Monday, July 2, 2018

Losing Someone To Competitiveness


This story starts with my love for a man. Doesn't it always? I dream of a day when I've run out of stories to tell about men who've done me wrong. Today isn't that day - yet.

This love was like nothing else I've ever experienced. It was forbidden, awkward and terribly untimely. You see, I knew how he felt, I just didn't feel the same way at first. By the time he moved on, I'd started to feel some type of way but told myself to ignore it. Months down the line, he came back to tell me he still had feelings for me... but by then not only had I moved on, I had a new boyfriend.

Over the years, we had many drunk nights out where we'd steal kisses in nightclub hallways and pretend it never happened the next day. In fact, that's always how it was... I don't believe he and I ever talked about our feelings for each other clearly. We had one single encounter, followed by a month of silence.

The silence was broken the day we started working a job together. It was just him and I, breaking the ice for the first time. We were always very good at forgetting all of our personal issues and putting work first - perhaps that's why it never worked between us. The fear of losing our professionalism with each other made us even more afraid to discuss feelings and making things messy. Ironically, things ended the exact way we'd spent 3 years trying to avoid.

Accusations


I wish I could tell you that his insecurities didn't enrage me. I wish I could say that I didn't get frustrated when he got upset with me for being cold. Perhaps the bulk of the effort to keep things professional between us came from me, but it's been too long for me to ask. This man was wonderful in many ways, but he was sensitive to my tough personality. His feelings were hurt many times despite me trying not to hurt him, and in honesty I didn't always understand where his upset was coming from.

The worst possible things happened to us - we were made redundant from that job together. As usual, our communication fizzled out as we fell out of the "need to be professional" and back into the mutual struggle of being vulnerable with each other. We didn't talk for a month or so again, until we coincidentally ended up applying for the same job. A job that I was offered later on.

Perhaps it was cold of me to not let him know. But how do you tell someone the good news of landing a new job, when those news mean that they didn't? I didn't believe that he would react positively and we already weren't speaking very much, so I didn't feel the need to tell him. He was the first to text and ask me about it, and I didn't lie.

I understand if he was hurt. I understand if he might have needed to step away from me for a moment. I understand if he might've even said some things he didn't mean. Or maybe he did mean them... Honestly, I don't know. Someone I loved and had believed in for years suddenly turned incredibly malicious. His words fell sharply out of his fingertips and into my messages like he was pushing all the buttons he knew would hurt me.

"You wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for me."


If he ever read this he'd still try and argue that he didn't mean it that way, but how else could it be interpreted? Someone I worked with, fought with, forgave and was forgiven by for several years was suddenly trying to reduce me into his shadow.

I could've been sharp in my response, but I knew he was upset. I could've said many things that would have hurt him, but I chose to step away. I decided there and then that this yo-yo of a friendship was going to end on my own terms, and that I was done trying to mould myself into the person that (I think) he wanted me to be.

He felt that it was extremely cold how I simply shut him off. He left London and I didn't meet him to say goodbye, partially because I was still mad and partially because it's not like he was moving to another continent and I would never see him again. I was so tired of the constant back-and-forth that was arguing, being guilted into forgiving him and letting the cycle continue. It hurt me to not see him, but I knew we'd keep going around in circles. I owed myself a little more than to show him the consideration, respect and trust that he demanded from me but never retributed.

I still think about him, I can't deny that. Letting go of people isn't my strong suit, despite being very quick to do it. I have enough self-control, self-respect and determination to cut someone out when I feel that it's necessary, but I find it hard to erase those people from my mind. I don't believe we'll get back in touch as it isn't in either of our personalities to do so, but I wouldn't ignore him if I crossed him in the street.

Competition is terribly toxic and weird to manoeuvre. Although it can be a great motivator, it's also horrible to experience with someone you care about. I don't have a deep or insightful conclusion to this blog post, other than letting you know that it's easy to lose people. This wasn't a moment of growth or inspiration to push forward, it was simply a moment of loss, and that's just as important to talk about.
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