The Growth I Never Saw Coming

Before the progress. His gift to me as a progress meter.

Guess who’s back? I guess consistency seems to be looming for me, mostly in the writing department. I am very much trying to stay on track and maybe just maybe it’s working.

I never really delved into my 2020 life. Ironically, 2020 was by far my favourite year. I hope I am not getting rolling of the eyes as you read this. I know for many it was daunting, so was it for me, for some time at least. But as the months progressed it seemed to somewhat unleash sides of me I never thought existed. I improved my social skills, I talked to people more, went out more and  even opened the doors of my house to strangers…..Don’t tell me about stranger danger cause trust me, I already know.

But also, one thing 2020 delivered to me was growth. Emotionally, spiritually, mentally, intellectually, you name it. I am sorry I find myself currently in a lethargic mood/state, so I will make this short. Although, I will make up for it another time.

So, September of 2020, I kinda, sort of crossed paths with someone who turned out to be a stepping stone for the progress I have made thus far in my life. At first I misjudged him solely based on his appearance. He had a look which resembled that of a F-boy. I know, not very nice of me to have a pre conceived idea of what someone will be like just based on a picture. We met on Tinder, not the most trustworthy place to meet a potential partner, let alone substantial person. But there I was swiping left and right. Most of them disappointments simply because they all looked easy on the eyes, eye candy if you may, but lacked substance. And for me it was a no go. Date after date, I even lost count and so did my friends who would forever ask me why I go on so many dates. What was supposed to be an enjoyable period of my life turned into a marathon.

I never quite allowed myself to progress with them as they lacked a lot of qualities I was looking for….So, I resorted to ghosting. I was polite enough to at least tell them I wasn’t interested for a second date. Usually an excuse would do with a perhaps plausible reason. It’s not like I was on a quest to find a man. It had just been a while (about 6 months) since my relationship ended and I was looking for some new romance, maybe!

September something, as I don’t remember the exact date, I matched with some guy called, BLAH (for confidential purposes we shall give him that name). Very handsome fellow he was, but for me it wasn’t necessarily his looks which caught my eye. I just blindly swiped right for no reason, but that right move was one which would change me for a lifetime. However, it wasn’t that easy. I briefly chatted to this lad and an hour or so into the chat, I unmatched him. The chat was a bit too sensual for me and wasn’t for my liking. The fellow himself looked so good it was unreal. But maybe I should have given him the benefit of the doubt. Fortunately it isn’t the end of the story.

2  months went by, it was November something, we matched again. Mind you I am only ever on these Apps when I have ample time to waste, on a less busy work day. Otherwise, I am not a fun. We matched again, this time his approach was different, I would say, more sensible and heartfelt.

I however, did not initially reciprocate the energy, as I preferred to keep my cards close to my chest. He messages me asking for my Instagram to chat there. At first I am reluctant and respond with a nonchalant answer, almost like I was doing the most to discourage him from chatting to me. He didn’t budge, he persisted. I wondered why? He started a conversation on Instagram and I still adamantly wanted him to shy away. Listen, he looked like trouble. But as the saying goes, “looks can be deceiving”. I eventually gave into it. He was engaging in our conversations, he asked me a lot of questions, he seemed smart, very smart actually. Our conversation went on for a week, yes, a good 7 days and there was always something to talk about. Well, I guess the getting to know you notion was fully in effect in this scenario. He surprised me, pleasantly. He was more than I thought he would be, not just a boy covered in tattoos, but a man full of substance. More to him than meets the eye.

Eventually we planned a day to meet, our first date. It was during lockdown, which meant everything was closed. We had to be creative with what we were going to do. It was a Friday night when we finally said our first Hello, greeted by his big Hazel eyes and big hands I coyly looked up to him and shook his hand. We started to chat about our lives and our daily activities. We anyway had chatted before about half the stuff we conversed about face to face. Only difference is, it was in depth. Dinner was ready, we had some fresh Vietnamese spring rolls made by me, some nice wine which he brought and a really good laugh. Our conversations were so deep it almost felt like I was having a therapy session. We later proceeded to do some paintings, remember I told you, we had to be creative. So, I decided to get some painting materials for us to show off our creativity and playfulness. He drew/painted  me one of his favourite cats (a linx) and I drew/painted a teddy.

We ate, we talked, we laughed, we painted and we danced. One of the rare good dates I ever had in my life. We pretty much stayed up all night. Yes, all night. The morning of parting ways he sat me down to tell me his intentions, I was kinda scared cause I did not exactly want to see him again, simply because I was fueled by fear to just not have myself open up to someone. He opened his mouth and said, “I want to see you again, I would like to continue this, would you like to come for a gathering at my place the coming weekend?” A lot more was said but I will spare you the details cause I can’t be arsed. I had a lot to think about cause I had to give him a response. I didn’t really see this coming and I didn’t exactly know if it really was what I wanted….I mean no one plans these things of course but it came unexpectedly.

