Copyright © 2016 by B.A Perry
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For all the broken hearts out there.
Today, I composed a list of all the things that I have wanted to say to you since the day we broke up…
Number One: I Want You Back.
There was something about the way you came to me and the way we came to be (in the first place) – I had wanted you, before I got you – like digging and striking gold. I had wanted you, so badly, I probably willed you to want to have me.
The way we were drawn to one another was like moths to flame, bats to caves. It was a necessity, an undeniable, inexplicable necessity.
I had wanted you and then I got you, and it’s hard to say who really chased who. Want like ours was two cats and no mice. Want like ours manifested paradise. You ran for me and I ran away… until I ran toward you and you did the same. And it happened so fast. We collided so fast. You became mine so fast.
So, this want… The want that I have for you is a selfish want.
I am a whole person without you, but somehow, your absence has made me feel like a fraction of myself. I am divided on this. We broke up, so… we must belong apart. But I don’t know how I’m supposed to carry on living with this shattered, useless heart. If I subtract the pain, and carry the two, the totality of the situation is that I still want you. Back. I want you back.
I am a whole person without you, but somehow, you were sustenance to my soul. Before I knew you, I assumed I was a bowl, capable of containing everything, but then you revealed me to be a strainer, a stranger to myself: how dare I go around classifying myself as an all-important container. A strainer? This means that you filled holes in me I never even knew existed. These holes only became apparent once you delisted from me, and so, the solution is obvious: come back to me, patch me up, make me whole again.
They get wider and deeper every day.
And these holes.
They make me want you back in the worst, worst way.
I want back the way you wanted me. We were symbiotic, beautifully symbiotic. I don’t get it. I don’t get how you could stop. It ended so abruptly, without warning, you didn’t even give me the chance to be ready. And that made me wonder: what is want? Is it always fleeting? Who is want? Does he leave once he’s satisfied? Where does want go? Is it to new hands, new lips, new breasts?
Do you remember how we met?
Do you remember how much you wanted me when we first met?
It is a moment I can’t seem to forget.
When I met you, I wanted you to notice me, and not only that, I wanted you to be mesmerized by me, because I was hypnotized by you. You were electric. You sent lightning bolts through me. You were the first person to set me on fire, to awaken that thing – that thing that all first loves awaken – in me. At that time, I didn’t have the words for it, I just knew, this was something unprecedented: you would be a moment for me. I want that moment again. I want that honest, naïve, unassuming, unguarded moment. And I know that was the old you, but bring that you back, please, just for a moment. I want the old you back. The you that knew me, and the you that I knew.
I want to be able to recognize your eyes again. They’re vacant now. They hold nothing for me now, and I can’t understand it. How? Not long ago, you would look at me with desire and longing and need and want. Not long ago, you would glance at me and that glance would turn into gaze, and for no comprehensible reasons at all, your eyes would follow me around endlessly. But I always just figured we must have been thinking the same thing: about how lucky we are to want each other, how lucky we are to be this in want.
I want to breathe you in again. Your scent is a rush to me. It is danger and perilous and overwhelming in a way that I enjoyed. And your scent, it is the smell of inexpensive musk and of stale herbs and of crisp wood. It is a scent that I will always know as my first love, and a scent that will instantly break my heart when I accidentally catch a whiff of it elsewhere.
I want you to whisper my name into my ear, followed by all the things the world beyond us doesn’t know – our jokes, our stories, our secrets. These quiet thoughts float between us. They belong to us. I am yours, and you are mine, and they are ours.
And I want you to brush your lips against mine again and again, gently, hello, hello, never goodbye.
And I want you to want to do these things.
But you wanna know what I want back the most? Perhaps surprisingly, it is the safety of your arms. The safety of your arms reminded me of the safety of my mother’s womb.
A place that was warm, tight, comfortable.
A place where only I belonged at that moment in time.
Time is passing us by. Each day that passes is another day that I have to be without you. And I wonder… aren’t you wanting me too? Judging by your constant status updates about how good it is to be free (I didn’t realize you were trapped) – and your recent picture updates featuring clubs you’re going too now (though when we were together, you always told me you weren’t into all that…). So I simply declare that all of that is not true and I tell myself that deep down, you’re lonely too.
Deep down, you must be wanting me back, too.
Yet, there’s this constant nagging on my back just as I step up to the mic.
And I realize: I must be what denial looks like.
Number Two: I Miss You.
I know you inside outside inside, and that is how you know me. The only future that I could ever see is the one where you would be my leading man. Like in Hollywood, I saw you running down the tarmac to stop me from getting on that plane. Like in History, I saw me sacrificing a nation and inflicting pain, waging war against our enemies until they decreased. Like in fairy tales, I saw your beauty calming my beast.
As it stands, we have taken too much of ourselves and placed it into each other. Like shoe laces, we are interwoven, unable to tie one without the other. Like a French braid, intertwined, so tightly, knowing that necessity is the thing that keeps us from falling loose, and apart, stranded. Like a gimp bracelet, intersecting, overlapping, the elasticity of your love gave me the freedom to be me.
With every fiber of my being, I miss you. And everything that you came with.
I miss the belonging-feeling.
And even though you were possessive and I was territorial, and it was a mess, we belonged to one another. And even though we were both jealous people, and we would exhaust our lungs shouting about insignificant things, we were each other’s problems.
And I long to belong.
