If you have read my other blog posts, or stalked my twitter, you’ll know that I’m a tiny bit obsessed with my love life. Perhaps it’s because my never-ending stream of rejections is the only constant in my life. Whatever the reason, the way in which I deal with rejection has proved to be a great indicator of how much my relationship with myself has changed.
I spent a good chunk of the past year being Heartbroken. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll know the story; I talk about it often. I had feelings for a guy, he moved away, I confessed my feelings in a facebook message, he took 4.5 months to reply, depression ensued. Fun times. I’m able to laugh at it now, and perhaps that’s why I retell the story so often. I use humour to help cope with my pain. I’m well and truly over that person now, and the thing I took away from the experience was that I should never again confess my feelings to someone in a facebook message.
Fast forward 378 days, to approximately 2am this morning. What did I do? Oh, you know, just confess my feelings to someone in a facebook message. It’s practically my September tradition at this point. As rejections go, I’d give it a solid 8/10. He rejected me nicely, continued messaging me for the next two hours, and didn’t let it affect our friendship. As my reactions go, I only cried for three hours, and haven’t cried since, so this is probably my best response to rejection yet.
In my experience, rejections don’t get easier the more they happen. If anything, it’s the opposite. The more you’re rejected, the more your self-esteem plummets, and the more you begin to doubt yourself. I struggled with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember, and as I got older, my self-esteem and my love-life became inextricably interconnected. If someone didn’t like me back, I took that to mean I was worthless, that there was something wrong with me, and that I had to change. I thought if I was thinner, or nicer, or prettier, then I would be lovable.
After the Great Rejection of 2017, something snapped inside me. I realised I couldn’t go on like that, letting my self-esteem be so tied to other people’s views of me. My value is inherent, it does not come from whether or not some guy falls in love with me. I knew in theory that my relationship with myself had changed drastically within the past year, but today I saw the evidence of it.
Today’s rejection was different. It came from someone I’m close to, someone who knows me inside out. Every other rejection came from people who knew me superficially. To be rejected by someone who knows my secrets and my fears, someone who sees all the light and dark within me, was a different experience entirely. It should have broken me, far worse than anyone else had. It would be so easy to interpret it as me being unlovable, for someone to know me well and be a hundred percent certain they could never love me like that. But it didn’t destroy me.
For the first time in my life, someone rejected me and it didn’t bruise my ego, it didn’t make me hate myself, I didn’t feel pathetic. I could see it wasn’t personal. Furthermore, they communicated openly with me, and that made all the difference. I was able to ask all the questions that have plagued me from past rejections. I was able to understand, in a way I’d never understood before. And maybe this will make that friendship stronger in the long run, because we were able to be so open with each other.
This may sound bad, but I get a sick kind of gratification from telling people I have feelings for them. I value honesty above all else, and admitting romantic feelings to people is such a taboo. It is a thing people often skirt around or allude to, and never have the guts to say directly. When I throw caution to the wind, and tell people the thing I’m most scared of saying, I feel a sense of freedom that is unparallelled. I crave depth and understanding, and sometimes openly discussing my oh-so-taboo unrequited feelings is the most deep and important conversation I can have. I hate keeping secrets, and I would rather lay all my cards on the table and risk embarrassment, than hold those cards to my chest and drive myself insane from the performance of pretending everything is normal.
The other thing that was different this time, was that it wasn’t impulsive. Last year I was shocked to find out the person I had feelings for wasn’t coming back to Glasgow, and my decision to tell them how I felt was a knee-jerk reaction, which I put little thought into. Whereas this time, I weighed up the pros and cons in my head. I had the choice of waiting till December, to say it in person, and wasting another three months wondering what if. Or I could tell the truth, face the consequences, and move on with my life. It took me a ridiculously long time to get over the guy from last year, and I was no longer prepared to waste months of my life on unrequited love. I value my own well-being too much for that now.
I’ve learnt from past experiences, and was able to do the brave and mature thing. I faced my fears, and I’m so proud of myself. It hasn’t even been 24 hours, and so much of the sadness has lifted already. Sure, I got rejected and it really sucked, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I am a lovable person, and the right person will love me back. What matters most is that I love myself.
It’s been a tough week, because my anxiety was the worst it’s been since January, and normal social situations felt overwhelming for me. It would have been so easy for me to fall back into depression, even before this rejection happened. But I didn’t. There is a strength within me that was forged in fire, and I am no longer defeatable. I have come so far.
I believe everything happens for a reason, and everything has meaning. Once I got past the initial stages of heartbreak, I came to see there were so many valuable lessons to be taken from this experience.
