It's Christmas Eve, and I can't focus my mind around the holiday for any good purpose. Perhaps I'm working too hard, maybe I'm not spending enough time with my family, or maybe I'm just recalling the hardships of last Christmas: the precursor to the end of a year-long relationship.
It's been almost a full year now, and while I've done my best to forget about my ex-girlfriend, I realize there's a part of me that still doesn't feel right about it. I've written about the situation extensively (3 part blog), and have said a lot of my feelings about it already. One thing that I haven't said, and something I have to be honest with myself about: I really don't miss her, and I feel like an heartless prick because of it.
There are still unresolved issues of anger surrounding last Christmas. As I tried to understand what this "calling" was all about, I accepted the fact that my relationship was heading towards the end. While the holidays are neither a time of depression or resentment, it brings back a collection of thoughts that I try to push away.
Starting in my twenties, I found myself attracted to women with low self-esteem. During the next ten years, I'd find myself involved with numerous women who were either abused (physically or emotionally), leaving bad relationships, or picking up the pieces of a broken heart. There were some women so depressed that they couldn't keep their affairs in order. It may sound heartless, but I was attracted to women with "baggage."
Admittedly, most were not actually close to being called a relationship. Yet my heart went out to these women. I remember each of their faces, both smiling and sad. I offered my shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear to listen to. I honestly wanted to make them feel better about themselves, life, and their future - but I also wanted them to see that I was not that kind of person.
Three women I met by giving roses on Valentine's Day. Three I met selling cars. I was the proverbial nice guy throughout my life, and while being the nice guy doesn't get your as far as being a bad guy, it was how I felt women ought to be treated. It felt at ease being the sensitive guy, making it easier for women to talk to me.
Thinking about that autobiography makes me ponder my own personal relationships, where they went wrong, and what I would have done better. I think that by entering a relationship as myself, rather than some mechanic trying to fix another person's problems, I would have made both of us happier. I gauged the success of the relationship not by how happy we were, but by how much better her life was now that she was with me.
Perhaps I need another 17 years between this incident before I can truly look back and be reflective on my actions. For now, I only see a guy who tried to change another person, for his benefit and for hers, and managed to alienate another person from his life. For all my anger, all my disdain, all my feelings that I keep in the back of my mind, there is that part of me that misses hearing: "I love you."
Tonight, as I assist the Bishop as a Eucharistic Minister for Midnight Mass, I'll remember that where I'm headed isn't to hide myself from who I am or what I've been. Just watching the news this morning, it's horrible to see all the death and violence happening on Christmas Eve. But this is our world, these are our lives. And while we can't change the world, we can learn from our past and face others with a better understanding of life, love, and friendship.
I'm not trying to hide from who I was; merely learn more about this person I have become.
Merry Christmas, and may you enjoy this holiday season with your loved ones.