For we were also each other’s solutions. We were perfectly placed, perfectly disposed to one another. Our pieces fit so well together, not in the way that puzzle pieces are carved to click, but in a clumsier, more accidental way; we were a city skyline – unplanned architectural mastery. Designed by the heavens, and you called me your angel – even when I was undeserving of that accolade. You’d call yourself the devil and I’d feel betrayed. Because for me, we were the same, either two sinners or two saints.
I miss the reassuring-feeling.
When tiny thoughts of invalidity would make their way to the surface, you silenced them. You muted my fears and made my dreams seem realistic. Optimistic words rushed out of your mouth like a canoe down rapid rivers. I never could criticize myself in your presenc-- Hush-hush, you reminded me to speak softly of myself.
See these little reassurances bred loyalty. See we were the poster children for loyalty. So I stood behind you and trusted that you would lead me away from dangerous things. So I stood in front of you so that you could follow me because I had foresight, a vision of our future, a path paved with success. So I stood next to you so that we could take on the world side by side.
I miss the feeling of knowing.
I was sure of you. I knew that when I looked left, you would be right there. I was sure of you. As sure as I was as day would turn to night. And do you remember the night you taught me to be in love with the moon? You taught me to trust something that would never let me down. (You hadn’t prepared me for the day you finally did). I have missed those nights. You became day. You became the inconsistent sun. I never knew how close, how warm, how visible you would be to me. I’m no meteorologist, yet, here I am: Hi, Moon. Can we chat? It’s good to see you again. You are so predictable. I know when you’re coming, I know when you’ll go. I know how full you’ll be or how emaciated. I always know you, and I need this. No more.
And, yes, I’ve seen the moon and the sun co-exist, hanging, for a single moment, side by side. Two of the most opposite symbols in the world found peace so why can’t we figure it out and find ease?
If this wasn’t meant to be, I know I cannot force it. It is self-inflicted torture the way that I continue to hope for a time around dawn, when I the predictable moon meet you the inconsistent sun.
I am determined.
I will stop missing you soon.
I have tried watching movies and cartoons.
I have tried hibernating and waiting.
I have tried exercising and gaming.
I have tried being with people and being alone.
Still, missing you is one of the greatest crises I’ve ever known. At first, it would be there all the time, nagging, chirping, holding me hostage. I was a prisoner in my own body, in my own mind. But then, I would be allowed out, moments in the garden, weekend passes. And then, when freedom came, memories of those times would grab me at random, and yank me down with such velocity, it would agitate my whole body. This rollercoaster. I’d slowly make my way up, up, to a better place, a freer place, and then, memories of you would send me hurtling the other direction. And that’s how I learned that every loss is not equal just as every love is not. Some shock, others shake you to your core. And the loss of you shakes me to my core.
I am lovesick.
How sick? How cruel? This feeling of missing you. Will it ever go for good? Will there ever be a day when I don’t miss the shit out of you? What is it to miss someone, if not a reminder of how much you love them, and if that’s the case – and it is – how come you don’t miss me? Enough to reach out to me. To tell me. You miss me.
When physical distance parted us, I missed the physical things. Yes, the hugs and the kisses. But, more so, the soothing motion of the tips of your fingers running up and down my back, and the playful brush of your palm smacking against my ass. When it was physical distance that separated us, we would say, “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you” so many times it lost all meanings – it became utterly diluted. And now, I would give anything to return to those days and hear you utter that diluted phrase.
But when the distance between us wasn’t this concrete, tangible thing, I should’ve known. I should’ve taken that as a hint, a clue to what was coming. It seems terribly unfair that you knew the end of days was near, and that I wasn’t competent enough to put the clues together as they appeared. I’m no detective, so… Maybe you had prepared me for this, but…
I thought we were endless, like the sky, like air, like the ocean.
And I am drowning in a sea of my own tears as I reach a quasi-acceptance. I guess I accept that you haven’t called, texted, emailed, or face-booked. I accept that maybe it really is over. But you are that one thing that I have always counted on, that one thing that has kept me afloat – you were my life jacket. And I have cried enough tears to fill my own ocean. And there I go, going under, gasping for air as my head falls beneath the surface. I am sinking. The water is pulling me down. My body only begins to feel heavier when I try to hold it up on my own. Whoever said we were weightless in water: lied. It’s only once I reach the very bottom that I force myself to stand up because I have reached a quasi-acceptance; and even though I miss you dearly, I accept that I have to learn how to swim on my own.
Number Three: You Moved On So Quickly.
There are two things I hate about breakups: the act of letting go of someone you’ve invested so much time into and the act of moving on from that person. Some may argue that this is the same act because by letting go, you’re also moving on or by moving on, you’re letting go. But I disagree. They’re two different acts. Two very different acts. Letting go is simply accepting that something cannot be right now, but maybe, someday, it’ll come back and everything will fall into place. But moving on is gettin’ gone; it is accepting that something cannot be right. Ever. Ever, ever. And I don’t know which category our situation falls into (oh, please, be the first) but…
What is this?
I can’t believe you moved on so quickly.
Your new girl is too short, too skinny, her hair is way too stringy. She is too everything that I am not. But If I am no longer your type, if you now like pears and I am still an apple, then you did not play fair because you forgot to let me know. Like a blackout during the day, I was in the dark and I didn’t even know. So, sure enough, it doesn’t take long before she starts marking her territory. She posts pictures, and kissy faces and inside jokes. I try again to accept that you have moved on when I am nowhere near ready to let you go.
