Different, but the same

It was awkward – at least for the first three minutes of silence – but I liked it. You finally spoke up and asked if we wanted to talk about ‘us’. I honestly did not know what you would be speaking about next and I held my breath as I questioned what it was about us that you wanted to discuss.

We’re both so different, growing up in different backgrounds, personalities, interests, careers, as well as social circles. You pointed out that we couldn’t be any more opposite. But you like me. You told me you like me and would like to continue what we have now to get to know me better. You wanted to make your intentions clear so there wasn’t any guessing. You were such a dork – a cute dork, though. And I couldn’t help but to laugh at your adorable-ness and totally ruin the moment we shared. Of course I told you I reciprocated your feelings and appreciated that you were so straight forward with me. I hated guessing and you took the possibility of that away from happening.

For the next few days I couldn’t help but to think; I thought a lot about how different we are. You are right, we are completely different. You are four years older than me, not a big difference, but enough to be in a different stage in life. I am an engineer whereas you’re an accountant. I’m an extroverted introvert that feeds off of the energy of others in conversations while you’re a semi-shy introvert that likes spending time alone to recharge. My friends are from all different social circles such as church, high school, university, work and sports and yours were mainly from university and work – most accountants as well. I am Christian, you are not.

With your work schedule picking up pace, I learned to be patient and take things slow to match you. (Patience is still something I need to work on.) You were different compared to my previous relationships and for the first time I felt like we can be real, something strong, and something that could last for a long time.

It was a few days ago when we had discussed about our upbringing and adolescence. I had told you the struggles I’ve had growing up and the constant pressure of needing to provide for my family were hard for me. I don’t tell many people this as only my closest friends know. I don’t know what made me allow myself to tell you because most people wouldn’t understand – couldn’t understand.

But you did.

You told me you had the same pressures growing up and that is why you work so hard. Not only because you truly enjoy your work, but because you have the motivation to provide for your parents; you had to take care of them. That is when I realized that we were so different, yet the same and the fact that we were attracted to one another was not because “opposites attract”. But because we were the same kind of people. We both work hard for someone else, to provide for someone else, to care for someone else.

That is also the moment when I realized something is changing inside of me, something scary that I had not expected:

I am falling for you.

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A letter to you

For the past three years, you’ve changed my life in many ways.

You’ve opened my eyes to see the possibilities that I have never seen before. Advice from you was always given in my best interest and those were always followed by encouragement and support regardless of my resulting decisions. Spontaneously delivering a caffeinated beverage to me is just one example of the little things you do that gave me strength to continue pushing through whatever obstacles I was overcoming.

You have shown me that regardless of where we were in geological locations, we could still maintain the laughter, intimacy and happiness of our relationship. You were already a horrible “electronic communicator” but because it was all we had, you tried hard to reply my messages within a time frame and would never let me feel alone when I was having a bad day. You checked off boxes of a list that I never knew existed.

All these happy and enjoyable times clouded what was the real issue underneath: what were we?

To others, we sound like a couple. Same views, same morals, same faith, same career; we were a perfect match. But we both knew that beneath the facade and our actions towards each other, we never were romantic. We were soul mates, but not a couple. We were only “best friends” and nothing more. Did you ever notice that your “I love you”s to me were never reciprocated? All those times you say how important I am to you, how you look to me for strength, were those true? Did you ever see us having a future? I never let myself respond back because I knew if I did, I would have allowed myself to fall in love with you.

You had known my intentions and my emotions towards you, and you told me that I had deserved more and better than what you could provide for me. You encouraged me to go out there and find someone else.

And so I did. I really tried

It felt like I had a leash on me that was suddenly let loose. I was able to go search for someone else; someone I could spend the rest of my life with. Someone that wasn’t you. But every time I would mention a potential man, you would tug on that leash as if to remind me that no one would be as great as you for me.

And this is why I must learn to let you go. The constant communication between us is not what a normal friendship should be. It is that of a couple that is learning to deal with long distance and struggling to communicate. I need to let you go because what we are now is in conflict in what we should be.

