The Spectrum Chronicles
She wasn't great, but I'm grateful for her.
So my first love shat on me from a great height (metaphorically, of course). He was the definition of an unrequited love: Heart smashing, feeling-crushing "love." I loved him from a one-sided fence for more than three years. Three years of hearing him tell me he wanted and preferred me, whilst popping off to visit his girlfriend on weekends. Looking back it's apparent I was his weekday romance.
At the time it didn't feel like it was my heart that was suffering. It was in the pit of my stomach, the gut-wrenching, grinding ache when the truth slammed down onto me, yelling at me that I was never going to get what I wanted and what I was promised.
I eventually found the courage (crying in my friend's car in the rain) to wish him luck, but the fact that he was now single held no interest for me and that I was a different person. Thank God.
So after this, I busy myself with work and friends, and I'm still sad and it's still there, humming at me in the background, whispering at me as I try and sleep, but it gets easier.
And then, I meet my ex.
For reasons that don't involve her, I won't include her name, but let's use the name, Jane. The job I was working at the time was a busy, varied, and physical job. I had worked there for almost five years when I met Jane and I had actually met Mr. Unrequited there as well—it seems that place is cursed.
So one of the positions I worked in was in the onsite kitchen and we needed a chef, so management hired an agency chef. The day that she started, I noticed her straight away: Quiet, a little sullen, tattoos. She was more of a frowny observer, rolling her eyes and snapping at me if I did something to annoy her. So naturally, I then embarked on my campaign to get on her nerves. What started as friendly get to know you jibes turned into her making me cups of tea even though she wouldn't really engage with anyone else. I have learned since that this may be a slight flaw of mine: I want to be liked. If someone doesn't like me, I will deliberately try and make them like me—bizarre, perhaps that's a chapter to explore another time.
So eventually, she would cut apples into swans for me, she would save me the broken gingerbread, and the day that I was chatting with another colleague about art galleries, was the day I fell in love.
In amongst our chat about art galleries, came the small voice from the rugby-playing, tattooed chef across the kitchen, "I like art galleries too." Please note that my reply was in keeping with our sense of humour at the time and that it comes across as being a lot more offensive written down.
When asked why I was surprised that she liked art galleries, I said without thinking: "Because you look like a drug dealer." She smirked, wasn't offended, and my heart was warmed by her. Let's pause though, and ask ourselves why I was warmed by this: Because society tells us that tattooed, rugby-playing individuals won't like art, so therefore when they tell us that they do, it's worthy of note and the warmth of a heart.
I'm going to roll with the theme of mildly offensive stereotypes here and speak in the plainest way that I can: Jane and I were absolute polar opposites. I am five foot five, blonde and occasionally enjoy wearing pink and/or a dress. Jane is five foot seven, short dark hair and tattoos. We were chalk and cheese. People at work saw that we got on well, a couple may have suspected mild flirting, but no one would have guessed how close we got.
So that was the beginning of a very absurd year for Jane and I. If you have experienced or are currently experiencing the following, then, by all means, continue on my journey with me:
- A partner with physical and psychological scars.
- A partner who doesn't introduce you to friends/family or make space for you in their life.
- A partner who doesn't return the love/emotional support, but you still try anyway.