These words have been a year in the making. I'm writing this in a coffee shop, I'm drinking a maple latte, and I have Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed open. I'm sitting across from my favourite person in the world, my best friend. We are both listening to our own music, both doing our own thing. (I'm sure she's doing something a lot more productive than I am, but c'est la vie.) This is something that should've been written a long time ago. A year in the making. Words and paragraphs and so many thoughts that have been patiently waiting to get out of this head of mine and put in a proper form.
Square peg, round hole. Square peg, round hole. Square peg, round hole.
I've spent the last year thinking about that description. What does it mean to be a square peg? Or a round hole, for that matter. That phrase is usually used to describe two things that do not fit seamlessly together. Combining them together does not work. Regardless of how many times you hit that hammer on that square peg, it'll never fit in the round hole. You can try hammering it into place - first lightly tapping the peg, trying to make it budge. Once you realize it's not working, you try hitting the hammer to the peg harder and harder, struggling to make it fit. While doing so, you don't realize that forcing it only makes the square peg more and more damaged with every hit.
I've been applying that phrase to a lot of the relationships in my life currently and those in the past. People that have been here since the beginning, people that have come and gone, people that have returned, people that I'm saying goodbye to forever. Square peg, round hole.
I've also spent the last year learning to be okay with that phrase. I've been learning that not everyone is meant to be in your life forever. Forcing friendships or relationships doesn't really work, and by trying to force it you begin to damage yourself in the process. You start to do things you wouldn't do, say things you wouldn't say, and you make yourself small.
A lot can happen in a year. You can learn a new skill. You can kiss a really handsome boy in the hallway of a grungy bar with scribbles all over the tables. You can start wearing lipstick all the time. You can read a lot of self-help books. You can have someone in your life one moment and gone the next. You can start drinking whiskey & ginger-ale and make it your signature drink. You can start living a lot more lightly. You can feel something you've never felt or experienced before. ..And then you begin to see the world with a better perspective and clearer eyes. You figure out what love is and what it isn't. And after some time, you learn to forgive those that have caused you pain.
I will always try to believe the best in people. I will always try to take what important lessons that were made clear through their departing and carry it with me. Maybe even share it with others when they need a hand to reach for. I will try to be respectful when speaking about them. Only nice words, even if they might've left in a not-so-nice way. Sometimes people need to leave when it's time for he both of you. Sometimes they have their own road they need to take, but so do you. Sometimes it takes you a few days, weeks, or months to figure this out for yourself. Sometimes words cut deep and you can't forgive what was said. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and still lose. (Thanks for that, Cheryl Strayed)
At a time in my life that was not-so-long ago, there was an ache in my chest that wouldn't go away. Not with my favourite cup of tea, not with laughter from friends, not with Parks and Rec, not with anything. It was so heavy. It would stop my breathing, it would make it impossible to get words out of my mouth without stuttering and tearing up. It prevented me to do normal things, the heaviness never leaving my aching chest. It prevented me from leaving my bed for a few days, it prevented me from sleeping. It was this heavy ache that soon became all I could think about. It crept into my thoughts while doing simple things - schoolwork, the dishes, watching TV. Even when I wasn't thinking about it, it was there in the background like a ghost.
When I did sleep, I didn't want to sleep in my room. I started sleeping wherever there was some sort of life around me. It was as if I was just trying to grasp onto whatever air was around me, worried that if I slept by myself I would wake up gasping for air. I slept in my sister's room, my living room, the floor of a friend; anywhere that would take my sad, heavy heart in to be comforted. The same heart that was an anchor to a ship that was being sailed by something that decided that this boat wasn't something that they wanted to sail anymore. Quickly they threw that anchor over, jumped on a raft boat, and decided to go towards the shore - a place that I was far from. I felt like I was drowning.
I wasn't myself during that period of time at all. I went from someone that had light in their eyes and a jump in their step to someone the complete opposite. I scared myself, I scared the people around me. I felt like a ghost. But as painful and excruciating as that heaviness was, I can truthfully say I don't ever want to forget that feeling.
When your heart is aching for whatever reason - family/friend/personal/relationship issues, you really feel like you'll never feel anything but this heaviness. This ache in my chest will never go away, I used to say to myself during that period of my life. I'll never get over this. You think you can't because sometimes certain people feel vital to your existence. Sometimes you feel like you'll never move forward with your life. You think about the way they laughed or the way they walked or the way they touched - and how you will never be able to forget those things.
But after everything is said and done, you begin the healing process.
You'll move on, you forget about things. You start to feel this beautiful feeling that comes after heaviness and ache and pain; you being to feel light. You begin to feel real happiness. You begin to forgive, you begin to feel compassion again. You forget about things when you're wrapped up in another person. You remember special things about you that slowly went away when you started putting someone else before you. Your friends will comment on how you're back to your old self but has changed in so many ways, too. Your mother will be proud of the strength in your bones. You will stop making yourself small. You'll fall in love with the way your face scrunches up when you laugh, and how you are always worrying about your friends happiness.
Everything we do or say is a choice. Whether it's to say "I love you" for the first time or to say "Goodbye" to someone you don't ever plan on speaking to ever again. You can choose to be kind or choose to be cruel. You can choose to want the best for yourself. You can choose to be alone. This is not because you can't find someone, but because you aren't looking for anyone to fill a void.
Throughout the loving/losing and the heartache/heaviness and the light/love, you learned how to fill your own void. You're choosing to be alone because at this moment in your life, you're the happiest you've ever been. You've build a group of incredible friends and when you look around, you realize that you've never been alone - not even for a moment.
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