I just typed the title and I almost can’t believe myself.
I don’t know if anyone noticed my internet absence recently (Excuse me while I flatter myself in the pretext that people read this) I feel like I’ve been treading water in a storm for the last 5 weeks and that’s why I haven’t been attending to the only thing that really keeps me sane which is, indeed, my writing. The reason is because the title of this blog post is pretty much what has been occupying at least 70% of my thoughts for a while. The others generally have revolved around food, the current line of smart clothing at H&M (ladies, please take note that the pencil skirts on offer right now are on point), oh… and who the hell ‘A’ even is on Pretty Little Liars (no spoilers please, I’m only on Season 2). And I’ve been too afraid to share the 70% in question because I have a humongous ego and enjoy putting on a front and also don’t particularly take to talking about my relationship, unless it’s with my closest friends. But a couple of nights ago, I realised that I’m not that scared, I’m human and I also don’t care what people think anymore so here it is, the real thing, with all the feels.
Here’s a bit of background for those who don’t know me. My idiot boyfriend of just over a year thinks that London is the centre of the universe and has decided to leave the beautiful Birmingham to pursue some rotten career involving walking around in a posh suit all day and playing with Microsoft Excel. He’s also moving back with his parents until he can afford a place in London (so he will probably be there until retirement age and this post isn’t even worth writing).
My thoughts have been going round in circles and have eventually ended up as something like this.
1. Let’s be realistic.
No one really wants to be in a relationship where you don’t get to see someone as often as you would like to. Nothing replaces a person’s physical presence, to know someone will be right at your doorstep right when you need them is an absolute luxury. It’s not easy. Certainly in my situation, it feels like I’ve gone from a bubble of blissful happiness to a world where I end up relying on so many other factors to make things work. The uncertainty is the hardest part. And there’s about a 50/50 chance of it going either way. The black and white of it is that things may work out… or they might not. This doesn’t depend necessarily on the circumstances, but it depends on how we react to them. Something comes up and that weekend plan that we had doesn’t work out. Neither of us can speak right now because we’re busy… for four days straight. These are life’s situations but it’s what we make of them that will define us. Will we let these things make us grow apart? Or will we grow even closer and develop a deeper understanding of each other? I don’t know. It’s a journey, so let’s find out.
2. Let’s be optimistic.
Unfortunately, as soon as the dreaded words ‘Long Distance’ are mentioned, that’s it. 99% of the time, the reaction I get if the subject gets brought up is one of pity. ‘Awww no, how are you feeling about that? That must be really crap for you’. I would like to take this moment to give you a round of the most sarcastic applause I can physically muster up. If I walk into this thinking in my head that I should be pitied, that I’m in a horrific situation and nothing will work out, I have failed myself already, and I will not do that. I have so much to be happy for. I am dating the most incredible guy on the planet and he has more amazing qualities than I can list. We have so much ahead of us to look forward to, including all the stolen moments that we’ll get to spend together. I’m not scared to dream of a future where I can see him whenever I like because right now, I believe that he’s worth it and I’ll work for it. So don’t expect that I’m sitting around crying over it, when I’m actually counting my lucky stars because I’m really quite blessed.
3. The internet is shit and people know nothing.
I made a horrific mistake, in one of my weaker moments of typing in ‘Long Distance Relationships’ on Google. My first hit was ‘LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS DON’T WORK’. Yes- it was legitimately capitalised. And the other day, a friend of mine came over, who actually had the nerve to say ‘I don’t think it will work out with you two, I give it six months max. By Christmas it’ll be over’. I was angry at myself for how much I let these words upset me. But then, the wiser part of me remembered that no matter what uncertainty may exist… I am still in control of my thoughts and actions. Whether he or Google end up being right or not isn’t the point here. The point is, that people will always offer their opinions even if you don’t want them, yet it doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. Ultimately, neither the internet, nor people know anything about my relationship, or yours. The people who understand that relationship to the full extent are the ones in it, not the ones outside it. Unless I truly find someone else’s advice to be of value to me, I’m going to stick to my gut and make up my own mind… and perhaps stop letting anyone else influence me on that. Happiness at the end of the day, is a choice, so let me think my happy thoughts and live my happy existence because I don’t see much going wrong there!
4. Love has meaning.
Less than a century ago, men were leaving their wives and girlfriends to go off and fight in wars with nothing but a sepia photo of their girls folded into their clothes- and coming back four years later with the love they had in their hearts… multiplied. My own parents fought their own little wars with their families during their twenties and they are one of the most beautiful couples I have seen (and let’s not even talk about how incredible their first born is). We live in an age where communication now lies at the tips of our fingers but everyone is still skeptical about love. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in love. I still think love conquers everything else. I believe with all my heart that love is always enough, no matter how hard things are. Because when you love selflessly, knowing you might get very very hurt but continue to act out of love anyway, then you have always done your best.
5. I’m doing this because I have more balls than the rest of you.
Long distance isn’t for the faint hearted, my friend. It’s for those of us who are brave enough to commit. It’s for those of us who work, study, see our friends and families, find time to cook, clean, travel, paint, write and discover three new hobbies in the weeks inbetween seeing our other wholes (not our other halves, reference: Whole). It’s for those of us who watch a bit more Bollywood than everyone else, who believe that love exists without limitation, and the only limitations are the ones we impose upon ourselves. Long distance is for the bright sparks, the positive ones, the happy-go-luckies and the ones who will work to wring every drop of happiness out of a not-so-great situation. It might not be for you, but it is for me. And I’m going to give it my best shot ever without giving up.
So that’s the culmination of thoughts.
I’m still going through a huge adjustment period at the moment. The storm inside me has definitely diminished, but it’s still raining a little and the winds get choppy from time to time. But the sunshine that basks above those clouds is where I’m headed for and it is always there, I just need to find it.
Stay smiling folks, and don’t let anything bring you down,
Readers update: This relationship came to an end, not long after I wrote this piece, for reasons not even related to the distance. I thought about taking it down but then… why should I?! It is, after all how I felt at the time and I still believe in everything I’ve written. Long distance can totally work when two people face it with the right attitude. Because if you’re meant to be together you will work it out. I stick by that.