Tiffany started attending a Pilates class that her work offers back in June in hopes of giving herself that “time to ourselves” that we all moms, women, people in general fail to give ourselves. After one of the classes, she reached out to the Pilates instructor, Hayley Milks, to thank her for the classes and to let her know how important they are to her. From there they exchanged conversation and it was made known that each had a blog. Hayley explained that she had something that she wrote but it was too personal for her work website. Of course we offered to feature it here.
There was a fire.
When we met, it was fast spreading. We seemed to share similar interests and a passion for life and being able to capitalize on our gift for wellness. We opened a business together in a small warehouse where the bare concrete walls were 20 feet high and absorbed the paint we could barely afford. It took all the (free) help we could get to outfit the place and make it look like a yoga and martial arts studio all at once. It took a lot of worrying on my part and wishing I would stop worrying on your part for us to get through that first year of both a new relationship and a new business venture. But we did it. It also took a lot of patience on both of our ends and somewhere in the middle, we forgot where we were and who we were looking for.
We lost ourselves and because we had formed a bond to each other through finding out who we were, we lost each other and our vision and version of those Others.
I remember the first time I looked at you and stopped recognizing you. It was at that moment that I began to recognize myself again. It was when you began to go biking more often, and I began to listen to music again. It was when I started taking time to meet my friends for coffee or a quick bite to eat, and you started spending more time away from me. We found ourselves in those moments that turned into months, and we realized in doing so, we were losing us. Strangely, sadly, scarily- I was accepting of it.
I remember the next time I didn’t recognize you. It is funny when you say it aloud- to familiarize yourself to the idea of not recognizing someone and having that become the norm- but that is exactly what happened. That fire that we had ignited had been burning for so long that it became destructive. It was no longer the thing that held our passion. It held contempt and resentment and so much dishonesty and misplaced trust. And it was no longer controlled or contained. It hurt me and I hurt you. It hurt you and you hurt me.
The last time I stopped recognizing you I didn’t even have to look in your direction. I was looking straight ahead. Yoga- and you- taught me to do that. Yoga brought us together and it was the thing that kept us together, until it couldn’t. There was nothing you could have done to keep me from wanting more and everything I did was too intense while you begged me to back off.
That’s the thing about heat. Eventually, it gets cold. In my decision to bring myself back to me, I wanted what I thought we had in that first year. And I realized we never really had much. We had hope, but hope is supposed to assume some real and tangible thing. Ours didn’t ever evolve and we both stopped hoping for the other to come around and started wishing for self preservation.
Much like yoga, love is a practice. We had practiced the wrong thing for so many years. We needed to be aligned, adjusted. We just weren’t meant to be aligned to each other. I want you to find your alignment and not begrudge me mine. Whether mine came too early in the aftermath of our fanning the flames of what we thought was a torch that would carry us through this darkness, do not destroy what will become of us separately because what we lost together.
What I have now is recognizable. I recognized it immediately and it is not a wildfire completely uncontrollable. It is not a forest fire deliberately ignited to witness a regrowth or a rebirth. It is so many Nots and it is nothing similar to what you and I had. It doesn’t compare to what you and I had and for that, I am filled with appreciation. I am filled with things that I had been lacking for more than half a decade. Mostly, I am filled with a sense of self-assurance instead of self-preservation. I am filled with gratitude instead of grief. The difference between accept and except is only clear if you see it with your eyes. I see it now. And I am thankful that I saw it before I became engulfed in the nothing that was left of us. Because this fire that we thought was so beautiful had the potential to be so, but fires also do this crazy thing once in awhile: They burn out.
Better it, than me.