You think you know someone. And then, years later, you find out that you probably don't know them at all.
Here's what I find myself chewing on:
Years ago, well not that many, I found myself pretty much infatuated and in love with a girl I met at school (school being the University of Alabama at Birmingham). I was too inexperienced, shy, and socially awkward to do a damned thing about it and she slipped right through my fingers and into the hands of a friend.
I spent the better part of the last four or five years hating this guy. He's everything I'm not, and since they've stayed together this long he's probably everything she wants.
She was a good friend and because I couldn't handle seeing someone I wanted so badly with someone else who was a friend to me, in essence having two friends causing me nothing but pain, I couldn't be friends to them.
Over the last year or two I've managed to put both of those friendships back together. I tried anyway. With him, it was pretty easy. There's no animosity between us anymore, and no more or less closeness than there was before.
With her...well...that didn't go so well. I know that there is still a part of me, though buried deeply, that still wants her like I always did. I think because of that I treated her differently. I was less than the nice guy she had known before. I was an outright asshole. That's how she's treated me.
I'm not laying blame anywhere, but we can't be friends anymore than I can be friends with my most recent ex-girlfriend. There are too many feelings there...feelings that only lead to pain for me.
And in the end, I've learned things about her that over the years have convinced me that she was never a very good friend to me after all.
I tried, but in the end I know that I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. If I can't have it all, I can't bring myself to treat a person any better than what I think they merit.
It's funny, I think the guy who 'stole' this girl away from me has, in all that time, been a better friend to me than she has. It makes me think, and ultimately to conclude, that the judgements I made about her that led to my feelings for her were wrong. I made a mistake.
The feelings are still there. You can't really escape that emotional stuff. But the actual essence of her doesn't merit the rewards of the feelings that I have in regard to her.
I think this is probably true of my most recent ex, Cheryl. She doesn't deserve me, in a nutshell. That's hard for me to say. And I'm not entirely convinced of it, though all the evidence is right there before me.
My heart is not ready to accept what my mind is telling me. I want her so damned bad, but my head is telling me she is the last thing I need. This is one of those situations where I think my heart is leading me to ruin, and I'm having to force myself to listen to my head.
It's a hard thing to do, but I let my heart lead me for a long time with her and the end result was always pain. She told me she loved me, but she was never willing to fight to keep me. It was always too easy for her to let me go.
It was never easy for me. But I did it when it no longer made any sense to stay.
We had our good times, and I'll remember and cherish those always. But she also taught me some hard, painful lessons and I'm afraid those will resonate more forcefully in my recollections. A part of me regrets that, but a part of me remembers that pain is a powerful and effective teacher.
Episode #200 of The Clarey Podcast
1 hour ago