Choosing to Love Myself

For years, you told me to “move on” and that you would “never talk to me again”, but over and over, like a broken record (or even worse, the movie Groundhog’s Day) you came back. I’ve asked myself why 100 different times in 1,000 languages (even Pig Latin). Sure, I could block your number. I have deleted it many times, but I still know it by heart. I can extricate you, I’ve done it successfully before, but life will find a way to place you right back in my path when I least expect it. Our lives are too intertwined.

For well over a decade, I was waiting to write us a happy ending. You would never allow me closure after each of your departures. It was a sick game you played with me, and with yourself, to leave the door slightly cracked with words like “one day”.

Fuck one day.

You never got to know me, never took me seriously. You may have cared, but you didn’t even know my heart. What did you get from me? I still don’t know. I could guess, but it would only be an assumption, and the best part is I don’t even need to know anymore, because I will find the answers within myself.

You told me I was “not laid back,” “crazy”, “obsessive”, “a jet-setter” (as if this were a bad thing), “a dreamer”, and a million other irrelevant put-downs that painted a picture of me as not enough for you. For You, He who does everything right, He who is nobel and respected.

Or, as I see it now, He who is full of Bull Shit.

I tried everything; the weapons in my arsenal are weathered and damaged. They’re broken. They don’t work anymore. I’ve taken a stand, I’ve cried over you for days, I’ve not let myself cry over you for years. I’ve changed, I’ve fled, I’ve shown up, I’ve bettered myself, I’ve stopped caring, I’ve wished you well and even prayed for you. I’ve “pretended you fell off the face of the earth” as my grandmother once suggested. I’ve extricated you, as more than one therapist advised. I’ve moved across the country. Twice. Once to get away, and once to come back. I’ve stopped writing about you, stopped listening to songs that remind me of you. I’ve even offered an authentic friendship. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve stopped allowing the scars you have planted deep inside me to grow.

It’s not that I don’t love you. That isn’t it at all. I DO LOVE YOU. I will always love you, because I am a person who knows how to love. But from this moment forward, I will just always love me more. Our story will probably never have a beautiful ending.

But my story will.

I’ve chosen to love myself. I’ve chosen to remind myself that your judgments were far off course. I’ve chosen to remember that those who hurt others, are hurting themselves. I’ve chosen to realize that my need to fix you, is my issue. I cannot fix you. And I’ve chosen to relieve myself of this obligation I so wrongly placed upon my 19 year old heart that fell in love with you. It is not my job to fix anyone, but me. And you my friend, it’s highly possible that you just cannot be fixed anymore. The negative behavior patterns you exhibit are sadly too far along.

I never wanted to give up on you. I wanted to see you grow and change and flourish in the ways I have. Though I see now, that by giving up on you, I am actually just giving value to me. I am valuing myself as a person who tried to help you, who did everything she possibly could to show you unconditional love by portraying mental illness in a positive light, and who respectfully puts down both her sword and her shield. If you are unwilling to accept unconditional love and friendship, I have chosen to give it to only those who value it. Those who return it.

My story is beautiful: I committed myself to loving a man from the ages of 19–29. I loved him no matter how many times he hurt me, because I could tell he was damaged. I prayed for him, I wanted him to be happy, and most of all, I wanted him to believe in love. Loving this man changed me, forever. My heart shattered in so many pieces that in order to pick myself back up, I learned what it means to be truly healthy and happy. Emotionally stable, even. My story is that this person was a reflection of myself in the mirror. He showed me who I am, flaws and all; his brutal honesty and hurtful words at each and every turn allowed me to really look inward and work on myself.

Because let’s be honest, I was imperfect then, but now… now I am doing just fine.

I met and married a man who loves me for me, who says things like “I see you, all of you, and I love you.” I married a man who is consistent with his emotions, who doesn’t live his life based on fears, projections, accusations, and twisted thoughts. A man who knows his heart, is honest with himself and others, who values me for what I bring to the table. But perhaps most importantly, a man who is not only familiar with mental illness, but devotes his life to helping others, and believing anyone can change.

That is the beautiful story.

Me: A strong independent woman, who learned, grew, and became devoted to bettering herself, forever.

Me: A woman who found and accepted nothing less than the love she deserved.

Me: A woman who loves a man who truly believes in others and himself.

A woman who accepts she wants no control over you, ever again.

A woman relived from the duties she placed on herself to love someone truly incapable of giving unconditional love back.

A woman who chooses to value and love herself, authentically, and forever.

Now that is a fairytale ending.