I thought it would be painful, letting you go.
I thought I would suffer, that my heart would be anguished with the loss of you. Or worse, maybe it would stop beating altogether.
Maybe without you, I would simply cease to exist.
I thought I would become adrift, for you had been the anchor I had formed my identity upon, the compass I had relied on for my direction. I thought without you I would become lost, disoriented.
I had expected to taste salty tears as they fell upon lips that once spoke so fondly of you; that my head would lay on my pillow damp with tears for as many nights as the moon continued to kiss the stars.
But one day, I just knew.
I hadn’t expected such a feeling of relief as I cut the ropes that once shackled me to you. One instant of tremendous clarity. One instant, where I finally knew.
I no longer needed you.
I no longer needed your opinion of me, your affirmation, your approval.
I no longer needed your judgments, your criticisms, your condemnations.
I no longer needed your expectations I could never meet; your hoops too high to jump through, your goal posts that shifted with every changing breeze.
I no longer needed your blame, your excuses, your justifications.
I no longer needed your pseudo love, fraught with conditions and attached with strings.
I thought I needed you. I didn’t.
I thought it would be hard to let you go. It wasn’t.
I thought I would miss you. I don’t.
For in one instant my heart was awakened to the truth of who I am.
I am more than the lies you made believe about myself. I am more than the look of failure in your eyes when I fell short of your demands. I am more than how worthless you made me feel. I am more than the ways you tried to break me.
I am a warrior, sculpted by the hands of creation, fashioned into being by the very hands that created the oceans and the stars and the mountains and air.
I am strong, I am brave, I am wise. I am gentle of spirit with the heart of a lioness.
I am creative, passionate, sensitive, and kind. I am of open heart and open mind. I am powerful, generous, thoughtful, daring, empathetic, raw, complex, courageous, understanding, forgiving.
I am everything you are not.
I will no longer carry the shame you made me suffer under the weight of.
That shame belongs to you.
And I will no longer carry my hate for you.
For that will only ever bind me to your darkness and give you permission to destroy my light. It will allow you to stay within me, to destroy my peace, to blacken my heart with the malice that lives within you.
It will tie me to your soul-destroying bitterness, your ugliness.
It will anchor me once more to you, who tried to drown me.
Instead, I will choose to go into the world and love more fiercely, show more compassion, be more generous, offer more kindness.
I will choose to forgive. For me, not for you.
I will choose to sow what I wish to see reaped for my children’s future.
I will choose to dis-empower hate.
I will choose freedom.
I will choose love.
I will stand firm upon the unshakeable truth of who I am.
And I will soar to heights you will only ever dream of.
For I have let you go.
No longer am I held down by all I allowed you to be in my life.
I no longer need you.
I am free.
Apprentice Editor: Bailey Grover; Editor: Renée Picard