Always the good soldier, I clench my teeth, grin, and bear it. Knowing that I can’t stop you from sharing it, I steel myself. I am impenetrable. But for those nights when I’m up at 3AM, and all my homework’s done, and all my friends are asleep, and I’m bored to death, I will block you. I will remove and delete you to effectively stop myself from checking in on you and your new girl, you and your new world. But one last time. As I say goodbye to you and your profile, I can’t fight this feeling of exile.
I am an outlander.
I see it.
You and your new girl are celebrating your one month anniversary for all of our friends to see – only for me to see, we’ve only been broken up for two weeks. Like a ton of bricks, it hits me. You were already with her before you had the balls to leave me.
I feel humiliated.
Words have always been my strongest ally but in this moment, I can no longer speak. This is a new battle. I need new artillery because my old defense cannot shield me from this new pain.
Suddenly, everything is a lie. Every love you, every want you, every miss you. I lie awake and think.
What happened to loyalty? Where did he go? When did he leave? Did loyalty come with a warranty? Is he fickle? Is loyalty only loyal to himself?
I was so foolish to promise my forever to you.
Forever isn’t real.
Forever isn’t real.
Forever isn’t real.
But now I see you promising forever to her. She holds my forever in the lengths of her arms, and I can’t.
Out in the world, I smile and carry on, wondering if anyone can tell I’m withdrawn. When someone says your name, I respond with a spurious “who?” Behind locked doors, I crumble because of you. I shatter into a thousand tiny pieces, splintering myself every time I have to pick them up, every time I have to put myself back together again. How did humpty dumpty survive this life? Of course, he didn’t get stabbed by a two-timing knife. I yank that knife out of my back, clench my teeth, grin and again, I bear it. I find solace in knowing that someday you’ll know what it’s like to wear it. This shame. This shock. Of not being enough.
I am burdened.
Make it stop.
Take it away.
I lie awake and think.
I am perplexed by your sheer disrespect.
You replaced me.
It would’ve been one thing if you had actually just moved on from me. That would’ve been painful enough. But instead you—you— I can’t even fathom you. You took this sweet, sacred love and tossed it in the grinder. Still I search high and low for a reminder. I justify you. I justify the time that we spent together – you loved me more than her, you gave me more than her. I believed I could have you back if I wanted. Stupid. It’s so stupid. Whether that is true or not, I get through the night believing that I fought for someone who’d fight for me.
I cannot tell you the number of guys I have compared you too, all the guys I checked out while I was committed to you. But the thought to cross you had never crossed my mind. So this comes as a shock to my system, and a joke to my mind. You have made me the punch line. And you hit me with your best shot. You pain me. It pains me that you are still electric to me, you still have that much of an effect on me. You send shockwaves through me. Shockingly enough, I am still susceptible to you, and it sucks. I am susceptible to your careless actions. I am susceptible to your careless ways. I am susceptible to being susceptible, when it comes to you.
I lie awake and think.
You not only moved on quickly, you moved on when you were still with me.
That is the mother of all betrayals.
The queen of all disrespects.
Your betrayal blind-sided me, and your disrespect has brought me to my knees. Whatever I just said about acceptance? Forget that. Like an eight year old, I have to call psych. Because I am no longer acceptance,
I am what rage looks like.
Number Four: I Hate You.
I never thought I was capable of hate, but I am. And I hate you. It dwells in my stomach. It burns in my chest. It sickens me. You sicken me. You are an incurable disease, you are cancerous to me. If forgiveness was the only way to stay alive, I would drop to death hating you — a happy demise.
Hatred haunts my dreams, and so hatred keeps me awake.
And I can’t even sleep at night because now I have to cross reference every place you were ever at when I wasn’t there. I have to think about every private phone call you ever took in the next room. Because I don’t know if she was the only one. All I know is, I wasn’t your only one. And it makes me so goddamn angry that you put me in this position, having to listen to other people’s bullshit commentary… about how no self-respecting person would… about how they can always tell when… about how quickly they would move on to the next if…
You had one job and that was to always choose me. You couldn’t even get that right. And I am humiliated because how could I not know? There should’ve been signs. Stop. I am driving myself crazy. There are no U-turns, no turning this thing around, you are a dead end to me now. I can only go one way, and that’s why I speed toward hate. Hate fuels the meanest part of me, and I want that part to be a part of me for as long as possible. I let it drive me. I let it takeover. If hate is my automatic and default setting, I don’t have room for hurt or sadness or angst. Even though this hate that I harbour for you eats me up, I don’t even care. It exhausts me, it has me running on empty, but I don’t even care.
Hate gives way to something else. As much as I don’t want it to.
I begin to bargain. What could I have done more, different, or better? What does she do more, different, or better? I wonder what it is that you to do now or did when we were together. You and her must sit around and laugh at me, for I was the all too trusting fool who fell victim to your love. But as Doris Day and my mother used to say “whatever will be, will be,” but reality check, she ain’t even half of me.
Anything, anything to make this make sense.
Eventually, I reach a thought that makes it all click. She isn’t a real one. Because a real one would never reduce herself to that of a mistress. And that is all that she ever can be. I know that I am a real one because I am me. And once upon a time, I was his Wifey.
I know I break her down to build myself up, but that’s hate. That’s hating you, hating her, hating me. How disrespectful you are. How selfish you are. How messed up you are. And how these things are becoming internalized by me.
