I Still Can’t Escape My Memories Of You

I skulk slowly past your house in the shadowy cover of night, on my way to the humble bench that was once, not long ago, our chosen meeting spot.  I don’t need to see you.  It makes me feel better somehow just to know you’re close, that if I wanted I could see you at any moment.  Most of the time I’m suffocated by the idea of your constant proximity, but realistically I know that once you’ve gone I’ll grieve for you as freshly as I do now. 

It’s a breezy, oddly temperate February evening.  Perfect for our former rendezvous here, a simple wooden seat around the corner from where you live.  You waited patiently, laughing at me as I ran up to squeeze you close, holding me while we joked and giggled until even the raccoons scurrying into the bushes looked at us askance.  We always lingered long past our agreed upon curfew, shivering as we clutched on to each other, strolling through quiet, quaint small town alleys.  I was never willing to go, craving just five minutes, then five minutes more, on and on, both of us swept up in the rush of giddy newborn love.  I’ve never been happier than I was on those simple evenings.  

Now I sit here alone, staring up at the all too familiar streetlamp, the eucalyptus trees that lead me to recall inside jokes, banter that only makes sense to the two of us.  The breeze picks up – dry, brittle leaves slap the ground around me like fat raindrops.  I’ll never see eucalyptus again without wondering where your heart has made its home.

Being here brings back a time so innocently joyful that I suddenly choke on my own memories, so I hurriedly rise and begin to walk.  There’s not much respite there either, but at least the streets hold other past nights in their grasp.  The bench was only ever yours and mine.  I don’t know if I came here to feel soothed or tear myself apart all over again.  I’m neither – instead, agitated and defeated in the same instant.  It’s maddening to stay with my emotions, so move I must.  

My antsy feet take me to your darkened, eerily silent street before I quite understand what’s happening.  Lucky for me, this is an early-to-bed sort of community.  No one is awake to peer out from the curtained bay window of a cedar-shingled beach house and see me lurking uncertainly in the center of the road.  I don’t know what I’m doing here, why I have no will to let you be.  Slowly, I pull my beanie down low over my sorrowful eyes, shove my hands into my jacket pockets, and let my body melt into a crouch.  My head hangs to my chest, burdened with the weight of unspoken hopes and lost chances.  I almost hope for a pickup truck, manned by some drunken fool, to whip around the corner and end my desperation, but I know it won’t.  I almost hope for you to somehow sense my presence, step out your front door to enfold me in your arms, and end this intolerable pain.  But I know you won’t.  

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

When I Can’t Sleep For Missing You

It’s happened again.

I’ve tried everything.  Herbal supplements, meditation, nature sounds, breath work.  My mind won’t let me rest, though every last portion of me pleads with sullen groans for relief.  I thought that today, in spite of the tears, in spite of the sudden waves of sorrow, I was handling it all a bit better.  Clarity seemed within reach.  Now, I toss and turn, suddenly overheated in a room where I usually shiver without multiple blankets.  My eyelids hang heavy and yet my overactive brain summons up one memory of you after another.  One sweet gesture after another.  How am I helpless against my own mental torture? 

Take me back to the nights where I fell solidly asleep in your arms, the nights before we started having difficulties, before your every slightest move woke me with concern for your comfort.  Take me back to that juvenile twin bed that forced us to cling to each other with the bravado of new, impetuous love.  I felt happier there with you than I ever have since.  Now I struggle to find any method of peaceful rest in a bed so large, so deliciously plush, so empty of your presence.

I know that our lovely romance is severed for good, and yet I have no will to let go.

If only I could push the thoughts down long enough to fall into the oblivion of night and release myself temporarily, until the morning nags and prods with unwanted realities. 

It seems obscene that the human body is capable of producing so much grief without shriveling up completely to grant some sort of ending release.

I loved you with my whole heart when you never gave me more than a portion of your own.  And yet, despite my past, despite all my previous experiences, I still somehow believed that I could will you into letting yourself go.  I was determined to adore you so completely that you had no choice but to fall in love with the abundance of my affection for you.  Think of what I could accomplish if I had the wherewithal to bring some of that dogged stubbornness to the other aspects of my existence, but no – I live to love those who cannot give me the same in return.

I live to break my own heart, over and over and over again.

