I let go today.
It had become a toxic relationship, this one, serving neither of us. So after twenty-four grueling hours of angry words and misunderstandings and unfounded accusations, I kissed it goodbye, wished it well, and released it.
After I deleted all the text messages, stopped reading the empty promises, the declarations of forever… after I hit unfollow and unfriend and unsubscribe… after I removed all the pictures from my camera and took down the framed photos in my home… I thought I would feel empty, sad, spent.
But I didn’t.
The sun shone on the frozen lake behind our house, the dogs slept at my feet, a calm quiet filled my home and my soul… and I felt at peace. Centered. Strong.
For the first time in many, many months.
I had already been through the sadness and the uncertainty, had already tried to make sense of the nonsensical, had already questioned and cried and explained and explained again, had already been through the “how did she interpret that from this…?” and “why did she think I meant this when I said that…?,” had already tried to find my balance on shifting sand. All of those efforts were for naught, though, because this relationship was never meant to be. I tried to make it mine, but it wasn’t. It was an impossibility from the start.
I wanted it, for sure. I was addicted to it. I was fed by it. I eschewed other – much more important and vital and real relationships – for it.
But I also let myself be destroyed by it, surrendered a piece of my soul to it.
It has always been challenging for me to believe there are people who walk through this world with closed hearts and minds, with angry and bitter and resentful hearts. It is difficult for me to believe that some people operate from distrust and fear and unkindness. I want to believe that as human beings, we are innately good and giving and understanding. And I think, for the most part, we are. I believe strongly in humanity. But I am also beginning to better understand that there are others among us, too – those who can never fully love or be loved.
Perhaps he’s chosen to live a life of solitude because it’s easier than risking a broken heart.
Perhaps she was too damaged by her absent, abusive parents to ever be vulnerable again.
Perhaps he has a biological imbalance that renders him incapable of compassion.
Perhaps there is a missed diagnosis of narcissist or sociopath.
Perhaps she’s built a wall thick and tall enough to keep out any more pain.
Perhaps it’s easier for him to blame and accuse and name others’ faults than to recognize his own.
I know for certain that I am a completely imperfect human being. I fuck up in a million different ways on a million different occasions. I’ve said things I wish I could take back; I’ve done things I’m not proud of; I’ve hurt those I love the most with careless words and inconsiderate actions; I’ve caused disappointment and pain. I’m sure I will do it all again. But I also know this… at my core, I am not unkind. I try to recognize and own and right the wrongs I’ve caused. I do not shut others down when they need compassion and understanding, I don’t try to make others feel out of balance, questioning their own sanity, licking their wounds alone, second-guessing.
And I now know this as well… I will not take the blame for that which is not mine.
As much as I would prefer not to, I operate from a deep sense of abandonment. It is my Achilles. And when someone sticks her finger in that wound… again and again and again… and then twists reality to suit her own needs, her own ambitions, her own selfishness, her own story, it is nearly unbearable.
It was nearly unbearable.
It left me on the floor, gasping for breath, begging for mercy.
But here is what I learned on that floor…
There are some people who are not made for you.
There are some hearts that will not protect your own.
There are some conversations that will never be resolved, some questions that will forever remain unanswered.
There are some human beings who will never appreciate – or care about – who you truly are.
There are people you will love who are incapable of loving you back.
There are those who will lie to, manipulate, and abandon you.
There are humans who are broken beyond repair, and it is not your job to save them… especially at your own expense.
If someone is unwilling to listen to you, to engage with you, to get vulnerable with you, to crawl around in the mud with you, to forgive you, to ask forgiveness from you, to learn you… that person is not meant for you. Not now. Not ever. You cannot save him. You cannot change her. You cannot, no matter how hard you love or how deeply you hurt, make him see through your lens.
She gets to make that decision. He gets to close his eyes. She gets to lash out at you if that’s what makes her feel important and heard. He gets to place all the blame on you, owning nothing. She gets to choose who she wants in her life. He gets to tell his own version of the story.
But on the other side, you get to say no. You get to say enough. You get to walk away and never, ever look back. You get to take a deep breath, straighten your shoulders, and say goodbye. You get to reclaim your heart… the one that is — at its core — good and kind and giving. You get to say, “No. That’s not who I am. I am worthy. And kind. And deserving of so much more than your lies and your manipulations and your vitriol.”
Each of you knows who you are inside. In the deepest corner of your heart, you know. Claim that. Own that. Live that truth. Don’t let anyone else make you feel less than, unworthy, not enough.
Because you are so much more than enough.
And you were never meant to be defined by someone else.
When that weight of uncertainty is lifted and the unsteady ground beneath you stops shaking and you open your eyes to look at the horizon, the light is there. The sun is shining. The clouds have lifted. And what is meant for you is once again revealed… truth, honesty, love, solidity, friendship, good humans, understanding, empathy, time, compassion, kindness.
Those are meant for you. All of those.
The pain was never yours. Give it back. Let it go. Walk away.
Face to the sun. Face to the sun.