From 99 to 100

Sunset Hair

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
–          Epicurus

I’ll confess I have a terrible, terrible habit of closing myself off. Especially to men. Some of you may or may not know what has happened in my past, but I guarantee you that it has a lot to do with my trusting the other half of our species. A man robbed certain things from me as a child, and because of him, I have spent years trying to mend myself – trying to fix everything, constantly hitting the “normalize” button hoping that each “fresh start” would be the last fresh start I would need.

I run to men, let them fall for me, and then push them away. Sometimes it’s because I feel I am undeserving of their love or because I’d rather hurt them than have them ever hurt me. At least that’s what I’ve done in the past. These last few months, I have been improving myself, letting the past wash away, letting everything come out in the open so my friends and family can understand and embracing the fact that what happened to me has only made me stronger, not weaker. I have not succumbed to it – it will not defeat me.

Yet I’m still far from perfect. Like they say, bad habits are hard to break. But I recently went to a concert of a close family friend, and during the introduction to one of his songs, he said something that really stuck with me.

This song is about the kind of man I used to be. I would get involved with a girl, and she would have everything I wanted – that 99 percent, but then, I’d find myself missing that one more percent and I’d end things. I would push her away and seek out that one percent somewhere else – in someone else. And a lot of us have a habit of doing this. But why do we do it? Why can’t we be more than happy with our 99 percent – if you think about it, it makes absolutely no sense. We are giving up 99 percent of what we want to only get that one percent that we find never really makes us happy in the long run anyway. I had to teach my heart not to be so fickle.”

Side note: The last sentence is a semi-obvious hint regarding the song title as well as the artist. If you are smart enough to discover the song, check out the rest of his, too. He’s wonderfully talented.

And as he played his song, I couldn’t help but realize that it was a fit for how I’d behaved with men. I would have every reason to be happy, but then I’d essentially self-destruct and destroy the relationship I was in. Sure, not all of my relationships have been one-sided – I don’t have this streak of being a total bitch to all men – but I could never figure out why I would never let someone all the way into my heart. My heart never stayed in one place long enough to push through any instability.

I had the perfect guy – one that knew me and loved me for exactly who I was – and I ended up pushing him away. And I would sit there, in moments when it was just me and me alone, and question why the hell I acted in such an insane manner. Here was this man that loved me, my 99 percent – but I hurried past him in my frenzy to reach that one additional percent. Another person came along that excited me, that understood me, that had a past very similar to my own. And yes we get along great, but he and I share no foundation together. We haven’t built anything special; we haven’t shared countless moments of intimacy and love, and he definitely does not compare to my 99 percent.

And that’s when it hit me. Even though my heart had a habit of indecisiveness; even though it sometimes changed its loyalties with no rational explanation – I was never going to be truly happy with someone until I could stop being so goddamn fickle. One of the best parts of a relationship is having a partner – a teammate – that you have built something amazing with, and only your partner knows exactly what you’ve built together, and you can spend a lifetime appreciating that foundation and growing it into a past of memories, a present of laughs, and a future of hopes and love.

I know I’m not the only that that has dealt with a habit of forgoing the 99 percent for the promise of an amazing one percent, but what I’ve come to learn is that when you leave the 99 percent behind, at the end of the day, what you were searching for only adds up to one percent. It sometimes takes our hearts a little while to catch up with the mathematics of it all. And while some might tell me to find the person that will give me 100 percent (never settle, right?), I’d say that I don’t know if we can ever find that full 100 percent in another. Not because we don’t deserve the best, but because love, dating, and relationships are all about finding that imperfect person that can accept all of your imperfections and you can do the same for him or her. Because if a person was that 100 percent all on their own, what more could we bring? Love is about being imperfect alone, but being your own version of perfect together. Love is trusting that your 99 and his or her’s 99 – together – adds up to far more than 100. And if you don’t trust me, trust the math. After all, numbers never lie.

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