It gets dark and cold in here.
Hate creeps back in. I teeter toward hate; I am a seesaw.
And here we go again, every time I think I have it figured out, you yank the rug out from under me. Now you’re trying to downplay the time we spent together? If it weren’t for that little thing called class, I would check you so fast.
We shared something undeniably real.
I will die believing that. I would’ve bled for you, instead you have me shedding you. I go back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. I’m fighting. I’m trying to prove to me and to you that we had something undeniably real. But you’re running around with these stories, tales of how we weren’t that in love.
You’re telling people you loved her before me. You’re calling her your true first love. You lie to them or you lie to me, and either way, I see, you’re a lying liar who lies.
Then, I catch wind of you trying to tell people I was crazy. Crazy? Crazy? Deep breaths, and one, and two, and three, and you will rule the day that you betrayed me. And I’m losing my head, losing my cool, losing the beautiful memories I had of me and you.
And I hate you so much I should be over you by now.
All that is said and done in the name of love is trickery. You are a magician and I allowed you to have your secrets. I thought asking you to reveal them would’ve been a sign of weakness. In me. In us. You pulled flowers from your sleeve and promised me you’d never leave. But you performed the greatest act of all, you are Houdini. I blinked and you disappeared on me. I carry the shame of being your chains. The handcuffs to your Houdini – You escaped. No, it’s much worse than that.
I’ve been hoodwinked by you and you’ve made a fool out of me. For this, for this and for a lifetime full of things I want to forget, I cannot tell you how little I care about you, for broken promises is all you are to me.
And you know, you’re the one who taught me that a broken heart can break again. It doesn’t hurt nearly as much as the first one did, it’s as if I learned to expect it. Picture this: hundreds of shards of broken glass lay strewn about the floor, and a big black boot stomps on them, causing them to split and divide, hundreds of pieces become thousands… but in a way, it’s sort of okay. The hundreds of pieces knew they’d never be properly whole again anyway.
So, you see, I hate you. I hate you for making me feel genuine hatred. I hate you for making me question our time together. I hate you for choosing her. I hate you for making me hate myself. I hate that you don’t even care about any of this.
I can’t let myself let go of this hate. I’d rather stay vexed because I don’t know what feelings are coming to me next.
Number Five: I Am Lost.
I had been prepared for all sorts of emotions, but I hadn’t prepared myself for nothingness. I feel nothingness, now. The hate dissipated – and after hate – apparently, evidently, comes nothingness. I am comforted and contented by this, and the feeling of contentment surprises me. I feel fully functional.
So, I decide to go out and see what it is you like about these clubs so much. The lights, the music, the vodka, the people – it makes you fade away. No. It makes you fly away. With my feet off the ground, I am superwoman. Invincible. Untouchable. I feel no pain, no hate, no anger, no nothing. And yet, when I wake up in the morning with smeared makeup and a dry throat, I am still lost and my heart is still broken. A reminder, a flicker of something in my nothingness. So, night after night, I go out and I fly. I fly so high so my thoughts never have to revert back to you.
And I love to fly.
The takeoff is the best part. It’s something about the escape. It’s something about leaving my lacklustre life behind, if only for a little while. It’s like I’m not tied to the earth anymore, I’m not boggled down by its burdens and heart aches. As soon as I am off the ground, soaring three thousand feet in the air, through the clouds, I am unconquerable.
And while I’m sky-high, I sample from the vast selection of clouds. Too thin, too thick, too rough, too plush. But finding all these new things that don’t suit me show me the things that do. I not only discover for the first time, with childlike wonder, with awe, I rediscover things about myself. As I reach for a cloud that is ill-fitted for me, I am amazed at my reach. My reach is greater than I could’ve imagined.
I am an albatross. I’ve grown wings, wings that flap through the winds, and wind that carries me. Wings and wind, and this is freedom. I never realized I didn’t feel free with you. I never realized I never inhaled with you. Alone, I have wings flapping in the wind.
Flying is fun.
Remember when we were together and you used to outshine me at every turn? I hadn’t minded it much. That’s who you were. You always needed a spotlight, always needed to be the centre of attention. And I didn’t. Or at least, I thought I didn’t. Somehow, I was always pushed to the outskirts and the background, an extra in your life, I lingered. You never demanded that I shine. Looking back, I wonder if this was an act of kindness, allowing me to wallow in my comfort zone or if my inability to stand centre stage made you more important. This flying thing has taught me to dance in the light, the centre stage spotlight. So, no, I’m not a wallflower anymore, and yes, there are new perks.
But flying is also… draining.
There’s an air of façade I have to keep up.
I’m the life of the party now. I’m the go-to girl for the good time. It doesn’t really matter what my heart is trying to say to me beneath it all. I shut it down. (For wasn’t it this silly, fallible organ that put me in this position in the first place?) And I stay up, not because I’m afraid to fall, but because despite the occasional fakery, flying is still kind of fun. So, on the days that I have to fake it, I’ll fake the fun. I’m not coming undone, I swear. I just fly, and move, onward, upward, forward.
There’s the occasional turbulence. The realization that I don’t know what you’re doing now or who you’re doing it with. I don’t know where to find you or how to contact you, but it doesn’t weigh on me. I don’t give much time to consider it – cause that’s the thing about this flying thing, I’m doing it solo. I’m finally doing it, flying solo.
