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This Shit’s Gonna Kill Me but I Won’t Let It

For my mental health. For my heart. For my soul, my future. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do for myself is pick me. I just ended a 10+ year relationship. With a great guy, a guy who deserves all the love and happiness in the world. And so do I. We wanted to give that to each other, we tried so hard. But I had to be the one to rip our hearts out, trusting that our big loves are out there, unable to find us if we stayed. We love each other, there is zero question about that. We have never intentionally hurt each other, no abuse, no disloyalty, no disrespect. Although we care so much for each other, we don’t love in the ways we each need.

Ten years. I was 20 when we got together, I have no idea how to adult without him now at 31. We planned a wedding, planned on having babies and raising a family and growing old together. All the New Year’s we wound up sick together. All the birthdays we treated the other to our favorite Thai food. All the Sunday breakfasts, Netflix binges, approximately 1 million slices of pizza. How do I deal with this hurt I’ve caused? Not just mine, but his? That’s the worst fucking part. How do I deal with the fact that I hurt him? The guy I was going to marry and have kids with, I hurt him. I left and now he is in pain but I can’t be the one to comfort him, I can’t make it better.

I could remind myself of the hurt I’ve been feeling for years, all the times I’ve cried myself to sleep because I wasn’t being heard. I could remind myself how much I tried - all of the silly relationship advice that went nowhere. What are our love languages & how can we show up for the other in these ways? Writing small “thank you” notes every day. Standing in the face of rejection and spilling my heart out to communicate everything I needed; trying to reframe my mindset to gratitude and appreciate what I had so that I didn’t want or need more. Thinking compromise was just me not getting what I wanted so I could keep him happy. I had to make myself smaller, more palatable, less of an inconvenience. I had accepted the fact that I was ”too much” yet he loved me despite these flaws, but I wanted to show him I loved him too, that I was worthy of love so I packed those flaws up in a box. Ignoring my needs, holding my own hand, pretending comfort and contentment were as close to fully loved that I deserved, the closest I could ever get to my dreams, I thought some people just don’t get that big love… but none of that stops me from hurting right now. And none of that is his fault, it’s what happens when 2 people hold onto each other too tightly.

That box of flaws I packed up, I hid it. Truth be told, I didn’t figure out how to get rid of it, so I kept moving it around ashamed of what was inside. Until one day I peeked in, and found that they weren’t flaws after all. They’re me. The way I love deeply, loudly, fiercely. My ability to connect with and make people feel seen & important. The energy I have for fun - having it, starting it (and in the most unlikely places), bringing it to those needing it most. My unapologetic courage to be embarrassed, laugh at myself, fall and get back up - showing up messy, showing up scared, showing up unprepared. Showing my full self no matter what I look like, no matter what stage I’m in. These were not flaws at all, these were my strengths. And I tossed them away. But now that I’ve unboxed them, they’re front and center.

All of the “needs” discussions we’ve had, I must point out that he had been making changes. He started cooking more than me, doing the dishes, asking me about work. Verbalizing his emotions just a bit more. But I didn’t see him getting happier with me, couldn‘t see his face light up when he saw me. That’s honestly what I really want, over everything else. I want to be with someone I make happy, deliriously happy. I want to be adored. I want to make someone’s eyes shine bright when they see me across the room, a huge smile take over their face when they talk about me. Those aren’t changes anyone can make, it’s there or it’s not. I‘ll never ask anyone for that, it needs to be genuine, needs to be uncontrollable. To be fair, not all of my strengths are typically desirable. That’s okay, that just means when someone accepts them, loves them about me, they might be capable of loving me the way I need. I love to cook but hate to decide or plan the meals. I only like to clean when there’s a reason or goal other than having a clean room. I’ll buy all of the organizing shit Walmart sells, but have no function to actually use it. I hate the smell of vinegar and will childishly avoid the kitchen until it disappears. I never finish a whole cup of coffee, even if I refill it 3 times. I won’t wash the dishes if they’re piled oddly in the sink. I can’t make my brain care about cars no matter how hard I try. My volume is too high. I get excited. I forget to eat, and it can seem like I’m pms’ing when my blood sugar is low. I snort when I laugh really hard. I need togetherness and quality time, but also need alone time, ”me time.” I hate being woken up from a nap. I’ll almost always interrupt a story, especially if I’m really listening and interested. I forget to schedule car maintenance. I forget the fresh fruit in the fridge if it’s not front and center. I will always, ALWAYS be down for Mexican food. Always. There are days my words don’t work, and days my words work overtime. I dance and I sing, neither very well. I mess up the lyrics, I look like dork. I make up songs about nothing and everything. I do not take criticism well, but I hate empty compliments. I go off on tangents and even in my own goddamn blogpost wander off away from the main subject...

All of this to say, I know I made the right decision. I know that this is the best for each of us, I had to be strong enough to get us out of this complacency, to open us up to our best paths. I had to love us both enough to break our hearts now, so that we could mend them and find ourselves, and eventually we’ll find the people with matching hearts. Maybe we’ll find each other again. Deep down, I don't think it was the courage to “put myself first“ that made me finally do what needed to be done. I think it was my love for him, the knowing how fucking badly I want him to experience that big love, the kind that won’t have to work so hard to give him what he needs. It was my courage to step down from a role I knew I wasn’t right for, underperforming in. The courage of “if you love it, let it go” because I cannot hurt us both indefinitely by trying to be the glue.

No idea if this made sense, no idea if anyone cares, no idea if I’ll ever share it. But I know my heart needed to say it.

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