(this one is long, and has no positive message..)
One of my friends told me that his mom recently opened up to him about a man in her distant past. When she immigrated to the States in the 70s, he told her he’d wait for her back in Taiwan. Well, she obviously never went back, met her husband here, and is now in a mediocre marriage that she’s come to just..accept. “Do you think she ever wonders about that guy?” I asked.
This story made me also think about if my parents may have had (or still have) figures in their past who they sometimes think about.. and decades later wonder, what if? I don’t ever want to have that feeling. Deep into my future marriage, is there any way to avoid the destructive thought of “the one that got away”?
The concept of “The one that got away” has long been something I’ve feared, but strangely.. fantasized about. It comes down to an odd belief I have that the greatest love stories are the ones that are never allowed to happen. I know that sounds awful (and it is) and wrong (and probably is), but let me explain. Love stories that don’t get a chance to exist in reality can therefore only exist in fiction. And the power of fiction is that it allows for anything to happen; this is dangerous.
I wonder, do those who believe there’s someone “who got away” really believe their lives would be better had they not “gotten away”? I’d like to believe that nothing would be that much different. Let me say that again. “I’d like to believe..”, because if it’s not true, I’m afraid I’d always be wondering of a better life. As sad as it sounds, I feel like in order to avoid this, I need to believe that fiction is not better than reality. That two people who fall in love will always experience the dulling of new love’s shine. Two people who have long term relationships will always question themselves and each other. Basically to make a relationship special, I need to accept nothing is that special. (ok, that sounds awful). I need to reject the fantasy, the fiction in my head. And that is the true challenge for me, where I struggle the most.
As someone who sorta-kinda professionally tells stories for a living, fiction is where I love to be. Fiction allows for the greatest love stories. In an instant I can fantasize about 10 years passing and reconnecting with a past love. In an instant I can imagine being 80 years old and the pain of a divorce is 40 years behind me. In an instant I can imagine running into “the one who got away” and us getting another chance. I want to create that figure to have in my life.
But these’s stories are not real, and they don’t happen in an instant free from affecting the real lives and emotions of real people. There are real consequences to the stories in my head.
Wong Fu once made a short film that has a powerful closing line “…and then, fiction becomes reality.” It’s a great line, making your dreams real. These days, I seem to be going in reverse. Things, experiences, people who are my reality… I turn into fiction. Probably because I feel that reality ultimately brings weathered emotions, accumulated stress, and confined growth. Fiction is perpetually bright, romantic, young no matter where I am in life, so I’d rather keep them “there”.
I want a great love story for myself, yet I’m destroying all possibilities of one in the process of trying to “make” it. I can’t live in the fantasy. I think I’ve finally come to see why I’m acting like this, but I’ll save that explanation for another post..
(geez, i’m writing like such a young naive prick. When will these types of posts end?)