GRINFLUENZA

smack talk

things i may, or may not say out loud.

lessons in love.

 

i know what you're thinking...[insert eye roll}... ol' softy boi looking boi, ol' emotional in his feelings lookin boi, ol' sad boi heart broken lookin boi, ol' drake/weeknd/partynextdoor playlist lookin boi. YEAH, DAT ME RN FRAF!!! bc when it comes down to it, feelings of love are tough. they take their toll. and no matter how much advice, articles, stories, blogs and vlogs you check out on your own...it's not until that hole in your stomach, hopeless in an empty room, message sent and left on read/seen with no response, hits you and you finally come to terms with "this is what it feels like". this is how "it" hurts, this is really happening. 

there's really so much to say about it isn't there? we all have our stories. we console each other and the ones we hold close to us to let them know they're not alone. but when i step on the plane and head back to shanghai on friday, i can't look back. i won't. this is my timeline, and dallas is where i'm going to leave it behind.

 
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it's been tough trying to identify and pinpoint where to start, what to highlight and when to stop. i could write forever, revisit this time and time again in installments or chapters, but it needs to be done. and granted there are two sides to every story, relationships go both ways. what she feels and thinks is her prerogative as she's entitled to take away her feelings and impressions about our year together. i'll preface with the fact that i'm not guilt free. i'm not free from fault. i've owned up to the things i've done, as i always have. there is no denying that from either side. 

but i suppose i'll start with this. i loved her not only with expectations, but with reasons why i thought i would be able to receive her love in return. because i was down. i was fuckin down for this. like vanessa was for kobe after the licking the lips adultery press conference. because despite how shitty and unfair i was in previous relationships, this one i was down for. because i was about to love like i've never loved before. because i felt it. because i felt her. because i wanted to be loyal. i wanted to be committed, more so than any other relationship i was in before. because i wasn't thinking about her being "the one", but because she was "that one" that i was down to ride for, for the long term, with the mindset, attitude and foresight to know that i was willing and committed to work through the rough patches when things would get ugly. that i would listen and not just hear. because the age didn't matter. because even though people i loved were skeptical about the idea, i still was gonna go for it (and i always listen to my mom...) , because even though 7000+ miles and a 15 hour plane ride in a busted and bummy ass economy or economy plus seat was no way to spend a friday night and saturday morning, i'd do it just to be with her for a few days in comparison to the months we were apart. because even though there was so much fun to be had in a city like shanghai, i'd push it all aside just so i could put her in front of it all. and she knew it, and i wanted everyone around me in shanghai to know it too. i'd wear it on my sleeve because...i was down... and thats why i thought i would get love back in return.

but love doesn't work like that. love doesn't keep score. love doesn't have expectations nor does it expect love in return. love isn't a checklist. but love is unconditional. because your heart knows it. but i "loved" wrong. you see ladies and worms, i won't say it wasn't love. because i'll go to the grave knowing that it was. unfortunately, or just maybe, i wasn't loving the right way. is it possible that people don't know how to manage these feelings of love? is it possible that people do uncharacteristic and detrimental things out of intense feelings of adoration and affection as a consequence of mis-managing these intense uncharted feelings? there's no blueprint. and if it means taking that L the first, second and third time around to finally punch dat gold ticket...maybe that's what it takes. but i won't lie and say this shit doesn't hurt. this shit is defeating. my sis said i had it coming. maybe it's true. maybe this is the universe kicking me in the ass like "gotcha, bitch". but i loved. i loved with this idea that i was doing it right. right because my heart was feeling a way it had never felt before. i thought my intense feelings of love were guiding me to be a person that i was supposed to be in the relationship. and it hurts that i was wrong. i admit it. i was never too proud to not admit when i was wrong. but it fucking hurts. because looking back, maybe it's not ACTUALLY because her mom didn't think i was good enough due to my investment profile and career potential...all from her perspective. maybe it's because i fell in love with what i thought love was supposed look and feel like. maybe i was in love with the idea of who i thought she would be for me, because of all the reasons why i felt she would love me in return for the love that i was giving her. but love isn't about what i think. that's being selfish. and when you love selfishly, you love in fear. love is fearless. 

