I’m currently on ‘forced’ leave and thanks to the persisting Covid-19 pandemic, travel restrictions are still in place. I have had so much time on my hands binge watching Tv series, completed another novel and almost ran myself down with negative news about social injustice both at home and abroad.
The news became a major trigger for anxiety attacks, along with the aftermath heartburn that always lingers way after I have calmed down, almost as if to torment me some more.
To think I posted on my Instastory last month that despite not traveling this year, I have managed to not breakdown mentally. I actually termed it growth. I guess I gave myself props way too early as the past two weeks have been a struggle for me. I’m home all day, no working from home to distract me (though I keep being called from the office to help sort out one thing or the other). After a few days I had to put my office line on airplane mode as the sound of the phone ringing started taking a mental toll on me.
The death of someone I admired in the travel space in Nigeria was the final straw to push me over. My mood spiralled downhill and I had to press pause before I had a major downtime. I went off social media, spoke to Henry about how I was feeling to let things out so I don’t implode, being that there’s no traveling or work I could use as escape.
I had no clue on how to redirect myself back to feeling good. I mean, I had ideas of activities to do but I always found myself lying down all day, surfing through social media or laying still, allowing my mind wonder through activities I should be doing but not finding the will power or interest to lift a finger. I wanted to self-destruct. I used online flirting to distract myself but I knew that was not a healthy way to heal. Something felt broken within me. I was exercising (skipping) daily and forcing myself to eat even though I ended up eating breakfast way after 1pm.
I was struggling and I knew I needed to fix up.
Part of my recovery path had me go on a long walk while listening to music. This song by Chelsea Cutler – I was in heaven, came on. It brought up feelings I haven’t fully dealt with, feelings I have been running from. Oh well, Covid has given us enough free time such that we can no longer run from ourselves.
There I was seated at a deserted bus-stop within the University Campus close to my house, and the lyrics to the song hit me hard. I have listened to this song several times since the album dropped early this year, but this particular day, I felt every word. It reminded me of the pain of being walked out on.
“But you don’t see what you saw in me
When you said you would never leave
And I swore that I couldn’t breathe
When you walked away from me”
– I was in heaven (Chelsea Cutler)
I hate rejection and I don’t know how to handle it, worse is abandonment. Yes, I know I’m not an easy person to be with, but that shit hurt. This song reminded me of March 2019, how the one person I have ever loved deeply and totally let my guard around left me. I was walked away from unexpectedly, while thinking things will work out if we tried once more.
This hurt and messed me up. I thought I had healed from our break up but it led me right back to square one and it took me the remainder of 2019 into early parts of 2020 to move past it. Anyway, this is not about this ex. This is about the next person I fell for – T.
I met T August 2019. While I was head over heels, I made it clear I wasn’t ready for any relationship. I had way too many bad experiences to know that there was no need going into another relationship. I mean, I was still getting over a failed relationship. We did off and on till October or so and then went our separate ways.
Fast forward to December 2019. I felt I was healed and ready for a relationship. I went chasing after T. We started dating December 27, 2019 but shit happened in February 2020. I had to relive the horror of being abandoned without prior notice. Things were not exactly smooth but this was almost out of the blues. I still remember the tight knot that formed in my chest. Almost like my heart kept hitting against my ribcage, trying to burst out or maybe shatter itself. I was in real physical pain, not just emotional pain.
I was brought to my knees. My head was all over the place, felt like my life was falling apart and I needed to do everything possible to save myself. I did what I wouldn’t do on a normal day; I begged someone to not leave. I sent messages all night. A part of me knew I was doing this not so the relationship will survive, but to save myself.
I was not sure I was going to survive it. I had to get the relationship back on and plan my exit. I knew we were over for good, but I was not going to survive another broken promise. I don’t think I got any sleep that night. I woke up not wanting to go to the office, I was drained of strength mentally. I felt alive when I got a message from T that we were fine and we will work through it.
I felt relieved and all was well with the world once again. But one thing was for sure, I never wanted to be in that position again. To let someone have that much power to break me. The evening of that day, I broke off the relationship. I was stable by then and was done with trusting anyone with my happiness. I was in protecting myself mode and that’s what I have been on ever since. The thought of starting another relationship isn’t even there, seems so scary. Will it make sense if I say I’m having PTSD from being walked out on?
Growing up I learnt to be by myself. I grew up sheltered. I went through very lonely teenage years. I was lost and trying to find myself, surrounded by a lot of persons but still walking alone. I was all by myself and desperately looking for someone to go through it with, but I never got that. I learnt to be very good at being by myself. I have great close friends and that feels almost enough.
I have always said I’m not a relationship person. There was a time I was fine with short lived flings and it worked well for me. No commitments, no heartbreaks. Once the feelings wore off, that was the end.
