The way you broke me all over again by trying to ‘fix’ me is beautifully ironic, I’ll give you that. There is something almost poetic about the way you turned my damaged heart into a home for yourself. You see, to you I was a terribly broken thing. You see, to you I was something that needed fixing. Where I saw my most precious possession, my heart, perhaps a little worn for wear but still beautiful to me, you saw a house with broken shutters made of betrayal and creaking floors made of mistrust.
I let you convince me that it wasn’t worth your love as it was, no matter how much love I gave you, it could still be better because it came from a broken thing like that. I let you regard my most treasured possession like a thing of disgust because it had been loved and damaged by someone else before. And what is worse, I looked at it with disgust too. Like I wasn’t good enough for you. I handed you the hammer to start smashing.
So you got to work, fixing creaking doors that would never quite close properly behind people and sweeping away cobwebs from places I had deliberately buried deep within the chambers. You roamed through the rooms of my heart and settled down in what you called a home. A home that was now, you said, worthy of your love. You stood back and admired the handiwork – my heart was no longer my own but now, your home.
And for a while, I believed you. And you and I we were happy. Happy as long as I was doing everything you wanted the way you wanted it. Happy as long as the quick fixes you had made were worth your love. Happy as long as I kept a big smile plastered to my face as you boasted to everyone how much effort it took to fix me up again, so I was worthy of love again, so I was able to love again.
As if I was an unlovable thing before you fixed me. As if you had fallen in love with the idea of me, not the person I am.
The way you fixed me was insidious at best. Ridiculing me into being comfortable with things before I was ready. Constantly telling me what ‘normal people’ are like and how I need to try harder to be like them. Saying you would leave if I didn’t try harder and harder and harder to be what you wanted me to be, rather than what I needed to be for myself. I learned that if I did not put you first, if I spoke of my past, if I even mentioned pain in any way, shape or form, it would result in you threatening to leave. The way you would refuse to love me when I was anxious, when I was in pain, when I needed love the most because in your mind, it was either perfect, or nothing at all.
It took me a long time to understand that I was a thing worth loving, just as I was. It took me a long time to know that my heart has always been a home, but for no one else, just for me. It took me even longer to understand that fixing people is not how you love them. Healing is not made of quick splashes of paint to cover the sadness, some words to stop the pain from being quite so painful, and words like ‘I love you’ placed like a new sofa in an old room hoping to cover up the bloodstains and heartache on the floor.
Healing is journey in which one fixes oneself. Slowly. Carefully. Sometimes with one step forward and two steps back. Healing is not a horizontal path. It contains cliffs and seas and mountains and all kinds of things that make it hard to travel. If it was easy, it would not take time, nor patience to complete. And to love a broken thing best is to have patience with it’s journey. It is to hold that person close on the nights when they wake up screaming. It is to understand that though the tears are here, they will one day be a distant memory.
Broken people are not houses. You cannot put your feelings inside them and expect them to be as good as new. Broken people are not projects for you to fix, instead, allow them fix themselves whilst you both grow.
The sad thing is, I loved you enough to want to hurry my own journey, to pretend that you had fixed me, to allow you to let me think that the damage was gone when really, lurking under the surface of my newly wallpapered heart, the damage was resentfully, claustrophobically festering. So one day, I walked in there and ripped apart all that hard work you did just to let it breathe.
You see, this is the trouble with broken things like me. You either love us broken. Or you do not love us at all. I am grateful that you chose the latter. Because in the absence of your need to make me perfect, I have learned to love myself just as I am so much more.
I have learned that my alone is a beautiful, forgiving thing. It is slowly filling these cracks and wounds inside me with love and healing. My alone is softer with my heart than your love had ever left it feeling.