3. Was the 3 times I let you call me the names that made my skin want to crawl off of my body. 3 was the number of times you called me when I told you that I never wanted to hear your voice ever again. 3 was the embarrassed looks your family gave to me when you decided to call out all of my flaws during Sunday brunch at your mother’s house. 3 was the times that my cousin asked, “Are you sure that he really makes you happy?”
6. is the weeks it took to wash you off of my skin when I was finally convinced by someone that I am easily loved by anyone. 6 is the number of weeks it took for me to be convinced that what I did in my past does not make me a person with less importance.
7. is the number I count to when I can’t think, when I can’t breathe anymore, making sure I exhale only after I have repeated the number 7, 7 times in my head. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-7-7-7-7-7-7.
7 is also the number of times I have said I loved someone and made the mistake of admitting I didn’t know what love actually felt like.
9. is the number in which I believe life is guiding my choices. I’ve been to 9 funerals for people who were taken from this world too soon. 9 is the number in which I truly believe will be the last time something bad happens to me Because bad things happen in groups of three but when it comes to me bad things happen every time I hit a multiple of.
12. is my mother’s favorite number, a number that I grew up believing only meant magical things. 12 is the number she used to describe her success which she believed were all trumped by being able to raise my brother and me into the people that we are today. 12 is the number of feet I believe I should be buried, just in case the poison that is my anxiety decides to seep up through the dirt, infecting all the people who claimed they loved me more than they knew they could.
18. is the age I was when I first felt what it was like to have another human touch you in a way that leaves scars and bruises, not butterflies and sun-kissed memories. 18 was the age I decided to be the best mother that ever lived, even if it meant that I didn’t become a mother out of fear of failing someone that doesn’t exist yet. 18 is the number of weeks I lived in your small house convinced that this is all I was meant to be, just a woman who lived in fear of the next time you came home stressed out.
21. is the year I decided to live for myself. To not live for someone who isn’t here yet, or hasn’t been conceived. 21 is the number of times I cried so hard that I puked my depression into the toilet at 1 in the morning, repeating to myself that it will all be over soon if I were to just man the fuck up.
23. is the number that I’ve decided to live in the now, it contains all the times I’ve loved, lost, fought and grown. 23 is the number that shaped me into the person I think my kids will be proud of and one day writes about in a book that no one will ever read if they have the choice. 23 is the number of times I’ve looked at you before you’ve woken up in the morning and thought “Wow I never knew I could love someone as much as I love you” and now I finally know what love really feels like. It’s you.