You were a drug, you were my addiction, and you were my gateway. I believed in happily ever after. I knew heart breaks existed, I knew you could break my heart. It’s just when you are so infatuated with a person you don’t believe that they actually will break your heart. You see them as this person who will always keep you safe, who won’t tell your secrets. They’re perfect and they could never do wrong in your eyes.
You were my first. I loved you with everything in me. When I saw you my whole body screamed for you. I didn’t know at the time how rare of a feeling it all was. When it all ended I assumed it was just teenage lust, but now after all these years I have yet to find someone who made me feel the same. I have yet to introduce a guy to my parents that they loved. My family still asks about you, they still like you. That’s because I haven’t told them. They don’t know what you did to me.
“You’re not pretty, I could do so much better.”
That moment replays in the back of my mind every day, I look in the mirror and I see you driving your car. It was dark out, we were getting back together after you ended things. If only I had known you cheated on me to I would have saved myself a lot. You looked over at me at the stop sign about 3 miles from my house and you let those words slip through your lips. You didn’t show any guilt; you wanted to say them. You wanted me to know that I was so lucky to be yours. You wanted me to worship the ground you walked on.
“It’s really attractive when your hip bones stick out.”
Those words still cut me like knives. I was 110 pounds, average height, and skinny. The thing with being 5’5” and 110 pounds is that you shouldn’t be any smaller than that. But I worshiped you and I did what you wanted me to do. I starved myself. I magically had plans whenever my mom made dinner. I avoided food, food that I used to love so much. I was finally skinny enough, I felt skinny enough, and I felt beautiful. I felt that I was worthy of your love for once. That’s when you left me. That’s when you sent me a text ending everything after over a year.
I wasn’t skinny enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. I never was and I never will be. So I lost 10 more pounds. My doctor looked at me, “How did you drop 20lbs in a year?” “You should be gaining weight.” It was a series of questions, I blamed stress and working a lot. I wouldn’t admit it was you. How stupid am I? I lost 20 pounds in 5 months because I didn’t eat. I was close to passing out every day because I wanted to be enough for you. The problem with that was I stopped being enough for myself.
“This is your last chance to cuddle with me before I end things. Your last chance to make things right.”
You really knew how to cut me deep. I denied you when you said that, I sat with my arms folded on your parents couch. I kept my eyes on the television, I couldn’t bear to look at you. I needed to be stubborn, I needed to show you didn’t control me. But I couldn’t imagine being without you. I didn’t know who I would be without you. I let myself depend on you, I let myself be so captivated by the façade you were. I let you win. I hate losing.
So I rose off the couch and gave myself to you. I was your doll, I did as you wanted. I was so under your ridiculous spell. I was so afraid to lose you. To this day I don’t understand why.
“Everyone else is doing it.”
That’s how you got me to sleep with you the first time. I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t prepared for the sacrifice I was making. I did it for you. Literally. I did it because I was afraid if I said no you’d leave me. That was the first time I couldn’t say no to you. That was the first time I was 100% under your spell. That was when I lost myself, I lost the innocence I once had, and I lost my control over myself.
And here I am single and still haunted by what you did to me. I still have to remind myself to eat a meal. I still look in the mirror and pray for my hip bones to show a little more. I replay my first time in my head and all the signs that you were tearing me down. I replay all the fights when you convinced me it was my fault. How you told me it was my fault when you cheated on me. How I threatened to leave you and you threatened to kill yourself. I was 16, I was so innocent and had so much going for me. I never actually knew sadness until I met you, I didn’t know despair. Most importantly I didn’t know what it felt like to be constantly on edge.
No, you never hit me, you wouldn’t have dared to. Both of my brothers could have kicked your ass with a hand tied behind their backs. You knew that, you were smart. But you did abuse me. You made sure I felt worthless, that I felt nothing at all. As I look back on those years I see years where I was numb. I had all the life sucked out of me by you. I let you win. And as my friend sits on her floor crying because her boyfriend hit her and she yells at me, “You weren’t abused, he never hit you,” you won again. It’s been years but you still won, you’re still smart. People don’t see what you put me through as abuse, but they’re not the one who wakes up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, or trying to come up with excuses why I can’t eat. I still am not enough.
So to you on your wedding day. I won’t cry, I won’t be sad for the loss. I will be sad for your bride and I will hope that you have changed. I will drink a glass a wine and I will feel numb. I will feel what I felt for that year I spent with you. The next morning I will wake up and life will go as normal as it always has. I pray for your wedding day because finally the person who hurt me can’t come back into my life, I can’t go back to you. I can’t fall into your spell again. The day you get married will be the best day of my life, and the happiest of yours.
I will have finally won.