If nothing else, I finally figured out why I’m a Scorpio magnet. Or more, why Scorpios are an Eliza magnet. With one exception, every man I have developed feelings for in recent years had strong Scorpio placements in his astrology chart. I am an Aquarius, Aquarius squares Scorpio, which is a disharmonious aspect. Even if you go by bullshit “sign compatibility” horoscopes that have little to do with actual astrology, you’ll never hear that Aquarius and Scorpio make a good pair.
Based on my astrology, I should be attracted to Capricorns or Pisceans. My Venus (the planet of love) is in Capricorn, and my Mars (passion, attraction) and Descendent (what I look for in a partner) are in Pisces. There was no logical explanation for what I call my Scorpio Syndrome.
Today, I solved the mystery. In astrology, the asteroid Chiron rules our core wound, and the area in which we have the potential to heal from this wound. My Chiron is in Scorpio, in the 2nd house, which rules values and self-esteem. People who have planets near my Chiron will trigger my core wound, which is to do with self-worth, and through this, I will eventually be able to heal. The reason pretty much every man who’s ever rejected me has lots of Scorpio planets, is because I am subconsciously drawn to the part of them that doesn’t want me. Because that triggers and reinforces my self-esteem wound. But this time was different. Sure, I got rejected by another Scorpio, but I had learnt my lesson from the last one, and my wound had healed. My self-esteem didn’t take a hit from this rejection. Hopefully this has cured me of my Scorpio Syndrome. I’ll know it’s really over if I start crushing on something random like a Gemini. Watch this space to find out!
When you love yourself, and know what you value, it changes the way you relate to other people. I value healing and transformation and depths, which could be another reason for my Scorpio Syndrome. But I don’t want healing to become my whole identity, because you can only heal if there is a wound. At some point you have to realise you’ve moved on, the wound has scabbed over, the past is in the past. When I no longer need someone who aids my healing, I have to ask myself what other values are important to me in a relationship.
The thing I keep coming back to is that I want someone who’s on the same page. I have had a lot of intense friendships in my life, full of clashes and drama. I love those people with my whole soul, and it’s worth the miscommunication and confusion. But there are things I tolerate in friendships that I wouldn’t want in a relationship.
I want someone who understands me, someone who supports me. I also want someone whose values are aligned with mine. I want to be with someone who’s vegan, someone who has compatible political views, someone who cares about art and life, someone with a good sense of humour, someone who is supportive of my writing (and it goes without saying that anyone who dates me has to be cool with the fact that I do and will write about my personal life on the internet). After last year, my bar was set pretty low. I was like “if I can find someone who doesn’t have racist tattoos, and actually replies to my messages, I’ll be happy.” Sometimes the bar is simply “loves me back” and even that is too high.
It’s different now, because I love myself. My standards have risen. I know how I need to be loved. I don’t need a walking checklist, because I know it’s about more than being compatible on paper. However, compatibility is important. If you love someone and they love you back, you could be together for months or years or the rest of your life. You could raise children or cats with them. If you disagree about ethics and politics and religion, that’s going to come back to bite you in the long run. If their mannerisms are your pet hates, those things will drive you nuts eventually.
My pet hates are: people who chew with their mouth open, and people who don’t understand basic grammar/put apostrophes in the wrong place/don’t use the correct spelling of words like “you’re.” Communication is important to me, and incorrect spelling and grammar inhibit meaning. I hate to admit this on the internet, but poor grammar is not a dealbreaker for me. However, if you’re messaging someone and trying to have a serious conversation, and your brain is screaming “*YOU’RE” every time they misspell the word, you should probably take that as an indicator that you’re not compatible. Because all these little things will magnify as time goes by. If you’re annoyed at the beginning, that won’t go away.
In spite of the pain, I am grateful to every man who’s rejected me. They taught me important lessons about myself, and I’m glad I didn’t end up with any of them. It’s said that we learn more from failure than success, and if my love life is anything to go on, this is true. Through the “failure” of rejection, I learnt I am brave, I learnt to love myself, I learnt what my values are, and I learnt to never give up on looking for love.
The most important lesson I learnt is that when someone doesn’t love you back, it’s not personal. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy or unlovable or pathetic. Unrequited love is nothing to be ashamed of. Having the capacity to love someone is something to be proud of, and that’s about you, not them. Don’t let rejection make you ashamed of your heart.
If nothing else, unrequited love is a great muse. Today I wrote poetry for the first time in weeks, and I wrote this blog. Writing helps me deal with pain, therefore there is a huge correlation between my creative output and my experiencing unrequited love. I don’t know how to write poetry when I’m happy. As much as I wish for someone to love me back one day, I will take advantage of the sudden desire for creative expression. I will pour my heart into my writing, instead of into humans. Writing is the real love of my life, and it is a love that has always been requited.