, I accept that I need to forgive myself.

I like to think that he is my first love. I had never felt so much for anyone before in my life and this feeling, I love it. But it’s destructive for both him and I, and I prolonged it for as long as I could just for a few hours of happiness. That was my biggest mistake and I need to learn to forgive myself for it.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Forgiving oneself is the most divine intervention they can ever give themselves.