Remember: Pain Is Not Synonymous With Love

woman wearing silver-colored ring
Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

You don’t know who you are dealing with.

I am just the shell of the woman I never thought I would be.

After a summer at a job that taught me I deserved more than lewd remarks and uncomfortable advances, I was finally becoming. I was strong. I knew what I wanted, and I made sure they knew. I made sure they knew they couldn’t touch me; I made sure they knew I was a threat because women can be powerful,too. I was finally tasting freedom from fear and learning to stand tall in a world determined to shrink us.

And then I met him.

Isn’t it ironic that my strength was born from the pain inflicted on me by a singular person and that one person was all it took to take it all away.

You can only stand tall and mighty for so long under the crushing weight of another person’s pain. I became his burden and his blessing; he couldn’t live without me, yet all he ever did was tell me I should leave.

Being with me was a burden. I went from being the one he wanted more than anything to the last person he ever wanted to talk to. I was wrong for wanting to talk to him every day. I was wrong for wondering why he was spending the holidays with a girl who wasn’t me.

He always really made me wish I wasn’t me.

But he didn’t stop at telling me I was a burden. No, he made sure I knew how much of a buzzkill I was to him. I was no match for his drinking, and my existence became his demise. To him, I didn’t know how to have fun; I needed to relax. I can’t believe I ever thought he knew what I needed.

He made a joke about raping me once, and I still think of it every time I take melatonin. The day I met him was the day I stopped becoming and the day I started breaking into pieces.

We were going to get married. From the beginning, he always told me he would never break up with me (he did three times). Eventually he told me we would have a destination wedding but that he couldn’t pay for any of my friends to be there. That is a what they do to you. They isolate you and keep you all to themselves. Their abuse tells you that you are useless and that no one else could ever possibly deal with you; you are lucky they will even stick around.

Remember how it felt the last time someone insulted you. Hold on to that feeling and try to imagine how it would feel to have it wrapped around you every second of every day. Your mind is never free. Your body is never yours. And your heart? You tell it this is what love is. You actually believe that you are in love.

Love doesn’t think you are a burden. I have learned that now.

The last time I spoke to him on the phone was the day I was finally strong enough to end it for good. He told me I was a lying slut and tormented me for seeing someone else while we were broken up. He finally screamed c**t into the phone, and those were the last words he ever physically said to me.

That was the night I started becoming again. I started searching for my broken pieces and the foggy memories scattered throughout my emotionally exhausted brain, and I began to put myself back together. This time, I am going to build myself up stronger than before, and I will fight so hard against boys whose words aim to control me. Love is not control. And love is not abuse. I haven’t found true romantic love yet, but I know enough to understand that pain is not synonymous with love.

It may be three years later, and I am still incredibly alone, trying to navigate a world I don’t quite understand, but I know that I am becoming.

You can break me, but no one can destroy me.

You can always put your broken pieces back together.

And each time you do, you get to learn a little more about yourself.

You will learn every inch of your beautiful spirit, and you will see that though your pain may be astronomical, your rebirth is a beautiful masterpiece. TC mark

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