Monthly Archives: December 2013

You Don’t Need Time for Love

DaliYesterday I came across a beautiful New York Times article called  Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss by Chris Huntington, which made me reflect on my own anxieties about the amount of time available to us in life to find happiness. It is well worth reading it in full.

Huntington, a Singapore-based author, talks about what he learned through his work in prisons, as a teacher, regarding how we measure time. On being asked by Huntington to reset a clock, an inmate laughs:

“A few minutes off? We need one that goes by months and years. What do we care about five minutes?”

A convicted rapist, who has already served 16 years, with at least 8 more years to go, talks of his limited prospects for the future:

“There are some things I’m never going to do. And I can spend my life being mad about that, or I can try something else.” […]

“I decided to be the best prisoner I could be.”

Huntington, who overcame depression following his divorce, fell in love in again, re-married and now has an adopted Ethiopian son he adores, is aware that for everything he gained in life, there was also something else not fulfilled: “Our story, so full of love, is also full of loss.” Yet, he concludes:

It doesn’t matter what time it is. Think in months. Years. Someone loves you. Where are you going? There are some things you will never do. It doesn’t matter. There is no rush.

Singledom
We all moan about lost opportunities in our lives and how much time we have “wasted” in an unhappy relationship, a badly chosen career, etc. We are angry because we feel life is short, and the time frame within which certain key events we believe to be conducive to happiness should happen, such as finding your soulmate, getting married, having children, is restricted.

The other evening I read a post written by one of my younger followers, in her 20s, complaining that she has been single for too long. Below the post, one commenter had written that in the time it took her to recover from one relationship, another friend had got married, popped out a kid, got divorced and found a new man. How did these people do it?!

I had to laugh. While for some people love and relationships happen faster and more frequently than they change their dirty knickers, for others, finding one special man or woman can be like watching paint dry. It could be that the Speedy Gonzalezes of Love are less picky and more aggressive in their pursuits, or it could be sheer luck.

Unfortunately, we have the habit of setting timers to when things should happen. How long is it acceptable for one to remain single?

That is why chronic singledom makes for an excellent topic for jokes at dinner parties while you’re young, but once you get past the age of eligibility, that is, when you turn into an overripe fruit, it stops being so amusing to become a sign of grave social ineptitude.

When every social function from dinners and parties to weddings and funerals seem to be tailored for couples, being single can feel as awkward and embarrassing as having halitosis. But it shouldn’t do.

Cougars and desperados
Because popular belief is that the best opportunities in life are linked to youth, single people over 40, for example, tend to feel this way:

  1. You are invisible in the dating scene; who wants to date a middle-aged man/woman?
  2. Most people in your age bracket are already married or otherwise taken; those who are still single must have something seriously wrong with them.
  3. Your biological clock has practically stopped ticking, so your chances of starting a family, even if you find your ideal partner, are greatly reduced.
  4. If you do meet the love of your life, chances are they will have kids from a previous relationship. You will have to be step parent to them and, if you have kids yourself too, blend the two families together.
  5. It is too late for love…actually.

Women feel particularly disadvantaged because few men, given the choice, go for older women. Biologically, that could be governed by their instinctive need to procreate, so the younger = the more fertile. Younger women also constitute a more valuable trophy for them to show off to other males, especially if they are past their prime themselves (the message being ‘I can still pull!’). And when a young man goes for an older woman, it is generally perceived he is only after her ‘experience’, but he will eventually dump the ‘cougar’ and use the acquired experience on a young chick instead.

With prospects of finding love being so poor for the more mature woman, every year, every month, every week and day even that goes by without a sign of romance can seem like another huge shovelful of sand going down the past-the-use-by-date hourglass. That is why so many older women sadly become ‘desperado’ and seem to latch on to anything in pants that moves at every social gathering they attend.

The Fruits of Self-love
I have had my moments of “it is too late” myself. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not choose to have children when my body was wanting to, in my early 30s. But I was with the wrong man then, and any child conceived under those circumstances would have had to pay a price for my selfishness.

Now, separated and childless, and not exactly a spring chicken any more, I could easily go down the desperado route. Except I am not ‘desperate’ for anything.

©AdelaideNow

©AdelaideNow

Being single to me does not feel like ‘lack’ at all, nor do I feel too old for romance. On the contrary, since I’ve become solo, I have literally reverted into an impish teenager full of mischief and see naughtiness everywhere; for the first time in my life I am also happy with my body image; and I feel more lovable and desirable than I ever was within a relationship. All this was the result of making peace with myself, finding self-love and self-respect at last.

