I want to love you. I want to love the way you ebb and flow to maintain my vibrancy and my health, but I don’t.
I’ve tried—not as hard as I could have, but hard enough. I’ve looked at you, begging my mind to dig through the depths of the insults and criticism, searching for some measure of appreciation for you, but it finds none. It discovers, instead, a deeper hatred for you and the way you let those purple marks etch themselves upon the skin that covers you, or the way you let yourself become an ocean of ripples when I walk.
I love the ocean, but I don’t love that ocean. I love being connected to the sea, with the sand and water mixing and melting in between my toes, but I hate being connected to you.
I think there was a time in my life where I liked you. It definitely wasn’t love; some form of infatuation, maybe. I loved the way you changed based on how I treated you. I loved the way you did what I asked in those years before the betrayal. I fed you exactly 10 almonds for a snack and didn’t let you have any carbs after 3 pm. There was this one day when you demanded more; I was in 11th grade and I had just come home from school. I grabbed an extra handful of something from the pantry before you kept asking me for more, again and again until I couldn’t resist your pleading. I caved before the tears let themselves seep from my defeated eyes, the salty proof that you had won staining the fair skin of my cheeks red. I looked at the nearly empty can of cashews in my hand as I wondered why I had let myself throw all my hard work away just because of you.
I hated you so much in that moment, but I hated you more when you betrayed me in those years that followed.
The betrayal—that’s all I know to call it. If I called it anything else, it would be on me. I have too much pride for that. You gave me an ultimatum, life or death, and I chose life. That life wasn’t what I thought it should have been, and that’s why I can’t love you right now.
The life I thought I chose isn’t the one I’m living; you transformed without my permission and became my greatest fear.
I used to climb out of bed and into the closet, stepping on a scale that showed me a number I wasn’t ashamed of. As you made that number grow higher, I began waking up earlier. I rose before the world was awake, groggy and exhausted, and walked into that same closet. I didn’t want the world to know what you had become.
It feels wrong, you know. It feels wrong saying I’m ashamed of something that is, inherently, me. You and I are one, but I forget that. I separate myself from you sometimes, believing you might be the only one with anything to offer this world; I am merely your guest, living within the walls of your house until I can find a way out.
Sometimes I start thinking about the way I treat you and how I wish I could treat you, and the disparity between those two things. If they could just coincide in your favor, body; if I could only love you the way I want to, with love and appreciation through lenses of adoration, things would be different.
We could do so much if we were only on the same team.