Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Soulmate Question

I've always found the idea of a "soulmate" to be problematic. Mathematically and rationally, it makes little sense that there is only one person out there who is perfectly suited to you, and the one that you're meant to be with. And that despite the fact that this is a very large, populated world, you'll manage to find that one person who completes you, is the yin to your yang.

Because of this, I get a little squeamish when I hear people talk about how so-and-so is their soulmate, and how important it is to find your soulmate. Mostly I roll my eyes and contemplate how I can make out with the next cute waiter that walks by. Take that, universe!

Then I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book inspired me to travel and to write, and it opened my mind to many things I hadn't thought about before, including seeing soulmates in a whole new light.

In one of my favorite passages of the book, Richard from Texas explains what a soulmate is to Liz:

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.

Now that was an idea of soulmates that I could actually get behind. I have had relationships in my life that have challenged me so deeply that I am sure they affected the choices I made and the person I became. They all, inevitably, ended up in breakups and I know now that if I had actually stayed with any of these guys, we would have been miserable and ended up trying to destroy each other.

This is on my mind right now because the other day a reputable source told me that my ex-boyfriend, Goldsomething, is my "soulmate." And that even though it didn't work out last time around, someday in the future we will get our shit together and make it happen.

Now I haven't been this skeptical about something since the people on Lost started time traveling all over the island. Both circumstances seem equally plausible to me right now. Time travel or soulmate. Time travel or soulmate. I'll take Time Travel for 800 please Alex.

Try as hard as I can to laugh it off and forget about it, I can't seem to let it go. It's like that nagging itch in the back of my throat that I forget about for a moment before it hits me again and drives me insane.

Goldsomething and I broke up months ago when he moved away and we decided a long distance relationship just wasn't going to work. And although we remain friends and still care about each other, we've both moved on and are seeing other people. (Or in my case, seeing a very many other people in a not very serious capacity.)

So I guess the reason that this whole "soulmate" thing is bothering me so much is a while ago, for my own peace of mind and sanity, I had given up on the idea of Goldsomething and I ever getting back together. I told myself logically (as much as one can logically decide matters of the heart) that it just wasn't meant to be, and I had to let it go once and for all.

And then bam! With one little word, all these questions are back on the table and weighing on my mind.

Only time will tell if Goldsomething and I do ever get back together, but right now the forecast is looking very bleak. But even if we do, I still can't abide by calling him my soulmate.

I prefer to think of soulmates in the Richard from Texas way, that they come into our lives to force us to make a change, but then their work is done and you gotta let them go and cross your fingers for the best.

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