"letters for a lifetime" #1: healing halfheartedly
From the outside looking in, the decision to finally leave a relationship that you have outgrown seems so simple. Maybe this person contributed to bouts of anxious spirals, limerence, and endless trips down an inescapable rabbit hole that ultimately leads nowhere. In reality, more often than not, we constantly gravitate back towards these familiars for comfort sake. But eventually this grows to become an ever apparent elephant in the room, one that due to its size and nature you realize is much too hard to move out on your own.
On top of the already befuddling circumstances of leaving someone or letting them out of your life, nowadays we make things exponentially more complicated with our detachment (and fear) of labels and all they encompass.
With the rise of hookup culture and situationships, it seems no interaction (with the intent of a relationship) is truly meaningful. Of course, this leads me to the thought that maybe there has never been a perfect world for romance to thrive in. Maybe that's what makes it so hard in the first place. Moreover, what makes it so intriguing to fight for. I could argue that things were easier "back in the day" that I never lived in, when there was not an iPhone in sight and people went on real dates before making it to third base. But who am I to know?
Whenever people make the argument that things were easier decades ago, it never sits right with me. How would you know the times were easier? You didn't live through it, babe! Sure, on paper it seems great, given these circumstances were placed in contemporary society. But like each decade since every decade in history, people always find a problem to complain about regardless of how ideal the situation.
So despite all this, the birth of the newfound situationship flourishes and teenagers of the 21st century play this silly little "will they? won't they?" game of making things official. Growing up on social media in a digital age where we are not limited to the friends within a 30 mile radius of us, I feel like the dating horizon has vastly broadened. All of a sudden, the "so many fish in the sea" has exponentially increased due to our wide and immediate access to millions of people online.
On top of that, we don't know what we want anymore! We over psychoanalyze our parents' relationship and are spoon-fed radical anecdotes on TikTok and are convinced that love is just a game that can be simplified into the mere swiping of pictures on an app. It's confusing!!!!!!!!! I don't blame the state that we have come to.
And so we settle for love (no matter how sparse), because maybe anything for love is never truly settling.
Whether we like it or not, I think by human nature we crave love and to be loved. True, passionate, gruesome love. Going off the concept of accepting the love we think we deserve, I think on top of that we will grasp onto anything we can get our hands on—even if this means going through lifetimes of lethargic indecision and heartache.
* * *
“Shortfall” is the retelling of the brief and unexpected return of one of my silly little situationships.
Yes, despite all the discourse I laid about them, I too fall victim to a good handful of these strange relationships (or lack thereof).
In an initial listen to the song, things may come off as passive aggressive or writing out of spite. Out of spite of the feelings that this interaction brought up, sure, but I don't think I ever truly meant it in a harsh way towards the person I wrote it about. Who knows? The feelings that arise in the moments I write songs are the ones that are immortalized in them forever; for better or for worse.
As the lyrics go on to detail, someone from my past who I thought I had internally made amends with was suddenly popping into my life again. This used to be a pattern of ours—the whole “it’s obvious I’ll see you around. Knowing how these things go, and knowing the things I know” (a Lizzy McAlpine lyric, of course).
So instead of fighting it, I accepted the inevitable fact that I would see him again. I had no idea when or where, but given the circumstances, I knew it was bound to happen.
Writing this off as part of the healing process, there was and definitely still is a part of me that was hoping he would stay—whether I’d like to admit it or not.
So maybe he’ll be a part of my life again, maybe that was the last time we’ll ever speak, but here’s to healing halfheartedly.