A little over ten years ago, I sat in the passenger seat of my friend Ryan's car bawling my eyes out as we sat on the top of a hill somewhere in LA, in the evening after work. I knew the end of a very happy but tumultuous era in my life was coming to an end, and I wasn't quite ready to let it go yet. I was doing what I thought was the right thing at the time. And it all started with a text message that I had been waiting for for hours, if not days. But it wasn't a text message I was expecting, and it had, what I thought at the time, kind of ruined a part of my life.
For quite some time, I had resolved to work on myself until only time could heal the pain I was feeling. But that was an uphill battle. It is hard to try to be positive, and live in the moment, and work on self improvements when you lay down at night to embrace sleep, and hope to not ever wake up again. I was dealing with the kind of hurt that was self crippling. I was dealing with confusion, self doubt, anger, depression, hopelessness, self defeating, lost trust, purposelessness, betrayed, and all around every negative feeling you can imagine. Mostly, I was heart broken.
About five years before all of that, I role played on line in the yahoo chatgroups. I had recently switched to yahoo messenger because, netzero, was not going to be free internet anymore, and they were getting rid of their chatrooms. Most everybody I chatted with there were going to yahoo. I had always wanted to explore on line role playing since I was in my late teens, and internet was a new cool thing. Sylvisia the woodelf maiden was essentially everything I wanted to be. She even looked like a hot version of myself. She could do all the cool stuff elves could do (the lord of the rings movies hadn't come out yet, so I had to explain to a lot of people who hadn't played DnD or read the books what an elf was), she was beautiful, with even longer hair, she could be as sassy as she wanted, she could flirt with whomever she wanted, and she had all the coolest pets an animal lover could ever ask for. Sylvi was also a bad@$$ single rogue adventurer/expert treasure hunter who didn't need no man. Que the barfight where she met Spirit of Ookami, a handsome swordsmen with dark skin, dark hair, blue eyes, with wolf ears, and a wolf tail. The problem was, Sylvi wasn't the only one feeling chemistry with Ookami. It was the first time in my life that I instantly felt comfortable enough with a person, that I started a tickle fight with them on a first encounter....it's just that Sylvi, and Ookami were the vehicles. I tried not to think too much about it, but I was 18, the internet was new, and the idea of an internet romance was exciting. I had a hard time meeting people in real life. I felt safe behind the computer screen. I like to think that Ookami's role player felt the same, but I don't know because I've never asked. And that's the problem. I never asked. More on that later.
As Sylvi and Ookami's friendship grew, so did their adventures. They did everything from going to outter space, time traveling to the 20/30's and dealing with mobsters, sailing with pirates, fighting ninjas, killing zombies, treasure hunting, fighting battles, exploring the inner mind, making friends, and even adopting a child. We had developed a small cast of friends to role play with who each had a large variety of characters aside from their main characters. The most prominent had been Dustin, their adopted son, Lone, who had developed a relationship with Sylvi like an obnoxious but wise little brother, who got into many scraps with Sylvi and Ookami (he was an extremely good friend and I miss him a lot! I feel like I lost a little brother when I lost track of him), Goldmoon, an extremely loyal dragon friend of Sylvi, and we were sometimes joined by my friend Sam's character Solixia who played a best friend with Sylvi in character as well. I think we all looked forward to putting on our characters faces, and meeting up in this imaginative world we had created to go on adventures every day. It is safe to say that Sylvi, and Ookami eventually fell in love, got married, and had four little demi God children (because Ookami also turned out to be the spirit child of mother earth....or at least that's the best way I can explain it in a short sentence.).
The first time I had talked to Ookami's role player over the phone, he had bought a phone card, and called me from a payphone at school between college classes. We didn't have cellphones yet. They were a thing, but you had to have a job, and buy one first. Your parents just didn't get you one. Your parents might have just gotten their first cellphone if at all. We talked for 3 hours. And while it was a bit awkward, it wasn't so awkward to keep us from losing track of the time, and have a great conversation. I don't remember all that was said, or what we talked about, just that there was a lot of laughing, and a lot of fun. And I still felt there was chemistry.
