I remember bright summer days spent outside zipping through the yard on my girly kick-scooter and chasing after my brother and cousins on their macho bicycles (with training wheels!). I remember rainy Saturday afternoons spent inside pretending to be spies as we go from our headquarters and down to the kitchen to get cookies without getting caught.
I don't understand why some kids are in such a hurry to grow up. Ironically, I was one of those kids. So eager to leave these games of chase and pretend behind not knowing that these games will follow me into my (young) adult life. A girl can grow up and leave her toys and dolls behind, but the games we play remain with us. They evolve as we do and oftentimes, they end up becoming twisted adult versions of the simple games of our childhood.
I can remember the countless hours I've spent at home, at school, at the park, just playing tag with my friends and running around to my heart's content. The basic rule of the game is: whoever is "it" gets to chase after the other players. The it's objective is to tag another player. The tagged player then becomes the IT. Simple enough, right? But as we grow older, we often fail to realize that we never really left the chase behind.
We are still in a constant game of tag. WE are all ITs, always chasing after the next trend, the one "something" that we we cannot live without (but that's what he also said 163547 somethings ago). The more we acquire, the hungrier we become for the things that we don't have. And now, substitute SOMEONE/ONE for SOMETHING/THING.
The relationship game is a minefield very few ever really master. And for some, it's as simple as one big game of chase. Always chasing after someone who can never be "it" for you. The hurt comes when they do everything in their power to run from you even after all the effort you've put into the chase. But what hurts EVEN MORE is the fact that they let themselves BE CHASED in the first place, with no intention of ever being caught.
But tag isn't only about the "it". As players, we run to protect ourselves. We run and we are chased. For the ones who run, part of the game is taunting the "it" to chase you. A player can always move closer to the "it" but never close enough to get caught. But when the "it" tires and loses interest, the player should not be surprised when the "it" says "fuck this sh*t" and chases a different player. In love, you can only run and give chase so much before realizing that you're not the only player in the game. Playing hard-to-get in a relationship game is a gamble. You get close too soon and suddenly you're caught up in all the lovey-dovey stuff that when shit goes to hell in a handbasket, you're left with nothing but scars and a box of Kleenex. But if you don't get close enough, you run the risk of losing that person as well. A guy can only put up with so much before he decides that a relationship with you is no longer worth the effort of the chase.
One of my favorite games as a child was playing pretend: pretending to be a doctor, pretending to be a spy, pretending to be a dragon (yeah, I know, I was a weird kid). There are no rules to the game, you are only limited by the power of your imagination. I've always loved that about the game. But growing up, playing pretend takes a whole new meaning.
Human relationships are already complex in the first place but when you add pretending to the mix, it becomes something that makes absolutely no more sense to me. I am a hopeless romantic and I always thought when you meet someone, love would be cut and dry. I though wrong. Love is messy and complicated and, as Miles Archer from Colleen Hoover's book said, LOVE IS UGLY. You think everything is going right and then one day you discover a crack in love's facade. Curious, you decide to pick on that crack to try and see what's on the other side. And when the truth comes to light, you're horrified to realize that everything was just a lie. He was not who he said he was. And you were a fool for falling so blindly and completely for the version of "him" he only designed to show you.
Love and relationships are all about playing pretend. Pretending to care less. Pretending to not care at all. When we get hurt one too many times, we become jaded. Jaded enough to put up walls and act like nothing ever really affects you but inside you're still the broken girl left behind when he dumped you with his lies and the version of him that, apparently, was all in your head all this time. He was never really with you but you were so in love with the IDEA of him that, for so long, you ignored his cracking facade and patched it up with duct tape. But the sad truth is, all the duct tape in the world can't hold something that is just begging to fall apart.