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OK enough housekeeping…onto tonight’s post!
Heartbreak. It sucks. We’ve all felt it. Taylor Swift has even managed to make a career off of it. But it is a right of passage that will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you in a world of hurt.
This past Thursday, I found myself in the back of a cab absolutely bawling my eyes out. We’re talking, mascara down the cheeks, chest shaking sobs, and full-body sniffles that made my driver incredibly uncomfortable. And to be 100% honest, the degree of my feelings caught me inconceivably off guard.
Believe it or not, for as irresponsibly open I am about a lot of things on this blog, there are a few things that I keep close to my chest. But first let me just preface – this post has a purpose other than sharing a gratuitously emotional story time, I promise. So just stick with me — it has a point.
To set the scene: there is a gentleman…”Australian Boy” from a previous post. Well, things have been…complicated. They were super on for a while, and then when I told him I would never move to Australia, as you can imagine, things became really muddled, and we took some time to figure out where to go from here.
Well, enter Thursday, I hear from Mr. Australia, that he wants to meet for a drink. Well, my heart, of course, flutters, as in our time apart, I had felt my soul soften to ideas about the future that I had never before considered. So I show up ready to possibly rekindle what was a truly special connection.
I certainly did not expect to learn that the purpose of the date was to inform me that he was moving back to Australia. For good.
And in that moment, it was as though I switched into acting mode. I switched off my “emotion valve,” put on a happy-for-you mask, and went into default mode of: guarding my heart with Fort Knox.
I brushed it off. I swallowed hard the lump that was forming in my throat, and instead I played the “cool girl” card with a brave face. The entire time, in my head thinking, “Care, you cannot be the girl that cries. You cannot let him see you hurting.”
Ugh, it was just awful. AWFUL. I left that night, having not expressed how sad I was to see him go, or sharing how much our relationship had meant. He clearly was trying to get that out of me, sharing his heart – but in that moment I was trying to be the person I thought I was supposed to be: cool, aloof, and unfazed.
As soon as I got into the privacy of a cab – the waterworks started flowing, and they came hard.
And so, like any millennial, I called my parents — they’re the best listeners, and always know just what to say to calm my spirit.
My dad said something really profound to me, (which, if you’ve read this far, thank you – you’ve made it – this is the point of this whole post), that I knew I had to share. Because it was such a truth bomb, that it really made me reconsider absolutely everything.
He said, “Care, part of why you’re so upset is that you weren’t authentic with him. Screw what other people may think…you have to be true to yourself. You have to be authentic.”
It is so simple, and so elementary. And yet – one of the most difficult things for me to do.
Why is that? Why do I always stress out about saying the perfect thing, wearing the perfect outfit, having the perfect nails, the perfect witty reply to a text, and painfully striving to meet society’s perfect ideals of a “cool girl” love-interest that is emotionally invincible, appropriately unavailable and just mysterious enough to keep a guy interested?
It’s BULLSHIT. Excuse my french. It’s the remnants of my perfectionism from my anorexia creeping in and sabotaging my present!
Here I completely disrespected this guy I genuinely cared about by not letting him see how his departure deeply affected me.
Now, I’m not saying I had to have a full blown Scarlet Ohara-style tantrum in front of him, but for crying out loud — at the very least, Care — express to him how you feel! How you’ll be sad to see him go!
Which, to be fair — I kind of did. BUT I went the route of, “I’m excited for you,” rather than, “I wish you weren’t leaving.“
My dad was absolutely correct. We can be nothing in this life, other than ourselves. Because you know what? Who we are — authentically — is a beautiful thing.
God made my heart, and your heart, and his heart, and all of our hearts — he made them to be precisely unique and individual to us. Every little thing that makes our hearts yearn, or swell, or break, or leap — our hearts are our own unique reflection of the Father’s. And that is the heart that needs to be presented to any potential partner.
Not what Cosmopolitan magazine dictates. Not what the latest Jennifer Anniston rom-com depicts.
No. Our own authentic selves. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that the whole entire point of dating anyway?? To see if your authentic self and his authentic self connect in an authentic way??
After a couple days kicking myself, I did end up writing him a beautiful note, expressing what I really wanted to say in the moment. Just a quick letter of gratitude for the time we shared, and the sadness to see such a quality gentleman leave, while also wishing him the best. And doing so was the precise closure I needed for myself.
That was what my authentic self needed to do. Maybe Cosmo would say that’s being too emotionally “needy” or “crazy” or whatever – but it’s who I am. God gave me this heart, and I’m going to darn well express it.
I just had to wipe a tear from my cheek. I guess I really did care for Mr. Australia. I guess sometimes you never really know what you want until it’s gone.
Anyway. I’m going to try to start taking that approach of being authentic, not just in dating, but in every aspect of my life.
So thanks, dad. You’re always right. (Insert a loving eye-roll)
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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