I have spent my entire life being one of those hopeless romantic types. My very first crush happened in the first grade with a girl named Tara. We spent many good times together, both by ourselves and amongst friends. One memory that stands out in particular is when she and I were hanging out around the jungle gym singing "A Whole New World" together after school. Naturally, I was Aladdin and she was Jasmine. I'll never know how she felt about that moment, but it was incredibly significant and romantic to me. That memory is probably the beginning of why I am a sucker for girls who sing and love music.
I also have my father to thank for my musical romanticism. My parents divorced when I was about five years old and the years that followed were filled with listening to him sing songs like Toto's "I'll Be Over You" or The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody". Every time I heard him sing, I felt the power of his emotions through his voice. All the joy, heartbreak, passion, and sorrow he ever experienced he put into whatever song he sang. And not just at karaoke outings either. He and a few of his high school pals put a band together and they performed at local gigs all over the island. I don't quite remember going to their performances (probably because I was way too young), but I do remember the practice jam sessions. It made me want to learn music so badly.
Well, music has been a strong interest of mines but I never got serious with it. I love to sing, but I know I'm an amateur. That never stopped me from trying to recreate the magic of a nice, cheesy duet though.
The only difference is that this Aladdin never found his Jasmine. Or maybe I did, but lost her somehow. No idea either way. What I do know, however, is that I want to create more than just a sweet-sounding tune with someone. I want to create a lifetime symphony of highs and lows, melody and cacophony. And that is not something I can do alone.
And yet, I am alone. Recently single. Granted, part of the reason was self-inflicted. I left my girlfriend of a year and four months for my first girlfriend from 11 years ago. She made me believe that we had a chance at restarting a romance that began when we were both too young to know who we were. We wanted to believe in all that Hollywood BS about "love conquering all" and all that, but instead we learned about human nature and the reality of love. Back then we were separated by distance and finances. Back then we lacked maturity and the the freedom that age would've given us. Above all, we did not know who we were as individuals. If we lacked that important piece of knowledge, how the heck would we have survived as a long-distance teenage lesbian couple anyway?
Thankfully, time has allowed us both to grow and mature into our own. We grew apart, and yet we both held on to feelings of hope. And sometimes that little spark of hope is what it takes for love to grow. Sometimes hope is all we ever have against an uncertain future. But still, we grew apart. There were times when I was allowed to peek into her world to see what was going on and I found myself not liking what I saw. I'm sure she had seen some things about me she found displeasing as well. No matter what I didn't like, something told me that she was still the same girl I fell in love with all those years ago.
And now, here we are. Me, a quarter-century old transman in his early stages through the transition gauntlet. She once told me that she loved me for who I was and not for what I was. I believed her then and some part of me believes her still. But learning from past experience, when someone tells you that they still need to "figure themselves out", it usually means that they're just not that into you and would rather look for someone they're into but are too chicken to say so to your face. Or, maybe this time I could be actually wrong for a change and what she said should be taken at face value. As long as she decides not to talk to me, I'll never know.
I've learned the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone and trust me, I sometimes wish such a difference didn't exist. Having them be one and the same would've spared me a lot of drama and sadness.
But my life wasn't meant to be that easy was it?
I know that I'm not an easy person to be with. I'm stubborn, possessive, and I have an ego that likes to be stroked. I like having at least some notion of where my feet are going even if the entire itinerary isn't fully mapped out. I like knowing that I'm wanted and that I make a difference. I like knowing that I matter to someone. But then again...don't we all like knowing that?
The thing I value most in a relationship is honesty. Yes, the truth hurts. Yes, the truth is ugly, but lies, excuses, and deceit is even uglier. And I don't want that in my life. What I want is someone who can call me out on my on BS because rest assured I'll be more than happy to call them out on theirs if I have to. I want someone who isn't afraid to say exactly what they think or feel and doesn't bother wasting my time with pretty words and false hopes. I want someone who is aware that my heart is not some plaything that can be used and discarded at their leisure.
But when it comes to me being romantically involved with someone, it isn't all about me. And so I stepped back and gave her the space she wants to figure her life out. I find myself wondering exactly why am I still in love with her after all these years in spite of the fact that we've never met in person. I wanted to find out the answer to that very question, that's why I put down a relationship with the person that stood by me through all of my BS.
So here I am, alone and wondering when any of this going to make sense. While I'm definitely not putting my life on hold, my heart still waits for an answer. It still longs for a song the can only be sung with two voices. The song of Love.
Guess you can say that I'm still a romantic, but thankfully not as hopeless as I once was.