And it’s good to be a pilot. It’s damn good. I call all the shots. I command. Things bend to my will. It’s an out of control that’s in my control. I can steer straight to the edge of the universe. I can do loopty-loops. I can do whatever I want. Even though I wasn’t trained for this, and I had no desire to learn this way, I accept the aviator hat and glasses, and I steer. Full throttle ahead. Alone. Or with passengers that never seem to stay for longer than a trip. Some pilots don’t need co-pilots. Some planes don’t need them. I’m neither vessel, nor a recluse.
But I’m finding I’m out of touch. I’m finding I’m just barely missing these pitfalls, these spirals, these whirlpools. And I’m finding this life, spending every day in the clouds, is an aimless, directionless, wasteful life. But I’m finding the one thing I can’t find is a safe place to land…
I am at war with myself.
Must a fighter pilot fly alone?
Like the perfect navigator, like GPS, one person recognizes my lost-ness (hi mom). She reaches for me and she brings me back down to earth. She tells me to fly for the right reasons. Because I am not some bird, I am an angel. And just like that, I remember who I am, and mostly, I am found.
Your Old Girl
It felt time to finish this thing to you.
Number Six: I Am Your Loss.
You are no longer mine. After a period of time, I realized this: You weren’t enough for me. I thought I was the problem, but to realize that it was actually you is one of the greatest liberations I have ever felt in my life. You couldn’t satisfy the person in me. You couldn’t. You just couldn’t. And I know, a satisfied person is a rare commodity. I mean, if people were objects, they would be aglets; the most underappreciated creation in the world. Could you imagine it? Me – satisfied – by you? Me – appreciated – by you? Could you imagine what that would do to the world? To our world? You couldn’t.
Sidenote: I have been blessed to know a few great people. So I know some people have it in them to be great but you do not. Because until you learn how to lead instead of how to follow, until you learn how to respect the sacredness of a woman, until you learn who you are, until you get real goals, you will never be more than the shell of a person.
Good luck to you finding another me. I would’ve followed you into the deepest waters, through the hottest deserts, over a cliff, into a snake pit — because that is love. Sometimes love isn’t patient or kind. Sometimes it’s rushed. Sometimes it’s late. Sometimes it’s a hungry, caged lion swiping its claws through the gaps between the bars. Love is a jungle. You called yourself a king, and I liked that. You identified with lions, and I was into that. It made me a queen, a lionness, it made me fierce. Where I thought I was Nala and you were Simba, I forgot you still shared the bloodline of Scar, a traitor. You traitor. And I remind myself: You cheated because you’re selfish, not because I wasn’t enough. You thought there was enough of you to be passed around, and there wasn’t.
I wouldn’t call you empty. If I were to call you empty, what would that have made me (your ex-other half)? But I thought you were the glass half-full, turns out when I turned around I found you were half empty. I poured myself into you. I gave more than I thought was physically possible. When the contents of myself ran low, I scraped the bottom to give you more. When the contents ran out, I chipped at myself to give you parts of me I didn’t have any business giving away. But you didn’t hold the pieces I was breaking myself to give you sacred.
You, unlike our love, were insatiable. After a while, loving you became obligatory and our love became stale. And that’s where things criss-crossed. Obligatory and satiable instead of hungry, greedy or passionate. Every day, I want to wake up and decide to choose the person I love. I don’t know if you couldn’t do that, but you didn’t. If I’m honest. Neither did I, so. Our connection deteriorated. Before I had the chance to hire a serviceperson to assess the problem, you had already moved on.
I really don’t know how I could’ve loved you. I don’t know how I could’ve been so wrong choosing you. I don’t know how you could have had the audacity to choose me! It’s almost insulting, but perspective is altering. It feels so good to remove the foggy goggles and see you. You probably didn’t know or you probably forgot that I am slightly far-sighted. That’s probably the reason why I never saw you for who you really are, and the reason why when I scrutinized you under a magnifying glass, you didn’t hold up. Perspective is like you, perspective is a liar.
My heart has seen the bottom of more soles than a sidewalk in New York. I said, my heart has seen the bottom of more souls than a reaper who does this kind of thing for work. And oh, you tried to leave me for dead. And oh, I’ve got all the things you last said about who I would never be and what I could never become without you bouncing around all in my head, but look at me. My hair is longer, my skin is clearer, my teeth are whiter and I am one hundred and eighty pounds lighter (if that’s still what you weigh…).
So I am purging you, and after that, I will never think of you again.
You lucked out the first time you got me. I will give you that. It’s just, now I realize, when I was with you, it wasn’t always lollipops and daisies. I did backflips and somersaults to impress you, and you wouldn’t even tumble for me. Tumbleweed. More times than not, I was waiting for the rain. Like spring time. Just before the flowers bloom. Only we weren’t buds first. We skipped that part and went straight to the part that was supposed to be beautiful. The blossom. Only a blossomed flower always dies when the season changes. And it is a new season – but I am not dying, I am bloomed, here now, finally seeing you for who you truly are. This new season isn’t death, it’s rebirth, and perspective is everything, and the pit in my stomach shrinks. Because you have made it so much easier for me to weed out the fakes, the hustlers, the wannabes, the never gonna-be’s.
And I am your loss.
I am the person you will measure every relationship against, maybe just by coincidence that I came first. But you will always think of me fondly because I treated you with respect. I treated you right. And as I purify my thoughts of you, I find pleasure in knowing you will never be able to filter me out because I was first, and I never did anything to damage you.
