2011 is proving to be a pretty good year. I’m making sure of it. It’s hard to explain the how or why, but the Christmas Holiday was a bit of an awakening for me. I came back to Vancouver and it was like somebody flipped a switch. No more misery, no more useless negativity, no more defeatist attitude. I’ve been trying very hard – and mostly succeeding – to take control of those things I don’t like about myself and trying to change them. It’s not easy, and I’m not perfect, and it’s not like I’ve changed overnight. Heck, I don’t even feel like I’ve changed much at all. But I certainly changed my perspective on certain things, and it’s making a world of difference in how I feel.

Among those things is my single status. I’ve been single for a very long time. 7 years 3 months for those counting. I haven’t dated (I’ve been on a single date in that time), and have barely made any effort to do so since I moved to Vancouver. I feel like it’s finally time for that to change, and it’s about damn time.

But what took me so long?

In the spring of 2002 I started spending a lot of time with a close female friend of mine, and by August of that year we were dating. We spent about a year in what I could call a “serious” relationship, which peaked when I moved to Vancouver in August 2003, and ended officially in December 2003.

Those of you who know me already know the story and all the gory details of what was a crazy roller-coaster ride of emotions. It had a lot of amazing ups, and a lot of really scary downs. The coaster in Galaxyland had nothing on us. She was – is - a great girl with a lot of great qualities. But there were things just didn’t work between us a lot of the time.

You see, there were issues going into the relationship. Problems I knew about. Things I knew about her, about her personality, about her past. Things that, prior to dating, I told myself would prevent any sort of relationship with her from ever happening. But when it did, I convinced myself that I could get past those things. I convinced myself that I – that we – could get past them together. That they didn’t matter in the long run, and that I wouldn’t let them bother me. That things could be different.

I fooled myself, and for a long while it worked.

But my subconscious mind knew better, and I always felt like I had one foot out the door, just in case at some point I’d have to run. I think she knew. No, scratch that. I know she knew. (On the off chance you’re out there reading this, I’m sorry about that. It wasn’t fair of me. Neither one of us was perfect. )

Ultimately, those things that I couldn’t get past would spell the end for us. We ended things amicably, but it we ended nonetheless.

Afterwards, I felt positive about the outcome. I was glad we were still friends. I felt like I’d grown. I felt like I’d learned something. For better or worse, I felt stronger.

It’s taken me this long – 7 years, 3 months – to realize the damage that was done. I thought I’d come out unscathed, unaffected. But I was dead wrong. Layers of me had been stripped away, quietly, silently, and with careful precision.

For the record, I don’t blame her. I don’t resent her. I don’t regret it. I just wish I’d been able to open my eyes and see the very obvious signs sooner. I wish I’d been smarter and more honest with myself about my feelings.

Thinking about that part of my past has been like a slow acting poison seeping into my brain. Self doubt. For a long time I didn’t feel like I could handle another relationship. Maybe I’m not nice enough. Maybe I’m not good enough. Not sexy enough. Not witty enough, or clever enough, or mature enough. Maybe I’m not the kind of guy any woman would want anything to do with. Maybe there’s just no girl out there that’s compatible with me. Maybe I'm just "damaged goods".

I’d lost sight of myself and about many of the things I valued about myself. No, scratch that too. Things I do value about myself. I don’t need that poison anymore. I don’t need to hold on to that. Maybe I never did. And so I’m taking that poison and turning it into an antidote. Live, learn, grow, and love.

I saw a lot of good friends during my Christmas vacation. People who know me well. People who often have a stronger sense of who I am and what I’m capable of than I do about myself. Somehow they put a lot of things in perspective for me, and probably without even knowing it. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends, and I’m infinitely thankful to be blessed with so many good ones.

I feel like I’m waking up and remembering who I am again, and what I want out of life. I’ve always known, really, but it’s taken a long while – definitely too long - to come back to the point where I feel like I own that.

It's time for change. No more complaining about rainy days, when I could be spending my time looking forward to those amazing sunny days that are just around the corner.


Quick addendum:
I got to reading back on some old posts, as I do about once a year. The theme of this post seemed familiar. Back in Jan or Feb of '09 I made a similar (but different) post and made some very similar claims about "taking control" and "making changes".

So while you might be thinking "oh, I've heard this one before", you'll just have to trust me when I say that this year has already been a different story.


Evil Dan said...

This is a great post, thank you for opening up. You are a great guy and have the capacity for great relationships and romance if you are open.

Hey man, we all have issues. Everyone has traits about ourselves we don't love and self doubt.

It is great to hear that you are feeling back to yourself. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

You rock.

Jess said...

I want to virtually high-five you.