Tatiana Talks


An incredible thing happened to me recently. 

A few weeks ago I was sitting across from my friend Nicole as she went on and on about the One.

Nicole and I haven’t been friends for very long, and friends who haven’t known me since college or spent a night drinking wine with me on my couch discussing all of our past mistakes don’t know about the One. Mostly because I can’t sum our history up in a cute word or even a novella. 

So, as she extolled the destroyer of my innocence, I nodded and smiled and did everything I could to hide the fact I didn’t have 20 (or 20,000) questions.

Eventually, as is the case with all pain, my body eventually numbed, and I could stop faking my inner peace and actually start listening to everything she was saying. Which is when the something astounding happened.

The year before it would end for the and the One, Alanis Morissette released her song Thank U. Twelve months later, right about the time we stopped talking to each other, the song was on heavy rotation in our gym -- it is possible our strength trainer was also going through something at the time. Two lyrics really struck me as I snatched more weight than a 21-year-old girl should be capable: “How ‘bout me not blaming you for everything.” And “how ‘bout how good it feels to finally forgive you.” 

More than wanting the One to love me the way I loved him, I wanted to feel those things.

And, because you know I got through the stages of break-up with the One many years ago, I did eventually stop blaming him for every bad decision I made after he broke my heart and even managed to forgive him for not wanting to spend the rest of his life with me.

However, sometimes, mostly on nights when I can’t sleep, or when I hear our song or am watching Sliding Doors, or just finished beating myself up because I can still recognize him from behind, from 30 feet, I still blame myself for falling for him in the first place.

I hurt for so long and didn’t trust myself for even longer. And on those early mornings, in my bed, I think about how it all could’ve been different if I was just smarter. When my heart is throbbing under my sweaty tank top, both from running and his proximity, I shake my head and whimper, “You did this to yourself, Tati.” 

But, sitting across from Nicole, listening to her say the same things I used to say to my friends all those years ago, I realized two things: (1) my very smart, successful, attractive friend was falling victim to the One’s charms and, (2) it was time to forgive my 19-year-old, naive self for doing the very same thing. 

The One

A thousand years ago, my mom encouraged (made) me read The Secret. For those of you who have read it, you know will know how this relates, for those who didn't, basically, The Secret is everything you want you just need to think really hard about, and then the universe will deliver it to you.

For the most part, I think this is crap. But in the same way I don't necessarily believe in a god, but still sometimes worry I'm going to hell, at times when I am thinking about something and then it happens, I wonder if I made it happen with my powerful brain.

As I mentioned last week, I have been thinking a lot about my past, including past loves. And it wouldn't be a list of my greatest hits if it didn't include The One, because as the saying goes, you never forget your first.

Now, for clarification sake, The One wasn't my first in that sense (oh, god how I wish I could forget that first). He was the first guy for whom I had those feelings. You know those feelings. The shivers, the butterflies, the weak knees and the panties sliding to the floor. All which I mistook for love.

Back then all I knew about love came from romantic comedies, pop songs and novels.

And if life were more like a romantic comedy, college would have ended with The One running to me, apologizing for all the hurt he caused. I would have shook my tear-stained cheeks and responded that no, I was sorry for being so silly and stupid and fill-in-this-blank-with-your-favorite-cliché-for-a-twenty-year-old.

Then we would have embraced and you would have watched our happily ever after flash by in a montage of photos taken during our wedding and on vacations and at the birth of our two children as the credits rolled.

Fortunately life isn't a romantic comedy – it isn't that terribly predictable, nor is there just one person destined to make you happy for all eternity.

I learned that after I met someone who made me feel just as good (even better) as The One. Yes, you can have chemistry with lots of people, but that isn’t love. It’s biology.

So he is The One. Not because I still harbor any thoughts that he is the knight in shining armor I mistook him for in my late-teens, but because I was so convinced he was the elusive one and now that I know there will never be “one,” he is the only one.

Does that make sense?

And maybe because he was the first, or because I spent so much time loving him, I still recognize him by his walk. His voice. His scent.

Even 12 years later.

What does any of this have to do with The Secret?

I saw him this weekend. Actually I didn't see him at first, I heard him. But that is all I needed.

Same tightening of the spine that happened all those years ago and every time I have run into him since.

And for just a moment, as I passed him, I had to remind myself that it wasn't love, it’s chemistry. It isn’t destiny. It is two people living in the same city with common friends and interests. It isn’t magical thinking. It’s coincidence.

And to prove it, I spent the rest of the weekend thinking of CK (and occasionally Ryan Lochte) and I didn’t run into either of them.