I don’t know why I deviated from this and had to yearn for relationships. I told myself I can be a ‘normal’ person and stay the long haul. Despite all the times I saw major red flags, I stayed and built my life around another person in 2017/2018, telling myself I can do long term. What did I get out of it? A shattered soul that made me withdraw from society, broke my trust in people and almost pushed me off the edge. It took me over a year to recover and then I led myself right into another one.
“You’d think that I’d learn my lesson by now
You’d think that I’d somehow figure out
That if you strike the match
You’re bound to feel the flame
But I still drive myself right through the pain
Yeah, well it turns out, I haven’t learned a thing” – Learn my Lesson (Daughtry)
To open up and let someone love you, to lean on and trust that person to not let you down…to indeed truly love you as their words say…to let them in completely without holding back, to take that leap, trusting they will not fail you or leave you and hurt you…it definitely takes great faith.
I don’t think I have such faith anymore.
I have had a thorough soul search on this, mentally reviewed past relationships and made peace with the fact that I am not a relationship person. I am okay being on my own.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel. Truth is, I still have feelings for T, the one who almost wrecked me in February. I have sent T away on several occasions, tried to sabotage us multiple times but we still keep finding our way back to each other. Being human, I yearn for love and companionship along with the pecks that comes with relationships, but I don’t want to commit and do the work. This doesn’t feel right to T who wants it all.
I stumbled on Uche’s blog post titled The Generation That Doesn’t Want Relationships. I resonated so well with it. The post felt like I was looking into a mirror. Here’s an excerpt –
“We want the façade of a relationship, but we don’t want the work of a relationship. We want the hand holding without the eye contact, the teasing without the serious conversations. We want the pretty promise without the actual commitment, the anniversaries to celebrate without the 365 days of work that leads up to them.
We want the happily ever after, but we don’t want to put the effort in the here and now. We want the deep connection, while keeping things shallow.
We want to be swept off our feet, yet at the same time remaining safely, independently standing on our own. We want to keep chasing the idea of love, but we don’t want to actually fall into it.
We want anything that will give us the illusion of a relationship without being in an actual relationship. We want all the rewards and none of the risk, all of the payout and none of the cost. We want to connect – enough, but not too much. We want to commit – a little, but not a lot.
We take it slow; we see where it goes, we don’t label things, we just hang out. We keep one foot out the door, we keep one eye open, and we keep people at arms.“
Be nothing less
Make your choice
And let it rest
When you’re looking for meaning
When you’re lost in a haze
In yourself is the healing
Be the choices you’ve made“
– Sacred to Love (Aron Wright)
Sometimes I wonder why anyone even wants to be with me. I mean, I’m a host of issues. Complicated, damaged at best, with inadequacies and insecurities. Most times I’m like; Don’t you love yourself? Why would you love someone like me or want to be with me? Why would you want to stick around with this broken being? Don’t you want your life easy and peaceful? Seriously, forget about me and save yourself.
I don’t aspire to marriage. Marriage seems to be the common end game of relationships, in it? So why the hell do I want to be in one? I have made great progress in once again becoming that guy who is fine being alone, at least now I have legit reasons why I shouldn’t put my heart and sanity on the line again.
I’m not trying to start a riot or rebelliously break societal norms. I’m just trying to protect myself. Being single is not a curse, it’s my choice and I want to believe that’s fine.
“Truth is, you may not end up with the person you call home. Truth is you may end up alone, but what is alone if your heart is at peace with the contentment that solitude brings?
Truth is, some of us won’t have happy endings because we are too concerned with chasing climaxes. Truth is, love will continue to evade you because you keep looking for it in the wrong places with the wrong persons, double negatives, these charges will drain you like an Iphone after an IOS update.
Truth is, you have to stop walking towards the things that do not serve you and walk to your purpose. Truth is, you keep offering your fruits to those who won’t even plough the soil nor water your soul.
The truth is no one is coming to save you, you need to stop waiting on a crisis or trauma to change your life, truth is only you can save yourself.
Truth is, you do not need proof to validate your feelings, loving fiercely is okay, crying is okay, staying is okay and leaving is okay.
Truth is, you may be defeated right now but that’s okay because the truth is, your victory is in your defeat.
The truth is, you will find him, you will find her, even if that person is yourself.” – Lexonart
I know how as humans, we outgrow things and have a shift in thoughts and beliefs. How you can meet someone and all you ever believed or felt strongly about can change. But for that to happen, for me to ever go into another relationship, it’s going to take a long journey of healing to overcome what I went through early this year (yes, it will always lead back to February 2020) because –
“There’s a reason I said I will be happy alone.
It wasn’t because I thought I’d be happy alone.
It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it.
It’s easier to be alone because what if you learned that you need love and then you don’t have it.
What if you like it and lean on it?
What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart?
Can you even survive that kind of pain?
Losing love is like organ damage, it’s like dying.
The only difference is death ends.
This…it could go on forever”
– Meredith grey (Grey’s Anatomy)