Best prisoner
I too want to be “the best prisoner I can be”, where “prison” would be however much time I have got left in my own life.

It may not be life as envisaged by a 25-year-old: whirlwind romance with a young lad, proposal, marriage in bridal gowns, children, grandchildren. The fairy tale stuff may make a great John Lewis commercial, but who said that is my formula for happiness? Just because society dictates that’s what we should aspire to, it does not mean it works for everyone. I am not everyone. I am unique; you are unique.

Tic-toc
With the time I have got left, which could be as short as a few hours in case I die in my sleep tonight, I only have one main goal, and that is to live life being 100% true to myself.

  • I have learned to stop creating “what if” scenarios and take one day at a time;
  • I no longer write story boards in my head before dates and try to act them out;
  • I follow my gut instinct, always;
  • I smile and laugh a lot because I have so much love to give;
  • I ask people lots of questions about them because understanding people makes me understand human nature better;
  • I praise lavishly because I like to make people feel good about themselves and proud of who they are;
  • I express affection openly and generously to people I care about. I can’t tell them I love them from my grave.

Time for everything
Exactly two months ago one of my closest friends passed away at the age of 51, barely five months after being diagnosed with an incurable disease. He always thought he’d live well into this 90s. While sorting out his wardrobe after the funeral, his widow said, in tears:

“Peter had so many nice clothes, shoes and things he had bought and was saving ‘for a special occasion’. What a waste; there won’t be any more occasions now. Now I know there’s no point in holding anything off for a future that may not come.”

Someone once told me, “Don’t worry; in life there’s time for everything”. It seems hardly applicable to my now deceased friend, robbed of at least four more decades of life he thought were his.

But perhaps life is not supposed to be like a novel with a beginning, middle and end structure. That is only our perception of time in the dimension we inhabit. But there might be other dimensions out there where linear time does not exist. Maybe life does not end with physical death but goes on and on in a loop?

My view is that life is supposed to be just this: this very moment. The future is an illusion: when you reach the next moment, the future becomes your present. Our problem is that we live with half our minds regretting the past and the other half worrying about things that may or may not happen.

The only “waste” there is in life is the time we waste forgetting to live and love in the now. We had better use our time wisely and love as abundantly as we can.

Dear Stranger or The Reason I Do Not Jump

Photo credit ©Zach Bonnell

Photo credit ©Zach Bonnell

Dear Stranger…

….or shall I call you Fellow Passenger, as nothing strikes me as ‘strange’ about you any more. How long have we been travelling on this train together? Days? Weeks? Months? Feels like years, does it not. Forgive me if I am vague; for I have lost track of time. The journey has been long and rough; my mind is tired out.

May I remind you that thanks to you I found myself hurled into a dank, dark carriage, where light was so scant for the longest time I could not tell day from night. In the interminable darkness, I wept constantly. No one heard; you, least of all.

I should have jumped right then.

I contemplated the jump, even braced myself for the impact of the fall. But…oh hello dear Stranger, we meet again… Was it you I collided into when there was that jolt, the one that pushed me head first into the carriage of hell? Can you even begin to imagine how terrified I was I would never surface again.

But surface I did. And, in my confusion, I broke my vows of silence, forgot my thirst for vengeance. Was I hallucinating or was my vision distorted by the evil in your spell? The very beast that caused my fall transmuted into an angel of light, how ironic is that. I followed the light out of the tunnel.

I am sorry, you said. I said nothing.

Do you know where this train is bound for, I asked you. You said dunno. You said do you, I said no.

We talked, at times with words, at times in code, at times in silence but we talked…rather a lot. I said this is madness, we don’t even know where the train will take us, I said surely every train has a destination. We should get off, we agreed, as there is no sense or logic in this journey, not like this, together.

You first, I said. No, you, you said. This is awkward.

I can’t, I said, can you…first? I can’t, you said. I…don’t…want to… Do you want to…? I can’t, I said, again, do you want me to. But we must, I said. Do we have to decide this moment, you said. Guess not, I said, calmly, screaming inside. Sh sh sh…

Have I told you…my latest joke, you said. Stop it, I said. This is no joke.

We return to our seats and feel the rattling of the train in our bones. Isn’t there a friggin’ conductor on this train?! Someone must be able to tell us where it’s going.

