Do you ever have those dreams about a past relationship or a person that used to be in your life? They seem to happen to me so often and not just about old boyfriends but friends and people I used to work with as well. When I wake up, it feels as though I was just with that person. I can remember their scent, their voice, their touch, it’s a familiarity trapped and then suddenly released and it feels so tender. These dreams come from nowhere, nothing triggered, no left over emotions pulling out what once was, just pure and simple coincidence. Its as if my mind in the depths of my sleep dislodge a memory and bring it to the surface and for that small moment, I can recall and feel every emotion I once had for that person. Its strange sometimes to think about past relationships, to know that at one time that person meant so much to me, they carried all my secrets, my embrace, my flaws, all of my love and within a split moment, all of those ties that we once shared LOOSEN and we slowly drift into strangers. I won’t lie when I say that curiosity gets the best of me at times and I sit and wonder what ever became of him… Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that Im not happy in my relationship because I wonder about my ex-boyfriend. I think that its only human to carry parts of our past close to our heart, it is simply the fabric of our existence.
I have always been extremely sensitive to memories, perhaps thats why I became a photographer. I have always had the need to make every moment of my life a keepsake. This has been part of me for as long as I can remember even keeping journals since the age of 10. In my twenties, I kept a journal called BREATHE and within that journal I created a space to house all of my past loves. It was a place where I could put heartache and closure to rest. Whenever a relationship was about to end, I would photograph my boyfriend (often without him knowing) and adhere his image onto a page and then write our story. I always understood that every person that had come into my life came to teach me something about myself. They taught me how to love, how to be loved, what not to settle for and when to compromise. I knew that by recording my life, it would help me grieve for the losses, celebrate the loves and hopefully learn from my past. Although it didn’t always work as there was a long period of time when I continued to date the same type of heart bleeding artist over and over again until finally I learned that it was in my best interest to choose a different type of partner. It wasn’t until I shifted my focus that I was finally able to find what it was that I was searching for.
Shifting my focus and reshaping the way I looked at relationships came from a piece of advice that I was given from my friend Silvina’s Father. He was an Argentinean man who had been married to his wife for almost 35 years. I met him in the midst of heartbreak over a boy and remember asking him, “How do you possibly make a relationship last 35 years?” He told me that it wasn’t about finding the perfect relationship because that doesn’t exist, what its about is choosing the right person. He explained that when you are young, you find love easy and you fall hard. You focus on all the beauty in a person, all of the qualities that you love and then you mould your heart around those virtues. Although those things are important, whats more important is actually focusing on the things you dislike about that person. You need to steady your gaze on all of their flaws, all of the ugliness and then you ask yourself… Can I live with these things for the rest of my life? If the answer is no, then the relationship is not for you because you will spend the rest of your life trying to change that person and resent them for who they are. Love, fair and simply is not enough to sustain a lasting relationship.
I always thought that was a great piece of advice because for a long time, I did love the wrong man and hoped that he would love me enough to change but he never did. I think a lot of us go into relationships thinking we can change that person and fix what we don’t particularly like. In the end, like any relationship whether it be with our parents, our friends, our work colleagues or our partners, it takes work and compromise and also acceptance for what is. Im not perfect in any way and clearly have my flaws but what I do know is that I chose my husband for all the right reasons. We are best friends, we laugh, we have our eyes set on the same horizon and want the same things out of life. Does that make my relationship perfect? Not at all and if anything I think the longer you are with someone the more you wish that you could go back to the place where you first met, the place where butterflies flutter and love’s abundance is endless. I think over time it takes consistent work, respect and appreciation to keep a solid love in tact. Sometimes I think it takes physically drawing a line from where we were to where we are so that we can be consistantly reminded of our journey and remember what got us there in the first place. There are beautiful landmarks in every relationship just as there are many places we wish to forget. However, I try to remind myself that no one ever said love was easy or that relationships were meant to be perfect. In fact, what someone did say was to steady my gaze on the flaws and learn to accept. Love is the core of everything, it is the heartbeat that keeps us moving.The loss of love can be soul destroying and its rebirth can be life changing. I only hope that my life continues to be filled with it and yours the same. xoxo