Yesterday, I received a package from a dear friend. It contained an old notebook of mine (circa 2011) which he had in his possession since I left it in his car on a trip to Belfast. I adore getting post and as I flipped through it's contents, memories flooded my mind and had me smiling and laughing. I placed the package beside a stack of letters I keep on my beside locker.
These letters are old and from a variety of sources; friends, family, old lovers. I'm a sentimental fool and have a fondness for mementos, even from those who are no longer in my life. I decided to leaf through them, which lead me to then exploring my memory boxes as I bathed in nostalgia and charted the milestones of my life, thus far.
My memory boxes contain a wide variety of items that to most people, seem really random. Naturally, there are photos:
There are samples of my very first attempts at writing:
And a copy of the very first speech I ever made when I was 18:
There are cards from birthday's and special occasions:
There are scribbles of shared jokes between friends:
There's items that remind me of some of the wonderful things I've done:
And a random assortment of other past experiences:
And of course, keepsakes from old beau's:
Perfume and a ring
It's the evidence of past love which feels most like something from another life time. Cherished words and promises of the future, shared when in love and filled with plans for our lives.
I'm twenty three and I'm very lucky. I have received and given great love. I've had my heart broken and broken a few along the way. And although these relationships have ended, it is with great fondness, affection and gratitude I remember them.
Each one of these men imparted valuable lessons to me. Some taught me to open my heart, even though I was afraid. Some taught me that the most wonderful things happen unexpectedly. Some taught me to not look at myself so critically. All of them taught me that the heart speaks a language of it's own and that who you fall for cannot be chosen and even though there are times when you try to deny your feelings, you can't run from them forever.
I've written before about how I sewed the fragments of my heart back together following the collapse of a serious relationship last year. For a long time, it physically hurt to look at love letters exchanged and remember the devotion we once felt to each other. Post-break-up, I was unsure of how and if I would ever be the same. Of course, I'll never be the same. But it's no longer something I view as a hindrance. When I look at the letters and cards and notes now, I smile at the fact I have known what it was like to truly loved by someone and be truly loved in return. Although we didn't last in the long run, our worlds were meant to collide.
I dated and have had other boyfriends since this relationship, most of which I jumped into too easily and then jumped out of when I realized my mistake. Now, I'm being more careful and I'm not in such a rush. Where once I would've agreed to dates without a second thought, I'm politely refusing. Not because I'm hung up on my ex or because I'm afraid to put myself out there. But I know what it is I want and I refuse to settle for anything less.
The heart wants what it wants and I do believe that if two people are meant to come together, they will. Too often we fight what everybody else can see as the inevitable; because it's not the right time, because we don't think it will work out, because we're scared. We try to fool ourselves that what we're feeling will pass, that the attraction is just infatuation. Perhaps it is. But I have decided to no longer hide from my desires and to wait, because if something is worth having, it's worth waiting for.