To All The People We’ve Loved Before

And before you think it’s about you, it isn’t. This is about the process, the pain, the things we never say, the things we always forget.

A word that resonates within all of us. One that has touched us in every possible different shape and in every possible painful form. Something that means so much to all of us, yet when we even begin to try and explain it, we cannot quite put it into the perfect words.

What makes heartbreak so paramountly hard is that we forget every part of ourselves. We forget who we were as individuals before we even started the relationship…. no matter how fleeting or how inconsequential or even how worthless. We almost always forget who WE were as people before we painted such a ‘pedestooled’ version of them in our lives.

Remember, we were people before they arrived. We were still people through every act of kindness, kingship, hardship and cruelty.
We were always still us.

What we always and often forget is that we still exist around those moments. We are the people that can laugh and smile and share fondness with others. We are the people that can find joy in footsteps, in silences, in simplicities and in the mundanes.

These encounters are not the be alls and ends all. They are just people who have made the teeniest, tiniest, most minuscule marks on us. And only because we allow it.
And only because we continue to let them.

What makes heartbreak easier is that, no matter how hard it is at that precise moment in time, we are not alone. When you feel like your life has come to some sort of earth shattering close, it actually hasn’t. What feels like utter loss and emptiness… it is all just temporary.

Like every other woman, or man, or person, I have felt the immediate extreme misfortune of having my heart broken. More than once. I have also had the ultimate fortune of being able to allow myself to feel loved once more. For me to let myself love once more.

A trap that many of us fall into, myself specifically included, is one of our endless subconscious endeavours of departing from our independence. And while we don’t intend to do this – as we paint such a vibrant shade of ourselves owning ultimate independence when we first meet someone – we naturally fall into a pattern of reliance. Of relying on someone to give us gratification that ultimately gives us joy in the form of physical touch, words and time. Of relying on someone to make us feel like we are the most important person in the world, when in fact the only person who can (and should) be doing this is actually us. Of relying on someone to fill that indescribable void in all of us.

But the problem with reliance is that it is a pressure. It is a pressure on us, as partners, to constantly deliver, to yearn, to seek, to hurt, to impose, to feel emotionally bound to someone who is just about finding the right ways to make them feel the same way about themselves. It is a pressure on the person who we are with to protect, to care, to meet expectations, to trust that they have made the right decision in choosing you. In choosing this relationship.

That’s what relationships are all about: choice.
The choice to explore the possibilities of sharing your adventures.
The choice to explore each others bodies with such untold intimacy.
The choice to be with someone that only makes you a better person.
The choice to love so freely that it swiftly drifts from being a scary, vulnerable possibility into a beautiful actuality.

I remember the worst of my heartbreaks. I remember them all so vividly that they have become a fondness. A fondness so sharp, so clear and just so very present that the pain is no longer pain. In fact the pain has subsided into experience and is a reminder of who you were in that exact moment. It doesn’t dictate to who you are NOW.

But time passes and pain turns into memory.

We never need to forget those reminders. Because quite simply, just look how far we have come from them. Look how we have changed. Look how you have felt and hurt and grieved and cried and utterly loved and endlessly tried.

And surely that’s the joy in finding someone new. Not to try and make them answer for all the previous experiences that didn’t quite work… for all of the moments where you felt so uncertain or so uneasy or that you were trying to convince yourself that
they were worth it,
that you were happy,
that you were actually in love.

And maybe that newness is actually you. And maybe it takes place in the form of a new person. Irrespective of that, let’s not sugarcoat any veil of progression. We are all allowed to feel better in those moments of previous pain. Because if we did not… surely we would all be unhappier people for them.

The excitement in finding someone new (or something new in you) is that they play no part of your past narrative. They are part of the you that exists now. The you that purely exists FOR you. They just get to be an added bonus and even better, your added bonus.

We don’t get to choose how people feel about us.
We cannot manipulate someone’s heart to fit perfectly into our expectations.
We cannot convince someone that we are the right choice.
However we can choose how we react to these behaviours.

We can choose how we humbly carry ourselves into every scenario in our lives, admitting fault to those we have also hurt; exposing vulnerabilities to those we trust; trusting in ourselves that we are brave enough and strong enough and able enough to be the very best version
of ourselves
to ourselves and to others.

So thank you to you.
Thank you to all those of who shattered every expectation. Without you we quite honestly would not be sat here right now with the capacity to feel like we do.
To write in confidence.
To share experiences.
To actually feel.

Without you, we would not be the person We are now.
And we will be forever grateful. No matter the hurt, no matter the pain, no matter the experience.
For all the parts of us you have ultimately and continuosly broken, we cannot wait to find a way to fix them again.

For all the parts of us we know we need to work on, we can now take some time to reflect, to fix, to think about…

You all just made us realise we were a little broken to start with.

Some will come.
Many will leave.
But…guess what?
YOU, yes you, get to stay.

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