Recently I’ve found myself wondering why I tend to say yes to crazy or ill thought out ideas. I was a boring teenager. Extremely so. I hardly ever left my house if it wasn’t for school or volunteer events. ….Or, I’ll admit, math team competitions. I remember joining the six or seven clubs I was in simply to fill my non-existent resume. Then I remember participating in activities or volunteer opportunities just to have an answer to “what did you do this weekend”.
My Ex Told me that Life is a Story
Without knowing it, I did things out of my norm to have a story to tell. It’s not anything new. However, when my ex-boyfriend put it into words for me by quoting his favorite show, Dr. Who, it was like I was learning this for the first time. He said, “‘We are all stories in the end….'” Of all the ways he impacted my life, this is one of the most memorable. He wasn’t the first to tell me something along these lines, but he was the first to tell me at a time I could finally understand it.
I am eternally grateful to him for this. It seems like such a small thing and, to be fair, something I had already deduced on my own, simply without a concise way to express the idea. However, with that offhand quote, he gave me yet another motto I live my life by. It has been said so many ways by so many people, but I truly believe in accepting opportunities as they come. Additionally, his specific quote spoke about stories.
That Quote Introduced me to the Magic of Language and Literature
Approximately after six months of dating, I impulsively dropped a psychology class for an English one. A month or two after that, I added my third minor to my degree plan: English. Of course there were other reasons for dropping the class (namely social anxiety), but it was an impulse.
I must emphasize that I grew up enjoying reading, but by the time I graduated high school, I loathed English class. I didn’t understand how to derive such deep meaning from a work of literature or film. On the other hand, I was fascinated by psychology even before taking a class on it. After a semester, I was even more infatuated. Yet, I walked out of my second ever psychology course and went straight to the library to drop the class.
One year after we broke up, I began this blog. At first I wrote randomly to de-stress every month or so on another obscure blog I had, but it was just that. A way to de-stress. Just another hobby to stop the world from spinning, if even for just one moment. But this blog. I had an inkling when I began, but I know for certain now that I write to preserve my life.
Why I Write
The best thing that could ever happen with my writing would be that some anthropologist way out in the future skims through it and briefly considers what life during this simple, antiquated time was like. At the very least, it will be a way to preserve myself and who I was when I wrote. It is a way to see myself evolve and change. For better or worse, I’ll have a record of sorts for myself to read back and reminisce.
That’s why I try to write even when I feel awful and sad, especially at these times. And it is why it is so difficult to convince myself to do it at these times. I want to know how I felt and what I thought and how I came to a solution. I want to know what I could do differently or if I’ve changed my perspective since. When I’m in a funk, it’s not encouraging to know what I write will be preserved and later deeply analyzed by myself.
Often times, I’m all too lucid about my short comings even as I live through them, so naturally, I’m not interested in being able to form a more thought out opinion in the future. Other times, I just want to save future me the reading time. I’m sad. Yep. Nothing new. By my glaringly obvious lack of writing since I moved back home, you’ll know two things: 1) I’ve been very sad for a very long time 2) Since I’m not coping by writing I’m coping by other means. And if you know me, that means emotional eating. But that’s a discussion for another blog post. Also, I’m working on the sad thing, but that is also a topic for another blog post.
Off Topic Notes and How my Ex Taught me to Question Life (in a good way!!)
If you’ve ever read even one other post of mine, you’ll know that I have, as per usual, gotten horribly off topic. This was supposed to be about accepting opportunities as they come and thanking my first mentor in my life, AJ. But no! I can’t have anything nice! It turned into my existential reason for writing and appreciation for my ex-boyfriend’s role in that. *facepalm* That’s completely different. -_-
Either way, yes, he is my ex for a reason. Being a person’s life partner is extremely demanding and it doesn’t mean he was a bad person per se; he just wasn’t my person. I remember both the bad and the good, but at this moment I’m remembering one of his biggest positive impacts on me. He taught me the importance of stories. Through that quote and his love of movies. He challenged me to think and analyze.
He practically begged me to be philosophical. When we were dating, I had not accepted myself yet. I did not allow myself to think grand thoughts about myself, or life, or what could be. I was afraid of drowning in the deep, swirling seas of my mind, but he waded in with me. He praised and encouraged me, holding me up to the surface until I could float on my own.
