“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.
It costs too much sacrificing my peace just to gain another person’s trust and understanding. At the center of things, the problem is my willingness to choose someone or anyone other than me. I ran this race before and it always seems to end exactly the same. “Love” walking determinedly out the door, while my heart slowly breaks. The difference today is that I am awake. But being lucid does not mean the truth will be any easier to take. I will admit that I am not battered or beaten or in a progressive state of mourning. I am not waiting for this ugly cycle to start over again. I am better than fickle desires or suitors who can fall out of love without warning. I am not tied to anyone who does not want to be with me. I am a fighter. A notion of passion and perseverance that most people cannot even begin to embrace. There may be hints of dysfunction, but once I choose someone–my love for them is nearly impossible to erase. Love being the overused word when lust seems to be the honest answer for every feeling. Sometimes, we are forced to let go of those we truly love because they were not the right one from the beginning. And then there are moments when we throw them away because we are afraid and unable to see that we are making a mistake. Sometimes, we are so broken that love is the first thing we are willing to sacrifice when it feels like our life is going up in flames.
And sometimes, we fail to realize when this means we are being saved.
The world will not end when you will it. Truth is, it will keep spinning in spite of your protests. But knowing what I know now, I can guarantee that you will still not want to start over again. It is easy to say we will forgive someone when they hurt us deeply. But the actual practice is much more difficult to employ. I am tired of saying that I will do better and then predictably failing in the last place I was tested. Tired of giving up at the exact moment that I need to fight. But I also know that just because a person is sorry, does not mean you have to give them another chance to get it right. How many times have we made promises we knew we could not keep? How many times have our mistakes pushed us down to our knees? I have wounded others because I refused to admit that I was wrong. I allowed my ego to tell me what I needed, instead of taking inventory of the junk in my heart. I am missing my kindred spirit–the one who was scarred and battered similarly to me. At this new level of distance, I wonder if that person is even still listening. I imagine silence tells us what we need to know faster than any words could ever portray. But the only thing I wish I could change right now, is the fact that I pushed you away.
Winter is heaping an ice cold anxiety upon my will to keep moving forward. Most mornings are hard, and I feel surrounded by a darkness that desires to swallow me up whole. Deep down I know these feelings are temporary–that at any moment the sun will break through my windowpane. The sun has a way of shining its healing light on my pain. Still, I have to acknowledge the amount of energy it takes to be productive and consistent everyday. I wake up and pray. As soon as I feel this weight on my chest, I turn to the only one who can save. My heart is broken but you would never know it from the smile I keep plastered on my face. I realized early on that it does not matter who is gone. What matters is how I pick myself up and how I choose to move along. It matters that I am choosing to fight my addiction to tragic love stories and to patterns that have only led to self-destruction and grief. I alone am responsible for maintaining my integrity. Today, I remembered the names and faces of the ones who came before. How I have lost many things in this life, but nothing that was meant to be mine. Each person was a lesson that I repeated until I learned what I needed to know. Experience is a faithful companion, who fills my waiting heart with hope. But the sun has not come out yet–and there is still so much farther to go.
Every morning I have to make a difficult choice as an adult who does not always make the best decisions. I do not struggle to wake up. It is like I am waiting for the alarm to remind me that I have things to do, so therefore sleep escapes me. I am in a self-reflective and stagnant limbo. Watching myself from the outside and screaming at the destructive patterns that this unrecognizable person is struggling to control. I have known dark places and people who were enticing enough that I forgot to keep my thoughts honorable. Now I am terrified that I am the very darkness that I used to think was my help. I am frozen in a lake of broken dreams, trying to muster up my apathy. The truth is I care too much and not enough about the things that should matter to me. I used to believe that if one part was in its place then the rest would manifest into a beautiful story. But I have to believe there is some beauty to be found in this brokenness even if my ideal is dying.
What do you do when someone refuses to acknowledge your pain?
I am told to walk away from anything that no longer serves me. Because it is certain that a person who is focused on themselves cannot be concerned with what I need. In the past I have been known to compromise my self worth in order to protect another person’s sensitivities. Lying through brittle teeth and losing the ability to face reality. It is easy to fall into routine and drag yourself forward because your heart is afraid of change. We blame others for our foggy vision when we are the only ones responsible for our productiveness everyday. Every single morning I wake up by God’s grace and set my feet on the ground. I get out of the comfort of my bed in total darkness because when I rise, the sun is not yet awake. I push my disappointment and frustration to the back of my mind and sacrifice sulking in my grief because I know there is another human being counting on me. I can be wrecked and broken on the inside, but this does not absolve me of my responsibilities.
It is not about me. It is not about my issues or the fact that I allowed myself to hope for forgiveness and grace. It is not about how no one seems to acknowledge my pain. I am met with silence and blank expressions when it takes two to make the same mistakes. We wander in circles because there are two heads in the wrong place. It should have been easy to commit to the cause and stay on mission in pursuit of the things we want.
But excuses are the only thing consistent when you are running.
Nothing about fighting for a purpose is easy, especially when you have a long and difficult history with someone. We want everything handed to us without putting in the work. We push away the ugly parts of people and retreat when things do not go right. Forgetting that we too have parts that we try to hide from the light. We believe we can choose differently even though our soul is in agony. Fighting against other people’s opinions and ideas about what we should do and who we should be.
I ask questions when the answers are clear–blaring at me in a neon yellow display.
It takes two to work together, but only one to walk away.