heart growthI used to have this special ringtone for my boyfriend’s text messages. For three years that special “ding” told me that it was a message from him. I deleted it from my phone in early May when I realized our only texts were about separating our lives and our belongings, and every time I heard his special “ding” it only brought fresh tears to my eyes.

I was standing with a group of people Sunday morning when I heard that special “ding” from someone else’s phone – and after a few moments I realized something important. My heart didn’t jump. I wasn’t overcome with anxiety. My eyes didn’t fill with tears. I heard that special sound and it hadn’t affected me. I kept my peace – and that accomplishment brought me even greater peace.

I carried that peaceful feeling with me throughout the day, and I let myself think about him, and our life together. I usually try really hard not to think about him. I miss his voice. I miss his hugs. I miss the way his neck smells. I miss the way we always used to hold hands. Despite our ups and downs, I really did believe our love for each other would transcend any real or imagined obstacle. I loved him so much – I wanted him to be the right man for me – and he almost was. And I was almost the right woman for him. Almost.

God – that’s just so demeaning and insulting. Almost. What the hell is almost? The fact is neither one of us fully accepted the other without judgment. I guess that’s what almost is. Almost is not accepting someone for who they are. Yes and no are definitive. Yes I accept all of your beauty and all of your flaws, and I can live with you. No I can’t accept all of your beauty and all of your flaws and I can’t live with you. Almost is just some kind of a bullshit judgment dump. “Gee honey, you’re awesome, and you’re almost awesome enough, if you would just change (insert bullshit judgment here).” Almost is just so f’ing hurtful.

I had to face the fact that I was as guilty of almost as he was. Accepting this unpleasant fact about myself felt like a big step. If I won’t fully accept my partner for who he is, and if he won’t fully accept me for who I am, then I shouldn’t be there. It seems so simple. I guess I just had to take the reeeeeeeeeeally long way around to get through this particular lesson.

Sometimes my lessons come gently like a leaf floating on a breeze, and sometimes they come like a brick to the side of the head.

I guess I needed a brick. Or maybe just a familiar ringtone.