raising the bar
in a strange twist of events, it's storytime here at always greener....
once upon a time, there was a girl who always wanted to be married. she wanted it so much, in fact, that she considered its possibilities with every boy she ever met. even the ones she didn't like that much. (she later learned that this was, in fact, a result of her raging insecurity, but that's outside the scope of today's story.)
the girl settled for relationships in which she was not very high on the priority list, because she felt that if someone didn't make an honest woman out of her by the time she was twenty-one, she might implode. (really, she felt it MUST be true.) but, as things often go for girls like this, none of her relationships came to fruition.
around the time the girl was about to turn twenty-one, she met a boy who made all of her come to life. something about the things in his heart seemed so well-matched to hers that she was all too happy to overlook the multitude of practical things standing in the way of the two of them marrying and living happily ever after (not the least of which was a family who was strongly against this union). the girl thought that finally, something real and good and 'forever' was happening in her life, and so what if it took another year or two past twenty-one? she was going to have her dream-come-true after all!
BUT, the boy with the shining heart turned out to be more scared and broken than the girl even realized and, after a year or more of agony, things ended...badly. and then hope glimmered again after a bit more time had passed...and then they ended again...even more badly than before.
the girl walked away from the situation bruised and bewildered, wondering how it was possible that someone so 'perfect' for her could turn out to be so wrong. hadn't she waited long enough? hadn't she tried to be all the things she knew to be so that he would love her back? didn't she deserve something good - something real and beautiful?
for the next few years, the girl's heart slowly mended, but even despite all the time that passed, she never forgot the boy. she couldn't. no one else came even remotely close to meeting her gaze the way that he did. when other boys spoke, she could see they were funny or smart, but none of them had the spark that made her light up like that boy. you see, the bar had been raised for her, and she knew that whomever she would eventually marry would have to be as good...or BETTER...than the boy who had stolen her heart those years before.
after some time had passed, the girl found a lovely boy and they began a slow but progressing relationship, talking of marriage and children and all the things the girl had always wanted. and while she felt excited by this and hoped that maybe...just maybe...things would turn out in her favor this time, the new boy still didn't make the bar. don't misunderstand, though - she wanted him to. she wanted SO much for him to be the one who would finally match her MORE than the first boy. but he never did. and what was more difficult was that, in the mean time, the first boy married. the girl had her answer: it would never be after all. never, ever.
after five years, the girl's relationship ended. and, of course, her heart began wandering back to the first boy...to the things he was...and wondering what might have been. but something about the girl had changed. she wasn't that same helpless, needy soul she had once been. she was so much stronger, self-assured, even, and she didn't look at every man as a potential mate now. and, what was more, even though the bar had not moved from its place, she was beginning to know deep inside of her that the first boy wasn't really what she wanted after all. she had grown past that place, those desires, into someone who knew she deserved more than that. and she also started to realize that someday, someone would come and surpass that first boy. she found it a little hard to believe, but her hope told her it was so....
so, she began to wait.
eventually, just when she least expected it, a boy did come...and not just quietly, but barreling into her life...and before the girl knew what hit her, any thoughts of that bar were practically foreign to her. the new boy had shown her things and opened her eyes in ways that she couldn't have anticipated. the girl was dumbfounded. she almost didn't want to believe it could be so, but maybe her heart had finally found its match after all?
sadly, the girl was met with more disappointment...and a heart more bruised and bewildered than before. but again, something new and strong had taken hold, and even though she was sad and she cried quite a lot, she also KNEW that she would be all right. and the hope - which, really, was much wiser than she - reminded her that someday, there wouldn't be a need to raise the bar...that someday, all the things she was supposed to have would come together. but until that time, the girl was to carry on, holding the hope around her to keep her warm when the world felt especially cold and lonely (as it often does).
and whenever the girl sits in her quiet apartment, she realizes that, these days, it isn't so much that she just wants to be married (all imploding aside), but more that she wants to share all the years of hoping and changing and growing with someone who was doing all those same things while waiting for her somewhere in the world. and when she finds him, they'll raise the bar together.