Giving Up The Ghosts.
Last night, I had a dream about the first boy I ever really liked and had a mad, raging, multi-year-long crush on. It was an interesting dream, because in it, he was just as blase and indecisive as he had been in real life. Finally, driven to the end of my proverbial rope by despair and out of my wits with frustration, I wrote him a letter, outlining the fact that as long as he couldn’t choose to keep a monogamous relationship either between me and him or him and my friend, I was done— I wanted nothing to do with him. I upheld my promise pretty well— until we survived a life-or-death situation together, caved under the pressure, had sex again, and then I got to confront my friend while helping her move from her apartment about the fact he was playing us both.
It was an emotionally-charged, fascinating dream— possibly made more interesting by the appearance of the ex at the tail-end of it, as well as the fact that I knew that my first crush was actually the symbolical representation of my last relationship. I woke up, utterly fed up, and started thinking about the lengths that women will go through to try to keep a relationship.
I have never been a fan of the ultimatums, unlike much women. I firmly believe that if you’re going to make a “if…than” statement, you should be willing to stand by it under pain of death, dismemberment, or break-up, and, as my dream obviously revealed, I’ve never really been great at doing that. If a woman gives a man an ultimatum— “It’s done forever and ever until the end of time when the Universe is sucked into a black hole if you ever sleep with another woman”— and then doesn’t actually have the balls to stand by what she said in earnest, it teaches both of them that A.) A woman can say things that she absolutely doesn’t mean, and B.) That he can get away with it. I consider both outcomes horrible things. And I’m always quick on the draw to call a bluff. So, instead, I stick to the “Do it once, shame on you; do it twice, shame on me, I’m leaving,” mentality. It works, for the most part. In real life, not only was I able to walk away from my first crush when he perpetrated events much like the ones in my dream last night, but I also repeated my feat of fortitude and strength again when the ex repeated similar events, later in my life.
And yet, I find myself still dreaming of them both. What does this say about me; about them?
Despite the fact that we grew up together and still are in casual touch, I hadn’t thought about my first crush in months before last night, so I happen to think he was just a handy vehicle for my dream-self to craft the morality lesson of last night’s sleep around. As for the ex…well, that’s a more slippery slope, but I can explain where the specter of him came from, too. Before I went to sleep last night, I was watching a movie when the dishy main actor suddenly smiled, and in a blinding flash of realization, I realized why I was drawn to him— he very much resembled the ex, especially when he smiled. I started flipping back through my Rolodex of Previous Relationships, trying to put famous faces to my exes who resembled them. I made the same obvious match of Aaron Eckhart to someone as I had when I’d been seeing him, but, other than him, the only other one of my ex-lovers who I could pin similar faces on was the ex, and as I kept coming up with names of people who I thought looked like him— the guy from the movie; Emile Hirsch; Adem Ljajic— I started wondering why, to me, he was one of my most recognized faces. It wasn’t the fact that he was my longest running on-again, off-again thing; it wasn’t the fact that I truly loved him— I truly love my most recent ex, but I was fucked if I could come up with a doppelganger for him, so there goes that theory. I will admit to the fact that in his heyday, the ex was certainly one of the most striking and handsome men I have ever seen, let alone been with, so maybe that was it. We human beings can be incredibly shallow, after all.
The ex was beautiful, and he and I shared a lot of emotional history— and hysteria— together. But does that, and the fact that I can still catch glimpses of him in other people mean that I in any way desire him back? Oh, helllllllll noooooooo. Let’s face it, I’m a little bit of a masochist, and a little pain never really hurt anyone, but I would have to be declared clinically insane to ever go back to him. THAT much pain and turmoil he put me through just isn’t worth it; no matter how attractive he was, no matter what we had in common; no matter the fact that we shared friends, professions, and a common life. I remember how miserable I could be when I was with him, and in general, I tend to believe that there is one thing human beings should never actively seek out to be, and that thing is miserable. Learning that lesson through him— and, in some ways, the baby starter steps to it with my first crush— was possibly one of the defining moments of my life thus far, and it has always served as a valuable lesson every time another relationship starts to turn the same way. I am more important to myself than a man will ever be, no matter how much I happen to love him. And if he makes me miserable, well— then someone has to go, and it’s sure as hell not going to be me. One of the most important things you can ever learn is how and when to go about giving up the ghost of relationships failed, past, and never to be repeated again.
- From SATCG.