We reconvene. Okay, this is preposterous. Do you know what will happen if we stay on this train? It may take us somewhere we will loathe; what if the breaks don’t work, what if it crashes against a wall; we will hurt, we may die. Train crashes happen all the time, you know. Yes, we say.

We go away to think again. Of getting off, of cutting the journey short.

You now have the distant look of one about to bid farewell, leave the country, emigrate. Your facial muscles are stiff, your eyes no longer smile. You never smile much anyway though I’d have gladly taught you to.

I put my arms around you for a last embrace. For the road. Courage, I say, although courage is what I need. But you don’t hug me back. An unfeeling monster is what you have turned to? You will do it at last, good. You hate me, don’t you, I dare you: hate me and jump. Adieu and farewell dear Stranger. No one should be on board a train with an unnamed destination. Go, go, GO!

I turn my back on you so I don’t see you jump. I turn off the lights so I can obliterate the memory of the unsmiling face I am beginning to hate. Sh sh sh sh…

God how I hate you.

I retreat into another carriage, certain I am now the only passenger left on board. My turn, I murmur, under my breath. I open the door and observe the gravel below and the stretch of ground where I should hope to land. Sh sh sh, the train carries on. I close my eyes and hold my breath….my heartbeat pounding in my ears. Sh…

“Hi!”, says a voice I recognise. I open my eyes and see you peeking in. Smiling, the cheek! I jump. Not off the train; off my seat.

What da…? What in the name of Christ the Lord are you doing here? Thought you had jumped? Thought you had, you say. No, I say…. We are pathetic. Hmm, you say.

We sit in our carriage, silent you and I, staring blankly into the distance as the train travels on; the landscape changes, the weather turns, day follows night, sun follows moon, the stations speed past, one after another. Sh sh, we hear.

Sometimes you even…smile…a little; oh, you are learning to smile?

Hey, fancy a game of Scrabble? you say. You mad?! I shout. Are you out of your f***ing mind?!

I notice you are sitting close to me, like before….before you became aloof and hateful and you looked like you were really going to do it. You look smaller in this light but it is not you that has diminished. It is my anger which has abated, run out of steam. Is it possible I have become bigger than you, and in that space there is room even for tiny you?

You should really jump, I say. Or I. We have come so far, too far. We should have jumped long ago, one of us. Only one of us needs to jump.

You say nothing.

Why do you say nothing?!

You say nothing.

Together? Jump together? One-two-three, go? I say. In Japanese it’s called ‘shinjū‘ when a man and a woman make a pact to die together. But shinjū is always romantic, it means they are in love but they can’t live out their love so they die. But this? This is…just…a woeful comedy. Isn’t this a tragi-comedy? Huh? Why are you not laughing?! We don’t want to be travelling together. What is the point in living or dying with you. You are pathetic. Don’t you think you’re pathetic?

You say nothing.

I say no more. I feel…pathetic.

The train carries on, sh sh sh sh.

Dear Stranger, I was travelling alone. I travel everywhere on my own, I’m like that. But you boarded my train, you walked into my carriage and picked me for a stupid game of Scrabble. You know I like words. Making words with you gave me a reason to dream. Completing words where you had left off, completing what was incomplete. Learning…new words. Sometimes the words are obscure, weird, sometimes wonderfully weird, and we grin from ear to ear like naughty kids celebrating our discovery. We are like that.

Now bound together on a train with an unknown destination, we struggle. And the more we struggle the more tightly bound we are in a pact of death we cannot escape.

Not long before we talk about jumping again. This is our new game: who first?

“Hey, whose song was it that goes ‘I really don’t know life at all'”?

“Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now”, I hear you answer, though not a word has been spoken. Because I haven’t asked you. But, had I…asked, you’d have known, as you always do. It would have made me smile as your answers mostly do.

“I love that song.”

“What?” you say. “Nothing,” I say.

I take your hand in both of mine and place it close to my chest, but in my mind only so as not to distress. I don’t want you to think I want you to stay. Because I don’t.

“You can stay”, I whisper, too hoarse to scream. “For today.” I look away.

Don’t, don’t look at me now.

Just a moment longer, just another game, just another stop, I think but don’t say.

I never say, you never say. We are like that.

Trapped on a train with an unnamed destination, turning corners that may be our last, we face each other saying nothing, playing Scrabble, making words we no longer need.

Dear dear you.

