All my life I have dealt with loneliness. Ever since I was 10 years old and I had to move to the other side of the world from Korea to the United States, I felt so different from the rest. Even when I came back to Korea 5 years later, I was already too different from other Koreans. The experiences I had, the way that I understood and viewed things had changed too much from the rest of my peers. I became a perpetual alien with no real ties to any particular culture or ideology.
The older I grew, the less relatable my life became. I kept traveling, wandering, trying to find myself, each time absorbing a little bit of the cultures of the countries I lived in and visited – China, Kenya, Mexico, and many more.
I met many people in my life and most of them did not stay. Or rather, I never stayed long enough in one place for the connections to grow. I did meet many helpful and kind people who I was able to stay connected with over the years through school, work, or so-called fate. But still the loneliness was not resolved because these connections often were not deep enough to reach the soul-level of understanding and appreciation of one another.
It’s only when I met romantic partners that I could briefly dampen the feeling of loneliness for a short while. During these moments of euphoria I felt deeply understood and appreciated by another human being because their love for me allowed them to have the patience and acceptance that is otherwise impossible to expect from another person. And in return I also gave them love, understanding, and appreciation to the best of my abilities.
But alas, these euphoric moments did not last. There was a certain point in which our egos clashed and the conflict became too big to resolve and get over. We would keep having the same fights over and over on the same issue. Neither wanted to budge on their own perspective, each thinking they were in the right.
Usually when this happened, I was the one who wanted to call it quits. For me these blocks felt like an impossible wall to get over, and it was like I was banging my head over and over on hard concrete hoping that some day it would hurt less. For me, these blocks seemed to be created by their male ego not being able to see clearly, not wanting to admit where they’re wrong, and/or their desire to submit me into their way of doing/ thinking. For them, the problem was probably caused by my female ego wanting to change who they are and trying to submit them to my way of doing/ thinking.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think we can change people. People can only change when they want to, not for anyone else, but for themselves. And that’s why I often ended up leaving my partners. When we reach that point in which each person just cannot let go of their old ways of looking at things and they’d rather stick to the stories that they’ve told themselves for ages, that is when we have hit the limits of where our egos will allow for a shared universe for love to grow.
Sometimes there was simply a mismatch of what each person wanted out of the relationship. One person wanted something serious while the other was interested in something more casual. Sometimes the love just died a natural death having burned up all its passion for fuel. Otherwise life just led us in different directions. Either way things did not align for us and we had to go separate ways.
Today I realized that all these relationships that I had were not actually failures, but they simply were. A relationship does not have to last forever in order to have been a ‘successful’ one. There is actually no need to judge a relationship as good or bad, a success or failure, but simply to accept it for what it was. And to be thankful for these people that came into our lives to teach us something, to make us feel so intensely alive and to help us forget at least for a short while how truly alone we are in this big, wide universe. And in those moments when we find ourselves alone again, then at least we can write to our heart’s content so that we may share our thoughts with the world hoping that someone out there will empathize and perhaps we can feel just a little bit less alone.