The second think is probably the bulk of my thinks lately. As I look forward to future relationships, I often think about past ones. I use them to see what I did, and what I need to do differently to perhaps make the next one more successful (and maybe the last one I ever have! Haha...). Wait a second, Imaginary Cyberspace Friend, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Why are you writing about boys and relationships again, Stefanie? Haven't you beaten this to a pulp, yet? Haven't you scared enough potential mates away with your words? And that, my Friend, is what my think is: words. How they are said are often how they are taken. How, as in the format: talking face to face, over the phone, texting, email, etc.
I think back to one relationship I had. I fell deeply in love with this man. There was great potential for more than it was (please don't think I regret that it ended because that was the right thing). The problem that eventually surfaced was words...or lack of them. I never said, out loud, that I loved this man. In my heart...I did! I wanted to say it so many times, but I didn't. The whole time. Because here is how I communicate my deepest feelings and thoughts: written words. If I have ever written you a letter that expressed more than just "hey, what up?" that means you are so special to me. Most times I thought for days about what I was going to write. Sometimes, it was spontaneous. As a child, I had a speech impediment that made me stumble over my words. Especially if I had to read out loud in a group. So, I sang instead of talked in church (good thing I have an awesome voice). While I don't have that problem today, as a consequence of this, I much prefer writing how I feel to expressing it vocally. So, I wrote love letters to this boy. I would write long emails to other men I was interested in or dating. I would talk for hours about any everyday thing, but when it came to the deep things, like love, I have always thought that I best expressed myself through written words. Well, during the exit interview of this relationship (so businesslike, I know), I found out that he never felt love from me. While I do realize this was not all my fault, I do take blame in this. I had, after all, never even uttered the words, I love you to him. How was he supposed to know that I did, in fact, love him? I had written it, yes, but that was not the same to him.
You see these great, sweeping declarations of love in the movies, but we all know that real life rarely mimics imagination. This brings us back to how words are taken. I had written love letters and love emails and love texts, but never spoke of love face to face. So, he took it as no love given. Fair? Not really. How I communicate shouldn't have been used against me, but on the flip side, how he communicates shouldn't have been ignored. So, the next relationship I was in, I told the man, I love you when I didn't feel it. I felt I had to because of what had happened in the last relationship. This relationship crashed pretty badly (NOT my fault). I took some time, then started dating again. The next man was the one I was supposed to put all these lessons I had learned into action with. But I was burnt out. It had been a couple of intense years with men. And I was already in my downward spiral, unbeknownst to me. So, there was no way I was even able to give the next one a fair shake or chance or even try to say/show that I could fall in love with him.
I stepped back for real this time. Gained the weight I needed to gain. Lost the men I needed to lose. Took down all my dating profiles. Fell into a pretty deep depression, if I'm being completely honest. Then, I woke up one day, after a year or so. I got in contact with the only man I've ever been able to be completely open with. And we started working out. Slowly...achingly slow from where I had been. But the most important part were the words spoken. Every week, he would lift me higher than where I had been. Sometimes I would slip back, but he never gave up. One week, a few months ago, I was having a bad week. It was so bad that instead of working out, we talked for a whole hour. And for a whole hour, he told me good things about me. Things he saw in me. It was unlike anything else I had ever heard in my entire life. An entire hour just about me. Spoken with no other intention than to lift me higher. Make me better. One thing he said that stuck out was when I truly smiled, I could light up a whole room. That people were drawn to that smile because there was a light behind it (or something like that...man...why don't I record these things! Oh, yeah...I'm not a creeper). So, I decided to experiment upon those words. And I started smiling. Truly smiling at friends, co-workers, customers, complete strangers and you know what started happening? Not only were those people disarmed at my smile, they usually opened up and started talking. There was always at least a smile back. There was, for a moment, a string and connection between our two worlds.
The words that were spoken to me that day were perhaps my master lesson in how to use my own words. Not only in my future romantic relationship(s) but also in everyday relationships with all those I love and respect in my life. Text is an amazing medium, but to say to someone: You are important to me. You have made a difference in my life and here is how...should not only be written, but said out loud (in their presence preferably). Even if I stumble over the words.
Happy Valentine's Day! Er...February 17th!