No need to put your heart in the fire anymore

Sunday, October 15, 2017

IMG by FleurChelsea on

I was coming back after a long walk, the streets are no longer strangers to me but rather friends who don't seem to change over time.  Maybe because it hasn't been that long ago that I moved here, perhaps it's too soon to tell if I know them all that well. I slowed my pace to take some pictures, hoping either one of my housemates was home so that we could share a bottle of wine with each others magnificent company. As I went up the stairs to our apartment, I heard somebody already opening the door for me, it felt lovely.

I arrived at the doorway and they yelled, 'Welcome home!' We have only known each other a few months, but already have become very close. They only know the new me, which is actually just the old me, but slightly bruised. As we opened the bottle of wine a memory I hadn't thought about for so long came to me. Late 2015 had been so bad to me, I remember having at least one glass of wine so that I could go to sleep.  It wasn't anxiety, it wasn't depression, it was having to live with the decision of staying in a horrible relationship. Alcohol makes a fine social lubricant, but it is not a good personal lubricant. 

The three of us chatted about our plans for the future, the countless trips we want to make. That is how I always manage to skirted the topic of the relationship I had escaped. They rarely ever pressed me to talk about it. Now I'm thinking I never really told people about what had happened, I guess I thought it was nobody's business. However, lately I've heard stories of people trapped in a similar hole like I was and I want you to know that it's never too late to escape.

I moved in with a boy who seemed to want to offer me the world. I didn't realize back then that his kindness had conditions. He was angry, and that made him unpredictable. He manipulated me by making me think that he needed me. It took me a really long time to understand that he was teaching me to need him instead, only so he could later neglect me. He yelled at me both in public and in private. He made me scared as he continued to literally punch every wall in our apartment. He refused to let me end the relationship though I often told him how unhappy I was. In stark contrast to how publicly we existed in our daily lives in the city, I was living a private nightmare at home.

Decorating the place proved an effective distraction from my loneliness and uncertainty there, that was the only thing we could agreed on. He and I simulated normal couple behavior when it came to selecting plates and choosing what to hang on the walls. I was populating our emptiness with items, of course our shared appreciation for home d├ęcor wouldn’t save us. After 3 years of living together, I was moving out.

The end of our rental agreement was the best thing that had happened to me back then. It was liberating. 

He always made me feel bad for spending too much time at work, when I was the only one able to afford our lifestyle. It wasn't that I was working too hard what bothered him, it was the fact that when I was at the office he didn't own me.  He couldn't control everything I was doing, he couldn't judge me for who I was. 

Each trip to the super market consisted on both putting things in the basket but only one of us was paying for all of it. It wouldn't have bothered me if he would have at least tried to help with the expenses every once in a while, instead he never said a word and waited for me take care of the bills. 

I had finally gathered the strength and devised a plan to leave my bad relationship. The scenario played in my head every night while he went to sleep. I needed to disappear without him watching me go. I didn’t want him to witness the sadness and fear inevitable in my departure. A friend of mine had offered me to stay in a room he didn't have use for at his apartment.  It was meant to be a temporary stay but the future had other plans, but that's a story for another day. 

My plan didn't go as planned, he always seemed to find a way to make me feel selfish for wanting a different life, for thinking that I deserved more. 

It was the weekend, we had a fight for whatever the reason and he accused me of cheating on him. He did this quite often, every chance he had, for no reason (or so I thought).  He would routinely check my messages and emails and used conversations I had with friends against me.  So, I remember taking his phone away from him, only to realize who the cheater in the room was.  For the next weeks he would make the claims any cheater does, 'She means nothing to me', 'It was her who started chasing me', 'She kissed me', 'She kept insisting on seeing me', 'I don't even like her'. nothing original. He said he would end it and I thought I had already moved on from so many of his disrespectful attitudes, what's so wrong about one more? 

Nothing good came out of it, me forgiving him only made him believe he had more power over me. He became worse than ever, he humiliated me every chance he had and not once said sorry. I was broken from his final triumph. 

I moved in with my friend, we weren't that close at the time, it was easy for us to find things to talk about for hours. In the mornings, when I woke up by myself I couldn't help but to feel emotionally empowered. Suddenly, heading to the super market felt good again.  I didn't have that weight in my shoulders anymore. I was finally only doing things for myself and no one else and that did not mean I was selfish, it meant that I was sufficient. Surrounded by boxes in a teeny tiny room, I felt safe and familiar, like home.

I began to see other people. I can still recall the initial thrill of having someone else on top of me, a different weight, a different feel than the boy I ran away from. But how do you start over? By learning to be alone, by learning to look people in the eye and see them for who they really are and not for who you wish they would be. Also by changing. Changing what you believe about love. Changing what you believe about yourself. Changing what your hands reach for in the middle of the night. So stop texting, stop calling. Be lovely and gentle and delicate to yourself, but be tough too. Don’t let yourself make a museum of them, don’t scroll through old texts and old photographs. It’s hard until it’s not.

We fall in love, we fall apart but we can also fall for a dream.  One in which you'll be happy again. One day you will wake up at the end of it, and you will step out of yourself and be okay.

— About the Picture on this post:  
This is my bedroom, I took the picture from the second floor where my bed is.  I live in a house with 3 other students, we love spending time with each other.  My room is a bit small, also a lil messy but I don't have a lot of things as I used to.  I like not having so much stuff, I like that I'm by myself but never lonely 

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