Aaron R. Davis
I’ve read before about relationships just up and dying, like a shark that somehow stopped swimming. But I’ve never been in one before. I’ve certainly never been in one that died because the other person wanted to spend all of her free time with a TV show she was in love with.
What infuriates me here is not necessarily how rejected I feel. I mean, that’s intense, but I can try and process that. What infuriates me was that you gave my life a new sense of meaning, a sense I’d never had before with anyone else, and now without you that meaning no longer exists. It’s like my life doesn’t make sense anymore. I have to try to peel back a whole layer of myself that had grown up into existence, because it no longer has a reason to exist. And I liked that part of myself. I liked it a lot.
Still, something will grow back in its place, probably. I don’t intend for it to be bitterness. I mean, I’m going to be a little bitter for a while, sure. Of course, because it hurts so much. But that part I’ll just hide from you because, as mad at you as I am at this moment, I don’t want it to become one of my defining features. And I don’t want to hurt you by being angry just because I’m hurt right now. Hurts heal. Making you hurt, too, won’t make me feel better.
Healing comes from love, after all. Not from inflicting wounds, nor from wallowing in them. And I love myself. At least, I want to. I’m going to try to.
But before I can let it all go, I want to offer a few sarcastic thank yous to get it out of my system.
Thank you for using me to make yourself feel more worthy as a person, and then pushing me aside for things like Internet popularity or acceptance by your idiot friends at college as soon as you didn’t need me to make you feel that way anymore.
Thank you for giving me your fetish. I will never be able to use it with anyone else, no matter how much I want to.
Thank you for pulling away from me just as my disorders got out of control because they were too much for you to handle. Nothing makes someone getting over deep-rooted traumas feel like they have a handle on their mental disorders like being rejected by one of the most important people in their lives.
God, it would feel satisfying in the short term to just be bitter about this. It would be so satisfying in the short term to reject you totally and never speak to you again or help you when you needed it. But you know what? Bitterness infects everything. And if you came to me for help and I rejected you back, I would never forgive myself because it would be a complete betrayal of that part of me that loved you so deeply and will never really, totally stop.
Because, yeah … you hurt me. But I still can’t hurt you. I won’t be your doormat, but I will never revel in your pain.
I was going to write a whole section here about all the ways I know I failed you, and all the ways I think I did, but which I know are just my anxieties telling me that I’m a person not worthy of love. I hope I never made you feel like your feelings for me never mattered, because I know now that not only do I unconsciously reject all evidence of mattering to people in any way, but I also subconsciously don’t allow myself to create long-term memories of times when I’ve ever been very happy. Which is probably why, even in the moment when I’m happy, I’m always a little sad. Maybe I know, somewhere in my mind, that the memories will fade to line up with my mental narrative that life has nothing for me.
The worst thing about me right now is probably that I’m writing all of this out somewhere because I don’t feel like I can say it to you in a way you’ll understand. And, honestly, I’m afraid that what’s happened doesn’t mean as much to you as it does to me.
Maybe I was holding on too tightly to something that could never have really worked out, anyway. Not the way we wanted. Not if we’re being realistic.
I guess what I’m saying is that I know sometimes people grow apart, and it would be unfair of me to keep being angry that it happened. It would be unfair and even cruel for me to demand that you always stay this person and make me feel the way I came to depend on. I want you to find happiness because of what we had and will always have in some small way. I want you to be the you that you dream of, even if it doesn’t include me because, really, if I stood in the way of you being happy, it would mean that I was never worthy of your affection all along. And then this version of me that I’m so sorry to lose would have been a lie all along.
I just wish it didn’t hurt so damn much. But one day it won’t. And then I’ll be able to smile when I think of what we had and just be glad to have experienced it.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.