What, or whom, did you let go of this year? Why?*
This is something I've sort of avoided writing about, because as much as this is a personal blog that rises and falls with my successes and disappointments, it's not a personal personal blog.
I don't often talk about my private feelings, and I don't discuss the daily minutiae of my life and the lives of those around me. Partly because I'm not always comfortable discussing it, and partly because I've purposely kept this blog isolated from certain aspects of my life - it's a place I like to come to without being reminded of all the noise.
But I feel like I left something hanging. And although I don't feel like I owe any of you an explanation, I feel like if The World Is My Oyster is going to properly chronicle a certain part of my life, all open parentheses must be properly closed. I don't like loose ends.
When I started blogging, in September 2009, I was living at my grandmother's house in Rome, and dating Valerio. I've mentioned him occasionally - mostly when traveling with him or when he came to visit me in Spain - but I've never really elaborated on our relationship.
We stayed together when I left Italy, while I came home last winter, and even when I went to Spain. Then I got into grad school which essentially cemented the topic we'd been avoiding: that I was going back to the states, definitely for two years, probably longer.
There was talk of him quitting his job and coming to live with me to learn English. But then it worked out that I could live with the Keyfrees, and so living together was no longer an option, and he got promoted, so quitting his job wasn't an option either. Then there was talk of staying together anyway and doing the long distance thing. We were both wary of it, but we thought that Spain would be the perfect trial period - we'd be apart, but only a couple of hours and a couple of hundred euro away from each other, nothing unmanageable.
But then we actually tried. And as everyone who's done the long distance thing knows, it is not easy.
Not one bit.
There were good times, there were bad times, there were sad times, and there were ugly times.
To make a long story short, after six months of long distance that were harder than they were easier, we came to the difficult conclusion that when I left for New York it would be impossible to stay together.
Would we have stayed together if I had never left Italy? Maybe. Probably.
Would we have stayed together if I had gone back after living in Madrid? I don't know. Too many things had already changed in the course of dealing with the distance.
But was I ready to let it end, even though we still cared a lot about each other? Not really.
I just had to open up and let him go. And he had to do the same for me.
I realize now that it might have been easier on both of us if one of us had been stronger and walked away. It would have been harder at the beginning, but it would have been a cleaner cut. Ultimately, after I'd already been back in the states for a couple of months, that's what ended up happening. Being in touch, but not together, was just too hard.
My mother once told me that sometimes two people's trajectories intersect, and they might even overlap for a while, making it seem like they're heading in the same direction. But if they're not exactly parallel, eventually they'll separate, each trajectory going off in its own direction.
There were times when I was living my life in Rome with Valerio, in my grandmother's apartment, with my cuddly little cat, when it seemed like it could go on forever.
It was such a time of here and now that it was hard to see what would happen when it wasn't anymore.
I was blinded by my rose-colored glasses.
I think that in the end - because I was the one leaving, I was the one moving to a new city, I was the one taking off for a new life - it was easier for me. I hadn't placed as many building blocks on the foundation of our relationship, maybe because a little part of me had always known that if I left it would all crumble.
If I'd known then what I know now, maybe I would have done things differently. But as things are, I don't regret a thing.
I don't regret what we had, I don't regret what we lost, and I don't regret that I had to let go of it.
But that doesn't mean it hasn't been hard.
And although I don't believe that everything happens for a reason, I know that I made the right decision.
What, or whom, have you let go of?
*I don't actually plan on participating in Reverb: 10 - at least not regularly.
But this one piqued my interest, so I took inspiration from the prompt for December 5.