Sh sh sh sh…

NOTE: This blog was my first experiment with an unconventional style of writing, blending a Pinteresque style of dialogue with steam of consciousness and a semi-poetic approach to rhythm. The train journey is obviously metaphorical, as are many other elements in this piece, but it is based on real situations and real characters. I would heartily welcome any comments you may have on either the content or the writing style. If you would rather email me privately, please write to: sehensucht2013@gmail.com 

My 12 lessons on love and relationships from 2013

©2013 Connie J. Sun

©2013 Connie J. Sun

As the year end draws near, it is time for some reflection…

Looking back on the past year, here are 12 things I have learned about myself, others, about human nature and the workings of the heart. What have your lessons been?

1. Sometimes you just have to walk away

Just that. They don’t deserve you, you know that. You don’t want to think badly of them because you believe in the good in people, so you’ve given them a second, a third or a fourth chance. But again and again they have let you down. It is time to close the curtain on that act and call it a day. You’ve tried, that’s what matters.

2. Lies people tell themselves are worse than the ones they tell others

An astonishingly large number of people live in denial of their own feelings: that their marriage/relationship is not working/making them happy, that they are with who they are with for the wrong reasons, or that they love someone else. I used to be one of those people too but I now live with absolute honesty all of the time. It is liberating.

3. Some people get stiff necks, others have stiff hearts

You can, at least temporarily relieve stiff necks and shoulders, by going to a good masseur and getting a deep tissue massage. Swimming is also a great exercise for unknotting those painful, hardened bits. Some people, however, have stiff hearts, and no amount of massage or exercise can soften them up. They may and often eventually do thaw out, and the moment it does is one of profound beauty. But it may take a lifetime. By the time it has happened, there may not be much of life left for them. Remember: that is their script. You have your own to live out.

4. People’s reactions are always based on their own experiences of life (and relationships)

You may tell the same story to 10 different people. People react according to what their own experience of what you are telling them felt like. In general, older people tend to be the least reactionary and most philosophical in their feedback. Younger, or less experienced ones, often hold an idealistic notion of human relationships. Many people, irrespective of age, view the world through a black-and-white filter and label people and events right or wrong, good or bad, open or closed. I find most things in life are neither one nor the other; most things stand in the middle of the spectrum.

This is why maturity brings suffering. We understand too much: that real life and real relationships are not fairy tales with a perfect happy ending. Humans are complex, love is complex. Sit back and learn to enjoy the complexity of human relationships.

5. Some old loves you can never let go; but that’s okay

Eric Clapton singing Old Love (you can listen to it on YouTube) makes my heart ache every time I hear it: “And it’s making me so angry to know that the flame still burns. […]. When will I ever learn? Old love…leave me alone.”

We all have an old love or two we cannot forget. I have previously written about letting go of one big old love, and it was almost like ‘growing out’ of it, as I myself matured and changed.

But some loves we can never forget, and they never get ‘old’ however much time passes. They make my heart melt every time I hear from them because I can feel the old warm affection behind every word, because I know time may have changed them but not the core beauty of their soul.  My life feels richer just knowing they exist; they teach me that the human heart’s capacity for love is incredibly resilient.

6. Not everyone can cope with man-woman friendships

At every stage of my life, I have had very close male pals, with whom I spent a lot of time talking about intimate topics and sharing fun activities.  I am able to make friends with a man as effortlessly and comfortably as with a woman, and it does not bother me one iota that we are not of the same gender. I can be as affectionate with a guy as with any woman without turning it into a sexual move. Friendships with men are wonderfully comforting, cosy…fuzzy, without all the emotional pitfalls of a romantic relationship.

Is it that unconventional to think there’s nothing wrong or inappropriate about loving a guy friend just as you would a girl-friend?

I have noticed most people around me have a hard time accepting male-female friendships. Every time I form a friendly bond with a male colleague, for example, rumours circulate that we “have a thing for each other” when the only “thing” we have is a relaxed mutual appreciation.

Some men can’t take it either; they fear they may be “betraying” their partners by being friends with another woman (even though there’s no sex involved) but, if you ask me, that says far more about their own insecurities regarding the relationship they are in than about the friendship on offer. They are probably nervous because they feel sexually attracted to me, even though they have a wife or girlfriend, and they are not entirely sure they can trust their self-control..because men are..well…men.

The funny thing is, I can. I can be friends even with a guy I secretly wish was my lover but knowing we should never cross the line because we would be better at being friends than being lovers. But that may be because experience has taught me not everything in life is black or white, and sometimes it is okay to appreciate the various shades of grey in-between.

I am a freak no doubt.

