And Therein Lies the Magic

Thoughts on who holds the magic in your life.

I wish all these life lessons wouldn’t be coming at me so quickly these days. I barely have time to catch my breath from one when KABLAMIE, I’m hit with another. (What? It’s a word.)

I realized something important of late. I’m hit with so many relationship life lessons at once because I’ve kicked the can down the road not wanting to deal with the pain it takes to get over someone. I look at it as the same as exercising. Which I also hate because it hurts. But, you do it anyway because you know it’s good for you. How many of us buckle down and do that challenging emotional and mental work of healing? I avoid feeling pain at all costs. If there is one thing, I’ve learned, you have to feel it and go through it because if you don’t, it just sits there inside of you, causing all sorts of problems.

This week I went to South Beach in Miami to see my dear friend who was originally from where I live in Florida but moved off to attend Law School. So she asked me to drive to Miami to treat me to a girls’ night in South Beach. I haven’t seen her for over six months. 

It was great to spend the evening drinking mojitos, dancing, and having some of the best ceviches of my entire life.  But on Sunday morning, she had to leave early to catch a flight. I decided to spend the day in South Beach by myself revisiting some of my favorite spots and exploring a few new ones. As I roamed South Beach, I found myself inundated with a flood of memories and emotions over “he who shall be pined over for just a brief time longer.”  I refuse to pine forever, but as I mentioned, I kicked the can down the road, and now was the time to pay the piper.

As I wandered I’d spot a location, and think, Oh, yeah! I remember taking his photo there.  And then, How funny, I remember when he said X while we were standing right there. Or, I loved the mojitos we got at that place. And, We stayed at that cute little boutique hotel. And on and on and on. I decided, in my best Atomic Betty defiance, no, dammit! I WILL make new memories for myself here. I meandered some more. I sampled some delicious food. I took some great photos.

It didn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong. The place is beautiful and I talked to new people because I no longer wear that invisible sign saying that my heart belongs to someone else. It was a lovely time. But, the magic wasn’t there. The more I walked around, the more upset I became. And then I panicked and thought, If he holds the magic, that means it’s gone forever.

I even begged God to prevent one more Audi just like his to stop appearing near me. They were everywhere! I decided to leave SoBe and instead explore the Sunday barren afternoon downtown area for lunch. Immediately after lunch, I was walking back to the shore, where I parked my car, and turned the corner of a street ONLY TO FIND MYSELF SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AUDI COMMERCIAL THAT WAS BEING FILMED. The road was full of Audis. I looked to the sky and out loud said, “Really, God?” And that’s when they asked me to leave. I’m not even kidding.

By the time I drove the two hours back to my house, I had reached full hot mess status. I gave way to the pain and continued mourning the loss by singing REO Speedwagon at the top of my lungs and crying my eyes out. 

When I got home, I talked to my friend Sherry and poured out my heart to her for precisely the 5.6 billionth time. I cried to her, “What if all the other places I hold so dear, I only love, not because they were magical, but because being there with him is what made it so?” And she said this, “If it was special, it was because YOU made it so. He is an empty vessel.” She explained, “did you ever think that just maybe all the magic you felt was coming from you because of the love you had for him?”

She gave me an example from her own life of this man that she was going to marry.  It was a long-distance relationship, to begin with, so it wasn’t easy. And to say it ended badly is a gross understatement. This man was the ultimate example of cowardice. She recalled a story from one night with the two of them texting back and forth. She says she was silly, and he would send her emojis, and she would make him laugh by making up little stories about the little “yellow men.” He said to her, “We are so ridiculous. I love this. I’ve never had anyone to just be ridiculous with.”  

“And now he’s gone,” she said.

Sherry said she realized all that silliness and laughter came from her. He did nothing.  She made him happy that night, she explained, and his happiness is what, in turn, made her happy. And then she gave me some insight. She’s good at that. Her words were a shot of antibiotics straight into a broken heart. She said, “Can you name one time he put your feelings first or told you he valued you, Donlyn? He fed off your happiness like a Vampire, and you were the joy in that relationship. Not him.”

It’s the entire reason I asked him to go away as in entirely away. No more of this “sometimes in my life” when it was convenient for him and “sometimes not.”  No more just showing up and taking the good, but not sticking around for anything bad. And when I figure this out and take it from head knowledge to heart, I hope I see it this clearly and all that joy and happiness wasn’t something that walked away when he did.

It still lives, inside me.

And therein lies the magic.

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