Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Failed "Love"

I’ve spent the last 8, almost 9 months, trying not to look back—trying not to relive my hurtful past. I found myself going through emotions like sugar floods your blood stream, shooting up when digesting a whole row of Oreos, almost an entire pizza, and whatever else puts the nail in that binge-eating-coffin, only to crash down again—leaving you passed out on the sofa face-down in a puddle of drool.
It was as though on the outside I looked serene and (the hope was) put together, however, on the inside I found myself in a tempest of waves crashing against each other, gasping for air, with no clear skies in sight. I wanted to pretend my mistakes, my hurt, my failures, and my unwanted circumstances had never happened. The only bad thing was—they did happen. And I felt every single moment if I wanted to or not. These past months have ranged in all sorts of feelings and emotions.

I have never been the type to “need” a relationship. I always felt that when I found the right person that I would "just know", and I was determined to hold out for it. In 2015 someone came into my life, someone who I thought I knew. He promised me the world, he promised he would protect my heart, and I took a chance on love for the real first time in 29 years. I thought that he loved me so much that he could never hurt me. The unfortunate thing about life is that things happen that you are never prepared for.

Not only did our relationship go off the rails (the destructive way a train would if it went off the rails)—it has left me with scars. I am happy to report that I finally have found happiness again. I can enjoy my life and don’t take a second for granted, it is just unfortunate that I had to lose so much to be able to count my blessings. The biggest blessing has been there all along--my parents, who have been an incredible blanket of love I unknowingly had kicked away for so many years.

I have been incredibly independent since I was young—wanting to do things on my own. Even pushing the grocery cart as a child, I would get irritated when my Mom would put her hand on the end of the cart-- leading it toward the isles she needed to go down. “Mom! I can do it!” She apologetically let go, and it was obvious she was simply on autopilot—not realizing my innate desire to be free and independent, but it also displayed her inherent Motherly-nature. (I’m so grateful for that Motherly-love and intuition parents have to guide their children—especially Mothers.) I was frustrated because I knew I had it in me to do things and do them well on my own.

Into my adult years, I was the same. I wanted to be as far away from home as humanly possible—not depending on anyone but myself. I spent the majority of my adult-life spending time with and sharing my feelings with my best friends, and learning by experience how to live my life, always remembering the lessons I learned from home. This past year I ran into a life-crisis that I could never have prepared for, and after I exhausted all of my efforts within my scope to problem-solve, wracking my brain and capacity to find more drive, I realized that I was like a gas tank on empty: the life had literally been sucked out of me.

I had given everything in me for a relationship that seemed to never improve. I had never admitted openly or to myself to ever have loved someone, but I had fallen in love, and that declaration was made. I had imagined a life and family with one person, and that was hard to let go of. The hard part was that I knew deep in my heart and soul, the unshakable feeling that told me that something was wrong. (#spideysensesareneverwrong) The “perfect man” I had known in this seemingly love-filled relationship started to change. I somehow became the emotional punching bag to his life’s problems. Nothing I did was ever enough, and nothing I said was ever right. It got to a point where I was afraid to share my thoughts or feelings because not only would they be shut down with little thought, but being belittled stopped me in my tracks—like a deer in headlights—I did not know how to react to this foreign concept. How did that fit in a happy, healthy relationship? It’s simple—it didn’t. To my detriment in this situation—I am a fighter. I never took the out-of-left-field criticism lying down, however, I am a peace-maker, and would give in for the sake of bringing peace. 

The problem is that it never lasted because this relationship was lopsided. One can only carry the slack for so long. I had never been exposed to such treatment in my entire life that I started to lose my confidence and could feel the fire within me slowly starting to be put out. I realized that if this relationship was going to work, it would be if I gave up my hopes, dreams, and even me—my personality, beliefs, and family.The person I thought I knew for a very long time became a new species, and it scared me, but, what got me moving out of this relationship was the epiphany I had that if I kept going along with the dysfunction of things that I would one day wake up and not be able to recognize myself. I did not want to lose the drive, spark, and fire within me. The worst part is that when you (think) you love someone, you self-sacrifice. It was hard knowing when to stop self-sacrificing since it would erode the very essence of yourself. Because you love someone you are willing to give up everything for them, but there is a limit, and i had hit mine months before I was brave enough to make the change, even when that would mean I would lose what I had grown to love. 

