it is hard to be brave when you’re only a very small animal
– a.a milne
sometimes i think it took me so long to finally leave m because a part of me wanted so badly to believe that some sort of goodness could be restored. somehow i believed if i loved him stronger, or better, or if i held on less tightly, or showed independence that he’d change. i wondered if i kept the house perfect, and his clothes washed and folded, and if i answered all of his phone calls and text messages immediately and with full attention, that he’d realize how much i cared. i thought that by building a relationship with his family, and supporting his habits, and giving into the pain he inflicted (the pain he constantly inflicted) on me… he’d want to be better.
i was wrong.
i was always so fucking wrong when it came to him.
i constantly looked for love in all the wrong places- giving into people i didn’t want to give into, acting like a disconnected, skeleton of a human being. feigning emotion, and faking legitimacy so i could finally feel something (anything) but broken. so i could make these poor suckers believe there was enough room in my heart to care about anyone- make these people believe there was room in my heart at all. i became independent to a fault. i was a fortress, a tower. an unattainable bitch.
and it kills me to think of that now.
because i am soft, and emotional, and friendly. i exude happiness and i think of myself as genuine. i won’t lie. i won’t purposely hurt, or damage, or destroy anything, or anyone. not intentionally, anyway. it makes me physically sick to know i’ve caused anyone harm.
what change a few years can bring…
i guess i finally woke up. i realized i was being unfair, and selfish and awful. i’ve tried to rebuild whatever has been lost- within me, in my life… moving forward has been a constant up-hill battle. sometimes, i’ve fallen down, and other times i persevered… but dammit, it’s been rough.
i am terrified of rejection.
and i think i’ve been settling for relationships that didn’t allow any room for growth, or change… because i am so fucking terrified of success- of getting better. of being healthy, and happy. because a part of me wonders if i’m just programmed to perpetually fail. i wonder if maybe my fate has it written that i am supposed to feel this kind of sadness and agony forever.
and that’s bullshit.
because i am blessed with a family who loves me to the moon, and with skin tough enough to get me through anything, and a heart big enough to finally, finally allow room for healing, and change, and love.
when i was eighteen years old, i remember bawling my eyes out in a friend’s arms. she calmly stroked my hair, as she said:
“all this pain is going to be worth something beautiful some day”
… and as i cried, and cried, and shook my head, she whispered:
“you’re so brave”.
i remember that like it was yesterday.
and when i spent all those years, peeling myself from between my sheets, to carry on this bullshit life i didn’t give two fucks about… when i constantly cursed my alarm clock from ripping me from sleep, i would sit up, swing my legs over the side of my bed, and whisper to myself, “all this pain is going to be worth something beautiful some day”. i would drag my feet to the washroom, awkwardly look myself in the mirror, and say, “you’re so brave”.
and i was.
and i know i don’t give myself enough credit for that.
but for the first time in years… something inside of me has changed. i don’t cry myself to sleep, and i don’t get angry when i wake up. i don’t resent my failed relationships, or point the finger. i don’t envy anyone’s life but my own. because things have started to change, and i have started to gain confidence, and strength- things that have been lost over the years, two things that had continued to evade me in the months after leaving dan, and attempting to date brad. the more i gave in, and the more i settled for a potential future that would have made me miserable… the harder it became to see clearly.
all i wanted was a little clarity.
and i feel like each decision i’ve made finally makes sense.
loving m, and leaving him too. taking him back, and hiding from him. surviving the abuse, and healing from it. quitting jobs, accepting new positions. moving into new apartments, leaving hastily. dating close friends i wanted so badly to love- to build a future with, leaving them- or accepting that they wanted to leave me. making friends, severing ties… all this incredible pressure i put on myself to finally get things right, and to stop fucking up.
and when i stopped searching for answers, and i stopped looking for love, and i quit forcing myself to figure out my life… things started happening.
an important job working for a french canadien not for profit organization, liaising with the french public schoolboard.
a half decent one bedroom apartment, located in my favourite part of the city i put a whole lot love and elbow grease into making it home feel like home- the first (safe) home i’ve had since moving out of my parents’ house in the suburbs when i was still in high school.
an incredible circle of friends who has (and continues to) love, and support me.. and be the backbone to the life i’m trying desperately to rebuild.
…and while i anticipate the next year being a whirlwind of chaos- a complete mix of desparation, positivity and change… i can finally say i remember exactly what this kind of blissful happiness feels like.
and it feels better than i could have ever anticipated.