Capable of Love, Yet Still Toxic


Today I had one of those moments where your brain wants to look back at all the awkward moments you’ve encountered throughout the duration of your existence. Now this is typical for my insomniatic nights where I’m awake until 4 or 5 AM. But in those moments I’m usually contemplating what in the hell I am doing with myself and my life.

The brain just likes to focus on those brief or rather long moments that kind of make you wince in pain (both mentally and emotionally, sometimes even physically). And you can’t shake it for a few moments, because it just keeps popping up. Before you know it you’re replaying old conversations, hearing old promises, reading old text messages as they flash across your psyche. For a second you zone out because your mind is taking you for a ride, a ride you’d rather get off of than stay on.

I had a moment like that today when I incidentally ran into someone I no longer speak to. It was an odd mixture of pain, anxiety, anger, hurt, and somewhere within myself…love. Perhaps I am confusing love with nostalgia. Loving who the person once was, but no longer loving who they have become. I mean we are always capable of loving old versions of people, but I think we often use that as an excuse to stay in something that could be deemed toxic.

Neither of us spoke to the other person and it was a moment as fleeting as a snow flake dissolving upon impact to hard ground. But it left me with an ache. An ache for what could have been. An ache for what was. An ache for what I had endured, and how it had been paid [not] in kind.

I read a quote once that said, “The hardest thing to do is to grieve someone that is still breathing.” Like ghosts in your veins. Chilling you when these people flick across your stream of consciousness. It’s amazing to me how the brain formulates thoughts at such a rapid pace and dissipates them all the same. Millions of ideas, thoughts, emotions are processed in seconds to minutes but sometimes it gets stuck. The stream hits a boulder, or a rock and its flow gets perturbed. Turbulent, the mind seeks to find peace once more.

I was walking home and I just became angry all over again. Like I was experiencing all the sh*t I had been through for the past 1.5 years again. I know it was irrational to be angry, but my amygdala felt the need to remind me how hurt I had been by everything, by everyone involved. Too often I think people like to pretend that what they do doesn’t have an effect on others.

One thing I have noticed here is that people are quick to talk. Oooh yes, they are fast tongued and quick mouthed to say things about you. But the minute you confront them to sit down and talk it out like adults they lose their ability to speak. I have gone crazy trying to be a sensible, level headed person at times because people can’t be honest. Listen, if you wanna talk go ahead but at least own it ya know? I mean if I have something to say I’m going to say it, and I sure as hell would own up to saying it. But I ain’t gonna beg people to tell me the truth because what’s the use?

But that’s a whole separate issue that deserves its own post.

Anyway, my encounter got me thinking about why we hang on to people that cause us pain? I was having trouble understanding what it was that led me to cling so tightly to a toxic individual. Was I afraid? Did I think I needed them? It’s been a little over a month since I’ve been completely detached from them, but a part of me wishes it could have been different. I always want things to work out and to be positive and happy, but that’s not always the case.

As part of my Radical 365, I came home and stood in front of the mirror. I looked at myself and said, “I love you. You are love, you are light.” about 10 times. I reaffirmed myself that things work out in mysterious yet meaningful ways. And I analyzed myself critically. What would be different? Would anything be changed for the better if this person was still a major part of my life? Would I be somehow happier?

It takes strength to leave something or someone when you’re not quite ready to do so. But sometimes you have to make those quick and fast decisions. Accept the pain of today to spare yourself of heart break tomorrow. It hurts even now from time to time, but then I must be growing. I don’t think they named them ‘growing pains’ just for the hell of it.

I know I will continue to run into this person, and each time will present a twinge of pain. And I don’t see anything wrong with smiling at the familiarity they once represented, but I see everything wrong with wanting it back. Moving on is a process, albeit a sometimes slow one that involves taking a step or two in a wayward direction but never backwards. I don’t think that having these emotions is indicative of regression, or that I’m somehow hindering myself or “not over it”.

I think being able to feel hurt, love, and forgiveness makes me human. More human than some of the people I track here in this space in this place.