Over the course of five years, I had fallen in love with Ookami's role player. We had developed a great friendship out of character as well, but I felt I could only truly express myself to him in character. But I was never sure how he felt about me. I never asked. I. NEVER. ASKED. I also never told him for quite some time how I felt, and he often had girlfriends, or girls he was interested in over the course of our friendship. And I tried very hard to be a supportive friend while hurting on the inside. I tried really hard to do what I thought was the right thing when you love someone, and put my feelings aside, and support him. This was all while he asked my opinion on it, and he read poetry to me, and told me his deepest feelings. One girl that we had role played with whom, I had been jealous of them role playing together told me that he still confided in me more than he ever had with her. And being jealous, creepy, stalkerish even, were things that I tried really really hard not to be. I know that if you love someone, you need to let them be free to be who they are. And I feel I did a really good job of that despite my feelings. I had eventually told him between girls that I had feelings for him. But I played it off like it was no big deal, and he accepted that lie, or at least acted like it. And I couldn't tell how he felt about me...again, I never asked. Maybe he wasn't even sure at the time, but that is just speculation.
Eventually, he had saved money, and vacation time to go see a girl he was dating in another state. They had broken up, and now he had money, and time that he didn't know what to do with. I invited him to come see me because I had been saving money to go on a roadtrip with my friend Sam...and hoping to meet him on the way. To my delight, he agreed, and before I knew it, close to five years of role playing in a deep immersive world, many phone calls, and a long time online friendship was going to culminate in meeting in person. I had lost weight by then, and felt more confident in my looks. And now I would meet this person I was head over heels in love with in person. I had seen pictures of him, and he had seen some of me, but despite this I was scared I wouldn't recognize him at the flyaway pick up. I am terrible with faces (this has to do with both being an introvert who doesn't see faces as any more important than anything else, AND being shy, and not making eye contact with people). I took my friend Sam with me because you should never be alone when meeting an online friend in person for the first time. I still believe in that to this day.
I will never forget the first time I saw him, worried that I was making a mistake. But when I was sure it was him, well, he was an ordinary person. Ordinary, and beautiful. It was a downright relief to know that he was an ordinary person, because I am an ordinary person. I would not stand a chance with a God. And that made him the most handsome gorgeous human in the world. A real person. And I felt nothing but love for this human. I normally feel instant love for puppies, or kittens, or horses...this was for a human. And it was one of the most wonderful weeks of my life.
We went to Disneyland, the beach, the mall, chinatown, saw Return of The King in the theatre (it was like my third time), I gave him half my friendship bracelets. They got so mixed up by the end of the week, that I could smell his cologne on my half of the bracelets for quite some time. And it was the first time I ever got to cuddle with somebody. And I liked it.
Dropping him off at the airport was one of the hardest things I have ever done, not knowing when I would get to see him again. And I hadn't had my first kiss, which I had desperately wanted to happen, but perhaps it was for the best. I was kind of scared it would happen too. I had had a dread over the years that it would never work out between us despite our perfect chemistry. But I had never asked. I never asked.
It wasn't much later that while he was living in Florida that he moved in with a female room mate. I also got my first tax paying job. I wasn't just getting paid to babysit anymore. I was still intensely in love, but didn't think he felt the same, and that was painful. BUT I NEVER ASKED.
He had always cuddled girl friends. He told me so. He even slept in beds with other girls, and I was sure that it was literally just sleeping, but the world has a way of making you doubt that. Heterosexual people don't just sleep in beds with people of the opposite sex. Not in this reality. Maybe in the fantasy online world. I mean I suppose I can imagine the possibility because there's millions upon millions of different kinds of people in the world, but in reality, it just doesn't happen. He was just friendly, and I was another friend he had cuddled with. It didn't mean anything when he let me lean on his shoulder in the theatre. And I certainly was not going to sleep in a bed with him because I was waiting til marriage. I dropped him off at the hotel every night during his one week stay because anything else would be innapropriate. Because this is a world where heterosexual people don't just sleep in beds with the opposite sex.
