12 January 2015

On Pride

I wasn't worried if I could survive without him or not. At first I was slightly worried I couldn't survive with me. I was very worried I couldn't survive with pride chucked out the window, with a slapped ego.

I have to admit, I stuck around partially because I wanted the story that started with perfect romance to have a fairytale ending in perfect romance and to carry on perfectly romantically. From a night under the May sky watching shooting stars commemorate unplanned chemistry to surviving an epic long-distance set-up to winning the big battle then having the perfect outdoor spring wedding. I was too proud to walk away from “the plan” and have the relationship be perceived as a failure. I did not want to be perceived as a failure.

I was too proud to breakup and be subject to his doubtful friends’ speculations and curious exes’ mockery. I was too proud to drop "my boyfriend" from the chat when I talked about myself. I was too proud to no longer be part of something that looked successful. I was too proud to not be associated with someone who looked like a big catch from almost every angle. I was too proud to allow the marriage plan to not move forward and fail the little indirect promises I gave my aunts when they asked, “when will we celebrate you next?”. I was too proud to be single again in front of my family, among my friends, among colleagues, among strangers, in front of myself. I did not want to be single.

Because we didn’t even share the same time zone, he was quite distinctly separate from “my” life and we shared very little physical space. This meant I got to tell our (my) story the way I wanted, highlighting the details I was most proud of, omitting those I was ashamed of. Back then I didn’t realize that was what I was doing, I guess it was a behaviour that came out of convenience, and perhaps we all do that to a certain degree; social media offers us our widest stage and biggest audience.

Lies, illusions, fabrications. All the scenarios I imagined and reactions I dreaded to take place if and when we broke up were nothing but thoughts based on fear. I had based part of my self-worth on a relationship that I knew wasn’t going to last forever, for all relationships end one way or the other. I was afraid of losing that identification I carried, the “cool” social status that gave me an assumed air of respect, seriousness and commitment whenever I’d flash its card.

I was attached to the form. I was attached to the content as well, of course, and it was a beautifully nourishing relationship, but at many times I was more concerned about the form than the content. I took hundreds of photos for us together, and it would break my heart when his camera-shy personality would make a face or hide in the corner, because in my mind it meant he did not play his tailored part in the photo, in the relationship.

Looking back, I laugh at myself. No regrets, I completely believe in the perfect order of things, perfection being beyond our personal control and far from the fluctuations of the mind, the level of perfection that slaps you in the face and you are thankful for it. It is funny how none if these dreaded fears even slightly pass by when it was over. My fear, shielded by pride, was absolutely and purely illusionary. That was one hell of a lesson to learn.


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