The older we get the more likely it is that we will choose to settle in and remain stuck in our ways. After all, what is more comforting–trying to make difficult changes or deciding to stay the same? I will not pretend to have the market cornered on messed up experiences. I will not even try to make excuses for my mistakes. We all had at least one thing handed to us that we wish we could have given back. For me, it has been my battle to eliminate dysfunctional thoughts. Thoughts that eventually make way for destructive action. And those actions that push others away. Sometimes I can see myself reacting negatively to an event–but I am powerless to stop it. Part of my struggle has to do with a lack of self awareness. It is easier to continue traveling on a well-trudged road created by those with a similar genetic makeup. Easier to run with the dysfunctional patterns that I was handed when I was young. I often cannot see that the patterns I am repeating are negative because such were the tools that were given to me. Anger was the answer for my wounded vulnerability. Hostility was my protection against the endless cycle of abandonment and hurting. Manipulation was the only way to get what I needed. For years I trusted in these war-like emotions to keep me safe from attacks by people who were supposed to love me. They were my coping mechanisms and my first steps into codependency. There was a point in my life when I had no choice in how I was treated or how long I would be hurting.
But now these emotions have become excuses for me.
Pull me back to reality. Because as of right now—I have given my whole attention to this alternate universe that only leaves me feeling incomplete. I stand up in my unhappiness, and look around. Seeing the anger and frustration I chose to bury.
Wondering if I will ever find my way back out.
Now, the ground quakes with rage and I know it is only a matter of time before I crumble beneath this pressure of my own doing. Eventually, we all must answer for the raw nerves we neglected to cover. But I am never given the opportunity.
When I am not actively healing, I like to believe I am living in a place where nothing goes wrong. I sleep through the night and spend productive days hoping to “do better” when the chance comes my way. I pick up my cross and carry on.
But I am just as broken as I was last year when I had to accept that I was on my own.
Some nights I dream of the innocent souls I sacrificed for illicit conversation. I think of the crimes I committed when I was unrecognizable to even me. Most people do not try to see the full picture. I am guilty of focusing on the side that favored my parts in the story.
It means nothing to say you will be there, or to pledge allegiance when you do not have to prove yourself. It is easy to believe you are the martyr, when you refuse to acknowledge another person’s scars.
I am guilty of caring too much about other people. And I am guilty of not doing more for my self. But I will set this Earth on fire, before I burn my light out for anyone else.
I used to pick fights with
the parts of myself that
seemed to resemble you.
The idea of me that lived up
to your impossible expectations
and the lies I told so often,
they eventually became true.
The difficulty I have now comes
riddled with self doubt because
the one I relied upon did not
know how to meet me half way.
Captured by your adverse opinion,
when all feelings are fleeting.
I will miss you, yes–but I know now that
I am not responsible for your unhappiness.
I will not cut myself open
because you refuse to let me grow.
I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.
The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.
There are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.
For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.
Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.
What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.
I am waiting patiently with bated breath
for you to tell me I am different. That in
all of the numerous love affairs from your life–
I am the only one you could never set free.
I crave wistful imagination and wide
set eyes of hopelessly smitten affection.
I wanted you to look over at me in
the middle of the night with
a vibrant sort of expression.
But I am the one who lies awake–staring
at the cracks in my ceiling while you sleep
blissfully unaware next to me.
From the moment that I was able to believe
in love, I always thought those who are meant
to be were connected by more than just feelings.
We tread the line somewhere between
wishful thinking and absolute destiny.
Stacking expectation until it all falls down.
Can we exist in moderation? Will walking
narrow paths fit our individual goals?
Or are we squeezing the right shapes
into completely wrong holes?
I honestly do not know.
I just hope we learn to recover,
before we are forced to let go.
Not a day goes by that I do not think of you.
Sometimes, I wonder where you are and let myself imagine you are available to me. Other days I shudder to admit the truth. I missed you on your birthday because I did not want to force the polite reply on you. You know how people you no longer talk to reach out on special occasions because Facebook reminded them to. Maybe you knew I would be this predictable. It is my hope though, that you do not think of me anymore.
It was selfish of me to believe people meant to be will eventually find their way back no matter what. Like this gave me a reason or excuse to act out of character and hurt you. Still, I carry my decisions with every ounce of integrity I can muster. Knowing that sorry means nothing when you hurt someone that deep.
There was a flame around us once. Pointing down the narrow path of self-control.
We may claim to be loving, but love requires us to be intentional.
I abandoned you when you needed me most.
The final truth I hold as distance forces me to let go.
Artist: Henn Kim
I can still feel the imprint of your ring on my finger, reminding me I am not alone. There may be no more messages or pleasantries exchanged—but my thoughts never stray too far from you. I never thought I would have to mourn you, while you were still alive. But I remember the shock in your eyes flip from anger to surprise after I threw said ring in your face. Our final goodbye. How I knew it was over that night in November when you did not come home the 2nd time in a row.
I say little about such things, because emotions have a faulty memory. Extending mercy when absolutely necessary feels impossible when the absence of love kicks you in your gut. I would twist this ring–the symbol of your promise to me–and wonder just how long the truth had been postponed. There was this one time I cried all night, trying to reconcile the gaps in my punctured heart.
Praying that there would be new life after the one we built together fell apart.
Now you stand in front of me, ringing the doorbell to a house where you used to have a key. I count the amount of days that I have had to do this all on my own. In my dreams we are stronger than ever with a bond that is unbreakable. But dawn wakes me from my fantasy and it pains me to admit you are gone. Prayed for the day God would lead you back home.
I watch curiously as the expression on your face changes from nervous anticipation to quiet relief as I let the distance from the last 6 months close quickly between us.
Sometimes the fight does not begin until after we choose to give up.