What I would give to lay my head down once more in that concave nook of your collarbone, where it fit like an unexpected return to home.  I felt safe there in a way that I rarely ever do.  You saw me, and you accepted me, and you loved me.  In spite of every new obstacle, every curve thrown into our path, you did your damndest to keep me, long after we both knew you’d given up in the marrow of your bones.  

I don’t know if I’m ever going to stop loving you, not really.  You were my dream come true, notwithstanding your inevitable humanity.  You were the one who exposed my true self and left me shivering there, afraid, but trusting.  And then you were the one who walked away.  

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

I’m Afraid That I’ll Never Learn How To Heal Properly

I’m trying to be kind to myself, but this grieving process is so frustrating sometimes.  I want to heal faster.  I want to be someone different from who I am, someone who can handle emotion rationally, someone who sees what’s not working and lets it go.  I am not that person and I never have been.  I went through so much emotional trauma and chaos at a young age that I’ve not had any chance to learn to process pain constructively.   

I attempt to distance myself and let it all go, but I end up in a free fall of terror and dread.  I don’t see a future.  I don’t see a point to anything.  I spiral quickly and silently.  Usually no one around me truly sees the depth of my pain, the nearness to oblivion, how many times I have to drag myself back from the edge with every tiny iota of strength I have left.  Perhaps they would be shocked if they knew how close I’ve come to nothingness and how often.  

I don’t want to be told I’m strong anymore.  It’s not a compliment.  It’s yet another way for people to deflect, to minimize the desperation I feel.  My brand of strength is nothing more than a coping mechanism, a way to survive.  I rise above the sadness by smothering it with shame, but it’s always there, growing with every disappointment and heartbreak.  The truth is that I feel like a terrified, lonely, unloved child who has nothing and no one in the world.  I see no inherent value or worth in myself, only another body taking up space in a society where no one cares that much about anything other than themselves.

If that sounds cynical, it’s because I feel cynical.  About everything. 

I’m treading water, doing my best just to stay afloat here.  I’m becoming tired.  There is so much weariness in this fight of mine, this battle I’ve been waging for what feels like forever now.  

Lest I be misunderstood – as seems to happen frequently when I’m honest and open – I’m not looking for pity, or sympathy, or even for anyone to reach out and express to me that I am, in fact, cared for and appreciated.  My loneliness comes from within myself.  I understand that no one else can heal what’s happened to me and within me over the years, what’s built up and accumulated, layers of scar tissue so thick that I despair of getting underneath.  

All I’m trying to express is that while I am doing my best to finally allow my emotions the space they need to flower, I’m also realizing that I’m lost when it comes to taking care of my own soul the way I’ve always tended to those of others.  I’m incredibly reliable when someone else goes through an emotional crisis – I’ve had to be a support for other people my entire life.  It’s a role that I slip into easily, but if I must do the same for myself, I have no idea how to begin. If I am not needed by an external element, when I am faced with only my own needs, my purpose feels muddled or even nonexistent.  

How do I express the shame of not knowing how to hold space for myself in the world?  I don’t.  I stagger on and hope that one of my sloppy attempts to achieve self-love actually holds true for once. 

Honestly, I’m terrified that after all these years, with so many layers of grief and sadness kept locked in to my core, I am incapable of unlearning these entrenched habits and defense mechanisms.  This fear keeps me apart from others, prevents me from letting myself admit my insecurities.  I don’t believe that I can handle further rejections.  Knowing that I only continue to make the same mistakes, it seems my only recourse at the moment is to block off my heart entirely.  

Unless I can develop another manner of being, I’m unwilling to continue to jeopardize my soul, my health, and my happiness. 

(Originally published on Medium.com)

How Long Am I Going To Still Miss You?

If I knew when it would end, perhaps I could bear the pain I feel every waking moment of the day.

I had no idea that missing you would get worse as time goes on, not easier.  I feel my overarching sadness more keenly with each day that passes, enduring the sting of being twenty-four hours further removed from the happiness and love we shared.  It was you and me against the world, and that gave me a reason to care.  Now I don’t have that.  All I have is the gaping hole in my heart that you left behind.  

