I remember, with all too much unfortunate clarity, falling in love with someone who did not want to fall in love with me.
That wasn’t a typo.
And as we sat there, amid dirtied snow in a black car parked under a streetlight that illuminated his face as his slightly slanted eyes pleaded with me to understand why he didn’t want to fall in love with me, one of the things that stood out to me is that my parlevous OPI nail polish was chipped.
Because it didn’t make sense. Here, we were coming from a great time watching the game. He told me I looked nice, that my freshly straightened hair was a nice change from my usually unruly curls, and he had kissed me after squeezing the tip of my nose between his middle and ring fingers. Everything was magical.
Nothing made sense about that night. Especially not the way that, two seconds after admitting that he was resisting his feelings for me, he put his hand on the curve of face and pulled me in for a soft kiss. There was no rationalizing that, equipped with the information he had just given me, I climbed the stairs to his apartment, and eventually climbed into his bed. And the fact that this situation occurred an estimated 20 times in the following two years makes me pretty sure of the fact that I am committable.
I’m sure you’re asking why I stayed.
I could attribute it to being a stubborn Leo, and say that it is my nature to stick something out and make sure I get what I want. I could argue that my penchant for seeing something through to completion got in the way of my better judgment. I could lie and tell you that he was so good to my body that I just couldn’t bear to be separated from that feeling.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was good. But ain’t no one in the world that good.
The truth is, I stayed because I loved him. And I was so sure that, if I kept on loving him with all that I was, that he would come around to feeling the same for me. And so I put all my effort, every good and loving part of me, into loving him. And as seasons changed and his stance remained, I became bitter and nasty—somewhat intolerable.
In my quest to make him love me, I had forgotten that I had to love me, too. As much as I worried about his well being, I had stopped worrying about mine. In efforts to prove my love to him, I had forgotten to prove to myself that I was worthy of love. I let the idea of him not wanting to love me seep into my cranium and convince my mind that I wasn’t worthy of being loved.
And perhaps, the biggest lesson of them all, was that if he didn’t want to love me, I couldn’t change that. Nothing in the world I could ever do would make this man wake up and say “I’m so in love with her.” That was a decision that he would have to make on his own.
So I made the decision to put myself first. To work on my body, pursue my love for writing, and to mend friendships that I had let become broken while I was so busy chasing after him. And once I started loving myself again, it didn’t matter whether he loved me or not.
Because I loved me enough to leave him alone.