Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inter-State Love Song

Rainy days are often an appropriate time to sit and reflect upon the circumstances of your life; brew up a cup of International Foods, French Vanilla (Jean Luc!), sit in front of a window and stare off into the grey, contemplating life as a Nick Drake album lulls in the background.

Today is just such a introspective day, as it is a lazy, rainy Sunday and not being able (or willing) to play outside, I choose to reflect upon my going on 5 year relationship with a partner who used to be fun and exciting, but has grown to be abrasive and cold, to the point where they are no longer tolerable. I loved this partner once, but with each day that passes my contempt and resentment course ever more strongly through my veins, to the point where no I fear total consumption. It isn't fair for either of us, so Chicago, I am breaking up with you.

When I first met you back in 2004, I was in love with how different you were from my other long term partner, San Diego. Sure, San Diego was hot, but fairly one dimensional and I felt that I needed more from a relationship than perfect looks and you seemed to marry both the physical and the intellectual. When I started telling friends about wanting to leave San Diego, they all thought I was insane: "But San Diego is PERFECT!" is often the exclaimed protest that I would hear, but though I could not deny the obvious, I rebutted that "Yes, San Diego is perfect, but I want more." And more is why I took up with Chicago, who represented everything I desired (cosmopolitan, chic, cerebral) and everything that San Diego was not.

San Diego didn't understand it, my need to leave. We had a life together, friends, memories! All I could say was that, this is the only time in my life that I can be selfish so I need to take advantage of the opportunity. I was 24 and we had been together for 15 years, I needed to try something new and with that, I said goodbye.

At first, Chicago was amazing; everything I was looking for and more. Chicago boasted the creme de la creme of culture and amusment, presenting me with exposure to experiences that San Diego never could have afforded. Sure, Chicago was prone to mood swings, oscillating between warm and comforting to harsh, abrasive and bitter. However, when you are in love, you are often willing to overlook your partners flaws in the beginning, hoping that they are only minor quirks and not red flags indicating the larger, looming ineivtable.

Chicago hooked me up with a group of cool people and who ere always up for a good time and so with our new friends, Chicago and I settled into a relatively comfortable life together. Then after about 2 years, things started to go wrong.

Looking back now, I should have seen the signs. Chicago's volitle switch between hot and cold, while at first engaging because of the challenge (San Diego was always very mellow and therefore, predictable) soon began to wear on me. Not being able to accurately predict and preare for the day, soon lost its spontaneous appeal. I also discovered that while Chicago introduced me to some cool people, we really did not have much in common. Feeling lonely and nostalgic, I often found myself thinking of San Diego, wondering how she was doing and if she thought about me. I wanted to call, but I couldn't swallow my pride enough to admit that I might have been wrong.

But I cannot blame Chicago, I played a large part in the demise of our relationship. I have always been a social person, and yes I have been know to tie one on on occassion. However, I began to hide my unhappiness with Chicago in excess; going out and staying out, sometimes no coming home at all and if I did I was in bad shape. I lashed out at others, simulatneusly alienating and drawing them into my growing vortex of resentment. Chicago had given my everything I wanted, but it was slowly becoming clear that what I wanted and what I needed were opposite points on the spectrum.

I tried to fix things with Chicago and we did enjoy some, albiet breif, periods of renconsiliation. But it was an effort akin to using a band-aid to cover a gunshot wound, quick fix efforts are not long term solutions and the inability to reconcile myself with my relationship forced me to leave. It was better for both of us.

I went back to San Diego. The euphoria of being reunited was wonderful; I felt in my heart that I had made the right choice. The comfort of San Diego soothed my wounds from Chicago and for a time, it was perfect. As the months went by, things slowly started to change. I was happy to be back, but something was missing, I felt that I had forgotten something or that I had some unfinished business. I eventually came to realize that what I was missing was closure. I was so caught up with Chicago that i neglected the main reason for moving which was school. It was clear that before I could fully re-commit to San Diego, I needed to officially end things with Chicago.

I came back to Chicago in September of last year. We know we do not want each other; that it is a relationship of convienience that is made tolerable by the knowledge that it is not permanent. I will graduate in June, officially severing ties in August. I see San Diego and her sister LA as often as my time and cash flow allow, with friends of both visting me in the mean time. The results of the long distance relationship are mixed.

I feel the need to add this coda because a lot of people love Chicago and have a great relationship, so I do not wish to offend when I write this account of my experience. Chicago is great and has given me many memories and lessons that I will never forget. That being said, we just can't work; I am and I guess always have been, in love with some place else.

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