Reflections: We Are the Same, You and I.
Right from the start, you always seemed so familiar to me.
I was young, 18 when we met, you slightly older, but no wiser I guess. If we had been, maybe we would have seen right away that it wasn’t meant to be for us.
We seemed so different on the outside. Different upbringings, lifestyles, religion, even different-colored skin. I used to look at my arm lying over your body in wonder of how different and beautiful it looked. Light against dark. But I think on the inside we always knew, we are the same, you and I.
When I looked into your eyes, it’s myself I saw reflected back to me. All the things I damned you for, they were the things I hated in myself. All the qualities I admired in you were what I hoped I owned too.
You would tell stories, retelling of tales to your captive audience with so many embellishments and exaggerations, all to make yourself look better. I would do this too, but you’d never have known. My stories were never as big or as wild, but they were all edited to shine a light on my more superior characteristics.
When you ran into the arms of another, I did too. To hurt you, to make you see that I didn’t need you. But I did. Just like you needed me then.
When you put your own needs before mine, I would be incensed. How dare you! My needs should come first, not yours! Yet I always put my own wants before yours. I could only ever see what I wanted, and I demanded that you want the same. I wasn’t prepared to see our lives through your eyes, just as you were unwilling to see through mine.
When you put your family first, you were just mirroring my own actions. I put my life first, unwilling to make any changes to accommodate you.
I believed if you loved me enough, why would you need me to change? I didn’t realize then it works both ways, and you were also left wondering why I didn’t think enough of you to change the behaviors I had that you didn’t like.
We were both so lost in our own silent worlds of wishing the other to be someone different. Someone whom we wanted them to be, not who they actually were.
Your selfishness looked so different from my own, but it wasn’t at all. We both claimed to love the other, but we each loved ourselves more.
I wanted to be the one who loved you the most, who nourished and cared for you. I thought I wanted these things because I cared about your well-being, but I think it was mostly because I wanted to stand there, on your arm, showing the world I was worthy because you chose me. Chose me above all others: family, friends and religion. I wanted to be elevated by you.
Neither one of us was prepared to bend to help ourselves fit better together.
When I finally walked away, you were outraged I had no plans to return to you. You told people you would have given me anything I asked for, but that wasn’t truthful. You wouldn’t give me yourself, and that was all I wanted. I didn’t see that you also craved me unconditionally. I couldn’t see I was just as unwilling to give myself to you too in that way either.
It’s only with hindsight and maturity that I can look at us now, so separate, and see how alike we are.
To grow, we had to become unconnected. We each needed someone different from ourselves to allow us to develop. We had to become parents to see what real unconditional love was about, to have our hearts shown what it really feels like to want another’s happiness more than our own.
The five years of us was filled to capacity with laughter, passion and heartbreak, but most of all it was filled with love. Even in all my selfishness, I loved you. If I loved you with all your faults, faults that were so like my own, it meant I had the potential to properly love myself. I had the capability to recognize what was reflected from you into my own darkness and bring it out into the light.
I didn’t need to hide parts of myself, parts I deemed unlovable.
My shadows were, and are, a part of me, and they deserve love, just as yours do. I am able now to see we are all worthy, we don’t need anyone to change for us, we are perfect as we are, but we have to be willing to shape ourselves around each other if we want to live happily with another.
We are the same, you and I, and that’s why I can wish only good things for you now, because that is what I wish for myself.
Natalie Donohoe is an advocate for happiness and joy. She firmly believes that is what we came to this planet at this time to experience. She wants to inspire others to find out what happiness means to them, through her story. Natalie loves her life, and wants others to experience the same fulfillment. She believes we are all love! You can follow her on Twitter or her blog, or alternatively see more of her writing here.