So, today is my thirty-first birthday. I'm feeling more run down, old, and exhausted than ever. I realize thirty-one is nothing, in terms of the average lifespan; but my life is anything from but average. I always thought by now, I'd be married with children. Before my accident, I was living on my own as a teacher, and had met the love of my life. He made me happier than anyone else I'd ever been with, and I truly believe we would still been together, if my accident never happened.
It's days like these that make me reflect on my life, my mistakes and my regrets, more so than ever. My birthday has become a day a dread, because I know the emotional mess it makes me. Every year I spend paralyzed is another year wasted, and so many wonderful missed opportunities. I had a terrific life, before my accident and experienced a lot in the first (almost) twenty-five years of my life. I know exactly what I'm missing out on, and how much better life could be. You can't miss what you never had, but I had nearly everything I'd ever wanted. Now, I feel stuck as a spectator to life, and watch everyone else around me enjoying the things I want most desperately, but can't have because of my injury.
Every birthday is a bittersweet reminder of what I don't have, and wish I did. Every year I watch more and more and more friends get married, and have babies. Very few people understand what my day to day life is like, and how very limited I am from doing things. It's easy to say "you can still do everything everyone else can, just in a different way." Those same people that say that, often don't consider all the work and effort that goes into doing the simplest of things. Everything I choose to do, requires the intervention of others. It gets tedious & annoying. Not to mention, there are just certain things I CAN'T do, no matter how you look at it. I can't have a normal sex life. I'm cut off from 90% of my body. Having someone else go through the motions of something I can't even feel, or enjoy seems frustrating & pointless to me. I can't experience a normal pregnancy, or care for a child. I can't even care for myself. Few people understand the isolation, and emptiness that I feel.
This past week, one of my ex-boyfriends (Mike) got married. Another just got engaged (Eric). It's not like I'm still IN love with either of them, but they will always hold special places in my heart. We were friends (and hung out from time to time, before my injury) and although I'm genuinely happy for both of them, I can't help but feel sorry for myself. It's been hard enough watching all the rest of my friends get married and start families, but it hit me really hard to know they are now both part of that list as well. Obviously, as ex-boyfriends & girlfriends we shared a special bond, beyond normal friendship. During our time together (with each of them) we had fantasized of a future together. It seems silly that it bothers me so much, but I think my situation has made me hypersensitive. If I were married and living a normal life, I probably wouldn't have given either situation a second thought. I would have been able to genuinely celebrate with them. However, that's not the case. In fact, I feel lonelier than ever...
I wasted a lot of time (almost six years) with someone (Joey), that I totally regret. I had lost touch with nearly all my friends during my time with Joey. He was very jealous, and controlling and I was foolish enough to put up with it. I left him the year before my accident. During that time I got back in touch with both Mike & Eric, since we shared mutual friends. It was great catching up on old times, and a being part of their lives again. They had each moved on and were dating other people, which was fine. It was just nice reminiscing and spending time with our mutual group of friends (two of my closest friends-that we all share-Christy & Moody). After the way I had cut ties with everyone, I had been thankful they were willing to let me be a part of their lives again.
Life moved on, and we all remained friends. Then I met the love of my life, Jimmy. We dated for five months before my accident. It was a whirlwind romance. Our time together was by far, the happiest of my life. When I got hurt, we had been only days away from moving in together. Instead, everything we had was violently ripped away. We tried our hardest to keep our relationship going, despite my accident, but it collapsed after six months of battling with an impossible situation. He had been forced to move back to PA. I had been stuck in a nursing home; completely crushed in every way. Although it killed us both, we decided to go our separate ways.
Over the past six years, I've never stopped loving him, or been able to get past what we had. My love for him, has kept me from being able to open my heart up to anyone else. For a long while (the first two years) we stayed out of contact with one another. During that time, I tried to force him to the back of my mind, to dull the pain. Then in 2008 we got back in touch, and tried to stay in contact as friends. We corresponded from time to time, and talked on the phone, and he came to visit me one time. All the while, he was in a serious relationship with someone else. Eventually, it just became too painful for me. No matter how hard I try, I just can't see him as a friend. Having him in my life, with her in the background, felt unfair to both of us. I decided it would be best if he let me go, and live his life without me.
