I knew it was time to go for a long time. I could feel it in my bones, the way they ached. I could feel it in the way my hands would start to sweat as I reciprocated the touch that would surely send me to an early grave. I had been an emotional cutter, addicted to the pain of my own doing. Shit, I was holding the damn shovel.
We often inflict pain on ourselves, don’t we? We hold on because we are afraid of giving up, so we continue to start our time over again. Every time I was almost halfway out the door, I got cold feet. The sudden chill would reset my time once again and I’d be back at the starting line, back at the bottom of the mountain and unable to find my footing.
Why do we hold on to what is frantically pulling away from us? Why do we choose to break our own hearts that way? The signs were right in front of me: the conversations were shorter, the happy days only existed in memories, the love unrequited. Yet I held on so tight, nearly burning a hole in my hands. I tried desperately to cover the callus that proved I was fighting a hopeless battle.
I wanted to be the one for you and I needed you to be the one for me. I needed it to work out because I had put my heart into this and losing was not an option. And in the process, the only person I lost was me. Who was I competing with? You and I had ended our season a long time ago, but I was at war with the universe and I disregarded all its warnings. Who did I think I was, challenging the universe? Challenging what has already been set in motion?
It took me a long time to understand this: Everyone comes into your life for a reason, but not everyone is meant to stay. We take fragments of people and spaces in our lives and fill in the blanks. We must use them, like puzzle pieces to create a bigger picture, even if what we put together isn’t beautiful. It won’t always be. I needed to put the blame somewhere else, to make you the monster. So I did. I needed to be the hero of the story, and you the villain. I did it for as long as I could.
I can’t tell you the exact moment I realized some pain was self-inflicted. But I can say it was the most beautiful moment of clarity, and I cried like a baby. I had been praying for help, yet I was the cause and the cure. Yes, there was some pain caused by you. But what we choose to allow after is on us, and it takes a strong person to take on such responsibility. Sometimes we are in so deep, who’s supposed to be in the next chapter and who isn’t gets kind of blurry. (Sorry, there aren’t any Sparknotes.) I didn’t get it right away, and I am still learning. Learning to forgive me. Learning to love me and take back my power. Giving myself the grace period I deserve.
I blamed you 100 times. I blamed you so much. I blamed you, but I broke my own heart. I’m so sorry I put that burden on you. I knew it was time to go for such a long time.