Those who know me... not merely know of me... not just from on here, the people who have actually met me in person would tell you I'm rather empathetic. I haven't always been, I think I just reached a level of emotional experience where if I see a person experiencing something I once experienced I feel it nearly as strongly as they do. Thus I get rather emotional watching movies, reading books, etc. etc.
I was recently reading a tale in which a college freshman was dumped by his girlfriend of three years. And while it's been awhile since that's happened to me, I felt it like it had happened yesterday. I remember losing my appetite, barely able to eat even a single bowl of ramen noodles over the course of a week. I remember that all-consuming numbness that overtook me for months. I remember feeling not like I was living life so much as going through the motions, that all my life experiences at that point in my life were somehow muted-- and just generally feeling lost. Not geographically speaking of course. I knew where I was, I just needed to find my way back to WHO I was, and I remember the frustration that came with that journey... Finding your way back to you-- a table for 1, after existing as a couple for an extended period of time-- it's never easy, it's rarely fun, and often heart-wrenching.
So as I was reading and getting this emotional connection to a fictional character-- I realized that while what I was reading was fiction, emotionally speaking it was very much fact. It also left me with a feeling of relief. All the missteps, the stumbles, the mistakes to reach that ultimate goal of finding that one special someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with-- that part is over. I married my best friend. I know the 2 years we've been married is a mere drop in the bucket and there are many more challenges we're yet to face. Challenges we can't even imagine, but also there's that comfort of knowing that no matter how bad things get-- we've got each other. We aren't alone in this mess called adulthood any longer.
But for a brief few moments, I was back "there" in a place I hadn't been in a long time, and the scenery was all too familiar despite the time and distance I've put between myself and that despondent locale.
My mother once told me she wished she and my father had "hardened" me a bit more-- so I wouldn't feel so much. I told her not to think that way-- I told her it's a part of who I am and I wouldn't have it any other way. And truth be told, I wouldn't... even if my wife does tease me for tearing up over Hallmark commercials.