Beautiful things do not require recognition. They exist on their own terms and in their own designated time. I remember when I could not recall my own feelings or whether or not these damaging thoughts were even mine. I used to numb undesirable emotions and busy myself with work that would never get done. Now, I rest on purpose and give my heart freedom to run. Instead of hiding hurt, I make myself painfully aware of the loss of my dreams. The anticipated Forever that began again in January. Now, my favorite galaxy cannot remember the gravity of what was promised or the hope of our mutual destiny. Now, I sit and gather all of my strength, while a black hole attempts to trap me in a solitary abyss. I do not want to try all over again. I want what I have chosen. All I ever wanted was one person who accepted me, completely. Someone who could understand that I am not perfect, but I never stop trying. Someone who would stand by my side while I fought to be healthy.
Our own, exclusive infinity.
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.
Dreams are hard to come by when you’re standing alone on an island in the middle of a turbulent sea. I remember there was a time when you were standing right next to me. Our days were happy and our nights were filled with routine–no one understands what it feels like to be ripped from this reality. Sure, I climbed a mountain without you and promised to wait until you caught back up. But the more I fought, the faster you forgot about us. I was attracted to this picture of two people who loved and never gave up. Grieving unmet timelines and promises that forced me to reconcile the truth of what I knew was not enough. You believed you could handle everything–fighting for us while abandoning your home.
But once you reach the peak of the mountain, there is no higher you can go.
I admire your intentional steps away from the object (or person) that is causing you pain. But maybe–just maybe our refusal to embrace what we are feeling is the reason why we have such a hard time accepting change. I learned early on that “strong” people do not talk about their problems. They give them a proper room in a cage, with three balanced meals a day. They do not talk or try to work things out, they run away. They reject uncomfortable conversations that make them call out their shame. They ignore the issue that is driving them insane. It is only after we can no longer contain the pressure that we begin to fight back against the source of our captivity. We start asking smarter questions and looking for ways to set ourselves free. After all, I did not ask for this prison. No one in their right mind chooses to be broken and subjected to exhausting cycles of anger and hostility. No one wakes up in the morning thinking about how they can create more chaos in their surroundings. Most of us just want to be free. This freedom, however, is a foreign concept. I have grown comfortable with being indirect about my needs and obsessively controlling. I have no idea where to begin to tear down these concrete walls or the iron bars that stand in between my pain and my healing. I am at once an innocent victim and the indignant warden with the only key.
And I will have to face the both of these, if I really want to be free.
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.
Better out than in they say, but dysfunction takes a long time to finally break. In my earnest endeavors to ignore the functionality of my pain I grew hard in ways that will never get better unless I commit to change. So I take steps away from thoughts and feelings that trick me into believing that other people are my problem. The only person I have the power to correct or control is me. In reality, even I carry the mistake of thinking that I am invulnerable. The truth is I am wounded, and in need of healing. Things that are broken can never operate at their original capacity. Cracks allow doubt and shame to seep through. Trouble is a constant barrier and denial is a coping mechanism. But if I take the time to address the scars I habitually covered; if I make it my business to come face to face with the dysfunction I wrongfully clung to–then maybe one day there can be healing for you, too.
“You will only prolong the pain if you run away from accepting responsibility.”
What hurts more than giving your all to someone and finding out it is still not enough? What kills a spirit faster than realizing you compromised everything in pursuit of someone else? What shatters a heart more definitively than fighting for someone who has a hard time taking care of their self? The answer is nothing. Nothing hurts more than sacrificing your self worth and valid feelings to the point where you can no longer recognize what you need. Codependency is debilitating. Instead of investing in my gifts I sat still while another promised things they would never give. At this moment however, it is not about them. It is my responsibility to address how I again abandoned my progress to follow a familiar dead end street. Same movie with the exact same ending. Me attempting to convince a heart to open up properly. Them trying to make up for the past I did not release. Me disappointing them and them disappointing me. It is all quite humbling. I thought I was well enough to redirect the dysfunctional dynamic. But I knew from the beginning my mental health was in jeopardy. So of course I am angry. Months and years of my life seemingly flushed down the drain. The love I thought would last forever is on the chopping block again.
Still, I have to be responsible. Pick myself back up and take care of my home.
Maybe if we both were healthier, neither of us would have felt so alone.