The answer was a yes, but we didn’t do labels. I mean he mentioned to me though that his intentions were to merely see me and me only. So I believed him. For a long time, or even for the first time ever, I felt as though someone truly understood me, I didn’t have to explain myself, he just got me. I opened up to him in the most intense way and he reciprocated. The thing is, we are both very intense people, which made it easy for me to talk to him about deep subjects. Him being an empath was the icing on the cake; emotionally intelligent, very humble,  plus wise and very mature for his age. You have probably heard the saying, “when someone understands you without you explaining who you are, it hits different”. He is the first person (romantically) to truly ever understand me without me having to explain myself. He understood my love languages just by observing what I was interested in and what I liked. He encouraged me to start my blog and checked on my progress regarding my aspirations. He cared so deeply for people around him and it reflected in his demeanor. He inspired me in many ways. Ambitious, communicative, curious, thoughtful, kind and generous. Probably one of the most thoughtful and generous people I have ever met.

He invited me for a Netflix shooting directed by his flat mate at the time. Another date of Christmas dinner with him and his flat mates, the next morning waking up to a small treat which he called saint Nicholas day….having lined up his shoes stocked with assorted presents tailored for the taste of each person. One of the sweetest things someone did for me, I mean it’s the small things that count. I know people usually get lost in the romance of being with someone, but have you ever met someone who makes you grow so much so that you notice it? He understood me as a person, asked me questions about my aspirations, made sure I was doing fine throughout the day and also checked on my progress. Just a simple message to put a smile on my face and sometimes during the day, a long enough chat to debrief about how I am/was feeling at a given point. I never felt like I had to hold back my words or thoughts. He was so patient in listening and understanding.

Dinner dates, walks in the park, deep conversations, this went on for a few months but soon a spanner was thrown into the works. He had a problem, which he never mentioned to me about. Almost like an addiction. I won’t go into detail, but it involved him being unfaithful. One thing about our relationship was that we always promised each other that we had to be honest with one another. Which meant, telling each other everything affiliated with our relationship; how we felt, if we had a change of heart about being together, whether we want out….Literally everything. It was so raw. So, one day I  decided to do the needful by asking him if he was being faithful to me because my gut-feeling was all over the place. He looked me in the eyes and truthfully told me, No. His response really shocked me when he finally unpacked his baggage and told me where it all stemmed from, his childhood. I wont go into detail because it’s not my story to tell.

My response was a dropped jaw. I was taken aback. He looked at me with fear of me walking out of his life. He exclaimed, “I didn’t know how to tell you, I know it’s a lot, it’s heavy”, my response was silence. I was shook. He went on  to tell me how he needed help from a specialist, to combat his problem, I jumped on the wagon with him and did all the research I could to see him get better. Before I made my way back home that day, he looked at me and said, “I don’t want to lose you, Njavwa— I still want to continue seeing you”. I was obviously torn. I don’t know whether not knowing would have been better if only I had just ignored my gut feeling. But another thing I left with that day was a plant he gifted me for Christmas along with many doubts about whether I was still keen to continue seeing him. I had a big decision to make. I went home to debrief and came to a verdict that, I was still going to continue this rodeo. My decision was accompanied by my pity for him. My decision does not insinuate that I condone such behavior. Absolutely not.

Anyway, after that meeting I wasn’t going to see him for a week or so as he was journeying to go back to his home Country to see his family for the remaining days of Christmas and New Year. At this stage my trust for him was hanging by a thread. There was a lot of work to be done, on his end for his redemption. I was now starting to understand maybe my reason for attempting to dodge him (the first time) on multiple occasions was starting to come to manifestation.

It was time for him to return to Warsaw, to me. I still had an inkling that there was something wrong. Or at least something brewing…..He announced his return to Poland as I expected him to since we would chat all the time. His message came with a request to see me. The weekend that followed after his arrival, we met up to have a catch up session and what not. Took me to his favourite coffee spot got my favourtie tea and some good pastry to go. Everything was going fine until he abruptly asked me to have a serious chat. I was not ready for this. I knew it wasn’t going to be good news from his tone, I could tell. But still I had to listen. Njavwa— he said, “something happened, I did it again”.