And so I apologize because the next few steps I will take are going to be hard not only for me, but for you as well. You will probably miss me, but I hope that longing feeling you have for me turns into hatred.

As this is how we are able to forget each other.

This is how I know we’re over.

Caged Heart

“Never love someone more than they love you.”

A friend had advised me that a couple years ago, and to this day, he still reminds me every time I potentially see someone as more than a friend. He doesn’t tell me this to encourage playing ‘hard to get’, but to allow me to protect myself, my emotions, and my heart.

A couple years ago I fell in love with one of my best friends. We were perfect soul mates. We are both engineers, had the same interests, believed in the same faith, and had common goals. I gave him so much of me, my time, my emotions, my energy and most of all, my heart. I most definitely loved him, and at the time thought I would spend the rest of my life with him.

Of course, things didn’t go the way I anticipated and we never lived out that dream. He moved out of the country for his career and education while I was staying in the city where we both grew up in. We went through 2 years of “dating” and 1 year of long distance until I realized I couldn’t handle the situation any longer. He was not ready to start a relationship, and I couldn’t deal with his indecisiveness in letting me know if we were ever going to be anything.

Letting go of him took me a long time. The past year was spent on rebuilding me and improving on myself; focusing on just myself. Right when I thought I was able to fully handle an incoming potential into my life, the memories of what we had together begin to creep back into my mind and allow my brain to slowly form a protective cage around my emotions, my heart.

What if this man is the same? What if even after he told me his feelings for me were real and his intentions are to date me, he realizes he’s not ready and once again throws me onto the curb to wait for another three years.

I’m not ready to allow my barriers to be taken down, I’m not ready to give my feelings away because I’m afraid .

I’m afraid of what we will or will not become.

I, too, can feel weak

I’d like to think I’m a pretty positive and optimistic person. Life is going to go on whether or not you’re happy or sad, so why live it upset if you have a choice? That motto has always been engraved into my brain since I was a child. My mom would always tell me no matter what life throws at me, if I smile then things will be a lot better. Deaths, tragedies, as well as other negative and upsetting things will definitely happen in life, but if you face it with a smile, it will get infinitely better. I have to thank my mom for hammering that into my brain and never letting me forget that life is full of challenges.

I guess that’s also the reason why when my friends are upset or discouraged they would come to me and rant. Maybe they know that at the end of our long discussion on how their life sucks at the moment, they’ll always be slapped in the face with one of my encouraging and optimistic lines. One of my best friends recently told me that I’m one of the strongest, bravest souls he knows. Whether I like it or not, he looks to me for strength.

As strong as it seems like I am in front of other people, sometimes I feel weak, too. I hold on until I cannot any longer and allow myself to break down, in silence, solitude. No body knows that I, too, need someone to lean on.  Instead of always having to depend on myself, I want to find someone whom I can depend on as well. God is always there, I know, but there’s always something missing, or someone I always pray to Him about. I pray that He will send me this person I am destined to be with. Watching every single one of my friends pair off with their respective significant others makes my heart wrench. They’ve all found someone to share their life with, their happiness, sadness, excitement, good, and bad. They’ve found someone they can depend on no matter what happens.

The people who act the strongest and most independent are the ones who need somebody the most, but they’ll never show it.

Fresh new start

We all have that one person that suddenly decided to appear in our lives and become a person that we will never forget. They have helped us evolve into the best version of ourselves and pushed us to our limits to become who we are destined to be. In most cases, not all, it will be someone we have once loved romantically.

They will always hold a place in your heart and never be replaced. They may be shoved, pushed and crammed into the smallest cracks, but they will still be there. I used to think that was terrifyingly true, but recently I’ve realized that it’s okay to have them in your heart; just make sure they’re locked in the compartment with the key thrown away.

I know that he will always be in my heart. But I also know that the only closure I need is not from him, but from myself. I need to be the one that can truthfully tell myself that I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to meet other people, and let my heart feel emotions that I’ve missed.

And right now, I’m ready.

I’m ready for a fresh new start.