“If you aren’t who I thought, it will break my heart.”
I waited for a miracle but when it finally came, I knew life for me would never be the same. They say, “when you see it you’ll just know.” But I was so captured by the mirror that I did not recognize the smoke. Surrounded by clouds of haze, I drew closer to a picture that I selfishly tried to change. Assimilating my life for a person who would never fully reciprocate. Sometimes, we are sold on fantasies of people that are not based in reality. Pledging allegiance to our idea of who and what this person could be. Loving someone, however, requires more than our subjective thoughts, conditional promises and fluctuating beliefs. Love demands commitment, stability and consistency. All things my mirror projected, while smoke masked the fact that this person was not truly FOR me. In the process of breaking my own heart, I fought for a relationship that my partner did not want. Crumbling from the pain of my loss, I was forced to recover my senses and stand back up. I was not called to stumble or remain stagnant under the weight of repeated mistakes. But I am required to learn this lesson and forgiveness is the first thing I have to embrace. The hardest part of this journey is realizing that I drove my heart forward without the secure foundation of my feet. If I am going to blame anyone, that person might as well be me. For trying to love from an empty well and negotiating my ultimate value. And forgetting that in the pursuit of love, smoke and mirrors will only hide the truth.
I used to be haunted by the things I lost on my quest to do better. Wondering if the outcome could have been different if I was healthier while we were together. Most say that I am famous for falsely promising forever. Known for giving away parts of myself that I can no longer control. Feeding tempting morsels to another believer, who is absentmindedly nursing their own black hole. If you ever dared to ask for my soul, I would have given you my sole ticket into eternity. I would have laid my destiny down as long as you were here with me. At times, I dotted I’s that were meant to be T’s. But mostly I just ignored the fact that I was silently suffering. I bled for a love that did not truly love me. The ME at the end of a difficult day. Or the ME that had the potential to turn ugly. Instead, I kept pouring my essence into an endless cycle of futility. Where one of us was always right, and the other person was always me. After so much misspent energy, I was left completely empty. Drained of my purpose…and unwilling to face reality. It still hurts to think about the promises made when we were happy, or the time I wasted when I should have been focusing on other things. Or the most important parts of my life that were damaged by these inconsequential feelings. I used to find myself asking, why me? What part of this redundant situation am I neglecting to own and release? Why is lust so unrecognizable and love so hard to keep? Now all I care about is removing everything he ever touched, including the most intimate parts of me. But if I learned anything–it is that erasing and ignoring painful memories will just inspire me to prematurely replace what I lost with something I do not need. And I need to remember how much this cost, so that I never have to repeat this ending.
I am not your enemy. But we have been on opposing sides of the battle for so long that this is difficult, if not impossible to believe. In the recent past, I have tried to give my full attention to erasing your memory. Tearing down any reminders or mementos from our ill-begotten history. What we shared is now scattered across the graveyard of suppressed regret. Still, I wander into new situations and try to hope for the best. I know I usually recover quickly–know that all this pain will fade eventually. As long as I can pull myself out of this bubble. This life was meant to be shared. We give our time and energy to others who we chose to be there. Unfortunately, confusion persists in my heart because the love I thought was mine has no concept of commitment or consistency. Now, I question if what I had was ever meant for me. But thinking about what I lost does not help me to carry on. It is better to release the weight. Quit fighting for someone who did not try to stay. In time, clarity will wash over the devastation that I feel. I sit in quiet and listen to the mess of my emotions which demands my full attention. It is in the midst of this silence that we allow ourselves to accept our reality. And it is this dark night that I can finally see – you were the one who never chose me.