I stay in bed as long as I can in the morning, willing my eyes shut, numbing the memories for a few minutes longer.  I know that as soon as I begin to go about my day, my emotions will simmer just below the surface, threatening to erupt at any moment.  It’s exhausting, this gamut that I run through over and over again.  I’m so tired of missing you, but I can’t shut my brain off.  I cannot wish you away, so instead I live like a raw nerve, exposed and vulnerable at all times.

Everything that I do reminds me of you in some way or another.  I cannot even touch myself anymore without crumbling at the knowledge that I’ll never feel the tender electricity of your embrace again.  

This place stifles me with constant reminders of everything we shared and everything we planned to do but never accomplished.  Our town is too oppressively small to contain the amount of sorrow it brings me to stroll its streets without you by my side.   I kept our memories close back when I believed that I would get a lifetime of loving you, but now I’d do anything to completely erase them.  Erase the pain that you left behind when you turned your back and moved on, leaving me here with a broken heart and a shattered future.

Yes, I dared to let myself envision a future with you as my lifelong adventure partner, sharing my laughter, my curiosity, and my heart.  What a fool I am.

Now I spend each day just trying to make it to the next, one after the other, until I finally reach the point where everything hurts a little less.  I would give anything to stop missing you.  What can I do?  I loved you, and I did not want you to go, and I lost you despite the adoration I felt for you each and every day that we spent together.  If I’m completely honest, I suppose I’m still in denial that you’re no longer mine to love, to hold, and to grow alongside.  

I would have done anything for you, but it doesn’t matter.  

Please someone tell me when I’ll stop feeling this way so that I can stand it.  Because right now, I don’t know how much longer I can.

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

My Heart Won’t Let You Go

It’s so difficult to stay away from you when you’re just around the corner.  I run, drive, or bike past your house nearly every day.  I know when you are home without even making the effort to find out, and I hate that.  I already miss you so desperately that the temptation to simply walk up and knock on your door is something that I fight constantly.

Maybe I could put you out of my head more easily if you were already gone.  Somewhere I don’t know, can’t picture, moving on with your life in a way that is foreign to me.  If I didn’t have to dread running into you accidentally at practically any moment, putting on a brave face and pretending that seeing you doesn’t break my heart.  I don’t know whether I want to hold you or punch you right now, and I shouldn’t do either, so I set my jaw stubbornly and stay away.

It’s ridiculously difficult to stay out of my head, to dismiss memories of our happy past when everywhere I go has some vestige of you attached.  Maybe I need to leave too, get out of this small town that I’ve only ever really known as part of the pair that once included you.  Maybe I need to reimagine it for myself, on my own, but that feels almost impossible at the moment.  This is the first heartbreak I’ve experienced without the support of a network of friends to lift me up.  Sometimes it’s as if I’m sinking into a chasm of loneliness that I’ve dug on my own, like all I’ve done in my life is fall into one misstep after another.  

The problem is that I can’t run away from myself, no matter how hard I try.  I’ve been in this headspace before and pushing it aside didn’t fix anything.  I’ve worked on healing myself from the inside out before, but I didn’t dig deep enough.  I’m beginning to understand that my pain is something that will never go away on its own, or find a cure in the love of another.  It has to be dealt with every single day in real time, with care and tenderness towards all the wounded parts of me.  It is the reason that I keep choosing partners who cannot give me the love that I crave.  To be fair, no one can because I have to fill that void for myself, somehow, some way.  

Some stupid part of me, deep inside, hopes you come back even though I know you won’t.  I am well aware that our relationship had issues brought on by the baggage that both of us have not addressed.  I don’t know that you will ever care enough to face and transform yours, and that’s not my problem any longer.  As much as I wish you would, it doesn’t matter.  You’re not mine anymore and I don’t know if I would even pick you again if I was a healthy, emotionally whole individual.  

All that I want from the universe right now is to laugh in your arms again, but I understand that’s the one thing that’ll keep ruining me, so I fight my own deeply ingrained, dysfunctional instincts and I stay away.  And yet, still, in spite of myself, I wish that you would come get me and make it all okay. 

(Originally published by Thought Catalog)

Sometimes The Only Thing You Can Do Is Let Them Go

There is nothing more painful than looking at the person you love beyond what you thought possible and knowing that you cannot make them stay.

