I thought a lot on what this day’s entry should be. This is an anniversary. 24 years since that first kiss. 24 years since I first felt special in someone’s eyes, since I had hope to be part of a couple, to have someone to share my thoughts, experiences, and life with. There was so much my younger self didn’t know then. But especially how rare those feelings would become in the proceeding years.

And now, I honestly barely remember what it feels like to be loved, to share a life, to have someone to care about and care about you, check in on daily, to call and chat for hours, to just to exist in the same space, cuddling, silent, both protected and protector…I know I’ve experienced these things. Written here about them. But it’s like a story I’m telling myself, the actual feeling of embodying them has vanished. I know they exist, I recall past faces, remember feeling, I remember I did love, was loved. But I no longer remember how it felt. It seems so long ago. Sadly, this has made being around couples more and more trying. Obviously, not their fault, but it’s always a reminder that snaps me back to relationships past and of what I’ve been seeking for so long.

I’m a difficult one to get to know, and even more so to date, and my past partners would be hard-pressed to disagree. But while I may have misunderstood, not understood, articulated poorly, been defensive, reclusive, frustrated, and even awkward at times, I was always true in all my relationships. I always approached all communication with an unflinching desire to be understood and understand. I respected and care deeply for those I dated, some so much that I let them go, knowing they would be better off without me. As much as it still hurts to have ended alternate futures, I have to stand by the choices my past self made. Even when the whispers of discontent make my heart pang on what could have been. We are only the master of our now. The past belongs to someone else. I have to say, I think about them often and wish I could have been better. A better partner, a better person. And therein lies my one saving grace. I am a better person because of them. Their love and everything we shared. And I will be eternally grateful to them for that. I just wished they all knew how much.