My job at the time was converting 2D movie clips into 3D. It wasn't animation, but it was probably the next best thing I could do. I was working with so many creative people, and making so many friends, and doing a job I loved. And thank goodness I was, because it saved me. I carpooled with Ryan who helped get me the job. He knew how I felt about Ookami's role player. I had gotten my first cellphone because I now made good money. And Ookami's role player and I texted every day. But there came a point where I didn't hear from him. I was upset. I didn't know if he was mad at me. I was insecure because he was living with a girl, and I didn't know if, after the week in person a few months previous, I could deal with him going out with another girl. I was tired of hurting. I was tired of aching. And I was tired of being pulled apart, and put back together again. I was tired of getting my hopes up. I was tired of being afraid to ask. I tried texting him a lot to get a response. I might have carried it a little too far. I tried to make it sound playful, and not posessive. I couldn't tell you what I said, but perhaps he knew that I was irked. I finally got a response back that had shattered me completely as I rode in Ryan's car home from work, "I have been busy, and so and so is pregnant." So and So being the girl he was a roomate with at the time.
Ryan can be an obnoxious person. He has grown up a lot over the past ten years, and has even changed his name to Davie. We have had our differences because he is like family, being a family friend. I was one of the first few people he came out of the closet to. That's how close we are. Close enough to see past the fact I'm a christian, and he's gay. Close enough to get on each other's nerves. I will never forget the kindness and tenderness in which he comforted me that day. The time he took out of his schedule to make sure I was ok, and not going to go jump off a bridge somewhere. I died that day. I knew I could never go back to roleplay Sylvi. Ookami's role player needed to be a responsible dad now. And I needed to step out of the picture. He was not mine to keep. I didn't ask questions. I simply told him that I needed space, and time and didn't know how long it would take. We stopped contact for the most part that day. I would occasionally send him an email for his birthday, or he would send me one. He tried to contact me once, but I wasn't ready to hear about his life. I had tentatively occasionally stalked his facebook or myspace profiles to see how he was doing, but not more than I could handle. I loathed the mother of his two children, unfairly, and I knew it. I had feelings I didn't want to feel. Resent, anger, hurt, frustration, and well, all the stuff I described earlier. And I worked very hard not to entertain them. I didn't want to be that person, and I worked very hard on not being that person.
I worked on me. I took ballroom dancing classes, planned to travel, and saved the money for it before I got laid off from my awesome job. The wonderful silly people at work who made me laugh every day helped keep me sane, and laid down a good foundation for a good work attitude for me that I still carry to this day. I unfortunately put the weight back on that I had lost, and still struggle with that. And right at that time, Scott stepped into my life. He was interested in me as more than a friend, but I wasn't ready for that yet. And he did the most patient loving thing I could ever ask for and decided that if I needed a friend, he would be the bestest friend I could ever ask for. I eventually went back to school.
Ten years later, I am engaged to Scott, after I friendzoned him for five years, had dated for several years. He knew about Ookami's role player, because I had to talk to somebody. It didn't bother him. Life is life. It has its ups and downs.
I finally got a friend request on facebook from Ookami's role player. Was I ready? I think I was finally ready to talk again. I made sure it was ok with Scott first because Scott comes first. He is my chosen companion. I have made it very clear that I still love Ookami's role player. Those feelings have not gone away, and probably never will. But I choose Scott, and I love him more, and I think as we build a life together, that love will continue to grow. I think by this time also, I had understood love a lot more.
I had learned from my experiences before Scott, that you can be in love with more than one person. I came to the understanding that love is like you do anything else in life. If you choose to roller blade, there is a good chance, and you probably will fall down, and scrape your knees, and get hurt. If you choose to work, you will sometimes lose a job. If you love, you are going to get hurt. I had also learned that I needed to open up communication more. As Scott and I started to date, I was completely brutally honest because it's what I wanted. I dated Scott because I wished that I had had a chance to date this other person I had been in love with, and felt I was never properly given that chance. I gave Scott a chance. While I had taken more risks than I had ever done before my first time falling in love, it hadn't been enough with Ookami's role player. I had still held back so much. I had never asked.
