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Where Have I Been?

I was lost for so long, and I didn't even know it!  It is sometimes such a slow process that, over time, you don't know how much you're missing unless you take inventory of yourself.  Coca-Cola.  Sandals.  Coupons.  Notepad and pen.  Check, check, cheeeck, and CHECK ! ! !  They're all here! 

It's easy to lose pieces of yourself when you get too wrapped up in a relationship, especially when you invest a lot of time into it, expecting that this is your future.  This is the way it should be.  You're no longer "Romeo" or "Juliet".  Now it's "Romeo and Juliet".  No more Cleopatra, and no more Mark Anthony.  From this point on it's Cleopatra AND Mark Anthony.  Brad?  Angelina?  I don't think so!  Think: BRANGELINA!  You lose a sense of identity.  You lose a sense of "you-ness". 

It felt right at the time, but it was always, "Where's Joslyn and her beau?"  "Hey, Joslyn, how's your boyfriend?"  "Is he coming with you?"  "When is he coming to visit, or are you going to visit him?"  Christmas cards and gifts were addressed to the both of us, even when he was away at college.  It was never just about Joslyn anymore.  I didn't see anything wrong with it, until I felt it was time to go my own way.  How could I give up something that had been a part of me for so long?  Maybe that's got a little to do with why I hung around as long as I did.

And along with losing yourself comes compromise.  He likes sports.  She doesn't.  Now you're lucky if you get to catch your fave shows during commercials!  Coke or Pepsi, and both aren't in your budget?  Be prepared to make that sacrifice!  You like to do the laundry one way, but your significant other is knit-picky about it when he brings it by because he's running really short on time.  You either do it their way or listen to the complaining for years to come over that one trifling mistake, if the relationship lasts that long!

And don't get me started on clothes!  You have to dress a certain way when you go out in public or it sparks a fight.  In my case, it was sandals!  They were, *ahem* . . . "inappropriate".  Not my words, of course.  It was either I changed shoes or we wouldn't go out.  Style has always been something that I was seriously into, so taking that away from me was taking away a part of who I was.

I gave up music for talk radio, and programs I liked for sports.  And sometimes if there wasn't anything on that he wanted to see during commercials, he'd flip on talk radio.  Sometimes the telly and the radio would be going simultaneously, resulting in me getting migraines!  I drank Pepsi over Coke (and I loved Coca-Cola!  Although now, I prefer home-brewed iced-tea.), and when I had a couple of Vanilla or Cherry Cokes in the fridge, he would drink them because he wanted to save his Pepsi!  I stopped wearing sandals in place of kicks.  I let a really good friendship slip right by me so that it wouldn't cause jealousy.  And after he moved to pursue a college education and I tried to make myself believe that a long-distance-love could work, I was told that he would move back to the only place I'd ever known as "Home" once he was done with school.  That soon changed as he decided he wanted to pursue bigger and better things in life, outside of my native homeland.  The thing is, it was a decision I felt I had no control over, but the only way to change that would have been to call everything off, and I just couldn't do that.

For a while, I wanted to break it off.  I didn't have the heart, because I felt there was something there.  With his increasing education, he became increasingly pompous.  I overlooked the fact that any opinion or even fact I stated was disregarded because he was more "educated" than I was.  Because his "college books" didn't view things the same way that I did.  Because now, he knew it all!  And, with that, went more of my independence.  Right out the window!  Who wants to talk to someone who won't even listen, or acts like you're some sort of dunce?  Let alone who would want to be in a relationship like that!  It doesn't matter if you're the most brilliant person in the world, or the dumbest, no one should ever make another feel like they're stupid.  Especially if it's only to make themselves feel smart.