I have tussled with this thing called hindsight. I am a better person in spite of you. You didn’t make me good (I thought you did). You didn’t make me whole (I swear to God I thought you did). And I thought these things ‘cause you implied them.
I don’t think of you every day anymore. You don’t consume me anymore, and thank goodness for that. The next time someone consumes me, I will make sure they aren’t rotten inside, broken to the core. Everything you touch turns to trash, and that is why I don’t want your hands to touch me anymore.
I see you now and I don’t see the person I fell for. So I’m finally reclaiming the pieces of me I gave you to hold. And I am your loss because whereas I gave you gold, you gave me dust… and trust issues.
Number Seven: Love Is Different For Me Now.
I understand now that all people have two faces. The one you can know and the one you can’t. The demons you can know and the ones that will take you by surprise. And I’ll always have to compare it, to watch for it, to search for it. Even then, even on guard, I know there’s a possibility I could miss it. The reward will always have to feel greater than the risk. Love is a game. This is a sad truth. I didn’t want to be a player, but love left me no choice. If I don’t begin to navigate my opponents and strategize a battle plan, I’ll lose. I’ll have to surrender. I’ll be the first one down, and the first one out. That is no longer a risk I’m willing to take.
I loved you more than you loved me. This isn’t up for debate. You were a pro and you conned me, so we don’t need to go back and forth on this. This is a mistake I can’t make again. I can’t fathom loving someone more than they love me ever again. And I used to love hard. Now, I look for easy, everyone I choose has to be easy-going. This love comes with conditions, now. Now, I keep score. I can’t do more for love than love does for me. And now, this love expires. I will never utter the word forever unless it’s to rebut it.
Love is different for me now.
I almost don’t want it now. Almost.
I’ve spent so long dwelling on all the bad bits that I can’t remember if there were any good parts. In my mind, I’ve taken every good memory of you and twisted it, made it sinister, trying to prove you never loved me.
But I know there had to be good parts, and that is why I say, “almost.”
So, I hope when love comes to me again, it doesn’t come to me like you did. I hope it comes slowly. In fact, I hope love lives on the other side of the world and has trouble catching planes, trains, and boats to get to me. I hope love’s car breaks down. Fifty times. At least.
I don’t know what love will look like the next time it appears. It could be better groomed, it could have a weak sense of humor, it could be shorter than me. I’m not excited to find out. There is no rush. Because all I can think about is that this new love will be like me, it will be lugging luggage from a previous love. It won’t be pure and innocent and unassuming. It will be cautious. And is cautious love a love I want?
Love is different for me now.
I am different… I am scared.
For a while, I was scared that you would want me again (I didn’t know if I would be able to say no to you then), but the fact of the matter is, you don’t know me anymore. You can only know the tiniest pieces of what I allow you to see, but I will never be transparent to you ever again. People tell me that watching us was like watching a bunny get devoured by a wolf. But wolves only belong one place – in the wild. You will never again have the chance to destroy me with that smile. I will leave every bridge burned, and every stone turned, and you will never find your way back to me. I will crack every compass, and cover my tracks, and you will never be able to find me. You are a lost boy and I am a true north, and you will never be able to find me.
And I am scared.
I am scared that love will never be able to find me. I am scared that he will cheat on me too. I’m scared that no one will fight hard enough for me. I’m scared that he will find that the bricks that build the walls around my heart are too heavy or that the deck that he has been dealt is defected; it’s missing a few key cards, like the queen of hearts. But mostly, I’m scared I won’t recognize love again. When love walks into the bar – tall, dark, and handsome… when love turns into my favourite aisle at the grocery store – searching for me, I won’t recognize it.
I’m scared that even after love identifies itself as love, I won’t believe it. Even if I want to believe love – there will be this invisible thing between us whispering liar.
Love is different for me now, and that’s love’s fault. Love was romanticized. Love was promised to me as good. Who can I blame for this deception, but the deceit-er. Movies, modern fairy tales, and couples who stood the test of time promised me a happy ending. And it has felt like the end many times. For this, love is to blame.
But I am not happy yet, so maybe, this isn’t the end. It’s one end, but it isn’t the end.
And yes, love is so different now, but it isn’t gone. It hasn’t vanished entirely. When you left, it stayed behind. It didn’t stay for you though, it stayed for me.
Number Eight: Yes, I Am Over You.
But you finally called and texted and emailed and face-booked. Isn’t that something? I guess you heard about the date that I went on last night. When you asked how it was – I lied. It didn’t go well. It didn’t go well because I wasn’t open enough. I wouldn’t take down every brick of my wall that you forced me to build. I wouldn’t show my date every card in my deck that you forced me to hide. When I got home last night, I cried. It was the first time in a long time since our breakup that I cried. But this time, I didn’t cry over you. I cried over the traces of you. No matter where I go, no matter who I would be with – traces of our wrecked love story would always haunt my future relationships.
We are a sunken ship and there are no survivors.
We are the Flying Dutchman, doomed to never make it to port, fated to never make it work.
I am a ghost to you now.
You cannot affect me.
I get that now.
So, I will stay away from you.
I will be the water to your oil, I will always rise above you.
I will be seventeenth century treasure to your lazy pirate, I will be unfindable.
And I will make you stay away from me.
I will be the mouse to your elephant, I will always send you running the other direction.
I will be the repellent to your mosquito, I will never be anything but poisonous to you.