As Scott and I have dated, we often noted how much we got random compliments from strangers on what a cute couple we are, and that is an amazing feeling. It made me want to become an ambassador of love. This meant trying to set a good example of what love is. I think more of us need to be ambassadors of love. I wanted to show that yes, I worked hard for this, but it's worth it, and if you put the work in too, you can also have this.
When Ookami's role player had contacted me again, and I accepted that friendship request, I had decided I wanted closure. Closure I had waited for, for a good ten years. Closure that not everybody gets an opportunity in this life to recieve. We had a good talk on the phone. I made sure to explain that I was not there to break him up with his current girlfriend (they are now married a year later, and so am I to Scott). But I needed to let him know that I was still deeply in love with him, and that would not go away. It also meant that I needed to be careful in a friendship with him. I have no intention of ruining my relationship with Scott, nor what he has going on with his wife. And then I was finally able to get the courage to talk about what happened. I probably should have asked more questions. It turned out that he had not impregnated his roomate, and I had acted rashly. To which I feel I must apologize for. I had never asked him how he had felt. And that was where I had failed as an ambassador of love. I had not been true to my feelings, and didn't trust my friend when he said he had just slept in a bed with his roomate. And even moreso, that might also still be a conclusion I came to from other things said, and misunderstood. In my grief, and hurt, I had also never considered how my friend felt when I stepped out of his life, nor considered how much that had hurt him. But if I was able to assume the worst of my friend, it was probably for the best that I had stepped out to have time to grow, and become a better person. It was because I had never asked enough questions. And that was probably because deep down inside where I didn't even know it dwelt, I was afraid.
A coward is not something I have ever considered myself to be. But the older I get, the more I realize how subtle fear can be. Because I am not a coward, it does not mean I am not foolish. I am not really a bad@$$ elf who goes on adventures, sings beautifully, tames wild animals, finds lost treasures, and all those cool things that Sylvi was. But I still want to be. I'm afraid I have a long ways to go, and I still have a lot to learn. Like parkour. How can I be an awesome elf til I learn parkour? Seriously though, I guess the moral of my story is that we need to ask more questions. And we need to be brave and hear those things we don't want to hear. If I hadn't tried to get that closure with my friend, I would have never found out that that one week he had came to visit me in person, he HAD considered giving me my first kiss. He didn't think that anyone could feel for him the way I had at that time in his life, and that's why he didn't understood how I felt. It's nice to know that even though I am not Sylvisia the woodelf maiden, that I am a perfectly beautiful ordinary person who is not a hideous, covetous, overly possessive, stalker troll. It was nice to know that the chemistry had not been my imagination.
I must also thank my very patient husband who has made me feel that I am not an ugly shriveled up ring possessive hobbit under the misty mountains, and worth kissing, and worth allowing me that freedom to talk to an old friend I have had extremely deep feelings for. And I want to do everything to keep that trust he has given me. I am grateful to have had that opportunity to get that closure that very few people never get. And I'm grateful for these two men who made that possible for me, and both taught me so much about, not only romantic love, but self love. I am also grateful, though she doesn't know it, that Ookami's role player has found this beautiful and wonderful woman that takes good care of this man that I never dated. She loves him more than I did, and he deserves that. And I am looking forward to becoming friends. It pleases me that he has married an awesome artist, and a woman that teaches him the patience that I never had the courage to teach him because I was too busy putting him on a pedestal, and not asking him questions. And I am grateful, that I have a great friend, and husband, and future friend to ask a lifetime of questions when we're all ready for them. People are ordinary and beautiful because of it. Faults are beautiful, and build character. I can't wait til I grow up and become a bad@$$ Woodelf.
Listening to: Lawnmower Outside
Reading: Need To Get Back To Silmarillion
Playing: Breath Of The Wild/FF15