Last month, I agreed to do a sample shoot for the catalog of a company in which my freelance employer invests. The product, a line of collegiate-branded women’s sleepwear, seemed right up my alley (seriously, who doesn’t love pajamas??), though it had been a while since I’d done a shoot. Although it was fun (my photographer, Tara Arseven, was just wonderful: personable, intelligent, and funny), the experience was a good reminder that I simply am not keen on attempting to use my appearance to make a living when I could (less stressfully, and with fewer creepers) use my talents to do the same. If nothing else, some of the attire was just skimpier than I am comfortable being photographed: about the least I’m okay with wearing tends to be a sports bra and spandex shorts for a sports-related shoot.
He (my freelance boss) wanted to do a re-shoot with another photographer as well, and had talked about me rebuilding my portfolio, but it felt good to be able to say with certainty that I would prefer to focus on my writing/editing/marketing and that I’m not interested in any sort of modeling right now.
There were some nice images, including the ones I’ve posted here…but what I really liked about the shoot was the glimmer of my genuine smile coming back (not counting the one with the straddle hold below: my face was showing the strain of holding the position, but cool athletic things >>> being attractive). For me, this was evidence of the fact that hard times don’t last forever: I was bound to be back to my old self again, just better, stronger, wiser, and hopefully kinder than ever before. Hurt doesn’t have to last forever.
Sometimes, people view the decision to forgive as weakness or a lack of understanding of one’s own worth. While I can understand that view, I have decided that in my own life, I will view my capacity to move on and let go of anger–as well as my ability to love and trust again in the future despite the horrible things he put me (well, *us*) through–as a sign of my strength, resilience, and loving nature. My worth was and is not diminished by his inability to treat me as though I am deserving of a faithful partner. S. was a lesson more than he was anything else, and I intend to learn what he was brought in my life to teach, painful though it was. Things will be so much better from here on out. <3
Although losing him has been hard, today I am reminded of the fact that I can turn this heartbreak into a learning experience and further enrich my worldview, my capacity for empathy, and my understanding of myself. We’ve all been in that place where we thought someone deserved the world and we ultimately ended up rejected, often seemingly out of the blue. It hurts, but it’s an opportunity to take a deeper look into what we want and need out of relationships, what the other person wasn’t giving us that we at first did not acknowledge, where we have room to improve…and where, perhaps, we need to learn to know our own worth and expect more out of the other person. Sometimes, I think we actually get left when we do not expect enough out of our significant others, although that can be a scary thing to do.
I know that after being rejected by someone you love, it can be so difficult not to lower your standards and expectations in fear of being left again. But this time, and going forward, I am determined to stand firm and refuse to settle. It will be a long time before I am ready to love again–or indeed, even to come around to looking at another man that way–but when I am, I intend to do it right.
Readers, what have been your experiences with love lost? What did it teach you, and how did you use that lesson later on? As I go through this process of moving past my own unrequited love situation, I would love to hear from people who have come out the other side and/or are currently working toward doing so. =)