I find it surprising that the simplest things bring memories flooding back in. Like water you didn’t realize was rushing behind a wall you’d so carefully built around you that suddenly seeps through the smallest cracks. Eventually, the pressure grows so immense that the wall has no choice but to give way and break. Music is usually what does this for me and since I love to wallow in my own depression I cling to music that makes me hurt. The type of music that steals the breath from my lungs and paralyzes my soul leaving me lifeless so deep in retrospect that nothing hurts anymore except what is at the very center of me.
A few years ago I ended a relationship that was fairly toxic to my mental and physical health. And as unhealthy as the relationship was it became the very center of me. I let it be the essence of who I was for years until it was so clear that our lives, his and mine, were going in opposite directions. From that moment on, it was like the burden of trying to make the relationship work was lifted and we both just fell apart. As tragic as the breakup was and as tragic as living without each other is, I am still glad that we were able to break the bond we had so relentlessly formed to each other.
And I still love him and think of him often. But I think that for now the best I can do is wish him light and love every time I think of him. Our last communication, two years ago, gives me confidence when I am unsteady that we will be okay.
I’ve decided to share the last letter that I ever sent him–the last words that I’ve spoken to him. And they are of love, kindness, and gratitude.
J, I can remember the moment I knew that I loved you. It was about six months after we met and we were riding in the work truck to pick up the boats that we had left on the island the day before. We were alone but we were still unsure of how to be around each other while at work. And if I recall, I was mad at you. You had flown off the handle on our coworker and still had yet to realize you needed to apologize to her. Our relationship was fresh and new and each other’s minds were still unclear. The radio tried to fill the silence and I was about to say something but you slammed on the brakes reacting to something on the road. Your arm flew from your side in front of me protecting me from the teeth of some imaginary beast. No accident occurred but I knew in that exact moment. I had been on the fence about you. I knew that you were a sweet man capable of so much kindness if you would leave your heavy and jaded past behind you. But because you still clung to every bad thing that had ever happened to you I was scared to commit to someone so very much like myself. But I knew in that brief moment you were capable of loving someone else and that was the first time you showed me any real sign of compassion. You can’t say that you loved me more than I loved you. You can’t say that yours was the only heart broken. I am just as devastated as you. Some days I can’t eat or get out of bed. J, there are days I can’t breathe without you. If you honestly believe that I didn’t love you as much as I did then our entire relationship was a sham. I don’t know what was the moment you first realized you loved me and frankly I don’t care. What matters is that you did fall in love with me. And it matters that today you remember that moment. Please don’t treat me like a stranger refusing to talk to me or acknowledge our past. I’ve grown more with you than I have my entire life. In so many ways I have shaped my life around you. If you disappear, if you walk away without so much as a farewell, it seems then my life would collapse. Everything would fall inward filling the void that you once held. We are independent people with independent beliefs, interests, and stories. And I have lived my entire life trying to be stable on my own. I know better than to be dependent on someone else but it’s so funny how much you can love someone. I am a strong willed stubborn woman who will stop at nothing to become a respected biologist in the scientific community. But one glance from you or a squeeze of your hand and I’d follow you to the ends of the earth. No matter how we spin it–we can’t be together. And no matter how hard we try we can’t be apart. I’d give it all up for you but you won’t let me and I won’t let you. We are stymied. Every step you take is a step from me. I can feel you every day getting farther from me and no matter how hard I try–I can’t get at you. I think we both know that no matter how much we want this it’s just not right for us. When I’m lonely and I miss you I think back before France when we would spend Sundays lazily lounging around your apartment as the sun crept across the floor. I’m sorry for all hurt that I’ve caused you. Even on our good days we were so bad for each other but please know that I’ve never loved anyone more than I loved you. You were worth every fight, every scar, every tear, every night I stayed up wondering what the hell I was doing. The last thing you are is a waste of my time. I’ve learned so much from you and you’ve changed me in so many different ways. If this is the end I only want to remember us laughing, warm, and happy in your sun drenched apartment high above everything else.
