Photo credit: Maddy Leonard (Sept. 1st, 2015: Engagement photoshoot out-take)
Two years ago today I was supposed to get married to my high school sweetheart; the same sweetheart I wrote 9 Minutes about.
Today is one of those days where I reflect on the relationship that I have with myself; along with the relationships I have with my family, friends, and current/potential lovers.
I stress the importance of remaining myself; of not sacrificing a part of my soul to satisfy the ego of another. I stress the importance of people such as my Dad and best cousin/friend, the co-workers who essentially became family, and the people who spent time helping me plan and then helping me heal. I stress the importance of loving without fear. & I stress the importance of listening to my intuition.
However, today is also a day where I feel off. I tend to feel worried, stressed, and anxious. I’m on edge. I’m paranoid. I avoid certain places and people. I jump whenever my phone rings or a text message comes through – because even though his number is blocked there are always ways around that. I feel a deep guilt that makes no sense for me to feel because there was nothing I would have done differently.
It’s overwhelming. There’s so much relief, fear, resentment, anger, exhaustion, joy, and just overall emotional bullshit going on with me today that I don’t even know how to process it all.
You were someone who I deeply respected from the get go. Someone who I looked up to when I was younger and continued to look up to once I truly got to know you as an adult.
I told you all my secrets. I laid open my soul to you, but not in the most beautiful way. You saw the ugliest parts of it. You saw the part of me that was shattered; broken down from years upon years of mental and physical abuse. You watched me try to piece myself back together and you saw a me that truly hated myself for my inability to understand the why or how of what had happened.
You also saw something else. I want to say that you saw the beauty in my brokenness, but I know that’s not it. That’s much too poetic. I think what you saw was the me that could have been. The me that would been me if my life had gone differently and a part of me hates you for seeing that. A part of me truly hates you for seeing me not as myself, but as an idolized version of me. As your own projection of someone who I wasn’t, and someone who I had no intention on being.
The worst part is. I tried to make your projection, my reality.
I was fascinated by you. Fixated on you. I’d even say obsessed with you.
I changed my standards. I changed some of my behaviors. Some, not all. I wanted so badly to be yours. I wanted so badly to be the me that you thought I should have been, that I completely ignored the me that I was in the moment.
On one hand, you made me feel special. You treated me like I meant something to you. You treated me like I was worth investing in. You treated me like I had potential.
But, on the other hand, you made me feel worthless. You made me feel like I wasn’t quite good enough. That I wasn’t perfect. You made me feel like a failure. Like all the good things were just a bribe for my silence. A bribe for your inability to see me as I really was; A broken girl struggling to become a less broken woman. A bribe that was an empty statement.
“I wouldn’t say never”
How those words haunted me. How the possibility of a future with you clouded my present. How I stopped focusing on the things that I needed to clear up with myself. The things that I needed to get out of my soul and heart. I was out of my mind because my mind was such a fucked up place to be.
I wish you could have seen me for who I was. I wish you had listened to the pain in my voice when I asked you if we could be more than whatever we were. I wish you had heard that pain and done the responsible thing.
Because there was no way you were going to commit to me in the way that I desired and I know that you knew that was what I needed.
You were (maybe still are?) one of the few people who knew what I wanted before I even did. And I say that with true confidence.
I wish you had respected me enough to let me do the things that I had to do. I wish you had respected me enough to try to understand my thought process and to try and understand why I did what I did.
I wish you could have supported me, but I understand why you couldn’t.
You saw the broken me.
At the end of the day, I should have been honest. I should have been honest with you and myself. I shouldn’t have let my fear of losing you override all my common sense. I shouldn’t have pretended that I was fine, that I was ok with our situationship. I should have spoken up and I should have left you alone. I should have understood that you weren’t The One, and I want you to take that as however you want because honestly, there’s no wrong to interpret it.
I loved you with a love I didn’t know I was capable of. I loved you in the way I couldn’t love myself. I trusted you in a way that was unfair, because I trusted you with too much. I trusted you with the things that I couldn’t trust about myself.
At the end of the day, I put too much on you and not enough on me.
I want to thank you.
Thank you for carrying the load for me when I was too weak to do it myself. And thank you for teaching me a bit about myself and for reawaking passions I forgot I had.
It only took me 9 minutes to remove my ex-fiance’s handiwork from my bedroom mirror.
9 minutes to remove what I’ve seen nearly every single day for (give or take) 4,380 days.
540 seconds to remove something that I truly believed I couldn’t escape from; something that I told people that I didn’t even see since it had been there for my entire adult life.
Our relationship ended nearly 2 years ago. It ended with shattered glass and flashing lights. It ended so abruptly that we didn’t even understand the finality of it. He would reach out to me and I would look at myself in the mirror, see the words and instantly feel like I owed him something.
I believed that if you loved someone, no matter how toxic they were for you, no matter how deeply they broke you, you had to be there for them; you had to give them a chance.
I believed love was about taking risks; putting it all on the line and hoping for the best. I believed love meant sacrificing your spirit to make your partner happy. I believed love happened when a person forced you to feel their love.
I believed that was love and since they say “Seeing is believing”, I had to remove it from my sight.
9 minutes to remove what took less than 60 seconds and lasted nearly 12 years.
I wish I could just upload my memories in their entirety to the internet. Every time that I sit down and attempt to write out everything that’s happened these past few weeks it seems so hollow and empty.
My words fail to capture the background sounds of everything, the brightness of a color, the dizziness of illness, the emotional context of a heartbreaking conversation, the caress of a potential lover, the beauty of the world, and the lust for something different. My words hold none of the magic that those events carried with them.
I feel like I’ve lived these past weeks in a haze of booze, energy drinks, and shit food. Yet, I’ve also gone on adventures, experienced “experiences” (for lack of a better word), and stepped so far outside my comfort zone it’s startling to me.
I’ve danced in front of people like nobody was watching, I’ve flexed my sexual prowess, and I’ve experimented with my sensuality. I’ve learned to look at myself as an entire person and not just as a combination of parts. I’ve learned to care for myself in both spiritual and physical ways.
I’ve learned to appreciate my abilities to love, laugh, forgive, and move forward with the occasional backward glance.
I’m still learning though.
However, I’m going to take a more relaxed approach to learning now. No more binge drinking, no more drunk texting/calling, and no more contact with people I’m not really vibing with just because I don’t want to be alone. I’m dedicating myself to me and to the people who’s energies have inspired me in the most positive of ways.