7. Always give the benefit of the doubt

Everyone has their side of the story. Everyone’s fighting a battle you know nothing about. Give them a chance to tell their story before you pass judgement or do anything radical. It is well worth it, I promise you.

8. Write as many angry emails as you like but NEVER click the Send button

I have a few of those saved in my Drafts. Emails I was up all night writing when I was drunk, or when the depression monster raised its ugly head, making me feel small and unloved and I wanted to blame this person for the way I felt.

Every time I wrote one of those, I made myself wait 24hs before deciding to send or not, and boy, am I glad I did. Things always look differently in the cold light of day. Remember: you can’t un-send a sent email.

Had I sent out those angry messages, I would have hurt them all right, but I would have hurt myself more. Most of the time you did not mean the spiteful, hateful words you wrote when your bruised pride was hungry for revenge.

What you wrote: “This is such a total waste of time; what’s the point of us ever talking again when you behave like you hate me. You are a selfish w***er who doesn’t give a s**t about other people’s feelings.” What you meant: “I was hurt by what you said/did but I don’t want us to be like that with each other; let’s talk again soon, have a cuddle and make it better.”

9. Social media’s Delete and Block buttons destroyed our need to communicate 

On Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social network, these days everyone uses the Delete, Unfollow and Block buttons to indicate they are angry and no longer wish to continue their relations with someone else. The ease with which we can delete people from our Timelines has sadly done away with the need for people to communicate with each other, explain themselves, say ‘I’m sorry’, or ‘let’s talk about this’.

You can block as many people as you want from your social media sites. But in order to nurture a healthy and strong relationship, you need to unblock your heart first and follow your gut instinct, be true to yourself.

10. I have an enormous capacity for forgiveness

I have discovered forgiving is a wonderful act of self-healing, no matter how bad it was what the other person did to you. When you let that anger go that imprisons you and weighs you down, you are also setting yourself free to love again.

11. Being single is glorious

Who said life after a separation had to be sad and miserable? I love my own company, I love my own space. You need to learn to be happy on your own before you can be happy with someone else.

Besides, being single means you are free to fancy as many men as you want; you can check out those cute guys on the train, in the street, in your office, at the supermarket while you pick up your weekly groceries, on your social media accounts. It means you are available for dating again. You can choose to get serious, or you can just play-flirt for fun. The world is an oyster. If that isn’t glorious, I don’t know what is.

12. I want an alpaca boyfriend

Click on the cartoon at the top of this blog post and read it. I can relate to that. Relationships are not the only things that can bring joy into your life. Right now I need a fluffy alpaca friend who can give me hugs, lots of cuddly-wuddly hugs, when I feel like crying but I can’t because I have run out of tears.

Because life was damn tough on me in 2013. Because my heart was broken so many times by so many circumstances, I can’t even feel the pain any more.

The only way now is up. 2014, bring it on!

Why Masters of Sex makes me cry

Masters of SexHave you been watching Masters of Sex? If not, you should do. In the UK it is being shown on Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 10pm, or you can watch it on Catch-Up TV.

I watched one episode, on a colleague’s recommendation, to try it out, and have since being totally hooked on it.

If you are spending money downloading porn to see other people having sex on the screen while your wife or girlfriend is away, save yourself the cash and just watch Masters of Sex for free instead. It is incredibly sexy, with lots of nudity and explicit sex scenes but with an excellent plot to back it all up in a totally non-tacky, unvulgar way.

Without giving away too many spoilers (if you haven’t watched episode 9, on Dec 3, don’t read until you’ve seen it, as there IS a spoiler…sorry), let me tell you a little about the two main characters in case you are unfamiliar with the programme.

Bill Watching

Summary
The series is based on the real story of Dr William Masters, played by Michael Sheen, and his secretary Virgina Johnson (who eventually becomes his Research Assistant)’s study on sex and human sexuality in the 1950s. It is area no scientist had ever pioneered in before; they recruit volunteers for the study and basically watch people fornicate or masturbate while they annotate scientific data. By episode 9, which was this week’s, they have already started filming these sessions as well.

William and Libby Masters (Photo By Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Bill and Libby (Photo By Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Masters, who is socially awkward, and sexually repressed when the story starts, is married to Libbby, a beautiful stay-at-home wife, who is desperate to conceive his child, and thinks that her husband’s lack of interest in her is due to her infertility.

What she doesn’t know is that the actual problem is Masters’, himself a fertility expert, who ironically has an extremely low sperm count.

Masters seems to have very little in common with LIbby, and flashback scenes to his younger days seem to imply that she wasn’t exactly the big love his life, but a respectable doctor had to be married to a girl from a good family to get on in his medical career.

