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I’ve spent a thousand sleepless nights going over it and over it in my mind; retracing our steps, re-hashing our fights, replaying the harsh words we wish we never said.
How could you hurt me so much? How could I let you?
Bitterness steeped in my heart, like a sad tea. A little porcelain teacup full of bergamot and honey scented tears.
How could two people cause each other so much pain?
I still can’t make sense of it, but maybe, I’m not supposed to.
For many moons, I cast you as an evil villain. A toxic person. Someone who took twisted pleasure in picking at other people’s weaknesses. I cast myself as a helpless victim. A scared girl who didn’t know any better.
But as time marches forward, the pages of my story turn yellow and begin to dissolve in the sunlight.
Without those tears in my eyes, I see differently. The veil of illusion lifts. I see that the truth lies well below the surface, miles beneath my carefully crafted version of events.
The truth is, I played my part, too.
I have to own my role in our love-spiked tragedy.
See, we were both broken and desperate, looking for someone to save us. The truth is, at the time, I needed our painful, f*cked up relationship. I needed to learn about darkness. About power. About pain. I needed to learn to stand up for myself.
When I found my spine and walked away from you, I changed, forever.
I changed my fate.
I fell down a canyon of truth.
And in breaking, in falling, I became myself.
My mask tore away like a dead leaf, revealing rawness and redness underneath; I screamed in horror, but I stepped into my skin. I stepped into who I really am.
As the sun rises today in a pale pink sky, I still don’t know if I can forgive you. But, I can forgive myself. That is where I need to begin. A single flower of self-forgiveness falls softly around me, like a plush pink rose petal soaked in moonlight.
Through the softness of my own embrace, I begin to explore my gifts, my power, my beauty. Yet, I can’t shake the shiver in my spine that tells me soflty: what we shared was a gift. You taught me how not to love.
It didn’t come with a shiny red bow; it came wrapped in poison. But as it turned out, that poison was medicine. It was the only thing that could have woken me up.
And brought me back to life again.
I hope it woke you up, too.
I hope it brought you back to life again.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Catherine Monkman