This was a relationship that I swore my entire existence that I would never be part of—unbalanced, emotionally abusive, and unfulfilling. Here I was, participating in a surreal nightmare I wanted to wake up from. Just thinking that way brought another crashing wave over me—the gurgling guilt almost downed me.

It hurt. It hurt to realize that every good feeling, moment, and euphoria was now categorized into a folder in my mind etitled, “The Biggest Facade of My Life”. Looking back, I wondered if any of it was real. I still do. How can someone who declares they love you so much be the author of so much pain, hurtful words, and self-destruction? They are questions I will never get the answers to. All I can do is stop looking back and keep moving forward.

Pablo Neruda said, “Podran cortar todas las flores, pero no podran detener la primavera”. It means: “You can cut all the flowers, but you can never detain spring.” No matter how much someone beats you down emotionally or physically, no matter how hurt you can leave a relationship or situation—it can never rob you of the beauty within you.

I’ve met people that embrace their scars. I met a guy whose eyes would sparkle while explaining to me while pointing to different parts of his body each scar and each story he had acquired during his lifetime--so proud of the fact that he had been cut up and healed again. He didn’t keep picking at the scab just to deepen the scar. He let it heal, but he appreciated the mark that it made and the lesson he took from them.

I am not one who likes to show off my battle-wounds, especially when I never expected to fall the way that I did. In this case, I had imagined my life very differently than how it panned out. If my life had gone according to plan I would be a married woman, spending my life with a man who loved spending time with me, and who treated me with love and respect. Instead, I am a single 31-year-old woman who was settling for a relationship where I was anything but treated as a priority or with respect. The confusing part is that it didn’t start that way, or I would have never accepted it. Inexplicably, things crept in and changed, but, I was able to gain the courage to walk away from a hurtful relationship. I have a scar. I initially thought it was the ugliest and most painful thing to look at. Now, it is fading. It’s not like you can forget what you’ve been through, but I am appreciating it’s mark in my life.

During this time away, having changed my environment and surroundings; I have made deep and true friendships that genuinely fill my life with joy. The exchange of one bad relationship to a universe of healthy ones, even platonic ones, has been a wise-change. I am building something through them that I did not have, and I value it. I’m learning how to love again. I am learning how to be a better me. I am building my relationship with my parents and there is so much depth there. I feel that the purpose of life is to learn how to have peace with yourself and with others. I am determined to only allow in my life (when that time comes, a romantic) someone who makes my world better, who brings peace into it. Truly, someone who challenges you and inspires you to be better is the only type of friendship turned to love worth having. The rest is just superficial, uninspiring, and won't be worth the mess.

I am a changed individual, and my favorite part of myself from managing to survive the tormenting waves is that I am more compassionate to others who are experiencing hardship and I know the difference that kindness, support, and love can make to someone who’s trying to survive one day at a time. My feathers are not easily ruffled like they used to be. I used to judge women who found themselves in an abusive relationship because I had always been strong, firm, and no-nonsense. I had never made a mistake in love until now. I can see from their perspective and I understand the pain, self-deprecation, and disappointment from failing in love, and lacking the self-respect to leave sooner because of such conflicting, guilt-inducing emotions. Now, I understand how it feels. I do not excuse their offender, but I understand them more for lingering, and love them even more because I’ve been there. I am also the testament that putting it off will only make things worse. I am thoroughly convinced that my pain is the caveat to help someone one day in the future who will need someone who just “gets it”. I hope to be there for them. Until then, underneath the exterior of me is a heart that knows the need for kindness and is preparing for a love that will last, and this time, I hope it is forever.

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