You can hope that they do.  But you can’t force a damn thing, and you can’t make them continue to want you, or to love you.  The way of the world is a fickle one, and it rips happy hearts apart like afterthoughts on a cruel whim.  You can stand there, breath caught in your throat, raggedly exhaling your aching affection, and they could very well turn and leave you in your empty shock.  It is terrifying, and yet we come back to the brink over and over again. 

It’s a process that requires immense vulnerability, throwing yourself into love and hoping for the best, losing despite every desperate effort, only to go there with renewed optimism all over again.  The heart that continues fighting to find the correct love is a resolute, stubborn heart indeed.  

But maybe it’s time to try something different now.  Perhaps instead of fighting, you let it go.  You open up space in your heart for yourself and begin to give all that love to the person who needs it the most.  There is not much that you can control in this life, but you can make the conscious decision to put your energy and emotions into whatever you like.  Your soul and your worth are far too magnificent to keep cooped up in an oppressive prison of heartbreak and regrets.  Breathe away the keen sorrow of your attachment.  Do your best to think of your tender loss not as a finality, but a way to open yourself up to new possibility.

You cannot make them stay, but you can decide to let them go.  The stark reality is that you have absolutely no control over their feelings – if they choose to leave, there is nothing that you can do.  It is out of your grasp … and in a way, that’s incredibly freeing.  You have no responsibility to be anyone other than exactly who you are.  The difficulty of navigating this freedom is in accepting the situation as it is and truly letting go of ego and perceptions.  

Be ever so gentle with your sweet spirit.  It is aching, and you are allowed to sink into the tenderness.  Let the feelings come and go and course through you, even though at times it feels like you cannot bear another moment.  Breathe and know that it is only temporary.  Everything is fleeting, nothing ever remains constant, and you have such a short time to live your unique existence.  

Try your best not to use that time clinging on to people or situations that, despite your deepest genuine efforts, must develop in a different direction than you hoped.  Strive to find the peace that comes with releasing expectations.  When you need to process your pain, do not rush to numb it.  Let it come, let it go.  You are whole entirely on your own, with or without them.  Don’t forget that, and if you do not feel that you are, then turn your energies towards making yourself the joyous, loving, free and completely soul that you absolutely can be.  

Releasing them is not losing.  It’s not failing.  It’s simply a shift of life, which is constantly moving and changing.  Trust that it will all be okay even if it does not always feel that way.  Eventually you will find the home your heart seeks – in yourself.  

(Originally published on Thought Catalog)

 

Remember This When You’re Wishing You Never Met Them

Sometimes it feels like it would be easier if you never met them at all.

If you hadn’t met them, you wouldn’t know what it’s like to lose them.  What it’s like to know the way they feel, smell, and move, and then force yourself to try and forget it.  You wouldn’t be hurting so deeply just because you have to fill the empty space in your life that they left behind.

It’s valid to feel this way.  You’re in pain and you wish more than anything not to be.  It can be incredibly excruciating to lose someone not because you’ve stopped loving them, but because it’s just not working. You’re allowed to experience every single emotion that’s coursing through your body, no matter how quickly, no matter how much they might contradict each other.  It’s all real and it matters.  

Remember this.  Remember that no matter how painful everything feels in this moment, it will get better.  It always gets better.  Think back to your past experiences and remind yourself of how you thought that old hurt, too, would never end.  Focus on how wonderful it felt to heal, to find happiness again, to realize that you finally no longer cared.  That you could remember the person who once broke your heart and feel no regret over what transpired between you.  Remember how good it feels to get over it and wish them nothing but happiness for their future … even though that future isn’t with you.

It doesn’t make the pain any easier in the moment, but you have to keep going with the knowledge that it absolutely will get better someday.  

Take all the love and effort you poured into your relationship and pour it back into yourself.  Nurture your health and give yourself time to heal, to find your way back to who you are.  It will not be easy, but you owe this to yourself. 

The truth is, maybe it would technically be easier if you had never met them.  You could live in ignorant bliss of the joy and then eventual heartbreak they’d give you.  The lows wouldn’t exist if you’d never felt the highs … but you can’t go through your entire life that way.  What’s the point of living if you aren’t growing and changing?  

So breathe – just breathe, let your emotions run their course, and be kind to yourself.  You deserve the love that you’ve been giving everyone else.  Keep it for yourself for a change.  Your beautiful heart deserves nourishment.  

(Originally published by Thought Catalog)