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 am a new creation. At the risk of sounding extremely narcissistic I will say, I am like nothing the world has ever seen and there will never be anyone like me ever again. I am a combination of my personality, my talents, my features, my experiences and my thoughts that cannot be recreated. This experience, this life that I am living right now, will take place once in a lifetime, in all the lifetimes that have ever walked and talked and breathed the air of this Earth and swum in its oceans and taken in the warmth of the sun on their skin.
Take a moment to think about that.
Sometimes our days feel like too much of a burden to bear. Our existence feels like a curse and we will wonder why we are here. We are here because we are different, because we change things just by existing. Even if that existence might seem small in comparison, just like a name etched on an old desk connects us to an unknown part of history and lets us know that someone once stood in that same place, we too shall be remembered.
People will try to convince us that we need to accomplish certain things to make our lives can matter, with champagne and cars and chateaus and vineyards. . Bank notes feel no loyalty towards anyone; it will pass hands from one man to another because that’s what it was meant to do. The only things we can own are our actions and words because that is how we truly make our mark on the world.
Our lives already matter. We matter simply by existing.
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.
I didn’t get to choose my existence. You didn’t ask me if I wanted to be alive, if I wanted to experience life with all its moments of triumph and euphoria or shattering defeat. I didn’t get to select my personality or my characteristics like ingredients from a catalog or pick them out like they were series of labeled bottles displayed on a shelf. Nobody asked me if I wanted my mother’s eyes or my father’s temper.
Here I am, a brand new combination of features and quirks and likes and dislikes.
If I got to choose, I would have tried to make myself more likable to you. I might have picked a face that didn’t remind you of your ‘biggest mistake.’ I might have chosen to like the same things you like and want the same things you want. If I got to choose I would have recast every cell in my body to make you want me but this was not something I could have changed with change from within.
I know now, that what I am to you has nothing to do with me. My shortcomings are a reflection of your own insecurities. Your inability to trust or love with all your heart makes me look naive, your inability to allow yourself to dream once in a while makes my choices seem irrational and idiotic. They have swirled inside you like a poisonous dark cloud that spread long before my existence.
You should have given me a chance though… A chance to feel like I was worthy of love even if you were not the one who would. A chance to feel like my feelings mattered even if they didn’t matter to you. I shouldn’t have to walk on this earth feeling discarded and unwanted because of what I see when I look at myself through your eyes.
I am done beating myself up over things that could never be. I am done trying to solve a maze when you keep building new walls. My purpose on this earth cannot be limited simply to trying to please you. You think of yourself as the artist who will turn my life into a work of art but how do you plan on pulling that off when you can only see the world in shades of grey and gloom?
I don’t know what you want from me and I am done trying to deliver it. Trying to please you is like trying to recreate your favorite dish without a recipe while wearing a blindfold. I am given no clues as to what you expect, except when I am wrong. It’s an impossible maddening quest that I think I can walk away from now, without being called a quitter. It’s not quitting if I’ve tried for as long as you know I have. I think I lasted longer than most people would.