One of the things I miss most about being in a relationship is the feeling of being a priority in someone else’s life. Sure, I wasn’t always number one on the list but generally, I was up there. Any room I walked in to, I knew I had at least one person on my team. Someone to notice when I was sad. Someone for whom I was important enough that celebrating my birthday was important.
I’m my own priority now, and that’s great. If I say that enough times, maybe I will believe it.
This time last year I was crying at my cousin’s house in Ireland because even though I was with family that I loved and they had gone to the effort of putting on a party for me, I felt empty. I felt lost. I still do.
I sobbed quietly to myself on the flight over there because it was the first time I’d flown on my own in forever and as I sat in solitude and lugged my excessively packed suitcase around the airport, I was crushed with sadness that there was nobody to help me. No companion, no one that I knew was looking out to make sure I was okay. At said party, I sat, tearful, in the bathroom, wondering how long it would take for someone to notice, to come check on me. Nobody did.
Because that was one of the things I found most fulfilling about having a partner; I meant enough to someone that it mattered to them whether I was okay or not. And I know I sound selfish and whiny and I have great friends and family and I should just get a grip already, we all die alone after all, but I refuse to apologise for feeling like actually, maybe I wouldn’t. That maybe after two decades of feeling so invisible, people could literally see through me – that it would make zero difference to anyone if I wasn’t around – what felt most incredible of all was that during that time, for someone, I was a priority.
I’m not on his list at all any more. A new girl has taken my place – and that’s okay! That’s how it works! She’s his priority now, and me? I’m not sure I ever cross anyone’s mind.
Is it narcissistic to want to be thought of? To gain satisfaction from knowing I tiptoed through someone’s brain even though I wasn’t in the room? Probably. But that’s always been my problem: I possess the desires of a narcissist but the actions of a coward, too scared to be looked at in case someone actually sees me.
In just over an hour, it will be my birthday. It will pass like an echo on the breeze, unnoticed amongst the bright lights and screeching sounds of the day. It will pass by me, just like this year has done. The calendar has spun a full 360 and yet I am frozen where I stand.
I want to publish this piece of writing, and then passive aggressively share it. I want for it to be read, so that momentarily, my wish comes true. So that my narcissism is fulfilled. For a second, I am what you think about, and my self-indulgence is satiated, until your attention wanes and it’s on to the next. I’m alone again; carrying my own luggage, blowing out my own candles.