©Showtime

©Showtime

Virginia Johnson, played by the stunning-looking Lizzy Caplan, is a twice divorced mother of two and an intelligent and ambitious woman trying to build a career to feed her children. She is totally uninhibited sexually and quite forward for a woman of her time, in that she is able to fully enjoy sex, even in the absence of love. She is also a warm and compassionate woman, in touch with her own emotions, and knows how to talk to people.

In a nutshell, she is the complete opposite of her boss, and that is exactly why they complement each other and why he is attracted to her.

Eventually Masters and Johnson start “participating” in the sex study themselves, as fellow researchers, by having intercourse with each other late at night in the lab and measuring their own bodily responses. In their minds, they are not having an affair but participating in research for the advancement of science, even though their sessions become more and more intense.

Falling in love
As their involvement with the study deepens, their professional relationship starts morphing into something else. It is now clear they are in love with each other and not just because of the sex. Over several episodes, we see Virginia’s loyalty to and admiration for Bill, we movingly see her compassion and humanity holding him up when his tough guy façade starts to crumble.

They are, to the audience’s eyes, an obvious match with each other.

But Masters is a married man and a scandal could put his reputation in jeopardy. To make matters more complex, his wife Libby is now pregnant, although he did not really want to have a child with her, and his mother compounds his shame by reminding him his father was also unfaithful with his own secretary.

Caught between his wife’s desperate appeal that without a child and family, he is only an empty man, and his mother’s warning not to become like the father he hated, Bill Masters is crushed under the weight of his guilt.

Awkward, as usual, and unable to deal with it, he does something cruel and heartless that breaks Virginia’s heart, to make sure she doesn’t think he is in love with her, even though he is.

I know Masters of Sex is only a television series. But this is not an uncommon situation and can easily spill into real life. Although sex seems to be the main theme of the show, it is really a discussion on intimacy and the difficulties humans face when connecting to each other.

Why I cry
Watching episode 9 of Master of Sex, where Bill Masters hurts Virginia so badly she finally breaks down, made me want to scream with rage. Why are men such cowardly w**k**s?! Why can’t a man, in that situation, just honestly admit he likes her, although they cannot officially be together, instead of pretending he has no feelings, instead of acting like an automaton made purely of steel? Why must the woman have her heart broken and pay a price for having made a man feel good about himself?

As a romantic, of course, I am hoping Masters of Sex will have a happy ending, that William Masters will realise what a fool he was and how much happier he could be with Virginia, that he will, ultimately, choose loyalty to himself and his true feelings.

But real life doesn’t always play out as it does in fiction or movies. People make terrible mistakes in love and relationships all the time. They make very poor choices while talking themselves into believing it is right for them.

In real life, the man usually chooses the lovely but unexciting wife he has little in common with and has a child he did not want, while the woman who shares his dreams and understands his demons, the woman who makes him go wild with desire, because their connection is deep and visceral, gets the blame. Her charges? Guilty of leading the man astray, away from respectability from responsibility, away from ‘happy family life’, away from what society deems acceptable.

The male-female situation could be reversed. Remember The Bridges of Madison County? Men and women in committed relationships all over the world wept over it because (though they would not openly admit it) they had personally known the pain of having to renounce someone they truly loved for the sake of protecting someone else’s happiness.

Lessons
Regret cannot change the past but it makes us more alert for when we come to the next intersection and have that déjà vu moment…where have I seen this landscape before?

Have you noticed how in life the same situation, only with different characters, recur again and again, like an annoying test we keep retaking. The lessons never go away until we have finally learned what we need to learn.

Virginia wins
Not every man can handle a passionate, liberated woman like Virginia, unafraid of her own feelings and desires, who only knows one way to live and love: that with a genuine heart. I love the character because I see myself reflected in her, launching myself bare-souled into things I love, into people I love… Only to smash against a massive iceberg, and being shattering to pieces.

Virginias of the world, who go around loving with an open heart, always risk giving too much while getting too little, or nothing in return. Yet, even knowing this, were a million chances offered to me, a million times I would choose to feel too much over not feeling at all.

The victory may not be too obvious, but at the end of our lives (because we all die one day), the score always belongs to the one who told themselves the least number of lies: Johnson 1, Masters nil.

“I don’t want to get out without a broken heart. I intend to leave this life so shattered there’s gonna have to be a thousand separate heavens for all of my flying parts.

Shattered heart