Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gone but not forgotten

I am a happy person most of the time. I do get moody and emotional sometimes, but generally I believe that we are responsible for our own happiness, meaning that if we are not happy, it’s up to us to fix it. Whether that means changing our lives or changing our outlook on life, there’s usually no one else that is going to do it for us.

With that note, I will mark a rather bittersweet anniversary for me today, October 14. It was four years ago today that I met Tara, Bee and Bug face-to-face, and began the process of joining a family that ultimately did not work out for me. Since Tara severed ties with me on the first of September, I have had no contact with any of them, other than following her on Twitter.

Some people might be surprised, or not understand why these three people who used to be so close to me less than two years ago would treat me like a total stranger now. I can’t explain the whys and wherefores about the complexity of our relationship in this post, and none of that really matters now anyway.

The short version of the explanation is that Tara is an artist in the purest sense of the word, and as such she is the most uncompromising person I’ve ever met, or am likely to meet. It was one of the things I loved about her at first. Later when we became real-life lovers, that aspect of her character caused some friction and discord, because I am generally a very easy-going kind of person and she is not.

One thing I know about myself is that the rare occasions when I fall in love, I fall pretty damn hard. Part of the process for me when I’m in NRE (new relationship energy) is that I put a lot of energy into learning all about the person I’m with, and I can be pretty amazing in my ability to recollect details. Tara always used to say that I earned my Ph.D. in Tara Studies because I was so focused on learning about her when we were together. Polina might feel the same way, considering I’m learning Russian so I can understand a little more when she’s talking with her family.

So from my perspective, knowing and loving Tara as I do, I understand why she needed to have a complete break from me. I don’t bear her any ill will. A part of me will always love her, and be grateful for what she brought to my life. One of the things I’ve come to learn is that sometimes love is not enough, and it doesn’t always conquer all like in the fairy tales. While it may be the single most important thing in life to me, it’s not the only thing. We each have our own lives to live, and love cannot impede our freedom to live it. I learned that lesson painfully with Tara, and I’m constantly applying that lesson with Polina during our relationship check-ins so as not to impede her growth as a person.

I don’t think I will continue to mark this anniversary in the future, as it doesn’t have much meaning in my present life, and one thing I try to do is live in the moment. But I might do other things in the future to honor the family I used to have, and all the ways they changed me. Even if they never speak to me again, they are as much a part of my past as my estranged birth family. Sometimes we need to remember what has come before so we can carry our lessons forward, and if nothing else, I have proven in my life to be a pretty good student in all kinds of things.