Hungary and America discuss a global issue

“Unfortunately girly brain can fly like a ladybug and collect the thoughts together to build a big new creation – which is usually fake.

—Miss. Something Blue (A.B.)

About a week ago I sat face to face with a girl I had really just met for the first time, and she looked me in the eyes and told me she used to hate me. All evening talking to her I had been thinking to myself this girl is unlike anyone I’ve met in a long time. She radiates creativity and has this glowing energy to her that makes her different than the people you meet in your day-to-day life. She has a beautiful face and a beautiful personality, and here she was, telling me she had hated me.

We had never talked before, yet I had been a point of tension in her relationship with her boyfriend. Nothing had even transpired between he and I, and our friendship had just been that, a friendship. But here she sat before me, confessing that they would fight about me. About me and him. About my lingering presence, although I was 4,000 miles away, across the country.

To her I had been “the other.”

The minute she confessed this, I knew exactly what she meant and all the emotions she had experienced.

I recently just got out of a three year, off and on again, tumultuous relationship, that had its killer moments as well as its rock bottom lows. And so much of my behavior was a result of my insecurities, the ones I created over the “other” girl.

What she and I talked about was that when you get into a relationship there will always be someone who had been in your significant other’s life before you, whether that person is a friend or ex love. This is true for both people in a relationship. There is always that one other person that digs under your skin, and often, unintentionally. And as she told me she had hated me, she also told me she had needed to meet me. She had needed to see that I wasn’t this person trying to ruin her relationship.

The reason that we have these insecurities about the “other” is that often they exist but we’ve never met them. That was true in my case as well as hers. For years I’ve stressed on a girl that was a friend of the guy I was dating. I’d hear about her from him yet in three years I never once met her. I was never introduced to her. From the beginning she was kept at a distance. The reason we become insecure over these others is we start to wonder. Wonder why? If you’re so close to them, why have I not been introduced? Why don’t they hang out with us? Why don’t you let me get to know her?

And the insecurity that builds is that something is being hidden. There is something to gain by keeping them at a distance. There is something to lose by introducing us. Or is there?

In three years I can’t count how many fights I started because of this other girl. How many times I accused him of things that may or may not be true. How many times I lost sleep over the two of them. And I ruined my relationship, convinced that there was always something else going on.

When I met my friend’s girlfriend the other night I realized how much respect I gained for their relationship. Not to say that it wasn’t there before, but by seeing them together I realized what a great partnership they are. It is far better to be the friends of both people in a relationship, than just the one. You realize the things about why your friend is in love. What makes them happy. Why this person is their world. And that is from the perspective of the “other.”

In my own relationship, as the girlfriend, I could have seen why he cherished her so much as a friend. What the things were that held their friendship together. Why he thought highly of her and had her in his life, despite the issues that it created. I could have respected her presence, instead of despised it. Instead of seeing the person standing before me, who was in love with ME, I focused on her, and what she may have meant to him.

Sometimes all we need is to meet that other person. To see that they’re not a threat, but a potential friend. Someone on your team. Someone who you want in your life as much as your boyfriend or girlfriend wants them in their life.

The talk I had with her came at the perfect time in my life. It was one of those things that seems to fall into place at the exact moment that will make the most sense. Talking with her helped me reflect on my own behavior, from the perspective of the girlfriend and the “other.”

I will keep our conversation in mind for my next future relationship, and learn from the one that has past.

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This week has been a week of rearrangement. Rearraging my life now that I’m back from Tahoe. Rearranging now that I’m really on my own again since going to DC.

After saying goodbye to “him” my brother gave me a ride home. He told me don’t be sad. Don’t bum on what isn’t there anymore. What has come to an end.

Instead see it as my rebirth. As my breath of fresh air. That with every door that shuts a new one opens. That in a way I am finally free to live only for me again.

For the first time in a very long time my life feels lighter. I’ve finally allowed myself to let go. And the air is sweet. And the doors are opening.

You don’t have to give up to let go.

It has taken a very long time for me to grasp this.

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There are certain patterns in my life that I’ve come to know as true and predictable. Running is one of them.

I run out of frustration. I run in times of weakness. I run to release negativity.

 

In college I would run to escape from the personal issues in my life. It was the only time that my head cleared and the thoughts stopped circling. During some of the hardest times I remember running campus multiple times a day- just looking for a way to lose my breath and lose myself.

When my life reaches a crossroads and a decision must be made that I’d rather not make, one I know will cause me heartache, there are two ways to deal with the aftermath. I can go up, or I can go down.

Throughout my teenage years I went down. I dealt with emotional pain through synthetic highs, and in the end I was just as broken and as weak as when I began, if not more so. Years of trying to avoid how I felt never made me any better or any stronger. There was never a healing point.

When I found myself at a similar point in college the same thoughts crossed my mind. How can I avoid feeling internal pain? What can I use to cover it? How can I escape this reality while still existing enough to function?

 

I remember having breakfast on the Cowell College balcony one morning after class with a girl I had just began to develop a good friendship with. She was training for a marathon and when I asked her what motivated her and how she had decided to make this type of commitment she explained to me that a few months earlier things had completely ended with the first guy she had ever loved. He had been more than just a boyfriend to her, he had been her best friend and they had transferred to the same college to be together. When things didn’t work out once they got to Santa Cruz, her life suddenly was filled with a giant empty spot. For weeks she felt weak and depressed and obsessed with the thought of being with him or what ifs. She admitted that she knew all along that once things ended there was no going back, so dwelling on what once was was useless. And then one day she woke up and told herself enough. I’m tired. I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of wondering. I’m tired of wanting. And most of all I’m tired of feeling weak.

And she started running.

She said that running was the first place to build strength. It was the first place to set a goal. The first way to accomplish something.

She explained that during heartache you’re going to feel emotionally weak for a long time. And it’s much harder to heal what’s on the inside, that what’s on the outside. She knew that it would be a long time until her heart felt strong again, but in the mean time there were other ways to feel strong.

 

That’s when I started running. It was incredible. Sometimes I would just circle the track for an hour, gazing out at the Santa Cruz bay and boardwalk each time I started a new lap. Sometimes I’d run through the woods on the trails, hearing students above me on the bridges that held campus together. When I started running three years ago I was at the lowest point I had been at in a very very long time. And during that half hour to hour that I would run, was the only time I could find peace of mind.

And then when things got better and I found happiness through my relationship again, I stopped. And this has been a vicious circle. I don’t stick with it when I’m not upset. When I don’t feel weak.

 

It’s like people who relapse when something in life upsets their stability. I relapse into a runner.

I’m running again because I’m at another crossroads.

One that there is no escaping.

And one that must be confronted.