Now it’s a huge part of who I am. I like to ponder and wonder and question. Heck! There it is again, why I write this blog and why I keep pushing myself forward. He’s part of the reason (my first therapist being the stepping stone) for why, despite my self-loathing tendencies, ultimately I’m intellectually fascinated with myself. And for why self improvement is a cornerstone of my life’s mission. Ha… if you think about it, both the bad and the good parts of our previous relationship spur my desire for improvement.
Why I Focus on the Positives of Our “Failed” Relationship
I don’t really feel the need to write about the things he could have done better, or how our relationship negatively impacted my life. That doesn’t mean, he didn’t have negative impacts on me. I just don’t see the need to write about that. I’ve forgiven him these things and am much more grateful for the positives he’s inspired than mournful for the negatives. (That’s why I do not consider our previous relationship a failure though it did end.) Also, it’s much easier to write a tactful positive post about an ex than a negative one, haha.
With a positive post the only danger is making people think you want him back, or worse yet, making him think that. But, for that I reference this little number: I’ve learned my lesson, so I don’t need to retake that relationship! I don’t mention this to be mean. I just don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about my intentions here. I’m grateful about his role in my life and personal development, but that’s all it is, gratitude. (So, you don’t have to remind me that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, Mariah. Believe me, I know and I’m sorry, yet grateful, that you were there to help me through that.)
How my Ex’s Love of Movies Changed my Life
One last thing, while we are (kind of) on the topic. Movies. He loves movies. Before I met him, I may have watched one movie every month or so. With him, I made up for years of living under a rock. After each one, he’d want to discuss it and talk about the themes and what the director meant or behind the scenes factoids or historical references to the setting or making of the movie. He wanted to analyze the movie and talk about meaning, those big philosophical things I’d been denying myself for years. He sure gave me a lot of practice in the brief nine months we dated.
Remember how I mentioned I hated English class in high school because I didn’t understand how to draw out so much meaning from a book or movie as my classmates or teachers? Remember also, how I added a minor in English to my degree plan a month or two before we broke up? He not only nudged me to analyze works of fiction (on page or screen), he got me to become interested and go into a field of study that required it.
The summer we broke up was agony for two reasons: 1) we broke up. No matter how bad the relationship, I feel like a breakup still hurts to some extent. 2) As part of my new minor I had to take a literature class over the summer and since he liked British culture so much, I figured, “what the heck, I’ll take British literature. It counts toward my minor and I could learn something interesting to discuss with him.” Which, of course, didn’t happen since we had already broken up by the time my class began. -___- It was almost as bad as high school English class and made me begin to doubt my decision to take on this minor.
Finding my People
Though I had been fascinated by linguistics during the previous semester. Even among a room full of English majors, I was often the person geeking out the most. British literature, well, you know how that went, though I did discover some amazing poets thanks to that class. However, it was in my last literature class, Dystopian Fiction, that I had that feeling of coming home. Dystopian fiction is my favorite genre.
Though I didn’t have formal experience analyzing these books, I quickly caught on. And when we would discuss them in class and talk would not only edge on the brink of sensitive subjects like society and the meaning of life but full on dive into them, I heard and felt this thought, “I’m home. I’ve found my people.” After fighting myself for so long to not think beyond arm’s length, to not let myself wonder what could be and only accept what is I had found people who do exactly that and it felt right. It felt like home.
Now I enjoy writing and analyzing, even my own words and I hope someday to analyze all words. I want to get my Master’s and eventually PhD in Linguistics. I know it may not have happened without my ex. I know it might have still happened organically, but it may have been too late to have had that beautiful coming home feeling during my last semester in university. So, once again, thank you Jay. Ultimately, you made me a stronger more inquisitive person. Thank you for being part of my life’s story, because even chapters that have ended add to the journey.
~Picture is of my computer keyboard and a little pony friend made out of yarn that keeps me company as I write.
~As always, if anyone who reads this knows the people I have written about, please respect their anonymity and do not mention their real names. I give everyone pseudo names for privacy reasons. Thanks!