I have a natural habit of rounding up reflections. Just because of something that I’ve experienced, reluctantly compromised to, and eventually embraced.
Feelings are luxuries. Human emotions are given at the cost of others and consumed by the pain of ourselves, or happiness, with luck.
As much as it sounds like I’m an extreme pessimist, I’m a firm believer in feelings, in soul mates, and in wearing heart on sleeves and following where it leads.
While I collect my past from romantic overindulgence, barren apathy, to destructive resentment, my sensitivity to feel and my capacity to reflect tend to go up as my emotions go down.
This has made me believe that feelings are organic, unstable, and impermanent. They are luxuries because they are fleeting.
Yet through the humility of holding onto something tighter than holding onto myself, I’ve become aware that there’s no better way to catch and relive my feelings than by writing down in words.
Out of my collection of feelings, I’ve experienced an abundance of new ones these past months. To be exact, they weren’t the ones that I could pleasantly take in and store them into the memory story. They were enigmatic, and sometimes helpless. They often compelled me to confront, and deal with them.
This enigma was seasoned with spice and sugar, the two that produced completely opposite flavors, yet gave me two of the most meaningful lessons in life.
At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I let myself possess by someone who saw me as a possession.
He had an athletic body and the most genuine smile. But what he gave me was more than just eye candy.
With witty humor, intuitive insight, and exceptional social skills, he surpassed me not only by years in maturity, but also in sophistication.
I guess that was also what got him so much attention, and made him a player who was careless, nonchalant, and had commitment issues when it came down to relationship.
When I came to identify the ways that he treated me as varied forms of disrespect and out of apathy, I still held on. I made the minimal good outweigh the vast amount of bad.
From a mutual connection morphed into a unilateral attachment, he showed me where the demons live. He brought out all the negativity in my body that I’m capable of.
But we were never together. In the competition between us, he won for caring less. But soon I realize there was no such thing as competition. The trophies-for-everyone rule doesn’t work for adulthood. There is no “if we want something, we get it.”
I’ve learned that sometimes, feelings are unreliable. They don’t guarantee a payback. Yet too often in life I bank too much on feelings, and expect the rest to come easy. It’s not enough.
Just as a tree grows from a seed, it must be supplemented with affection, dedication, transparency, trust, day in and day out dynamics of communication. They’re practices bringing out of feelings.
This year, I became closer to someone who embodied the ideas of caring, selflessness and persistence, which was a combination of a blessing and a curse.
It was a blessing because it was the kind of love I needed the most in the midst of the college fun and games. It was also a curse because I was blindfolded with my peter pan syndromes.
Women who came of age during Y2K were spoon-fed a solid version of what it means to be in love. Part of me still hung up to the value of ideal impression, common ground, and maybe the zsa zsa zsu -or butterflies.
For the first time in a very long time, I attempted to design a relationship top-down: “I don’t like this jacket in the photo.” “Why don’t you smile with teeth?”
That was such a fallacy. I was digging for love in a person, instead of a person I could love. So when something was perceived less than ideal, I dismissed the possibility as the “right” fit.
To him, I was never ready. To me, I came to realize that I also had commitment issues, which later identified as a go-to excuse for incompatibility. It was lack of chemistry, and the feeling of completeness.
He brought me back to the realistic basis of a relationship: pet peeves, imperfection, and dissatisfaction. When the flaws started to outshine the personality, and the criticism gradually dominated my psychological self, all I had left for him was appreciation, instead of affection.
I never said yes, and I have no regret in my decision. It’s not completely a loss, because I’ve learned that feelings cannot be forced to reciprocate, from a receiver perspective, which gives me a bigger picture in understanding it as a giver, for that matter.
The Luxury to Feel
Three is always the largest number in literature, as it encompasses the world, the one in store of all you need to understand all you have.
After all, this seasoned enigma is never tangible.
It’s a puzzle with bare bones and broken pieces that I put together with time and reflection. It’s a riddle with busted emotions and bad decision that I try to get something out of. And I did.
I’ve come to realize, to truly embrace feelings, you have to let yourself feel, while practicing your ability to choose, not blindly, impulsively, or emotionally.
And there’ll be a time, you’ll feel it, for what it really is.