But, as time went on, things changed dramatically.  I would never have had the courage to have broken it off on my own, because for every reason I had to go my own way, I had reasons to stay.  When I found that those reasons to stay were just illusions, I was heartbroken.  It was an internal battle!  Should I stay?  Should I go?  What should I do?  Everyone makes mistakes, and it's so easy to take someone for granted.  Should we work on that?  Should I forgive?  Even if I did, could I ever forget?  And could I ever erase the words he said to me from my mind?  If I tried to make it work, I would forever be holding this grudge, and all the wishing in the world couldn't make things good again.  Besides that, I really doubted that I would be willing to go along with whatever he wanted for the sake of keeping the peace, because I was too embittered.  That's right: Either I wear these sandals, or I'm walkin' away in 'em!

I could overlook those things as minor.  As compromise.  Because he did a lot for me.  And I mean a lot!  And, because, it was in the name of *LOVE*.  I shouldn't have thought of it that way.  Like, "He did this, so the least I can do is that."  I should have looked at it in terms of, "This is who I am, and no one should try to change me, even if it seems like I'm being petty."  'Cos really, if something that small is an issue, especially if it brings me enjoyment, is an issue, then what's next?

But I thought about things.  I don't know what gave me the courage to just leave him in my past.  There are still some memories that I recall quite fondly.  And I wish things could have stayed that way.  But for a long while, I was so broken hearted that I didn't want to do any of the things I once loved.  Couldn't focus on movies.  I didn't feel like writing.  Taking walks, making crafts, keeping up with my coupons, they no longer gave me the same enjoyment as before.  I sort of closed myself off to family and friends.  Sometimes I would force myself into something, but my heart wasn't in it because I always felt like a black cloud was following me.  I just felt lonely inside, because there were many times that I would try to hide the pain and there were times that I couldn't.  And then there were times when people would tell me they had had it worse, which didn't help.  It only made it harder, because it felt like people were downplaying my emotions.  I just needed someone to say, "I've been there, I understand."  To let me know that this would pass and one day I'd be my happy self again, and I was fortunate enough to have found that comfort and to gain hope for the future in a few good friends. 

But in all the time I spent in sorrow, focusing on the past, there was a whole world passing me by!  I stopped taking interest in things voluntarily.  I engaged in activities in the same way a zombie would.  It was necessary, but I got no pleasure out of it.  I was just *THERE*!

While my boyfriend was away at college, I would wear sandals, knowing full well that such a small personal choice might one day not even be an option for me.  I wondered so many times if I could change something like that in order to make someone else happy.  I mean, sandals, c'mon!  And here I was, finally free of this restricting relationship.  And I wasn't even taking advantage of this new-found freedom I had come upon!  I just lazed about, feeling sorry for myself.  What...A...Waste....

But one thing that gave me a wake up call to all of the good things that I could have if I just picked myself up again, aside from my social circle, was a post that someone left on my Adventures In Gnome Village story that I posted here.  It was so complimentary and so sweet, that I remembered suddenly why I love to write.  I love feedback on my work.  Good or bad, as long as it's constructive!  And I had completely forgotten that writing is what Joslyn's all about!  That post did it for me.  That's when I started slowly but surely getting more heavily involved in my writing once again.  That post was what brought it all back to me!  Something so simple, but something so kind.  While there are so many things that make me who I am, writing is my passion!  It's the one thing I have always found comfort in.  And, by continuing to write, maybe one day more people will be able to see my work.  I've always said, to have just one fan makes it worth the effort.  So far, I think my mom may just be my one and only fan! *LOL* 

But, because of that kind comment that had been posted, I realised then that I had given up a part of myself for a relationship, which was my fault.  And now I was relenting to my own sorrow, which was equally my fault.  The difference is, in the latter instance, I had no excuse, no reason, not to continue on with my life!  I chalk this up to a learning experience.  Now it's time to pick up and move on!  Let the past fall where it may and keep on truckin'.

It's amazing how much I've gotten done once I made my mind up that I wasn't going to let this get me down.  After all, there isn't a lot that can keep Joslyn down for long, and there's a whole world out there, just waiting for me to make sandal-tracks!  And I can't keep my fans *ahem* I mean, fan (HI MOM!), waiting!