This time the joke was on me….I know he didn’t mean to hurt me but he did. And the fact that he prolonged his Therapy session meant he wasn’t being as serious as he made out to be. But I had an epiphany that, for him to get better I had to take myself out of the picture. I was not only allowing him to use me as a clutch by I was enabling him, in a sense. It all stemmed from his insecurities as he would say, but mostly deeply rooted from what transpired in his childhood based on some encounters. I believed him. But I still wasn’t going to be taken for a fool. So, I decided to unplug. He saw my body language change and I turned cold as ice. Rushed home and wrote him the longest article he would probably ever read in his life. I had every right to be outraged. I was fuming.

Funny thing is, from that point going forward is where the growth started. For both of us. And no, I never got back with him, at least not romantically. It would have been a disgrace on my part….Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. We exchanged a few messages here and there after my very long article like message, saying, I wasn’t going to have it and I was going to live up to my standards to put a close to the situation. I asked for space, meaning, no chats, no meetings, no nothing. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

His gift to me as a symbol of Growth. This is the progress after months of its growth.

There was no coming back from this. He however still continued to write me just to check in and check up to make sure I was doing okay. My response was usually a cold, “I am okay”. 3 weeks pass by and I come to a conclusion. Upon my request, we meet up….As always he brings me my favourite tea, pastry and his energy. We talk over a meal which I made and some good tasty pastries. While the elephant in the room is still waiting to be addressed. For a person who did yoga and mediation, he was very composed for the most part, so I knew the conversation wouldn’t back track. We nipped it in the bud and called it. We both knew it reached it’s wits’ end and he knew the only way to get better was to get help. But I was also greeted by the rude awakening of having to subtract myself from his equation on my own accord. He suggested we remain friends. I didn’t exactly object but I was reluctant. I said yes anyway. We hugged for the longest of time and he gave me a long break up kiss, which I reciprocated.

Post break up, we went 3 weeks without properly chatting, although he would always make an effort to check up on me every Friday or Saturday at the end of every week. He never stopped caring or showing concern….I for one was still bitter, a bit. Cause how could I not, after all that. Invitations still came flooding my way from his end. “Would you like to go to the mountains? There’s room for one more person”, he said. This was going to be a 3 days trip and to be honest, the just-being friends shenanigans did not come with going on a few days trips together. I know it wasn’t a ploy to get me back or anything but the wound was still fresh for me. It had only been shy of 3 weeks.

He still continued to include me in all the activities he had planned for himself. It was still lockdown so, no one could do much outside really. But his creativeness, he always found a way to make things happen and make it fun. Mediation sessions, movie nights (with a projector), playing games of many sorts. There just was always something. The feelings at the time were still there but I had to eventually take off my rose coloured glasses and see it for what it was. After exchanging a few cold messages, 3 weeks turned into 1 whole month. It was now March and I was at least somewhat ready to face him again, since we still agreed on remaining friends. He never missed spilling me the details of what was going on his life—The good, the bad and the hard. Through his face I could tell he was having a hard time. He told me how he was getting help, how he was trying to be better as a person for himself and for others. He was a good egg, but a scrambled one.

Even though the romantic aspect of our relationship was gone, we somehow agreed to cultivate a platonic one. Now, it wasn’t easy. Not for me. This was the first time I had found myself in a pickle. Most people would write their Ex off after being done dirty like that. But he was different. And for some reason I just felt so convicted to remain his friend at least. We pretty much hanged out every weekend or so. Yoga was his favourite activity when it came to sports as well as medication. I found myself not being involved cause I would probably fall asleep while I’m at it.

But we managed to find activities which would suit both of our tastes mutually. And so we did.

He spoke many words of wisdom too to a point were I would call him an old fellow. I could see the transformation happening. He begun to open up to me and others, more about his struggles, he sought for medical help, he joined a type of group were people talk about their hardships especially in the area he was struggling in. Weeks turned into months and I begun to again see him in a different light. It was as though I was watching a potato being peeled. He really was changing. He mentioned to me how he got off all the Apps and was trying to gain his much needed self esteem by not seeking for validation from every corner to remind him of how appealing he was. Instead he chose to re route and find it within himself. His sentiment changed. As the layers continued to be peeled off, his growth became more apparent, so did mine. He was in touch with his emotions. Not like a man who makes out to be macho. He was seeking for God but more so for meaning in life. The way he talked even changed dramatically, for the better. Not that his talk was shallow, but it just progressed tremendously.

He eventually decided that his time here had come to an end as he felt as though he had dealt with so many trials and tribulations and I couldn’t agree more with him. He really went through the wringer (but he put me through it too). This time it was evident to a point were his body even spoke for him. He didn’t shed off weight, but there was just something different in his appearance. He looked like a man who had just returned from the wilderness. I pitied him somewhat but I was also proud of him at the same time. I mean, talk about witnessing the growth of someone who hurt you.

