Today has been one of those days that has me opening long closed doors to the past.
I spent a beautiful, but brief time at my favorite park reading a new book. Laying in the sun, observing the breeze, the people tossing a frisbee a mere 100 feet or so from me and I even took a moment to observe the fragile nature of the grass around me. Lush, green and delicate. I thanked my surroundings for holding me in that moment.
Then the rain came and it was time to pack up my things. The rain and the book I had to pause brought an unexpected memory back to me. Of someone I haven’t thought about in years. Someone I would like to forget, but this book brought them back and now I feel the need to write to the tiniest corner of the internet and get these thoughts onto the page so these memories can stay firmly in the past.
When I was in college, I met someone – we will call him Chris*. I met Chris in a class I was taking where we became partners on a project. He had tattoos, piercings and an edge to him that college me found appealing. I think he had this sort of pain in his eyes that I recognized in myself as well.
He was charismatic, we had things in common and so my natural course was to develop a crush. I will be the first to admit that the more I hung around him, the more the red flags popped up, but I chose to ignore them – if someone presents you with a bouquet of a dozen red flags, you should never accept them. But I was young, depressed and was trauma bonding with someone who wasn’t good for me.
You see, Chris had his own set of issues and I won’t divulge them here as that’s his story to tell, but I should have listened to my intuition. However, deep down I think we accept the love and attention we think we deserve and at the time, I settled for toxic bread crumbs from a person I should have stayed far away from. I learned a hard truth through enduring this toxic situation and the last time I spoke to him was in 2014. He was drunk and told me he only reached out to me again because it was amusing to mess with my emotions. He was very much playing a game I no longer wanted to play.
2014 me and 2021 me are vastly different people and I am so grateful for the growth I have witnessed in myself and the patterns I chose to break, because I realized my own self-worth through the process. What I deserve is far more than bread crumbs. I deserve to feel respected, appreciated and safe with those I love around me – romantic or platonic. I don’t settle for less and if I could go back to 2014, I am not sure I would. No one should have to feel unsafe and after severing all ties with Chris, I had another realization. All the love and attention I was giving out to others so freely, I never gave back to myself. I was always pouring from an empty cup and expecting different results. Removing myself from that situation showed me I deserve to pour the resources into myself instead of focusing on others and hoping I can fix them.
You can’t fix others. Others have to want to change for themselves. You could tell someone something 100 times and nothing will change until they are ready to listen and receive. If they don’t listen, it is not your responsibility to try and change the outcome. The best thing you can do for yourself is let it go. Wish people well and send them on their way.
So, I open this chapter to the past in order to firmly close it. I continue to discuss with my therapist the ways I can experience more intimacy through my relationships with others. One of these ways is to no longer suppress my experiences. I am taking my own advice and sharing a naked truth because I deserve to heal, to grow and experience love and laughter with all the people I have yet to meet. That is the bare minimum as humans we all deserve and I can’t wait to discover the new, beautiful ways this life continues to show its brilliance.
Thank you for reading. If no one has told you today, you’re doing fucking great.