It sucked, and I felt like I had lost him all over again. On the other hand, I had to face reality. He had moved on, and loved someone one else. I was only deluding myself into thinking there was any chance left, for a future for us. Being just friends was intolerable, and I've been through enough pain & loss, to not want to torture myself further. As much as losing Jimmy has hurt me, I've never held it against him, or thought less of him. I don't know if I'd be able to deal with being with him, if he were paralyzed. There's so much change & sacrifice that comes along with living with paralysis. I certainly don't want this life for myself, and feel selfish expecting him to give up a normal life, when he has a choice.
Long story short, Jimmy ended up breaking things off with his ex-girlfriend (not exactly sure why & am not going to presume it had anything to do with me). He contacted me, letting me know he was single and he has been back in my life for the past several months. He says he regrets leaving me, and that he does love me. Although that's music to my ears, he's not saying he's willing to try to be more than friends. It's all very confusing. On one hand he says he loves me, and wants to be a part of my life. On the other hand, he's not willing to make a commitment to me. For me, there's only two logical ways I can interpret his mixed messages. One could be, he genuinely loves me (as a friend), but is not IN love with me and wants the freedom to be able to sleep around and have a normal life, in that regard. The second possibility could be, he IS still in love with me, but is just scared.
He's said before that he wouldn't want to make any promises to me, unless he was certain he'd never want to leave again. My brain understands that, but my heart and body are exhausted. I feel as though I'm on the verge of "checking out" on this life and have absolutely NOTHING left to lose. If it were up to me, I'd want to give it my all, because I know my time is short anyway. I feel like I've been so hurt, and lost so much in these past six years, that I have nothing left to lose, and can't possibly be hurt more than I already have been. I'm trying my best to enjoy our time together, but it hurts knowing that there is a distance between us, that didn't used to exist. I feel his hesitation, but don't know the true reasons behind it.
What hurts the most, is feeling like I've never been good enough, for any man to want to be with me forever. I was with Joey for almost six years, with no ring to show for it. Mike was my first love, and although we talked about getting married, we were just naive kids. Eric never seemed sure of anything (and I'm so happy he finally found someone that makes him truly happy). Jimmy & I talked of marriage before the accident, and I do believe we'd be happily married- if I never got hurt. He even wanted to propose to me when I was clinging to life in I.C.U. and at Kessler. Looking back though, he was just just desperately grasping and scared of losing me. Neither of us understood how serious, or life changing my injury was at that point.
Here I am, thirty-one years old and feel completely isolated, devoid of affection and alone. I'm not talking about the love my family and friends give me. I'm referring to a mate, a companion, a second half, a soulmate. I'm missing that in my life, and feel very deprived not having that special someone. What sucks even worse, is that no matter how hard I try to not project my own feelings onto other people, I feel as though Jimmy should be that person; or at least I wish he was. Obviously I can't force him to feel, or do anything he doesn't want to. To push, or insist that he commit to me would defeat the point entirely. I want him to love me, for me, regardless. He either does, or he doesn't.
What really sucks, is that my whole life, friends, family and tons of men have told me how "special" and "beautiful" I am. I've heard those words a million times over. Everyone that has claimed to love me, at some point in my life has said, "You're an amazing person; beautiful, inside and out." Even since my accident, people have said those words to me. However, they all sound like hollow, meaningless words. If they were true, surely I could find someone to be with me. Then again, I know I'm so stuck on Jimmy, that I don't give anyone else a chance. However, he's one of the people in my life that is guilty of saying those exact words to me. At the end of the day though, words are just words. I often wonder if people just say things to make me feel good, or to give me hope, for my hopeless situation. It doesn't make me feel good to hear how "amazing" I am, unless those words are backed up with action.
I feel like no matter who I've ever wanted to be with, I've never been good enough for them. I'm supposedly this great, talented, amazing, beautiful person, but yet that's still not good enough to want to take a chance, or for anyone to have wanted to spend their life with me. I feel like with almost every relationship I've ever had, there's always been a "but" factor. "You're beautiful, but..." "You're terrific, but..." "You're my soulmate, but..." That hurts and really sucks. It makes all the pretty words, and thoughtful sentiments feel empty and false. I mean, if you truly believed someone was your "soul mate" wouldn't you at least try giving them a second chance?
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