It is the beginning of February, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You know, the day where people who are in actual relationships have the opportunity to be more obvious and flaunt their ooey-gooey selves in front of the single and hopeless. Maybe the single person reading this is not hopeless, but after winning the “Hopeless” card in the last several games of Apples to Apples I’ve played, I am at peace with that fate. (Though having admitted to playing several games of Apples to Apples may explain said hopelessness. Also, here is a tip: the “Helen Keller” card always wins.)
A few weeks ago, I was driving with my friend Hannah when an advertisement for a radio show aired and declared that “love sucks.” The program encouraged listeners to submit their old love letters to be burned and anti-love songs would be played in celebration. I mumbled that love does kind of suck. Good ‘ole Hannah was quick to come to its defense. She said that love does not suck, but has the possibility to be something great and worthwhile. Darn. I hate it when she is right (which is all the time). My cynicism has recently escalated to new heights, partially due to that four-letter word of pure evil. Oh, here comes the cynicism again.
Sometimes I do not understand why I continue to put all this out there for the tens or even hundreds of people who may read this. I should probably change the name from “Matty’s Musings” to “Boozy’s Blunder” after this one. Every day, it feels like I’ve gotten a new bruise and my heart has gone through further wear and tear. I am not sure there is much left to give. But from my experiences, I hope someone or anyone gets something out of this. Even if it is only one person, I just want that person to know it is OK. You are not alone.
In my time writing this, I have come to terms with the cards I’ve been dealt and have decided to reluctantly move on from this all-consuming distraction. I am expecting to struggle. I realize no person is worth the sleepless nights or the constant ache that sometimes makes even eating not an option. I am not someone who likes to give up on anything, but it seems like the right time to fold.
To You, who has unconsciously held onto my heart, I have decided that I want it back. No longer will I allow myself to get caught up in the rapture of your smile or presence. You have opened me up to new possibilities. I thank you for temporarily diverting me into a fantasy world where I envisioned the two of us together. But I’m moving on and you don’t hold my dreams like you did before. I hope you realize what you want and go for it. And please stay true to yourself. Now it’s time for me to let you go.
I never actually found the closure I was looking for, but hopefully this is all I need to move on. I will no longer lose sight of reality or put every last wish into something that was never there. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I can breathe.
In the last several months, I have learned that love is pretty powerful. It is downright scary, actually. I am astonished at how it made me feel and I still think about what never was and what could have been. Maybe there was a reason for all of this. Not just for me, but others out there as well. Perhaps this person who holds our hearts in the form of unrequited love is supposed to guide us to the person we are meant to be with.
Rather than continue to be cynical, I dedicate this week’s column to those who have found love and others who have hope for today, tomorrow, next week and the distant future. This is also for Hannah, who has made me re-evaluate the not-so-evil four-letter word and who repeatedly shows me what it is like to maintain hope every day. As the great Conan O’Brien said, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.” That is a mantra we can apply to any and all facets of life.
My Mixed-Up Soundtrack:
Throughout this mind game of confusion, I have formulated a playlist of songs that have kept me sane, and dare I say, hopeful? Thematically, there is something here for everyone from feeling the joyous ectasy of love to the painful reality of letting go. Here’s to the sweet serenity of music.
1. The Zombies – “This Will Be Our Year”
Move on from the past and breeze toward new possibilities.
2. Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”
This country stunner has swiftly risen to the top of the charts and gorgeously relays the sweet dramatic yearning of someone who’s not around.
3. Duffy – “Hanging On Too Long”
Sampling “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” this Duffy tune is the perfect anecdote for those of us who hang on too long (in or out of a relationship).
4. Iyaz – “Replay”
This one is for Kyle Runfola and Kathy Tofil. You two run through my mind all day.
5. Eva Cassidy – “Fields of Gold”
Relish the joy of love now because it may not last for too much longer.
6. Neko Case – “That Teenage Feeling”
You are unwilling to settle for any love that is not perfect. You are essentially holding out for that teenage feeling.
7. The Swell Season – “In These Arms”
“Maybe I was born to hold you in these arms.”
8. Fiona Apple – “Paper Bag”
“I got to fold ’cause these hands are too shaky to hold / Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love.”
9. Ray LaMontagne – “Hold You in My Arms”
LaMontagne’s voice can bring you up and down in the same song.
10. The Beatles – “All You Need is Love”
Peace of mind is found in times of trouble and not everything is left up to chance. Nothing is a coincidence.