Hearts don’t break evenly. They never do. You can fight hard, you can fight fair, but when it ends, the discarded pieces fall just the same. Scattered and messily. You get hurt, you get angry and you look for someone to blame. You demonise the other person, hate them for a time, but in the end, it’s yourself you hate, because you knew from the start, the very first moment of interaction, that they were who they were, weak and full of poor intention, yet you let yourself love them all the same.

And so, when the love is over and the battle of right and wrong begins to wage, you know it’s solely yourself you have to fight, for all the hurt that fell between you. You caroused into that room with eyes wide open, heard the self-deluded talk, witnessed the audacious vanity, could sense the inauthenticity that rippled like a heatwave in the middle of summer. You listened as they threw their own allies under the bus with such flagrant disregard only a narcissist could be so bold to do.

The indecision, the lack of commitment, the shallow and incredulous lack of empathy, stemming from an individual so self-absorbed it almost beggared belief. You thought it ridiculous that someone could take something as powerful and sacred as meditation and rather than use it breakdown their ego, had in fact actually used it to inflate theirs beyond measure. And worse still, was so capable in the art of story telling, they’d actually convinced others of the lies they sold so well to themselves.

You knew some had seen through the cracks though, they’d told you so themselves, but for most it seemed as though they could do no wrong. The facade was too engrained, the story ran deeper than they ever did. You saw firsthand the split personality, the showman in action. How they turned from charming to manipulative at the flick of a switch. The way they’d be loving then cold, depending on what they wanted to gain. Sometimes it was power, sometimes it was compliance. Their mean streak knew no bounds.

And when you left, you made the right decision, but your heart still clung like meat on a hook, waiting, waiting, just in case you’d been wrong. You always see the best in people and for all you knew of them, you still imagined there was some good, some hope, some opportunity to grow. But they didn’t did they. In the time that passed, they showed you further evidence to their lack of morality and care. How all their good deeds on paper were fuelled by self-centred intention underneath.

And it infuriated you didn’t it, the way in which the world just went on. How everyone believed the lies. The outside world looking upon that perfectly curated surface, with the idyllic pictures and the made up lines that read like poetry. How people ate into their hands just as they knew they would. How wise, how kind, how talented. How they abstain, their self-control is astonishing. And so you’re sure it goes on and on with the gushing words of praise which eat away at you because you know the truth.

You regret encouraging them. You regret the praise you bestowed. You rue the day you handed them the support they didn’t deserve. You wish you could take back every moment that you helped them, after they threw your kindness gracelessly to the floor, in favour of everyone else’s. You do that though, don’t you. You champion the people that you care about. Help support them in building their empires. You do it because you care, because you believe in them. Sometimes you just don’t choose your causes well.

Well, you paid the price for your freedom, but staying would have ultimately cost you more. And whilst you know that the story of your ending will have been told differently by them and their creative tongue, you know the truth and so do they. You know they didn’t really love you, because they’re not capable. Sure, they fell in love with you, with the idea of you or the possibilities that you represented, but they don’t know real love. You doubt they ever have or indeed ever will.

Because you know that real love is unconditional. It’s the acceptance of a person’s totality. The good, the bad and the so god damn ugly you wish it would just die already. You know it requires patience, with yourself and with the other person and in part, a little self-sacrifice, because when you truly love someone, it stops being just about you. Your autonomy gets left behind in favour of a higher purpose; divine union. You have to leave selfishness at the door and when you love someone, truly, you find that you want to.

Sure, you acknowledge that maybe romcoms and the like are guilty of giving people a fictitious understanding of love. The idea that when you meet the right person everything just slots neatly into place. That you’re suddenly magically happy and complete. But you know that’s bullshit, because love, real love, is the kind that often feels uncomfortable. It presses your buttons and forces you into tight spots in order to make you grow. It’s prickly and precarious and requires a finite balance, which only comes from hard work.

You know that you can still be incomplete and miserable and be loved and you sure as hell know that you can’t be defined by another person’s affection for you. But that doesn’t stop you wanting love, even if you know you don’t need it. You recognise that it’s inherently human to seek connection. It’s par for the course. So when it sweeps into your life, like a fallen leaf drifting into a yard in the late Autumn breeze, you embrace it and when it gets tough, you do the work and you fight for it.

You just gotta learn to stop fighting for the wrong ones. And that’s who you’re ultimately mad at, yourself. Not them and all their self-centred behaviour and the hurt that they invoked in the process of getting what they wanted. It’s you, because you knew who they were when you met them and you loved them all the same. You chose to show up, day in, day out, with unconditional love and did the work, for the both of you, even when you were angry and sad and anxiously falling apart.

You admit to the days you failed yourself, the days you clung when you should have let go. The promises you made to change, to learn, to release old patterns and behaviours, that you sadly broke. How you said you wanted to love in a way that felt free, but became so insecure you suffocated instead. You know your faults and you’re always the first to put your hands up and admit to them, because you’re committed to doing better, to getting it right, to finding your balance.

And you know one day, with the right person you will. So you take your hurt and your anger and learn to accept that, just as you were able to love them with all their flaws and faults, so too will other people. You know it’ll take time before you release them and in turn, yourself. You know this person, this moment, will soon be forgotten about and you’ll stop caring whether the world knows the truth or not. You know because you’ve been here before and each time you learn a little more about yourself, even when the other person fails to.