I'm Done Lighting Myself On Fire Just To Brighten Your World

I’m Done Lighting Myself On Fire Just To Brighten Your World

I can’t remember when, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my heart slipped out of your hands. But when I left you, it didn’t really feel like I was leaving, it didn’t feel like the ending of anything. I remember finally feeling something the day I left, after endless months of being numb. I let myself cry pulling out the final dagger you left lodged in my spine. I looked around the living room, at that couch we finished so many movies and series on, around the kitchen, at the bar cart – my wine and tequila standing next to your scotch, at the table where we once made love, the same table I’d serve your dinner on.

I remember coming to, my face drying, my lungs being filled with air, as I stood there in a haze, staring at that table. I thought about how I always told you “no matter what,” not knowing no matter what meant you making an ocean of the things you kept from me, me being so lost trying to find the shore, me feeling more alone than on my own; wanting to hide from the world. I remembered saying “always” not knowing always meant us becoming strangers, sitting day after day across that same damn table. I thought about how I said “until the end” not knowing the end meant a battered heart, full of resentment and a tongue aching to say the words “ I do not love you anymore.”

And it made me think how I hadn’t been there in so long, my heart, my soul, my mind, even my body didn’t feel like it was there anymore those last months of our relationship.

Because I was always ready for the next bullet wound with you; conditioned myself to numb preparing my body for the apocalypse via knife. I suppose my love for you started to seep out from my pores, slowly, each time you broke me a little more, each time you hurt me a little more, each time I got closer and closer to numbness, because our love always felt more like pain than love, more tragic than beautiful.

Maybe I loved you because I’m a magnet to ruin, maybe I stayed because I was less lonely letting you do the things you did to me. I don’t think I’ll ever really be sure, all I know is that you hurt me more than I have ever been, and that you knew what you were doing each time, and that you enjoyed biting chunks out of me, putting me back together, only to scatter me again limb my limb.

You taught me how easy it is to bruise a soft thing, to rot something so full of love and life, to snuff out the light, no matter how little is there. Yes, I still believe in love, but you taught me that love can also fall apart. That endings aren’t always how’d you expect them – not always epic, or grand, sometimes endings happen a little bit more each day. I think I already had my heart out the door the day I left.

You also taught me that the worst lie any girl can ever tell themselves is that pretending fixes everything, that it’s difficult to tell apart pain from love, tell apart what is blood from the lipstick you put on to disguise the ache carving your entire face. Well you know what, I don’t pretend anymore, at least not when it comes to you. You were never as good as I tried to make myself believe. What we had wasn’t what love should be, I won’t say it wasn’t love, because at one point I did love you, more than I could imagine ever loving another human being – but, what we had wasn’t what love should ever be.

I slowly started walking away from you without realizing it. And I’ve been chasing the light ever since. No more tears. No more seeing your clenched jaw and shaking fists. No more feeling winter, sitting so close to you, feeling the cold exude from your chest. No more living in darkness, lighting myself on fire, trying to brighten your world.

I met someone with your name the other day and for once I didn’t feel like my lungs had been drained of air. He told me I had pretty eyes. You haven’t seen me since I left, since they were reborn with light. My hair’s grown a few inches and I dyed it again. I’m making plans for a tattoo. Those are two more things you don’t get to stain, that you don’t get to have. I’ve been dancing my way out of the girl you broke. I don’t feel like the ruins in your wake anymore. I feel more me and less ragdoll. I feel lighter, you know. I feel like I can breathe. The days come easy and you really don’t matter anymore. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Houston-based writer and artist.

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