Wow, I guess I never realized it starts so young…
Early on, children have to endure the sad, frustrating lesson that certain children may not want to play with them. They may not get invited to a classmate’s party and the child who they have a crush on may not like them back. In fact, the crush may even be convinced that the child in question has the cooties.
As we grow up, we continue to learn this difficult lesson. We may not get a Valentine’s card shoved in our desk from the one person we hoped would send their love. The person we pine after may be taken and unable to play, romantically or sexually, in the ways that we hope. The kiss we offer may be greeted with a turned cheek rather than the lips - or worse, an awkward wave goodnight. Or we may be taken and someone else may not be able to reach out to us, even if we want them to carry us away with kisses and dreams, or even a mundane Sunday spent doing the laundry and rubbing each other’s feet. The list goes on: he may not, as the book and movie say, be that “into” you. She may like you “as a friend.” He may want you only as a booty call and not as a soul mate. She may want you only as long as you do X, Y or Z.
These moments of unreturned love or lust may be tough. Scratch that - they may feel gut-wrenchingly sad, confusing, bare, lonely, and vulnerable. And yet they are a tough reality of togetherness and separateness. Sometimes the person you most want to play with - to love, to touch, to kiss, to bathe with - doesn’t want to play your game. Sometimes it’s even harder: they may choose to not even talk to you anymore.
And yet we can’t control what other people decide to do with their lives. Not only can we not control it but sometimes the kindest, most compassionate response is to acknowledge that whatever the other person chose is perhaps best for them at the moment. Maybe they are not trying to be cruel. Perhaps they know themselves quite well and they’ve decided that they can’t look into your eyes, take your phone calls, or come home to you anymore. Sometimes people won’t play with us and we are forced to be okay with it, especially if it’s what helps the other person to move on with their life.