Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What the Heart Wants

My Dear Reader,

I am not the jealous type.

I am the protective type. I like to keep what I have, thankyouverymuch. I don't really enjoy it when people move, break, or take my belongings. I can even get pretty upset about it, depending. But then, I grew up with four younger siblings who liked to periodically come into my room and break anything of value. I guess I just developed a kind of survival mentality that I never got rid of.

But that's things. People are different.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had this rather pathetic crush on this guy in my English class. We talked all the time, and though I was too shy and awkward to make any coherent kind of move, we were great friends, he and I.

Then, he got a girlfriend.

Next thing I knew, all I ever heard from this guy was about this girlfriend he had and how great she was. He just could not shut up about her. I knew his girlfriend vaguely through another class we were in together, so I guess I was a good candidate for this kind of treatment. That, and I hung on every word he said because I was so hung up on him that I was thrilled that he was even speaking to me.

It was like one of those teen movies where the handsome guy ends up with his nerdy and somewhat repulsive friend. Except, of course, I got neither the guy nor the makeover. Instead, I was a good girl who slowly realized that the guy was all wrong for me. I didn't miss the very important fact that he was obviously not interested in me. To him, I might as well have been a particularly sensitive guy with unique access to the girl's locker room. Even my crushy, pudding brain could figure that one out.

Still, my feelings for him didn't go away, nor did my pathetic hopes that one day he would look at me like I was, you know, female. And there was, of course, the fact that our friendship had been established long before this girlfriend showed up. So I guess I should have felt something akin to anger or rage when I saw the two of them holding hands or flirting.

Instead, I felt sad. I just stood there and said to myself, "Yup. That's how it is." And I walked away.

Because that's when I knew that I'd lost, and it was time to give up. Not when he treated me the way he did. Not when I realized that we didn't have the same values. I gave up when I realized that he was aware of me and still chose someone else.

And what? I was supposed to take offense at that? I was supposed to try to win him? No. He made a choice, and that was it. My feelings didn't go away, but they became irrelevant. They certainly didn't give me the right to override his free will.

And perhaps you might say, Gentle Reader, that I am a coward. And I am. When it comes to that point where you're supposed to make that sweeping declaration of love and live happily ever after, I generally don't feel any less awkward or shy than the fourteen-year-old I used to be.

You might also call me a pessimist, and I know for a fact that you're right on that count. I'm creative enough to imagine every scenario in which something can go wrong. There are just too many ways to lose, and I can see them all too clearly.

But if we're going to sit here and examine my flaws, I think it's only fair that we eventually get to a strength or two. And if there's something that I've learned through many similar situations, it's that feelings often lead you astray. There are those who say that the heart wants what the heart wants, and that's mostly true.* But sometimes your heart wants the only thing that will most surely destroy you. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and make a decision to do the opposite of what you want, either for your own good, or for the good of someone else. Even though it really, really hurts.

I've gotten very good at reminding myself that I often deserve better than what my heart wants, because sometimes my heart wants the wrong things. I mean, sometimes, my heart wants nothing more than to find the nearest cliff and jump off of it. And sometimes, my heart wants a romantic relationship with someone who wants a platonic relationship with me.

I've also gotten very good at reminding myself that other people have the right to want the opposite of what I want, and that the best way to be happy is to try to change myself, because it's the only thing that I can change.

I guess I've just spent too much time being shoved in one direction or another. I can't count the amount of times I've been told that I'm supposed to have feelings for someone. I'm not sure how they expect me accomplish that task. You can't just put "Fall in love with So-and-So" on your to-do list and hope it gets done by Friday. So how could I expect that from someone else?

And if I really cared about him, how could I get angry at him for making his own choices?

So, I guess I really don't get this whole jealousy thing at all.

Maybe that's a good thing. Who knows.

Regards, best wishes, and requited love,

-Cecily Jane

*I feel that I'd be careless here if I didn't point out that there is a way to change destructive desires, and that's through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is real, and I can personally guarantee that it works. It takes a lot of time, a lot of prayer, and a lot of faith, but it works better than you can believe.

No comments: