I am nothing short of delusional when it comes to romance. I remember rationalizing every failed situationship I ever had with “it was the right person, just the wrong time.” It was always the same deal in my case at least, loving each other on both ends, just never meeting in the middle. I know, I rolled my eyes too. I didn’t know any better. I used to love the idea of two star-crossed lovers driven apart by poorly timed circumstances fighting their burning desires to be together. Until it came to finding the right person and realizing how fucked that notion is.
Growing up, I lived in a world that could erupt into flames at any given moment. My family never stayed in one place for long and I never knew the next time my dad would announce that we’d be moving again would be. My time with a lot of friends was fleeting and as I grew up, I was scared of growing close to people I would eventually have to leave. It never got easier, but I decided to guard myself anyway and suddenly everyone started to become the right person at the wrong time.
In new efforts to protect myself, I created a new identity with each new city and left pieces of myself in the old ones. Whenever I got too uncomfortable staying somewhere, I took comfort in knowing I could start over eventually. I got tired of looking at the world this way. It became lonely, I couldn’t even tell you who I was.
What I didn’t realize was that my fear of getting close to people made everyone the wrong person at the wrong time. All this time, I thought I was scared of the damage that someone could do to me if I opened up, when in reality I was just scared of the damage they would find—the skeleton of a scared little girl just wanting to be seen.
It took a shit ton of self-reflection that I still haven’t mastered to realize that I had been the wrong person. The instability of my upbringing and the refusal to be vulnerable with people made me a hardcore escapist.
What makes me believe that it can only ever be the right person at the right time is that I found the lifelong friends I’ve made through each stage of my life at the time we needed each other most. There’s no such thing as “the right time.” It’s just time to the people who want to stick around.
Regardless of whether a relationship works out or not, there’s still a lesson to be learned. I mean, who would we be if every relationship we had worked out? Sometimes people need to leave for you to find yourself. There’s nothing worse than the eulogies of a relationship that could have been, but I refuse to look back on them with regret. Love is never intended to be a punishment.
I still struggle with knowing that some people are just meant to contribute a paragraph to our stories no matter how badly we want them to stay. I guess I just hope that maybe, just maybe, we won’t forget each other along the way.