“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.
-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.
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.
What if I told you I do not really miss you? How, in bed I never creep to the side where you used to sleep or wish that you were still here with me. What if I do not wake up from nightmares that you are gone because your absence is my reality? What if I let go of you the way you let go of me? Some may call what has happened, mandatory redirection. They will tell us that we were not capable of love from the start. They will say the more we try to fix things, the more we will inevitably get lost. The problem is, you were already broken. Before you came looking for me you neglected to find yourself. All your energy spent in the wrong direction–trying to be “all things” to somebody else. If I have learned anything, I know now that I am equally responsible. I used to think I needed to compensate for the missing pieces you brought to my table. Believing I was the compass that would help you get where you needed to go. No one on this Earth can fill these heavenly holes. In my dreams, I question my own misguided actions. I do not try to carry your weight anymore. And in my aggressive quest for my own wellness; I am determined to show you, my jilted lover–to the door.
Every day I push away the effects of my self-inflicted heartache and turn the other cheek towards what lies ahead of me. Reminiscing on the past used to be enough but now I am invested in the things that have yet to come. It is typical of us to search our history–looking for ways to recover what we lost. We stand in the same exact place where he/she/they left us. Waiting for that same person to pick us back up.
I realized in this fantasy that I have already started moving. Even when I do not want to, I am led by a desire to prove that I can handle myself without being attached to another human being. Everything I have comes from prayer, hard work and an annoying inability to give up on the one person I cannot live without–me. Even when I am hurting I still find the will to keep going. This time, the person who left was me.
I guess this is why it seems like I am okay, because I was gone before the crisis came our way. I spent nights wondering why the person I loved could not love me the way I needed. Feeling alone in a relationship that was not moving forward. Sometimes, I try to reach out and make peace because I feel guilty for choosing solitude over stagnancy. Even now, the thought of being alone is absolutely terrifying.
But I cannot pretend this is not happening. I set these wheels in motion because I did not believe in the future my partner was painting. All I wanted was a rough draft in the form of a commitment. What I received were more ideas and promises–but never anything concrete. I began to believe that he was not really committed to me. And I am proved as much as he retreats from my life abruptly.
I am a fighter who will give everything even when I am not being met half way.
But it is a waste of time trying to fight for someone who does not want to stay.
I remember being assured that failure was not a permanent disposition. That mistakes made in earnest pursuit of the truth would eventually take me to the right place. Still, I endeavored to perfect my ability to get it right the first time. Who wants to drop the ball or try and then fall when there is an option to be the best at everything?
In early grade school I believed that I could handle it all. In time I learned that I had a broad aptitude for many different subjects, semi-athletic skills and a mouth that could fill in the remaining gaps. What I lacked, however, was that one specific thing that I could claim was meant for me.
Some people ran faster, scored higher and knew exactly what was in their destiny. I envied those with their heads on straight and dreams that were supported by their perfect families. I could not understand what made me different or why the idea of excellence seemed so far away.
I had a hard time believing that what was special about me was the fact that I was not the same.
As a parent now I urge my daughter to celebrate and learn from her mistakes. Perfectionism is a crippling disease and I vow not to let her inherit what I have had to learn the hard way. We all need to get more comfortable with the truth of our individual and beautiful flaws.
The truth about perfection, is that nobody is perfect at all.