Wow. We’re experiencing different sides of the same coin, she wrote me. I accepted (and fiercely loved) a man at his “lowest and most brutal,” as you say. And now I’m working to accept his rejection and move on. Good luck.
This letter was waiting for me in my inbox a few mornings after I published an article on accepting a man and my relationship with him rather than forgiving him or forgetting the love we had shared and endured and sworn by.
But accept his rejection? I hadn’t written of that explicitly, and yet that was what I was practicing. Enduring. To accept him was to accept the way he loved me and the way he loved me often teetered on rejection.
It’s all been rejection, all of it. As I read this reader’s email that’s the truth that really spoke to me. The reality that rushed in, that caught me off guard. The reality that felt like an unspoken truth that I hadn’t wanted to attest to.
Two nights prior I had almost snapped. Restless, I urged the world to help me by my message. Help me be my message. These nights are rare, and the pleading even rarer, but they exist. Even after writing an honest article about strength and acceptance, they exist.
Maybe they exist because that article came out of me. Maybe those restless begging-the-world kind of nights exist because there’s still so much of the story to tell, to process, and admit. So much of my reality relates to this other side of the coin, where the woman who wrote me is.
It’s easy to land there. Rejection is the first place our mind goes to and goes back to. It’s the easiest tale and rationale to cling to even if the clinging weakens us. Devastates us. Fills us with hatred. Hatred for another and hatred for ourselves.
This is what my article didn’t confess. That should anyone know my story in full, they would say, YUP… REJECTED. This is what I haven’t processed entirely either. That the love I have endured, that the love I have let in and let be, has been rejecting. It’s been lopsided and inconsistent and fantastical more than it has been shown and honored and felt. This is what I didn’t tell you.
This is the truth that I have only even just exposed myself to. The truth is I can have love for this man but I cannot accept living in his love. That is a fantasy I have only just let go of, a fantasy that I am forgetting, a fantasy that will be forgotten. I know I will forgive myself for ever believing in this fantasy, too.
As for whether those who come to hear my story in full are right about it being a tale only of rejection, this is what I know about that. I know that I can really only buy into that simplicity when I’m in this place where I’m rejecting myself. It’s easier to think that someone would push you away when you’ve been pushing yourself away. Your own feelings away. Your own care away. Your own thriving away. But our stories are all more than a story just of rejection.
As you move on, as I move on, as we move on, let’s remind ourselves of this. Of this moreness. If we can fight for anything, let’s fight to not be another person who takes the easy way out in their own thinking. Maybe I have been rejected. But maybe I’ve also been let go. Maybe I’ve also been freed.