On One Hand

June 1, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:42 am

Excuse my venture into my hazy spirituality, but I’ve had a profound insight that my relationship with Clay, and subsequent breakup, was meant to be, like guided by God or something. I think it was exactly what was needed to pull me out of the self-destructive mindset I was in before.

I came into my adolesence with so many uresolved conflicts. I had an awful time in middle school, where I was the victim of the agression of my peers and ended up in the emergency room once, and soon after I went through a long coming out struggle and religious crisis that brought me through the depths of despair. I had a family crisis just after that. I had family crisees throughouht, emotionally abandoned by each of my parents at different times when they were, for their own reasons, coping with an existential depression.

To complicate things further, I decided, a few years ago, that pain and turmoil were necessary to being a good writer and vital to the vague mission I accepted as my life course. I set myself in a path that got me caught up in bad things. I was entranced by psychological disorders, seeking out relationships with people who were bipolar or depressed, I was entranced by drugs, I was entranced by self-injury, and I was entranced by illicit sex. I didn’t do these things to enjoy them, but rather, to have the experience as a resource later. When I felt the pain that life inevitably creates, I turned it into myself and increased it. Eventually I was talking about suicide, and my depression and self-hatred was so deep I couldn’t cure it on my own.

Then I was with Clay, and I gradually gave up on those unhappy things. I just wanted something to work so badly that I had no choice but to focus on healing. Yet my relationship with Clay wasn’t enough to motivate me: I told him many times I would see a psychologist. Would I have seen one if things hadn’t gone bad? No. I quit drinking destructively and quit smoking regularly. I quit blaming myself for things I can’t control. I went through an entire breakup without cutting myself at all.

Meanwhile, I’ve seen a therapist who can help me with my problems, and I’ve sought out a deeper connection with a spritual community that can hold me up. I’ve gotten back to gardening and music and all the things that have made me who I am. I pursued academic and career opportunities and am now doing two internship-type things at once: I’ll have an excellent resume. I re-connected with my parents in a better way than I had been connected before. I’ve been approached, even this soon after the relationship ended, by people who want to date me or hook up, and gracefully rejected those offers.

I miss Clay terribly. I remember when my relationship with him began, when I was still transfixed by my ex boyfriend, and I resisted love for Clay. I was exaggeratedly disinterested and opaque with him to keep his ardor at bay, because moving on and loving Clay would truly seal the deal on the end of my last relationship. I created unnecessary conflict with Clay because I didn’t want Clay and I to work, because I thought I would be getting into something I would end up never getting out of, and I wasn’t ready for that. At that time, last October, I secretly hoped for a breakup after several months of dating, even though I came to dread it later on.

Then when I decided Clay was the one for me, he turned out to be the one who was resisting the relationship. Throughout the months we dated he told me he wasn’t sure, wasn’t ready, wasn’t able, and in the end he decided to walk away from it. I have realized that the breakup wasn’t my fault, and that Clay just wasn’t in the right time or place for that kind of love. I have realized that the reason we couldn’t make it work is that one of us didn’t want it to work, on a deep subconscious level. That’s the only explanation for it; I did everything Clay asked me to do, and did everything above and beyond Clay’s requests that was within my capacity. I think Clay was afraid of it working because he’s not ready for that successful relationship right now.

I’m sad to see him go. Clay brought me through so much, and catalyzed a profound journey into myself. I strengthened myself in order to cope with the deep pain I was faced with, and now I wish I could thank Clay for all that by showing him the part of me I have created, by showing a deepened capacity to love and share myself, and a deepened capacity to stand on my own. But Clay isn’t ready for that, and I accept his choice, because now I am complete without him. There are painful, sorrowful, terribly lonely moments. But I do accept what has happened.

