"Why do you always think you do something wrong?" W asked. And I truly didn't have an answer at that moment, just a deep, guilty, wrong feeling that somehow I've done something to force me into this position.
After my parents split, I didn't cry. Not publicly at least. Instead, in the dark, mellow music playing, I'd sob uncontrollably, gasping for a breath of understanding in between each teardrop, wondering what I'd done wrong to make my father divorce me and my mother. I cried so intense I was tired after every round, but so silently that nobody ever found out. But even in my dreams I would ask "What did I do wrong? Why?"
They say the more things change the more they stay the same...
I was once in love with someone who could never love me back. I asked him why; why did he have me grow attached and fall if he never had the intention to catch me? Why build my trust to just abandon me with my own vicious thoughts? Why? He never had an answer, just a world of apologies in his eyes to match the world of hurt in mine. And even in knowing it wasn't my fault, that there was nothing I could've done better, I still questioned it; what could I have done better to make him love me, what did I do to make him not love me?
I have a strong reaction to abandonment, whether imagined or otherwise. It hurts physically, like drowning in oxygen, like a firm palm pressing right over your heart and lungs, taking the air from them. It tastes salty and bitter, like tears and iron. And still, no matter how grown up I am or think I am, I revert back to that little girl who's daddy left and wonder why? What could I have done? What did I do wrong? The adult in me assures me that, logically, I've done nothing, nothing is wrong, reminds me to breathe, to eat, to not get so bogged down in that emotion from so long ago that I don't live.
There aren't many people I fear losing. A good four or five. And so when I think I've lost them? I revert. For moments, the jubilant, normal me will shine through, trying to convince them that I'm fine, or that it doesn't hurt. But if they know me, they know. The worse thing you could do to me is leave me by myself in a relationship. If I'm in a friendship with you and you just up and go? I blame myself, deeply, and can never explain to myself what I've done wrong to make you go. You make me love you? And it's ten times worse, because in addition to all that weight is added the feeling of stupidity; how dumb was I to think I could be someone's someone? How foolish and naive to think I deserved love.
I write about it today because I almost let that feeling take me over. I forget sometimes that it's not me that's the problem; sometimes that other person has their own weight to carry before they can share it with someone else, or become free of it and can truly focus on everything else around them. I'm reminded of it today after talking to my father, not talking to my certain someone, and receiving a message from that one I've never been able to truly forgive.
I've never trusted either of my parents after the divorce. I never forgot that guy who made me love him only to leave me alone in love. I never forgot the friends who walked out. And each of them share some of the dark stitches on my heart. I've learned from them to be the one to walk, to not be the one left behind, and when you're so ready to jet when things get tough, what does that really say about the value you place on these people?
I had to trust my judgement and my heart from scratch. I had to learn to put the doubts and fears, that nit-picking force in the very back. I had to learn to have faith in people, faith in my choosing these people. The hardest of all, I had to un-learn walking away; the best way to show someone you value them is to simply be there. I learned that from years of feeling so much less than valued by all those people who were never there for long, never there as I needed them to be. And I've been a better person for it. So even if I don't understand now, I won't walk away, and I won't jump to conclusions, asking myself over and over what it was that was wrong with me. No, from now on I'll stand my ground; I'll choose faith, choose hope and choose trust.