I introduced him to my friends and he had the greatest glow on his face, one I hadn’t seen in a while. He lit up and he was just so excited as he seemed to have gotten along with them all. I was happy to finally see a little bit of brightness on his face. It was genuine. There was talking, laughing and eating. And above all there was fellowship.

At some point after everything, he decided he was ready to return home. To go back to his home country (which neighbours Poland). We were sat in the park for our little picnic. As always he would bring me my favourite tea and pastries and sometimes something new to try as it lit up his face to have me get a different taste. He made the little things count in whatever he did for me. An hour or so into our meeting he broke the news to me, “Njavwa, I think I will be leaving Poland for good”. My heart sunk and my face looked like someone had poured water on me. I was distressed. It was bitter-sweet because of everything we had experienced together not just how much we both grew. We hugged for the longest of time as I said a little prayer for him out loud. He mentioned to me about how he felt it move his spirit. It had become a tradition at this point to just say prayers while we would congregate with one another.

2 weeks later we had our last supper. A week ago we had Easter dinner. But the last supper was one I would remember forever. It was still lock down, end of April. I walked into his flat with a nervous spring in my walk. I was trying to process everything. So, I probably won’t see him again, at least not frequently, I thought to myself. We would be countries apart, neighbours but that’s not good enough.

We went out to buy dinner, well, he bought me dinner. While we waited for our food to get ready to have it to go, we sat outside on a bench as he stretched his arm to share his coffee with me which I refused to get when he asked me if I wanted one of my own…aha typical girl behaviour. He looked me in the eyes and said the following to me; “Njavwa, I would like to tell you something. I am sorry for how our relationship started and for how I was inconsiderate of your feelings based on some of the things I did. I am sorry I took you for granted and took advantage of how good you were to me. I am sorry for making you feel bad when I should have been honest with myself and how to deal with this issue I struggle with. You have been a pillar in my stay here. You have helped me grow and I hope you meet people who also help you grow. I hope the people you choose to let in are people who will mold you to become a better version of yourself because that’s who you are and that’s what you’ve done for me”.

Upon hearing that, I was at a loss for words. I was happy to hear everything he said because his sorry was a long time coming. I equally apologized for trying to make him change for me instead of encouraging him to change for himself. Initially my reasons were selfish but when I decided to rip the bandage off I realized that if he had to be a better person it would have to be for himself. I was just a catalyst to help him see that. And our romantic relationship which turned platonic was all to serve such a purpose.

After sharing our heartfelt thoughts, we walked back to his place to have our last supper. He made me try a fruit I had never tried before. We talked about our goals, his desire to find more meaning in life and his quest to seek for God. We prayed over the food, had our dinner, did pastry for dessert cause he liked his pastries. I watched him pack up his suitcase and would occasionally smile every time he looked in my direction. It dawned on me that this was it. We watched his favourite football team play as he packed gradually. I still couldn’t wrap my head around it. I wasn’t going to see him the next weekend (as we would always meet every weekend to catch up and deliberate). I wasn’t going to get a text asking me what I wanted to do this weekend, I wasn’t going to get my favourite tea brought to me without asking, or have someone make me try new pastries and be excited to introduce me to new foods or new things. I wasn’t going to have long meaningful conversations about life and how I am progressing in my endeavours, I wasn’t going to eat his tasty food again cause he was a good cook. I wasn’t going to listen to all types of Music with him. I wasn’t going to experience all that again, the immense care, thoughtfulness and generosity he had with no strings attached. I was gutted. Not because of what he could do for me and vice versa, but because I wasn’t going to see his face again. Maybe not in a long time. I sobbed and I did tell him how I would miss him. We hugged goodbye as I said a little prayer for him out loud and that was the end of our rodeo.

But that was it, that was the point of us crossing paths. The most meaningful relationship (romantically) I ever had. Minus the unfaithfulness. However, everything that transpired served a purpose. It somehow turned out to be conducive. And ultimately aided my growth and my perception for people. We never left on a bitter note and for me that was all because of Grace. We both parted ways having matured from this experience we shared but it took endurance from both ends to be wanting that change.

In a nutshell, one thing this experience taught me was, don’t dwell or get caught up in the romance. There’s nothing wrong with romance don’t get me wrong, but the beauty of growth or the evidence of growth must be accompanied by it. Because the romance sometimes fizzles and it can be rekindled if necessary. But ask yourself, besides that what more is there?

Author: Adulthood_Dilemmas

I dream. I write. I tell stories.

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