Lots and lots and lots has been going on.
Got to play my 2nd retreat with Chris, Andy, Jones and Ian. I can get used to this. I do miss the "freehold" team, but I know if I impress .. or hope that if I impress, that they'll have me for more events.. and Chris will get events our freehold group never got and probably never will. Crossing my fingers, toes and everything else that Wildwood has him back, and he has me back. Apparently they paid really really well, had short services, paid for food and motel. so you play a few songs, and hit the beach. play some more songs and be on the u by 9. superb.
This recent retreat at Lake Champion was great. The place was almost like a resort. Really really nice place some of the leaders, speaker and us got to stay at. Complete with fireplace, huge common room, fully furnished kitchen, and rooms with 2 separate twin beds. Andy and I roomed together. Turns out, he's like an older version of me. We like the same music, shared spotify playlists.. and at sleep time, turned the light off and talked about sound, the complexities and amazingness of sound, and the art of recording sound. how bout them apples.
talked about life a little. what i took from it- if i'm not in school for the next 3 years.. what else will i be doing with life? Will I be happier and better off when i'm 30 if I go to school.. or don't go to school? The years are going to go by one way or another.. what am I going to do with them?
Steph and I have been talking about making our relationship "official". just putting the label on it. it's really caused me to assess myself, the relationship, and myself again.
this has been somewhat overwhelming for me, sometimes more than others. varying from being comfortable and excited .. to uneasy and deflated.
Since I've recently wiped my Mac and have spent some time in the external HD, I read some chats I had freshman year with Steph B, and Tiff about Steph B. Very interesting to see the similarities and cycles. Some of the things I said then about Steph, are the same things I feel now. The uncertainty, not being sure, the stress, the self doubt. It's also a similar time in my life. Freshman year I was leaving everything I had known at Calvary and entering a new world. This world wasn't a fun comfortable one. It's one in which I compared myself to others and felt inadequate in the population and to God. It was a time of rapid identity search and feeling out of place. A time of stress, pressure, being overwhelmed and just trying to process and make it all work.
It was 1-3am when I was reading these so I was too tired to jot notes and phrases previously typed for me to reflect on.
But I did realize something that is so so important to me. I didn't make the wrong choice.
For years.. years and years.. since summer of 2006, I have questioned myself, my choice to not move forward with Steph B. I have always wondered 'what if' and always felt unrest with it. 6 and a half years, what is now what i'd call 2 serious relationships, 2 short-lived explorations later.. always had a piece of me stuck at that pizza place.
It's no surprise either. It's all understandable and valid for me to have struggled with it so much for these years. It was a massive turn in my life. It was almost a traumatic experience for me. And rightfully so.
after reading these 2 or 3 convos I had with steph during freshman year I saw some things I've never seen before. I can't speak entirely for her, but I can speak for myself. For 5 years of my life, Steph consumed half of my existence.. at least. That's kind of.. REALLY UNHEALTHY. So much of my self worth was invested in my interactions, understandings of, and relationship with her.. in whatever form that relationship was. I admired so much about her and wanted to be like her, didn't feel good enough for her, compared myself to her.. and last but not least, felt pressure and stress with it.
The latter was especially prevalent after we "separated". I was in a stressful time, a transition phase in my life going to college.. and the relationship was revealed as so much stress. Why? Because I had felt like we were so connected, because we were. Our lives were so intertwined. And I felt like some of the things I did/said.. our relationship etc.. just had so much of an impact on her life, her well being, her health. I know she had her roots in God. But I also know we were growing up as teenagers, with our own personal issues.. and we were human and naturally were attached and had many needs met by each other... needs that.. i'd assume even in healthy marriages, are met differently. So here's me, feeling inadequate as it was regarding her.. and now regarding life and college.. trying to do my best and figure myself out.. and I had this added pressure on me. Regardless of how much I truly cared about her, it was too much for me.
For YEARS I had felt like it was my fault.
For YEARS I felt like I wasn't good enough.. didn't have the confidence and self esteem to move forward with her.
For Years I had questioned it all, and had hung my head in shame and defeat.. because I had simply run from a fear. I had run from something that could be so huge in so many ways.. because I was overwhelmed, small, afraid. I wasn't good enough.
I have been HARD ON MYSELF for 6 and one half YEARS.
I have had guilt for years for how I hurt her.
and our interactions following that event, and the conversations after.. haven't done much to heal something like this inside of me. Yes she's told me she forgives me. She told me that maybe the following summer on a missions trip or something. That meant a lot, but I hadn't forgiven myself.. and if I did.. I still wasn't at peace.
Part of me still wishes I could heal whatever I can that may not be resolved for her. Maybe she's fine. Idk. Me and Tiff are fine. We can talk with 100% comfortability. My relationship with her feels like it did when we truly were just friends before the relationship and difficult breakup. I don't have anything close that with Steph. Maybe it's simply that everyone is different. But it has never made me feel any better about myself. It makes me feel like there's still stuff "wrong". Makes me feel like I'm responsible for lingering issues. Makes me feel like what I did, or who I was, was so destructive that it can never be remedied. - i can never be 'good'.
ANYWAY.. I have had guilt for years. Have been hard on myself.. so hard on myself. And haven't had peace about the decision and for following through with the decision and pushing her away like I did.
I now understand differently, tho.
I understand why I felt the way I did. How overwhelming of a time it was in my life. How overwhelming the relationship was in itself, and in relation to my life. AND.. I accept the fact that I had insecurities.. because there was a lot going on.. and felt insecure.. because.. because.... BECAUSE I AM MATT MANERI AND I AM A HUMAN BEING!!!!! I am ALLOWED to be insecure because that's how HUMAN BEINGS react to difficult circumstances!! Some feel more insecure than others,.. but then there's a whole set of variables that have to be just so for one to handle difficult circumstances without having issues. Congrats to the perfect human being! I have yet to find one. This makes me NORMAL. This makes me GOOD ENOUGH. This makes me HUMAN. This makes how I felt and the decisions that transpired after the fact.. VALID AND NOTHING TO DO WITH ME BEING INADEQUATE in the moment.
I finally have peace about the past. About myself and how I was confused, how I handled the confusion, and the aftermath of my decisions. About hurting my close friend that I cared about so much.
I'm not happy it was so difficult for the both of us, but I don't feel all this angst about it and about myself. A sense of freedom and peace. .. finally. thanks for ignoring my attempts to connect and letting me figure this out on my own.
With all of this said.. I feel better about the past, but the present.. is the present. It's 'right' for what happened to be what happened.. but what to happen now? I guess she's just another ? girl, just like so many other girls I know that I haven't dated. The difference is I knew this one really well and admired so much about her. The other difference is, I haven't spoken with her in many years.
So, what will be will be. Give my 100% to who I've been blessed with now, thankfully.
.. and thats the way the cookie crumbles.