-where there is love, nothing is too much trouble, and there is always time –
For years now my love remained committed in a box that would only open for one specific person. No matter what angles or hoops or blockades we were given, I was determined to stand up to any opposition. So certain was I, that I called every reemergence a miracle and welcomed him back into my life. After all, everyone deserves a chance to make things right. But when you get one, remember that every chance you get is tethered to a past that you (and everyone around you) may not be fully able to forget. Still, we all want the ability to dive back in–in spite of our valid reservations. We want love to reign without damage and hearts to permanently mend. The truth however, is that some people want to remain broken. I am learning the hard way that the pursuit of perfection makes one blind to their own stubborn vision. That I am entitled to my perspective, but someone else may experience something entirely different. And forgiveness cannot rest while you are bleeding out from your respective chest of open wounds and passive beginnings. You cannot win anything if your answer is to run every time you face a setback or defeat. No one emerges unscathed from the tragedy of living. At the end of the day, the question will always be….Do You Love Me? Those four words have stirred in the back of stubborn minds and brought together weaker individuals than you and I. They doubled down on their investment and chose to stand and fight. And since we get to do the choosing–I pray we always get to decide–who stays, who leaves, who is ours for the rest of our lives.
This is not our story, but at least we can say we tried.
“There is nothing wrong with being alone.” I repeat this phrase silently until I am willing to accept its reality. For awhile now, I have tried to hold on to the idea of having an additional presence in my life. The one who took on part of my load and chose to share theirs equally with mine. But it is not easy eliminating parts of your narrative and allowing another person to write a combined present with you. It is difficult for me to eliminate the belief that I do not deserve happiness. Sometimes, I would rather be the only one carrying my baggage–unable to trust that another will take the time to unpack things properly with me. It is much more likely that I will be left behind. I have lived with this perspective for so long that even if someone tries to prove me wrong I sometimes self-fulfill this prophecy. Today however, I do not question if I am worthy. I question my own actions and the “why” of my tendency to sit with broken thoughts that do not help anyone–much less me. I wonder what it will take for me to feel safe enough to tell the truth honestly. But I am also wounded by my last attempts at understanding. I am aware of my contributions to this codependent cycle. Aware of the toxic environment I created that thrust me back into the pit of my undoing. But there is so much more to this than the hurt I inflicted because of the past I did not fully deal with. More to commitment than rejecting mistakes or giving up on someone when they push you away. More to the feelings of disappointment that cross the line between hating someone and loving them in spite of their shortcomings. Sometimes a person cannot give any more once their well is empty. And sometimes no matter how much you ask for their forgiveness, you may never be given the opportunity.
From the moment I knew I needed to let go, I resisted. Generally speaking–I am queen of holding on to things beyond their expiration date. I glue myself to ideal fixations–willing (to the point of coercion) someone to become something I know will eventually break. It takes an unprecedented amount of energy to give of yourself to the point of your undoing. Sacrifice is a word of caution for those who have been previously scarred. In hindsight, he told me that it did not have to be so hard. The truth is nothing is quite as difficult as loving a person completely and giving them access to your heart. After you inevitably show someone your full ugly, it is up to them to decide if they want to remain in your life. One person chooses to start running, while the other continues to fight. Maybe we initiate conflict because deep down we know that something is not right. Maybe love is about a whole lot more than trusting if someone will stand strong and stay by your side. I was never more convinced of a dead end than when I was walking with a person who disappeared in the shadows while I was at the height of my light. And nothing is as hard as accepting that they were never meant to be the forever of my life.
I have a desire to be honest but the truth will make me appear vulnerable. So I choose to bury my feelings deep in my subconscious where they cannot hurt me anymore. The hope is that what lies dormant will eventually fade away. Or that there will come a time when I am able to embrace the necessity of change. After all, it is the heart that is most resistant. It fights in the midst of our self-inflicted pain and throws itself back into the fire over and over again. Right now it is fighting for me. Now, my heart fights against the fantasy it was sold. It grieves the lie of a happy ending. Now, it is working to protect the most precious thing I have remaining–my belief. I feel caught up in a bitter loop of broken memories. Trying desperately to suppress these thoughts that no longer serve me. I remember the last time I wandered towards the cusp of a permanent heartbreak. Numbing my emotions with spirits and physical interactions for which my soul will ultimately pay. Forgiveness still lingers in the atmosphere begging me to release that which I am struggling to forget. But the hardest truth we sometimes face with painful memories, is the fact that they are not done with you yet.