I wanted to start this by saying “one of the sad things about splitting up with someone you loved…” to make me sound mature, ruminating and like I understood that many of us feel the same things.
Fuck that. This is about how I feel.
I would love if you identified with it though – it would mean that I am not the only one who feels this way.
I’m trying to think about how many details to give [without giving the whole game away], but I am sure he’ll never see this, and if he did, how he would know it was I talking about him would baffle me (purposely confusing sentence).
My ex is a coder… was a coder… as far as I know he still is. And in the two years we were together (and a slight obsessive period after breakup), I was really interested in understanding it… code… the “tech world”.
I am not a coder. I used to be good at and love maths, but learning about graphs at GCSE destroyed that love for me (algebra and trigonometry all day, every day). I often used my former love of maths, a topic people (wrongly) assume will automatically make you good at coding, as a tenuous link to having an interest in his love and (time-consuming) labour. I guess I thought it would be a way to get to know him better, or be seen in a good light by him.
Let me be honest, I don’t understand half of the “tech stuff” that I’ve come across, and I certainly can’t, and am not interested in learning to code to any particular high standard. I once found a “how to learn a language a week” book on my ex’s floor only to be disappointed to find that it was a how to learn a CODING language a week. Every now and then I think “ye… I was good at HTML 9 years ago… let me take a crack at Ruby, or Objective-C”. I love to learn languages, like French, Spanish, Japanese or Elvish, or at least bits of them and pretend I know more. But the reality is, whilst many things in the tech industry are fascinating, learning to code is just not for me.
I eventually realised that all I wanted was a cinematographic montage of me coding at a hackathon with a bunch of hot looking nerdy types, eating pizza, drinking cider, and high fiving over random shit. Coding in and of itself was not a genuine interest of mine. Part of the allure was the aesthetic – like everyone who may have been drawn in by films like The Social Network. Part of the allure was the FOMO or the exclusivity. I was attracted to it because it was elusive. Or because it was a place where he became elusive. I had this emotional tug of war with coding because of him.
But, I’m sorry, no amount of sexual drive will make you learn to code if you’re not interested in staring at:
for hours and hours and hours, making minute changes just to find the ONE mistake you made. Nah…
Other tech stuff does genuinely interest me. It does not interest me enough to really learn to code, but with a little bit more understanding I am able to make minor code changes, I enjoy reading a bit more about new features of things, and have become more interested in cyber security. In my last job I even ended up becoming the official go to for digital security in my office, which actually has some very interesting overlaps with my interests in international relations and foreign affairs. But let’s give credit where credit is due: an interest was sparked, and some skills developed, thanks to being in love with someone who had a passion for it. My initial route to the tech world was because it initially seemed like an “in” into his heart. (sorry for the mush).
And after the breakup? (Which, BTW was quite amicable … Just so you don’t think I am super bitter.)
Well for a while… seeing tech related things, which now seemed like they were EVERYWHERE, stung. When iPhone6 was released I felt a certain way about not being entitled to be around him, hearing him rant or rave about the new model and the new Swift language. I had one of his apps on my phone which I genuinely needed, but it would irritate me to see it. At a time when everyone was/is more interested in STEM education, particularly for girls and people (more often women) of colour, I would bitterly question why it was such a big deal. After a while, that self-piteous behaviour mostly stopped. I just felt bitter and pathetic.
I moved on. Even now though I can’t help but wonder sometimes whether my interest in things tech is genuine, or a last sad chance to hold on to something I have already lost. In thinking that, sometimes I stop myself from reading things I think might be interesting, such as clicking that link that is going to explore just a little bit more about the new Macbook release, or that cool UnIndexed project by Matthew Rothenberg.
I am from time to time a bit of a forced technological Luddite anyway. Like a hipster, I sometimes try so hard not to conform, and deactivate Facebook for a month at a time. I ignore Apple’s new adventures due to quirks in my own character, and not just because of the jolting reminder I get of my ex.
And then it hit me… so I can’t like it because of my ex and I can’t avoid it because of my him either?
FUCK IT – who cares?!?!?!
I love to learn. I love to have new reasons to communicate with or understand people. I love gaining new knowledge. I’m curious about most things. I pick up and drop interests all the time. I have gone through more phases than Madonna, at half her age!
It may sometimes make me think of him, and I may have come to learn about it, and spent time reading about it because of him, but to read about something I am not interested is not in my character. Neither is ignoring something I am interested in… especially just because of some, soon to be, long (partially) forgotten memories.
So basically… at the beginning I wanted to say, “one of the sad things about splitting up with someone you loved is that you have to lose everything you learned to like or love because of them”. Beyond not wanting to sound like a nob, I’m glad I didn’t say it, because it isn’t true.
There are some things I can love, that don’t have to love me back, and that means I don’t have to lose them until I want to.
Here’s to my future ex: please be a surfer. I’d really like to learn to surf.
NB: please don’t ask me shit about tech… 😛