I have been lost for a while now and I need to find my way back. I have been angry with a lot of good reasons, with a lot of people to blame, but at the end of the day I am not happy with the person I have become.
Yes, I have been hurt, but I don’t want to make excuses. I have failed to rise above it. I know I should have.
But this foggy, messed up, mistaken version of myself is yet to learn one of the most important lessons of all; forgiveness and self love.
I need to cut myself some slack, let myself learn and grow and – for gods sake – stop holding myself back and writing myself off as irredeemable. I have friends whom I would love no matter what but why is it so difficult for me to give myself that same chance. I am not proud of my past, but I am going to be that friend, to myself; and she might be difficult to like right now but I like to think that the person who grows out of this part of her life is going to be worth all that trouble and I am going to try and help her believe it.
My life feels just like the pictures of Paris on my wall; a pristine, untouched view of a city from the sky; the perfect instagram filter; a ray of sunlight breaking through a corner of the frame taking everything the tiniest bit out of focus so you’d have to spend just a little bit of extra time trying to soak in all the fine detail.
Meanwhile the real Paris waits for me, 8135 miles away; waiting to be discovered, to create new memories, to have adventures and to fall in love! I can’t wait to walk its cobbled streets, sit at a café, read a book, learn to speak the language like a native and know every unknown bookshop, museum and alley that you wouldn’t find on the tourist brochures.
I know real Paris isn’t going to be as picture perfect and I’m romanticizing the whole thing but in my defense all I have for now is a picture on a wall, a view from the sky, a whole city of chaos preserved in a single moment of stillness as if time itself had stopped for me. Paris isn’t even a place; It’s a time in space, it’s freedom, it’s living life on my own terms and.. I have no way of knowing what happens outside that frame any more than I can predict my own future; the sounds, the smells, the heaviness of its atmosphere or the feeling of its air in my lungs, the millions of stories that run through its lanes every day imprinting deeper and deeper into the history of their city. I’d just have to wait till I get there to find out.
I thought you were the best person I knew even when your words stabbed my heart like the cold. It was the power that I had given you at a time when I didn’t know any better that you still wielded, even now when I did, simply because I don’t know how to take it back.
You’ve built me up with your kindness only to be torn down by your anger. All my life I have wished for some sort of clarity because I struggled to define the role you played in my life. Were you on my side or against it by default? Maybe I knew all along but I didn’t want to accept it because if I did you would lose me, and sometimes I was all you had. I tried to protect you from that hurt by silently taking in every word as you dissected my life, every little action and reaction, till you were convinced that you had me figured out but every shot that I didn’t take at you just made me look weaker in your eyes.
You broke my spirit just so you could have a better grip on my heart and tied up my emotions like hands behind my back so that you could tell me what I was and was not allowed to feel.
There isn’t a moment I can put a finger on to call it a turning point, but the dust is finally settling and our relationship is reaching its equilibrium. Maybe it’s because I am older now and I don’t need you the way I used to. A part of me still craves your approval but a growing part of me just doesn’t care anymore. I have tried to be the person you wanted me to be, at the cost of being myself. While accepting the fact that nothing I do will ever be good enough for you gives me the strength to walk away, realizing that I shouldn’t have had to do it in the first place makes me regret all the time I have already wasted.
I think I am finally learning that no matter what the circumstances are, I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as an individual; and if not acceptance, at least an understanding of the fact that I am my own person, with my own thoughts and dreams and quirks and idiosyncrasies and a unique way of seeing the world. They may be completely different from the views that you hold to be the foundation of your life and your priorities and your successes, but they are not necessarily wrong.
I can’t tell you what choices to make but I can sure as hell tell you what your choices are.
My life is like an old photograph, chipped and creased from years of wear and tear. I can’t tell you exactly when it became this way, only show you what it is. None of this happened overnight.
Our parents were too busy nursing their own bruised egos to realize what they were doing to us.
I remember when we were kids our mother used to pretend to leave if we didn’t behave. She would take her bag and walk outside and we would run to the gate and beg her to come back promising her that we would be good. I also remember the day I realized she wasn’t really leaving and refused to come with you, even though you kept begging me to. I couldn’t have been more than 5 and you not more than 3. I couldn’t explain it to you then because I couldn’t quite understand it myself at the time, the concept of manipulation, and that it was a thing adults did to each other to get their way. It was selfish and cowardly and wrong and we fell for it because we weren’t expected to know any better.
I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood but this one is vivid because I think of it a lot when I wonder why I have so much trouble letting her in.
The rest of our childhood can be summed up as a series of shouting matches and having to listen to both of them tell us terrible stories about each other hoping to win their own war by elimination and our affection by default.
The result, unfortunately, was the exact opposite. It took us further away from both of them. We were filled with poison where it should have been filled with love. We will spend the rest of our lives trying find ‘normal’ without even knowing what that means.
I don’t think they realized what they were doing though. They are being childish and blind (but mostly childish) so I can’t hold any of this against them and my heart continues to find a way to make itself love them. It would be a much easier fight if they had just been evil and my monsters were not such a foggy blur of an image.
I know your story. I understand the reasons you are angry but they loved you and I think you should know that. They just had a crappy way of showing it sometimes.
I need to write because I need to heal but there is part of me that I can never put on paper. There is a part of me that is filled with hate when it should be filled with love and I carry that burden around like a deep gash on my skin. I am constantly reminded of it.
Physical pain numbs my mind. My focus is shifted and I am given a moment in which I can forget, a moment so that I can pause and regroup, and hate myself a little less. It is not an escape, but an opportunity to rest before I must start running again.
I keep running but my destination is not a place my feet can take me.
There is a place in my mind, where I am 5 years old again, and I am able to trust you and laugh with you again like the last 19 years never happened – but they did, and you were taken away from me just like she was taken away from you and it made you bitter.
She still talks to me sometimes, and tries to bring me back to you and it’s not that I don’t want to listen, but her voice only makes me think of all the chances we lost and miss a life I never had, and that hurts too much so I block her out.
You should have fought for me when we still had a chance.