Knowing that the present would not be as it is without the past having happened the way it did, there are not many things that I regret in life. I can think of two things — two relationships that I would change. And this is about one of them.
You see, friends, I received an email the other day from an unsavory character. Someone that I would like to leave in the past, where he belongs. But, being the type of person that he is (re: narcissistic and manipulative), every once in a while he attempts to sink his claws back into my flesh.
I can still see the scars from when I tore myself loose three years ago. They look like a Spring watered by my tears as much as May showers. They look like silent car rides and ice cream cones dripping onto cement, a stomach that required an anchor to hold anything down. They look like emptiness and fear and self-imposed isolation.
But I firmly believe that there is always — always — hope. There is always healing, if you open yourself to it.
I did. And I have. And I continue to do so, in my relationships, my journey with Jesus, my music, and my writing.
This is to him.
I wrote a poem about you when my soul had cratered in, and over two years later it remains the most powerful piece I have ever written.
I hate that I wasted the best of my words on you. I hate that I wasted the best of me on you.
I hate that you got to me before anyone else did, that you tainted my skin with the touch of yours. I hate the way I gazed longingly up at you on your pedestal, the one I built for you with bleeding hands and a too-fast beating heart.
I hate that I made you a god. I hate more that you knew, and you thrived, and you ate it up the same way you ate my heart still bleeding straight from my chest. Do you know how long it took to grow a new one, a whole one, a strong one? Do you know what it’s like to be in my twenty first year with a three year old heart that leaps for joy whenever it sees rays of sunshine, a picture in a cloud, a puppy, a dandelion, an opportunity to splash a puddle with the weight of the soles of my shoes?
Did you know that you were abusing me, or did you not care? Didn’t you see that the weight of your needs and the force of your wants were like the weight of the world bearing down on Atlas’ shoulders?
You made an Atlas of me. You made many things of me: a little girl, frightened. A grown woman, beaten. A ghost, soulless.
Didn’t you see the light dying from my eyes every time you mocked me, hushed me, taunted me?
Didn’t you care? That you sucked the soul from me, that you acquainted me with grief and doubt, that you presented me with the now ever-present gift of anxiety and the forever looming threat of depression?
Of course you didn’t. Because you only cared about yourself. Because you were a narcissist and a manipulator. You were a liar and a predator. Because you lived in your shell of self-created victimhood, twisting and maiming anyone who stood in your way just to keep yourself afloat.
You remind me of a hollowgast. You remind me of a dementor. Feeding off of whatever is offered, a trail of broken hearts behind you.
I keep thinking about Jacob and Rachel — about the time you likened us to that famous biblical story — and it makes me laugh. Because you were so good at pretending to be honorable, at filling yourself with integrity, but you were so bad at living it out. How many times did you make promises you didn’t — couldn’t — keep?
There were so many promises that you didn’t — couldn’t — keep, and I made excuse after excuse for you, even after you’d left me trembling in solitude, reasons for your words and actions streaming from my lips with all the force of a waterfall.
I’ve stopped making excuses for you, for your behavior. I’ve stopped wondering about the possible why’s of the way you treated me. I’ve stopped trying to keep up with you, because I have a life of my own now.
I’ll say it again in case you’ve “confused my intentions” in any of this.
I have a life of my own now, one that revolves around people and places and things that bring me joy, not around someone who broke my soul. I write what I want to without worrying about the opinions of potential readers; I create music without concerning myself with a mistimed measure or wrong note. I stand up for myself now; I’ve learned to be strong (maybe a little too strong).
I take comfort in the fact that you probably wouldn’t like me now, if you knew me. You wouldn’t like that I wouldn’t let you mold me like clay, that my voice is confident more often than not, that I now know how to laugh at myself and my mistakes.
I am not who I was, and I see you for what you have always been and for what — in my mind — you will always be.