the olympic games (part 2)
My Olympic journey started off oddly. After telling my ex-boyfriend and I’s mutual friend, Yazmyn, about how I needed a ride to the airport at 3am, she pressured and convinced me to ask my ex to take me. He had cut me out of his life at the end of April, 3 weeks after our breakup. I had made a severely, yet unintentionally, insensitive decision and got caught. It was just horrible. I can't say that things were more tense than ever before because we'd had our fair share of extremely rocky times, but things had now reached the point where he could not be friends with me, which was a big deal for us.
In an effort to diffuse our tension and pain, I had decided to immediately move out and move in with my friend, Saku, who had an extra bedroom that he insisted on not making me pay rent for. My ex and I had emailed about rent and logistical things, since that is the only place that he hadn’t blocked me. This, however, 2 whole months later, would be our first time actually somewhat hanging again.
Our ride was off to a light and awkward start. We made conversation, updating each other on some of the crazy things going on in each other's lives. The feeling when I walked away from his car and stepped inside of the airport was weird. Granted I was already mentally unstable due to my 1.5 hour night of sleep, but still. It was like my husband had just seen me off on a trip from which I would never return to him. Right before stepping into a summer of fun and travels representing my future and moving forward, a conversational yet awkward ride to the airport with my ex was a clear representation of the past and at the forefront of my mind. Well, I thought, no choice but to still enjoy this trip and make sure that I take home my personal gold.
June 29, 2017
happy 22nd birthday!
The next morning, I woke up 22 years old in a very generous stranger's apartment- my trip host and new friend, Jonathan. Happy 22nd birthday to me! I love spontaneous trip adventures on my birthday and always have. Growing up with a summer birthday, I had to hang on to some positives in light of never being celebrated by the whole class on my actual birthday.
Anyway, Jonathan and I weren’t strangers anymore technically, but the randomness of my circumstances still tickled me. Either way, I still had no idea how I would miraculously afford the rest of the summer trips or my August rent or find a new post-grad plan, but I felt hopeful. I knew that God would come through. I knew that where God had guided, he would provide.
Part of me still had one foot in the past, though. As a birthday gift to myself, I chose honesty and emailed my ex confessing that I missed having him as a friend, and letting him know I knew where I went wrong in our friendship in the weeks following our break-up, assuring him that I no longer lived messily. I had decided that I was done keeping things strictly business between us. I had recently started listening to 'While We're Young' by Jhene Aiko, and I started preaching her care-free messages to him via email. I told him that while we're young, we should just have fun. I told him that we should do something crazy, free of fear of the future.
Thankfully, my inebriated act of spontaneity did not go disastrously, and he expressed agreement and happiness. It turned out that despite his past negative feelings towards me, he had had time to forgive me. While I admittedly felt flattered and excited by his reactions, I still knew in the back of my mind just how sure I felt that we could not be together romantically, and I had never shared the reason with him. I kept my doubt about the decision to myself, and pushed forward acting like everything was okay. So we started somewhat talking again. He even unblocked my phone number.
The rest of my birthday went amazingly in New York. My new friends showed me a great time, and I had re-gained contact with someone who i knew I was incompatible with, but still loved anyway. For a long time, we were inseparable. Almost parasitic. It was the type of love that feels so strong and entrapping in the moment that you can't imagine a world where you break up. The type of love that reaches the point where neither of you make decisions as individuals; all decisions are made for the greater good of the relationship. The type of love where you both get so lost in the relationship’s doomed love that you forget how to love yourselves.
The next day, I began to fall in what felt like love with a guy I had met on my birthday the previous day, because he was also staying in Jonathan’s apartment with me. We spent the whole day jumping from park to park in Manhattan as friends, exchanging insane vibes. In an attempt to not presume that we were anything more than friends even though I was really feeling him, I kept it all platonic. Then, at midnight on a bench overlooking the skyline, he put his arm around me and the romance flew. It even started raining dramatically like a couple of friends falling in love in a romantic comedy.
So it was confirmed, I was now really feeling this new guy just one day after convincing my ex that I was a changed man. Flighty is not even the word...
We tend to neglect considering what else is going on in an Olympian’s head during the competition and training, other than thoughts of their professional dream being achieved. No matter how hard you try to ignore sources of distraction from your gold medal, you are always forced to deal with all aspects of your dream in the present, for the sake of your mental health. Even inaction is action, because your mind chooses it. Life is a product of one's mind and soul, so despite Olympic athletes' athletic physiques, Olympic competitions are primarily mental and spiritual games. Without a trained, strong mind, one cannot become the champion of his dream; he may win silver, but never the gold.
I had not lost sight of my Olympic gold, despite my romantic spontaneity. Thus, the question became whether or not my mind and soul were fully prepared for battle and equipped with the strength to fend off all possible attacks.
But what if it's an inside job and I'm the attacker? Who will protect me then?
To be continued...