Strong Love

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I bend and break to the will of their demands, simply because I am so afraid that if I say no, they will leave me.

I glance in the mirror only to see sadness, yet know I am the only one who placed its presence upon my face. I am better than this, I tell myself, as I sob silently behind closed doors.

How did we get here, I ask myself for the hundredth time this year. How did the one before and the one before that not teach us what it was to be brave. To be alone.

I see the pictures, the replicas of our time spent together. The setup stands the same, but I have to focus my eyes a little to see that it is not my own figure that stands beside him now. It is another version of myself. A little younger. A little prettier. I have to steady my nerves, quell the gathering of tears that sit behind my now closed eyes. The ones that wish they could erase those images and the imaginary ones that they invoke. Of him and her playing out the roles that were once ours. Unwrapping the dreams that once belonged to us. The ones we would speak about in lengthy conversations that bled into the night.

It’s over, I say. Our time is done. The waiting, the constant waiting, for his return, has finally come to an end.

I try not to feel as though my heart might stop at any moment. That I did not waste four years to loving an illusion of a man who could never be all that he professed he might one day become. I try to accept it as the blessing wrapped in a jagged lesson that it was. He was my heart opener. He was my core work.

He laid the ground for the one that followed. The one who made me feel safe and uneasy at the same time. The one who’s love I could not appreciate until it was gone. As I sat and picked the wallpaper off the walls with my vain disinterest, because my head was locked in a bundle of thoughts about someone else.

He gave me medicine wrapped in honey. He gave me hope, just to take it away. He was unstable and I fed his insecurities as though it were the only thing I had to do that day and every other after. And just when I’d pushed him to the edge of it all, I ran like the wind had knives in my back, only to regret it later.

And just when I was done regretting. Just when I’d let myself fill in the crack. The next one came along. Like a burning fire ripping through all my rationale. Wide-eyed on youthful enthusiasm, offering me the world on a plate. Only to realise he’d already given it away the day before to someone else. Someone who’s shoes I nearly fit, but clearly didn’t and never would.

I’d watch him softly meditate and feel myself burning with love. Only to later burn in his chaos. Suffering the fallout from the signals that were so mixed I thought my head was spinning right off my shoulders and into the trash I started to feel.

I did this, I thought. I did this again.

I felt the pinch of trying to fit into a space that was clearly too small. A little room, I’d beg and they’d close in another wall just to watch me squirm. And I did, didn’t I. I had the strength to blow the whole thing up, but I was so afraid. So afraid.

Play small, I whispered to myself as they’d gently sleep beside me. Lost in peaceful dreams as I lay wide awake with disappointed anguish once again.

This isn’t how love is meant to be. This isn’t partnership. This isn’t what I wanted. But I gave it to myself all the same.

I touch the scar that runs across my heart and realise that this feels worse than the rejection I’m afraid will come from asking for what I need. Because I’ve been rejecting myself over and over again. And when I run out on each and every love that comes into my turgid path, I am running from myself.

And I’m tired of running. So fucking tired.

I want the soft love. The strong love. The I’m not going anywhere kinda love. The holds me and helps me to sit with the terror I feel at losing it type love. The handles my broken mind as though it were captain of a ship chartered for the choppiest seas one could ever imagine and is still down for it sorta love.

It takes a strong person to give that level of love. And I am acknowledging that I have to be a strong person to get a strong person to give me the strong love I demand in lieu of all the weak moments I have served myself over the past thirty loves.

I have to stop bending and breaking in fear of the thing I fear most and yet do to myself over and over again. I am my own self-fulfilling prophecy and I must write amends.