I’m suppose to write about my life like it’s interesting. Like vivid imagery and captive stories about working in bars and watching boundless amounts of Netflix will change the world. I’m not naive to think that this blog will have any impact on a single other soul in the world. But it hopefully will have an impact on the soul within me. And for now, I believe that is enough. And if there happens to be another independent being out in the world that can have a laugh or relate to anything that I am saying then well…
Recently, a close friend of mine came to visit me. This wasn’t her first time visiting my home town and it probably won’t be her last. Her presence is an always-welcome change of pace to my own life. Mainly because she makes me ‘lol’ like never before and also because we remind each other of such a simpler time. We met when we lived in a tiny town on the west coast of France. Life then had no end or boundary, all of it was attainable and boy were we going places. Now that both of us have been state-side for several years, we have found ourselves stuck in that seemingly never-ending rut after college. She’s working like a dog at a job that she despises so she can live debt free and go after what she really wants. Admirable right? It is, however her current life is at a stand-still until she can start doing what she really enjoys.
I can relate to this. If you’d asked me 6 years ago what I wanted to do after college. I would have told you that I wanted to be a kick-ass marine biologist working for some fancy marine research institute and ultimately setting the world of environmental studies on fire. Honestly, had you asked me even a mere 3 years ago and this would’ve undoubtedly been my answer. Only I would have answered the question immediately to avoid acknowledging the developing doubt in my brain. School had begun to drain everything from me and I hadn’t yet noticed how much sadness it was creating. Today, I’m about as far from being a world-famous marine biologist as I ever thought I would be. I did (barely) graduate from a university with a BS in Marine Biology but the only proof I have of it is overwhelming nausea from the experience and a really expensive piece of paper. To add insult to injury it just hangs on my wall mocking me.
Ask me today that same question. Where do you want to be? The easiest answer is anywhere but here. I am that girl that wants to constantly be out of her head and out of her skin. Just recently while backpacking in South East Asia I found myself often fantasizing about my next trip. I have to remind myself constantly to enjoy where I am now. Take it in. This is oh! so difficult to do when where I am currently is flat, habitual, and lifeless. There is no difficulty in my day, other than getting out of bed and actually beginning it. I’m not here to write a 500 word post complaining about how my life sucks. I’m here to remind myself and encourage others to get out of that rut. That’s currently what I am trying to do. I want to write. I want to travel. Most importantly I want to get up everyday looking forward to what the day could possibly bring. Even if what it brings is chaos and destruction. The way I see it my life could use a little excitement.
So this is your sign. Go after whatever it is that has been nipping at your heels.
My goodness how times passes so quickly. I live in the south where the weather can be slightly unpredictable. If you’ve never been to the South Eastern United States, by unpredictable I mean completely chaotic and without sense. Just recently the east coast of the US was hammered by impact of an offshore hurricane called Joaquin. It buried under millions of gallons of water over the course of a few days. My region was declared in a state of emergency and for four days I didn’t leave my apartment. For the week after the rain, the sun was out but it was cold unusually cold for early October. And then for another week it was unusually hot for mid October. And now it is grey and windy and there’s a slight chill in the air made worse when the wind blows. The perfect weather. This is the type of weather where I read an entire book, or finish a painting, or sit and discover the inward folded layers of my ego. Orange leaves scatter across parking lots and roads adding color to everything they touch. People are wrapped up in fluffy sweaters and boots preparing their organs for the frosty abuse that is to come over the next few months. This type of weather is just inspiring.
I said something to myself the other day that I had never uttered to a soul: I want to be a writer. I had never even realized it myself. It tripped me up, as if by suddenly saying it aloud I created a physical idea in front of me. It appeared abruptly and unfamiliar; it loomed above me so surprisingly that I slammed right into it. In the cartoon version my legs and arms wrap around it, freezing in shock as my body slowly peels off of it and flops to the floor. The idea was undeterred by the impact it had on me. What I found the most irritating about the whole experience was as surprised as I was to meet this idea of mine, it was not at all impressed to meet me. It stared at me with eyes unblinking like it had been staring at me for years waiting for me to see it. How unnerving it was to slam into something that had been following me for years. It’s maddening to learn something about yourself after twenty-something years of believing you had it figured out. I have no clue what I am doing with my life but I like to think I have who I am pretty decided. And yet, the universe continues to laugh at me every day. Perhaps you can never really know who you are or what you truly want. Or perhaps you always know those things but your head and heart choose not to reveal them to you until you’re ready. So the new ultimate question is: am I ready? Am I ready to throw out everything I thought I had pinned down and start looking for something totally new? We are going to find out.