As I said, I’ve already been approached by new suitors. They’re people I was interested in before my relationship with Clay even began, so my own interest and attraction is where it needs to be. But right now, the interest in pursuing new relationships isn’t there. I’ve realized two things: First, I do not need to pounce on every opportunity to date, because I now know that there are more people interested in me than I can handle and if I miss this chance someone will someday like me again. Second, I don’t need to jump into relationships because I am complete now, and want to overcome this lingering sorrow in case my next relationship would be disoriented by the same initial resistance I gave to the one with Clay.

I hope Clay overcomes his struggles. He’s going through a lot, and I have a lot of sympathy and compassion for him. Perhaps he’s doing better than I think since, after all, he wasn’t ready for it and now has his freedom. I’m finding it within me to be a friend in spite of what happened, especially now that interest from others has shown me that I am good enough to be loved again. It’s really, really hard to step out of Clay and abandon hope, and perhaps I’ll still put myself through unnecessary pain by leting that hope linger too long. But the pain is already so much less now that I see where I have come because of it.

I’ll never know how much of this was personal. At the beginning of my relationship with Clay, my fear of loving Clay was half-personal; there were things about Clay I didn’t want in a partner, but I knew that no one in the world fits all of my desires. I ultimately decided that my love for Clay came from me and not from him, and I accepted him for who he was. I don’t know if Clay’s reluctance stemmed from things he didn’t like about me. I don’t even know if I ultimatedly loved Clay completely or if I just wasn’t faced with that option because we never got to the place where the relationship was working and I would have to make a choice. I do know that there was a pure and wholesome love there, and that I was up to the challenge of doing everything I could to move forward. I do know that I made a wholehearted effort and am capable of being an enthusiastic, supportive and conscious lover. And I do know that I’m a better person for all that, now that this has ended.



  1. Well said. You’ve gained realization of so much that’s important. And remember: a path is formed by laying one stone at a time.

    Comment by randomcha — June 1, 2006 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  2. d is for…

    “To complicate things further, I decided, a few years ago, that pain and turmoil were necessary to being a good writer and vital to the vague mission I accepted as my life course.”

    i have been struggling with this realization too. i started an antidepressant a few months ago and i realized that it seems to prevent me from having creative thought. its as if part of myself is stifled; the part i look towards as my vehicle for writing. i feel as if true thought originates from pain, from the depths of insecurities. these elements allow you to perceive life in distorted, original ways. i feel as if balance however achieved (in my case, ssri’s that help you produce serotonin) prevents you from connecting with that dark place, where you find your authenticated voice.

    i have yet to find that creative energy while taking pills every morning.

    any suggestions?

    Comment by octoberxswimmer — June 1, 2006 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

    • Re: d is for…

      Switch to a different antidepressant?

      You should just focus on yourself for now. Try writing anyway, but remember that being happy and being OK is more important than being a good writer. You can get off the pills later and you’ll remember what you learned from them.

      Good writing isn’t all about pain; it’s about the mixture of joy and pain. You need to find some joy before you’ll do well, and if the depression was getting in the way of that, the pills are necessary for now.

      Comment by ononehand — June 1, 2006 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  3. Take some time.

    I think it’s good you’re taking time before jumping into a relationship. I have seen so many people, friends and family both, who get used to the feeling of being in a relationship and jump at the next opportunity just so they won’t be alone. I think it’s important, especially for a person like you, to realize that things are okay when you’re alone. There’s a feeling of reconnection to yourself that you have to find. The process of reconnecting is invariably painful, but ultimately it feels like a breath of fresh air to be re-acquainted with yourself when no one’s around to please. It is like finding your center and becoming grounded once again. And this grounded state, in my opinion, is essentially to having a successful relationship when you are ready for one, however long it may take. So I think you’re in the right place and doing the right thing right now, which is great!

    Anyway, I’m back from England, so we should hang out some time.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 12, 2006 @ 2:14 am | Reply

    • Re: Take some time.

      By the way, that last one was me.

      Comment by the13monks — June 12, 2006 @ 3:31 am | Reply

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