 
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and i ran back. i ran like hell. i ran like usain in 08. and i tried to get her back. i pleaded. i crawled. would you blame me for feeling so down and hopeless after being told you weren't good enough? that you weren't welcome or invited to be in the same city and presence of probably the one person you wanted support and blessings from? (hell yeah i'm going to see crazy rich asians). that if you truly wanted to see this person again, it would have to be in secret, and you, being who you are now and who you will be in the future, is still not good enough to be seen with the person that you love. nobody wants to feel devalued and judged based on the perception of their career potential and impression of their bank statements. i wanted to prove that my love would change. for her, regardless of what her mom thought of me even if it meant swallowing my pride and not being seen. i would love better. i would love with more respect to what we should have been. but it hurts for real though. you hate to take the L all while chasing back desperate for an opportunity. being so hopeful but looking so weak and wounded. think of t'challa (cavs) vs. killmonger (warrirors) in front of family and friends, but with no comeback. its the kind of hopeful that she wished she saw from you earlier in the relationship when your doubt was overcome by grief and disbelief. too little, too late, homie. i know this is getting long. maybe off-putting, cringey, or even a waste of time but let me live. i knew deep down it was time to let go and take this L when the person you loved tells you they don't want to talk to you because "we keep talking about the same thing", "i don't have the answers to that", "we can't be together", "i don't love you like that anymore", "you're right""please stop smothering me", "i was busy", "i forgot", "i'm sorry, idk what else to tell you..", "i guess", "ok". because even though you don't want to believe it, not saying something IS saying something. i assumed. or i had a gut feeling. you can decide where they're different. but some things are written where it's not written. i know i'm annoying you! i know this is tiring, to revisit and desperately search for answers to questions that you can't answer. i'm fucking sorry! i can't help it! i don't want to be this way. i seriously can't help it. i have no idea what else to do. you're the only person i want to talk about this. i'd stop on command if i could. i need something. i need you. i need this feeling to go away. damn. 

and when u step back and see yourself probing, searching, playing detective (eventually connecting the dots because you're determined as hell to see your replacement) trying to find out who their new person is, who else is getting the attention, connection, time and emotional investment that you once had, you know you're crazy. you're doing the most. you need to stop. it's such a debilitating and almost humiliating position to admittedly be in. it does no good. no one wins. she's gone. there comes a point where you have to swallow the reality that the person that you love is no longer emotionally available to love you in any romantic unit of quantitative measure. there comes a point where you have to understand that the remainder of feelings that you have left holding onto has no place between you and her. it doesn't fit. that unfortunately the one person you looked forward to talk to, connect and engage with just for a few moments a day, no longer desires your solicitude and regard. such a far cry from what used to be. you don't want to believe it's over. you're still hopeful. you hold onto something that isn't there while punishing yourself and making yourself suffer continuing to think about her with someone that isn't you. it's not easy. it's STILL not easy. it's heartbreaking. i write this heartbroken...and listening to lil baby's harder than ever album at 4:50 am. 

and despite all these feelings of doubt, defeat, lack of confidence, self-esteem, worth and value, at the end of the day i don't think we (you, me, whoever) can apologize for the way we love instinctually. i didn't know if i was doing it right at the time. my fault. i was doing what i thought was right. things take time. took me time to see things in a different light. it will take time for this sting to go away.  and it hurts to know her lips are now with someone else. jokes and subtleties are being created with someone else that isn't you. i am not the one she believes to be for her no matter how much i would fight to disagree. maybe she'll feel what i feel one day, but it won't be with me. and it burns to think that but this is the life we live. these are the casualties of the love we give, whether it be right or wrong. so i guess its my turn to say i know what you might be going through. i know how you're feeling. you are worth it. you are fuckin worth it. this shit is gonna hurt. and you're gonna hurt. i'm hurting. i feel you. and while i'm hurting, if you need me, i'ma hurt for you too. i feel you. and you're gonna be angry and bitter and resentful. i feel you. maybe even spiteful and vengeful. i feel you. i feel you, man. there's nothing to be ashamed about. i loved her. she doesn't love me that way. she's lips on lips with someone who's not your business. but we're capable of giving love that we may have never had ourselves. i feel you. life throws some serious punches and haymakers, but amazingly, we recover. i've been wanting to cry about this. everything that's been bottled up and embarrassed to share with friends and family because i didn't know how to express myself without seeming so vulnerable and broken in front of people that have never seen me like that. this is the message that had me diving headfirst in a pool of optical sodium filled drops of water...

"you know one of the things i like best about u is that u give us, the group, a different perspective in life. you always give some of the best conversations. i know what you're going thru and i hope i can help you out in a better way...i hope you find solace. i wish you were around more. be safe...brother"

the hurt won't stop when i publish this. i know. every passing day will continue to be a different battle. thoughts come and go both positive and negative. but i know i'll be okay and i'll be back where i need to be. shoutouts to the siao-pao's, ray, roger, raian, ariya, john, jennie-ann, mel, jane, sandra, maura, amanda, christian the don, o-score, and ce0 mike g for being there and helping even if you didn't think or know you were. y'all matter. and my sister for finally seeming like she has some sense despite the need to take her own advice. ups to the people who have said or been there at some point these past 2 months when i struggled to digest and navigate my emotions thinking i could get a handle on this all on my own. and even though this isn't everything, it is a lot. and its helping me. i wanted to put this down somewhere and not keep it within me once i get on the plane. i'm not perfect. i still want her. i still want us. but it won't happen. so we walk with these scars. we walk beautifully, we walk confidently but maybe slowly. we walk one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. like the ol' softie lookin boi i've always been. holla fo sho. 

 
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JOSH DEAN