Not because of hate.
I don’t hate you.
I don’t even hate that I loved you.
I just know that I will never want, miss, hate, or love you, ever again.
You get nothing from me.
That is why I will stay away from you like the brilliant stars in the night sky that never touch the earth.
The world is so vast.
I can see that now.
Now that I go weeks without thinking of you – months even, and this place is beautiful. This place is paradise. I manifested paradise on my own.
I don’t carry that dead love I had for you with me anymore.
I’ve got too many other things to carry. I’ve got my dignity, my pride, my self-respect, and my self-love, and these things, they’re a lot, but they’re light. I am light as a feather in comparison to what I used to carry for you.
And where my first date was a natural disaster, my second and third went by a lot faster.
We went to an exquisite art exhibit and I still felt like the most beautiful thing in the building. Even though I didn’t get a look behind the scenes, I realized I didn’t need too. We only spoke about the future.
We went to an ice cream parlour, and I was overwhelmed by the number of flavours. So many options. So many choices. I used to hate these moments – because a choice brought about your voice in my head, but out on this date… it didn’t. You were gone. So I chose three flavours I’d never tried before, and let me tell you, they tasted awful together. But we laughed together, and it was great.
And either you see this new me, or you see me out on these new dates. How is that girl you put in my place? Don’t answer that, I actually don’t care – God brought me peace after I sent up a prayer. Prayer’s go up, blessings rain down. I’ve become a queen again and created a new crown. This one suits me better than the one you handed me did. This one comes without the conditions the one you handed me had.
Karma is another queen who wears a crown, and she finally came around.
And I find it really funny that you are trying to come back to me now.
When you said you were done with me, it killed me. You killed me. Somehow, I found a way to live again. I didn’t resurrect so you could kill me again.
I stand alone now.
I am gravity, I hold myself down now.
And I hold myself up.
It’s last call at the bar, but for once, I’m not stumbling out, dazed and confused. I’m strutting to my car, and I see you from afar, and it does nothing to me.
In the future, please keep your “I miss you” and “I made a mistake” and “I still love you” messages to yourself. And if for some odd, odd, odd reason, I ever again get the urge to say something like that to you, I will do the same.
Boy, I am over you like the do not break seal atop a glass container. I used to think that I would never be a container again, that the new wholes you left in me would never patch themselves up, but I was wrong. How incredible, how important it is that I have learned that I have the ability to heal this way. It seems everybody these days is broken. For a long time, I couldn’t look in the mirror. I didn’t want a reflection that would show me how broken and foolish I’d been. But time went on. The resilient moon rose every evening. It always had to face itself. So I looked. The girl I saw looking back at me was unsightly – but I recognized her instantly. Broken people bore me. I longed to meet some who had been broken beyond belief but healed to perfection – and I realize now, that’s me. Feeling nothing for you while being able to feel emotions for others is perfection. I am a hot yoga pose in a studio full of mirrors, I am perfectly balanced. Stabilized.
It is ironic to me that the physical absence of you pained me to no end but the emotional absence of you in me is this endless relief.
And it took a hell of a lot longer than I thought it would.
But here I am. Without you.
I am without you.
Number Nine: I Forgive You.
Even though you never said sorry, I forgive you.
Even though you don’t deserve it, I forgive you.
Even though, I can never love another person the way I did you – completely, and in total blind faith, I forgive you.
Forgiveness isn’t easy for me.
I used to falsely forgive you. I would move past hurtful words knowing you would speak them again, and I would accept apologies knowing in my insides they were insincere. False forgiveness meant you would stay. False forgiveness meant I kept some anger at bay.
This isn’t that.
I forgive myself, too. I forgive myself for settling for a love that was finite, bounded, and conditional. If love comes again, it will come correct because I won’t settle for anything less. So, I forgive you. I have stopped peeling, and my scars have started healing, and I have faith that I will love again, so I forgive you.
As a little girl, I saw the women around me break and bend for love. But you know this. These women were warriors fallen around the time that love came a-callin’. They boxed their inner warriors and bowed to love’s command. This is all those women taught me about loving, but damn, I forgive them for not realizing the lessons of love they didn’t mean to teach me. But you know this.
And I am full of forgiveness.
I am no longer caught between a compilation of dreams, I just have my own. And I know who I am when I’m all alone. In a way, I think I’ve always kind of known. This is what has happened to me. This is my latest epiphany. People who were so secure in themselves used to frighten me. How did they get to be that way? Who gave them permission to be so unreservedly themselves? But I am getting there. The world is my giant launching pad. I am a rocket. I am a force, and only the mighty will reckon with me.
I can recognize that I’m not the old me, I’m not who I used to be.
I no longer suffer and I’m a tremendous amount tougher.
I learned to survive and not only that I learned to thrive.
The next time you hear my name, it will be associated with independence, fearless independence. I am reconciling this newfound independence with being independent in a relationship. I will be dependent on my new love only to the exact degree that they are dependent on me.
When you hear my name, you will be in search of redemption. You will want attention and have confessions, but don’t forget I am out of your dimension.
When you hear my name, you will be blown away.
And that is part of the reason why I am full of forgiveness.
I am a recovering romantic. Nine steps later. I am running. I see the finish line of this, and the potential start of a new race. The next time I meet “the one,” I will not go into it with childlike assumptions. I will not treat it as a one hundred metre dash, I will see the marathon.
