By Jac Morrison
If the word "fickle" was personified, I am almost entirely sure it would materialize itself as me. I fall in love as suddenly as the wind changes direction. It takes very little for my imagination to launch itself into daydreams about a lustful future with whichever human might have laid their gentle hands on me the night before. I am a textbook romantic. There is no way around that fact. Being this way has taken me on many a happy escapade -- long nights spent thinking "I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life". The sort of lustful grand adventures fit only for a Peter Sollet film.
Of course, loving so freely often means losing those lovers just as quickly as they came. I am no stranger to scarfing down loaves of cookie dough in my candlelit bedroom while listening to A Fine Frenzy on repeat. Tortured and hopeless, scrolling through their social media accounts wondering if that last Bright Eyes lyric they captioned their latest selfie with was related to me (it wasn't). In fact, it has happened so dreadfully often that I have created a three step guideline as to how to overcome the phenomena that is losing someone that was never really yours to begin with.I call it "The Art of Losing Your Almost Lover".
Step One: Stop
Often times when a human (no matter how small an appearance they made in your life) leaves abruptly you find yourself in a panic. Anxious questions surge through your head as if you were frantically flipping channels on a television. What did I do wrong? Did I come off too strong? Was I too loud? Too quiet? Was I too passionate? Was I not passionate enough? The trick to quieting your worried mind is simply, stop. Breathe. Listen to your lungs process oxygen. Close your eyes. Be in this moment, be present in the space you are in. The world is not ending, your body is intact. There is nothing inherently dangerous about this loss, despite its immediate pain. You are okay, you will be okay.
Step Two: Let Go
This is often the hardest part, but I find it to be the most necessary. In order to heal over the loss of your almost lover, you need to forget them. I am not saying go full Clementine Kruczynski in Eternal Sunshine on their ass but you need to remove their existence from your immediate present, at least temporarily. Delete their texts from your phone. Unfollow their posts on Facebook. Put away the sweater they left on your bedpost. Stop listening to Keaton Henson's "10am Gare De Nord" on repeat. Put down the tubes of cookie dough. Turn off Garden State. Re-organize your life to what it was before they ever came around. Remind yourself there was a time before this lover, and there will be a time after.
Step Three: Love Yourself
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh, here it comes. The grand cliche of ~You Have To Love YourSELF Before You Can Love Anyone Else!!~ But that is absolutely not where I am going with this. I do not think there is a guideline to love that says you need to be fully comfortable in yourself to love another person. (Who really is fully comfortable in themselves anyways?) But I do think it is essential to at least try to love yourself after the loss of an almost lover. Because frankly, in the recoil of your failed romance, who else is going to? Tell yourself that the inability of another human to love you the way you expected absolutely does not reflect on your character. You are not unloveable because one human doesn't love you. So, in spite of your almost lover, be in love with yourself. Do the thing that you are best at, congratulate yourself on it. Take yourself out for gelato. Take long, steaming bubble baths. Dance around your living room to your favorite angry punk music. You are good. You are worthwhile. You are valuable. Tell yourself these things until they no longer register as words in your brain.
You are good. You are worthwhile. You are valuable.
Losing an almost lover is arguably just as difficult as losing a partner. Often it comes abrupt and unexpected; one minute you are dreaming of a blissful tomorrow and the next you are stumbling back trying to regain footing as if the floor had collapsed right out from under you. But just like any other tumble in life, you will stand back up. You will dust the melancholy remorse off your shoulders, and if you're anything like me -- it will not be long before you fall in love with someone else's gentle hands.