*This is now the original draft. THe more final draft is on this blog under the title "Who we aren't- remix."
This is still a work in progress. I don't really like the flow of it, so I'll probably be making lots of rearrangements and additions/subtractions. If you have any comments on that or on how I should move things around, please let me know.
On occasion as I'm riding the bus home from class at night I catch a glimpse of myself in the darkened window. The person sitting there always surprises me to a certain extent. I have my headphones on, and there is this constant hollow quality to my eyes. When I see myself looking like that the thought often crosses my mind; "this isn't the person I was supposed to be". Its an odd thought. Its not one that really expresses regrets, but rather surprise that this is where I've ended up. There is this nagging feeling that I was supposed to be someone else, someone happier, and full of joy.
Perhaps I've read too many science fiction books, but I can almost imagine that at some point in my life I made one decision, and from there my life took two different paths. In that other world is the person I am supposed to be, the one who sees and feels all the joy in the world, who sits on the bus smiling to herself as she rides home. The person I was supposed to be.
I am that person sometimes, though. There are days when I do see hope and joy and can hardly contain the relief I feel to be alive and here. I think that those days and moments are the ones that bring me the most grief, though. To know that that person could be real, that she exists somewhere taunts me.
I have had further experience with this problem with a friend of mine. To state matters in the simplest way I can, we both fell in love with the person the other should have been. How confusing is that. Specifically, how do you tell someone you've fallen in love with the person they were supposed to be? You then become even crazier than they already think you are. Especially if they believe themselves to be happy with the way they are and the way they treat you. Time travel might be an easier concept than all of this. And it continues to get more complicated. The person I am is the one who needs who he was supposed the be. And vice versa. He likes me when I'm happy and can counteract his own pain, yet I need him to be happy and counteract my pain. But it is due to his ability to feel that pain that we understand what the other person is going through. I think that's how this all became so twisted.
The main problem is that the we are too much alike and too different. We often arrive at the same conclusions, but for very different reasons. I'm freakishly good at ignoring things I don't want to see. But he is better, and he ignores the things I can't and I ignore the things he can't. After the first night we spent together I had to actually make a time to sit down and discuss it with him, and it didn't happen until three weeks after the fact. My mind was asking how you could just ignore something like that, and his was wondering how you couldn't.
And eventually we have become increasingly frustrated with one another. The glimpses of who each person should have been become fewer and fewer. With that type of thinking everything becomes a spiral downwards. One person reacts to the loss of who the other should have been, and in turn the other person reacts negatively. One day you finally start to ask if its worth the pain anymore. At first that concept is instantly rejected in your mind. After everything you've been through together throwing it all away seems ridiculous. But like most things in life once doubt has entered in, there's really no going back.
I let those perfect moments keep things going for so long. It really is amazing how many harsh words and nasty remarks can be canceled out with one phone call, one kiss, one night. On those few nights we were both who we should have been. But the next morning, reality rears its ugly head as you both pretend it didn't happen. Eventually, when the topic is forced into the light, you can't ignore being called a mistake no matter how sweet the memories are.
A secondary problem I often find in all of this is the concept of unconditional love. How can I know that I loved the person he should have been if that ceases to be the definition of love? It is a classic catch-22. My love for him was obviously not unconditional, yet it was unconditional for the person he should have been.
One of the more bizarre notions I also come across in considering who I should have been is the fact that that person even seems to have her own name. At this point some of you may back off and suggest I am delving into a multiple personality disorder. I assure you I am not, and just stick with this for another minute or so. Growing up and even now, my family and closest friends called me Allie. It was a name I would not allow someone to call me unless I deemed them worthy. After coming here, I almost ceased being that person, though. When one friend here found out that my best friend called me Allie she laughed and stated “wow, you just do not seem like an Allie at all.” It saddened me to realize that the part of me called Allie might be gone, someone these people have never known. I asked him to call me Allie once. I wanted him to see that part of me so much. He told me he would try, but like most things he said, it has never happened. So slowly the person I should have been, Allie, has begun to fade.
Scent is one of the stronger memory triggers. And even as I abandon my friendship and the moments of happiness with him my heart still skips a beat when I smell Herbal Essences on the wind. What kind of guy washes his hair with Herbal Essences anyway? I always whip my head around to look for him, but its usually just some girl standing downwind. But it still brings memories of waking up next to him, knowing that the morning would bring us back to reality, steal away the people we were supposed to be.
Some part of me wants to believe in reincarnation. And parallel universes. I hope in that other universe, or in my next life I meet him again. And that time, we will meet before the world has broken some part of us. Together we can be the people we are supposed to be. That hope is what makes abandoning him in this world bearable. In this world we hurt each other too much. But the people we are supposed to be, they would have been perfect together.
That almost makes it sounds like I regret knowing him. I don't, though, and I don't regret the person that I am. Circumstances are the leading force in who people are, and I don't think I could have survived my circumstances not being the person I am today. But the person I am today has difficulties letting go of someone who made me see so clearly who I was supposed to be. And by giving up on him I realize I'm giving up on the person I should have been.
Its odd, living in your own little box. Most people consider dorm rooms to be little boxes that they stuff college kids into. I technically don't live in the dorms anymore, but its still university housing, and sometimes I think its still a box. I guess the best/worst thing about it is that its my box. Completely mine. There is no one else who can come in if I don't want them to, because I'm the only one with the key. This is the second year I've lived by myself. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, honestly. I think its good, it helps other people think that I may not be insane. Having your own room means no one yells when you write on the walls in chalk, or on the windows, or have song lyrics that make no sense to some people, but make way to much sense to you. Having your own box means you have control. You don't have to answer the door if you don't want to, you don't have to pick up the phone. People come in, and sometimes they comment on the pictures, or the lyrics. Even some of those I hide, though. One side of my closet doors has an attack squrriel sign and pictures of mybest friend. People look at those and laugh. And then they look at the other side, and don't understand. The door of lost souls I call it, if they ask. People I had to let go of, or who I didn't deserve. The lyrics and peotry there are all in french. Even in my own box there are things I don't want visitors to see. When my parents come to visit it all has to change. No one wants a daughter who's not really sane. Down come all of the song lyrics, some of the pictures of people my mother would prefer I didn't remember. I have to wash the walls and the windows. And it kills me, each time I do it. But I know it would be harder to have to explain what those things really mean to me, to tell them that I'm not okay. I like having my own room, no one questions when I stare out of the window for hours at the river, instead of donig my homework. At the same time, there is no one to ask me if everything's okay. I feel safe when I lock the door before going to bed, because I'm the only one who has the key. But some nights I sleep down on my futon, instead of in my bed. Not because I'm too tired to climb up, but because I want to sleep with my back against the back of the futon, and have something there behind me while I sleep. Its scary sometimes, knowing that if you didn't wake up it would probably be a good week until someone started to wonder where you were. But I suppose I should get back to studying. Maybe I'll put on some music, or open the door and let some noise in. Or maybe I'll just enjoy the peace and quiet of knowing no one can bother me unless I unlock my door.