Somehow, somehow, yet again, I am still love’s fool. I am willing to offer myself up to love on a platter. A vet on the matter, I now understand the power I can give “the one” to hurt me… but I will probably hand it over anyway. I find myself, slowly, finally reattaching the hopeless to the romantic. With new understanding. With new reservations.
Because I also understand now that people damage people. People damage people, sometimes without realizing, sometimes without regret, but never without the possibility of repair. I understand that now. I think that’s why love is both beautiful and tragic and beautifully tragic.
I currently live by the motto ‘all love ends in tragedy.’ Because it does: distance, death, despair or damage.
Yet, that will not stop me from chasing love, or from finding the person who is supposedly meant to be the other half of me – the person that is supposedly supposed to fit into the spaces between my fingers, and fit into the length of my arms, and fit into the crevices of my body. And I have to keep my head up because I know, somewhere out there is the other half of me, walking around, waiting for me to arrive. I just know. And even though all love ends in tragedy, I believe in reaping what we sow. And, with that being said, I will gladly wait for my next tragic Romeo.
In truth, I have given this heartbreak too much time and attention. In truth, I may have made this moment in my life overly significant. In truth, this journey is not an epic one. It does not concern nations or cultures. I am not the butterfly who flaps her wings and causes a tornado. In truth, millions of people before me have experienced heart aches a thousand times worse than mine and millions of people yet to be born will know heart ache a thousand times greater.
And that isn’t perspective, that is truth.
And I forgive you because the truth is, I’m breathing. I’m okay. I’m better than okay.
So, as I finally take a step back from this mic, I want you all to get a good look because I am what forgiveness looks like.
Number Ten: Goodbye.
I am caught off guard by the lump lodged in my throat. I don’t want to cry. I won’t cry. I don’t even actually need too. The lump is from discomfort. And discomfort is what we feel when we must do what we must.
I must say goodbye to you.
I’ve tried to do this a million times already, before I was truly ready. Even though I am currently having a hard time putting the good in front of the bye, I am ready to bid you adieu.
To recap. You were my first forever. A first forever, a first love, must be chosen wisely, but nobody ever uses first love and wise in the same sentence. Or first love and choose, for that matter. It turns out that I wasn’t my first love’s first love. I don’t know how I missed the lesson in that one.
You were my first love, and then you were a burden to me. And then you were nothing. And now you’re a memory.
Memories are changing.
At first, our memories were a comfort to me. They were the hug I needed when your arms abandoned me. But then these memories became a reminder that our love wasn’t what I thought it was, and the memories taunted me. Now, they are just memories. There’s no emotional value attached to them. So… maybe the memories themselves don’t change, but the feelings attached to them do. The feelings have changed and changed again, and I have said goodbye to those feelings.
You can’t say goodbye to memories. (I will be sure to be careful about who I make future memories with.)
Our memories won’t go away entirely, but they won’t be at the forefront either. For instance, when I look at the moon, I won’t think of the night you taught me to be in love with it, I will think only of all the nights it comforted me with its consistency when I felt alone.
Goodbye to you.
I have wondered endlessly if it would be possible to say goodbye to you. I thought you would always be a part of me, but you are not. You are completely out of my system. The things I loved because you loved are gone, or are replaced with my own reasons for loving them. I don’t remember or even want to remember the taste of your lips anymore.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
I am ready to go now, more than ready. And yet, there’s something sad about a true ending. Like death, I put you in your coffin, and bury you, and even if I visit you at your grave site, there is no way for us to reconnect.
There’s no room for me down there.
Our time together is a message in a bottle, captured and contained, beautiful and lost at sea. The more time it spends there, the more the lines on the pages fade. It’s not meant to be found.
Like a letter marked return to sender, but the sender has moved.
I am not postal anymore.
And you knew that I was a sucker for handwritten letters, but your efforts should have been better when we were together. Or, in all the time I spent missing you and wanting you back.
So know that your new letters will receive no reply.
I carry no ill will for you. My hopes for you are abundant. I hope all your wildest dreams come true. I hope you know love that is tremendous and extraordinary. I hope you know so much joy that you feel you could die of it with no regrets. But if your dreams don’t come true or you never know love again or you don’t find happiness, it’s no great concern of mine.
My concerns were of only me for a really long time. When all my fears about who I would become dissolved, I realized that with this new growth and sense of self, I could afford to be fifty percent of a couple without being half of a whole.
My soul made a decision about you a long time ago. It believed in you. It loved you. Even with the subconscious knowledge that you weren’t it’s mate.
I’m now focussed on my second forever. A forever I haven’t been introduced to yet, but one that comes with so much potential, and one that I am ready to invest boundless energy in. My romantic future is a one hundred and fifty watt lightbulb – super bright. How many future love interests will it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. Whereas I used to be a candle, a light that would eventually run low and diminish, burning itself to the ground, I now carry a light that never dies. When future love interests test me, unscrew me, or try to dim me, they will not succeed.
I have decided I will be foolishly cautious, foolish and cautious with my future love interest.
And I won’t blame my future love interests for things that were us.
And I won’t mistake romance and relationship.
And I won’t be easy to love, but I won’t love weakly either.
But these are the start of my vows to my future lover, and they don’t concern you… because you are no longer my love.
And suddenly, this goodbye feels like the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
Good and bye.
Goodbye to you, my first failed forever.
Goodbye to you, my first ex.
And with nothing left to say to you,
A New Woman