Can't get an old flame off my mind. (She's been there since the flames died out.)
posted by anonymous to human relations (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Five years ago I split with my First Great Love. It was a torrid affair, all Romeo and Juliet... okay, gayer than that. Think Juliet a dos. We were star-crossed lovers separated by distance, poverty, naivete, and the weight of our pasts.
The loss of her came as a real shock to me... I was very young, only 20, without the emotional resources of a tried and true adult. She came along at a time of tremendous personal growth and opened my emotional floodgates, showing me doors to worlds I had never seen before. She was also my first artistic role model-- the creative impulses she fanned were the underpinnings of my own visual practice, a lifelong pursuit to which I am now hopelessly betrothed. In short, we sparked.
Here is the kicker. I really, truly grieved when we parted. I asked her not to contact me, deleted her presence from her life-- encircled myself in new friends, new activities, and the shroud of study. But it was like she had died. I cried morning and night for almost a year, felt her presence beside me in the night... saw her on the street, despite 500 miles of separation... dreamed of her constantly, couldn't eat or sleep or talk. The break happened so suddenly on my end, and though I can see the burgeoning fractures now it was like we went from full blown moony eyes to stone cold in a night. I wanted to call her every day but I respected that it was over, so I didn't, and I tried to move on.
It still hasn't happened. I don't know what more I can do. Since that first year of longing, I've rebuilt my life in a thousand different directions... moved cities, changed jobs, taken steps to be the person I want to be. I'm a practicing visual artist now, something I never even knew I had in me! I have a wide circle of acquaintances, a few deep and satisfying friendships, I travel and play and have great control over my life. I've enjoyed my fair share of dates, flings and fucks... had two serious relationships with people I really respected and admired... even enjoyed some positive periods of abstinence, where I worked on myself and was happy.
But nothing compares. I have never in any facet of my life felt a stirring like I felt for that girl, not even in my work (though I am getting very close to a day where it will surpass her, which gives me hope). My body and my memory crave her like a drug. It's ridiculous! I'm missing a person I don't even know! Really, I have no idea who she is now, what she's doing, how she's changed. I feel crazy. I hate that her shadow casts itself over my life. How do I get rid of her? Time is failing me, it's not quick enough. Even cognitive behavioral therapy doesn't get her out of my dreams.
I thought love like this was fairy tale crap. I don't even believe in "true love," just more good or less good matches. Yet Red Riding Hood is really the Wolf; I'm tired of being bitten. Nobody I know has gone through this. Drama, hang-ups, deep love, yes... grief and obsession... but not like this. In the back of my mind I still feel that everything I do is in some way connected to her. I don't even know what I'd do if I actually saw her. She betrayed me deeply, hence the break.. but also we were just at a point where we needed to be independent agents in our own lives. Ah to be young and stupid. I can hardly believe sometimes that *this* is the most formative experience of my life so far. The impact still rattles my skull.
I feel again and again like I have finally kicked her from my core, and just when I feel safe her image crystallizes and returns. Has anyone gone through this? Will time really salve? Do I need a lifestyle shock, or a swift kick in the arse? I'm very hesitant, but-- maybe I should try to contact her? Perhaps it would put a dose of reality into my wildly overblown neurosystem.
I don't know what else to try. I feel like I've already made a complete 180 from the person I was when I knew her, and yet my growth remains stunted because she is constantly on my mind. I MISS her, her oodles of eccentricities, the physical kick-in-the-gut every time we touched... and also the way I FELT around her, the passion. (Even as I see now that the way we interacted was sometimes childish, and not always the healthiest or most supportive.) I feel like I met the right girl a decade too soon. Five years! Something has to give!
I need real, concrete strategies to cleanse my psyche. Keep in mind that the only tokens of her I have left are the ones in my head!