Take A Step Back…
I know as I’m doing this that I am almost willingly detracting some value from my life, almost allowing this endless dance of self-torture to continue, because despite how often the other person insists, I’m the only one who cares. I don’t dilute my brain into thinking otherwise. I haven’t allowed myself to think of him in awhile. I know that there is nothing there but a dead end. As much as I remember the feelings I had when my mind would wander to him, now all there is now is a deep, bruising hurt. I was never easy to trust. With everything that has happened, how could I be? No one would blame me for it. I have tried to overcome that… but my heart is tender. (I’m sensitive, and I’d like to stay that way).
I fear that part of me is still filled with the unease of wondering what my fatal flaw is… what thing about me was so displeasing and detestable that I deserved what happened to me? Everyone I know thinks I’m mad. Haven’t any of you loved anyone so much that the thought of losing them was a concept you would have driven yourself to madness to prevent? Others say no. So I get forced back up onto my pedestal of shame, left to wonder what nagging thing sets me so apart, unable to relate, unable to just be normal.
So for those of you who don’t know this tale, here it is: I gave up every real dream I had (albeit willingly) to be with this person, someone I never thought I’d find, and decided I didn’t want to be without. I was perfectly content imagining myself as a wife and mother one day. Perhaps it was foolish, but I always thought my day would come, too. I was never led to believe anything other than that our feelings were entirely mutual. And then one day, even when he was standing in front of me, I knew he was gone already. It was in the cruel, hurtful things he would say, the way he would cut me down, in the vapid expression in his eyes, in the effortlessness of the way he would touch me. If I had known for sure, I never would have let him touch me again, for when he did touch me, I know I meant nothing. I don’t even know why. I knew for a few days that he was cheating on me. I didn’t catch them, nobody told me, I just felt it. There was a hatred for this girl brewing inside of me… actual genuine hatred (and for me that is a rare thing). When I finally was told, I started getting sick. I couldn’t eat, even when I tried. I was fored through this humiliation of being told that he wanted to save our relationship and be with me and make it work. I was even willing to allow them a friendship. I had to sit with them, weaving this elaborate bullshit about the future when the whole time they planned to continue cheating with one another.
And then one day, I woke up and virtually overnight I had lost 30 pounds. I looked ghastly. I felt ghastly. I hadn’t eaten (couldn’t). I finally called an ambulance when the brain-splitting headaches began and prayed I was going to be okay. The paramedics showed up and told me nothing was wrong. I have a poor history with attentive paramedics. 8 hours later, I woke up and I couldn’t breathe but for a slight wheeze. Panicked, I begged him to take me to the hospital. He told me I was being a hypochondriac and to just ignore it. But– I really couldn’t breathe. I contemplated walking but it was too far. I contemplated taking the bus but I felt weak and dizzy. So reluctantly I picked up the phone to give it one last attempt. I knew– just knew something was absolutely wrong. He fought with me and wrestled the phone from my hand. I had to call 911 on my cell phone. I sat down on the couch and woke up two days later in triage, hooked up to a heart monitor. When I woke up, he was standing over me, eyes full of pretentious tears, with HER in tow. When the doctor had told him to prepare for whatever he wanted our last conversation to be, he brought the girl he cheated on me with to my bedside. I didn’t have the strength to do anything. All I could do was lay there, crying and trying not to vomit out of sheer anger. Was this how I was going to go? Alone, strapped to a hospital bed, being looked down upon by people who saw me as nothing more than an obstacle and a joke?
It angered me when they told me what a close shave it had been. Given even 30 more minutes of waiting, I would have died had I not gotten to the hospital. I was crashing when I got there. My heart stopped twice in the time I had been in a coma. How does one wake up and not feel that their heart has at some point stopped beating, even if it’s started to again? It angered me that I had allowed someone to reduce me to near-death. It angered me that if it weren’t for my new inability to trust this man I had loved, I would have died. If I had put my faith in him until the end it would have cost me my life. Thinking back, the whole scenario seems so unreal… so unlike a life I would have thought I’d live.
I spent the next two days being talked to by social workers, police officers and a church minister. It seemed, every one else was waiting for me to go, too. But it never happened. Unlikely as it was, and regardless of my having no reason to survive… I lived. It breaks my heart to remember how my hopeless desperation made me angry that I had lived. How did I ever get so low? I spent 10 days in the cardiac unit with nothing to do but obsess about fixing my life, and nothing to look forward to but my next tray full of hospital food. I broke in there. I reached a point of desperation and loneliness (I only had a single visitor during my stay) that caused me to believe that it would be okay if I was stuck in that room for the rest of my life, unable to move and alive only through the work of nurses and machines. I was diagnosed with type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes and sent home.
When I got home, most of my stuff was packed in boxes in front of the door. There was nothing to hope for.
So if anyone– even if I’ve known you for my entire life– finds me apprehensive or afraid, or just too cautious… be kind. I want to find something to hope for. My heart just still remembers what it was like to live without hope. I don’t carry it with me every day anymore. I’ve allowed myself to look forward to loving again someday. I have so much more reason to appreciate… to love and to smile. But sometimes– sometimes I remember and I take a step back, widening the space between myself and everyone else.
This is my way of encouraging you to give me a reason not to.