To you and all the others like you:
How have you been? That’s a rhetorical question because I don’t really care. Don’t get me wrong – I want your life to be full and happy, but for once, this is about me.
You see, I spent way too long focused on you.
We first met as children, sharing our formative years and growing up together. I heard what people said, I knew deep down. To me, it didn’t matter. I wanted to make you happy and it took me way too long to realize you didn’t want the same for me. Years were lost in a hopeless pursuit because I was scared of the alternative.
I built us up in my head all those years, convinced our paths would remain entwined. The fear of leaving that behind and forging some new destiny kept me there, in a place where I never felt loved or wanted, a place I couldn’t leave.
Then you found me in college. I was finally recovering and realizing I had something to offer the world when you emerged. Sure, you’d been around before, but this time I noticed you and by some happy miracle, you noticed me, too.
This wasn’t the first time I was a secret. You just reiterated my place in the shadows. I used to blame myself for not being honest enough, not being good enough, not loving God enough. Never enough is what I learned from you. You let me carry on without being honest because you were trying to be nice? Not wanting to hurt my feelings? Taking the easy road? No matter your reasons, you hurt me.
After graduation, we stumbled upon each other again. Isn’t life funny? You said all the right things and made me believe that this time it was real. That after years of waiting, God had revealed part of my plan and I began to build this dream in my mind and go to a place I never let myself before. You gave me hope, but it’s funny after 20 plus years alive I still thought I could trust the hope I place in humans.
Maybe I knew all along it wasn’t real. Maybe I embarrassed myself by going through everything over and over again with my friends trying to find what clue I missed. Maybe you weren’t that great of a guy. My life was filled with theories and maybes because of you.
All these years spent chasing you left me broken with baggage I didn’t realized I carried. My thoughts revolved around why I wasn’t good enough for you. I learned to hate and try to hide everything that made me unique because I only saw it as a barrier. I’m too loud. Too passionate. Too fat. Too opinionated. Too annoying. Too uptight. Too vulgar. I viewed myself as too much and not enough.
I was afraid to be honest about my feelings, both with myself and all the others. When you only know rejection, you can’t imagine reciprocation. It felt impossible that I could ever be liked and wanted and so I convinced myself I never would.
Here where I want to say it’s your fault, you did this to me. But I know that isn’t true. I used to pray and ask God to help me forgive all the times you hurt me and help me remember not everyone is like you.
Recently, though, God revealed it was never you I had to forgive. It was me.
That was my problem for years, I think. Trying to blame you and play the victim in my own narrative. Ultimately it comes down to this: I chose to stay. My desire to feel loved ranked higher than any other and I lost sight of what mattered for you. Instead of seeking what I knew was good, I went after what I wanted to be good. Time and time again, I got burned.
I held onto the thought of you. I couldn’t let go because I couldn’t believe I was wrong again.
I was mad at myself for going through these cycles every. Single. Time. Nothing changed because I wouldn’t change. I knew what I wanted but compromised for you. I lost all my resolve because in those moments, I only wanted to be what you wanted. I let the person I am fade trying to keep you.
I wanted to feel whole and thought you could do that for me, if I just made less of myself. Now I realize there is no one here who can complete me.
Instead of being desperate for you, I’m desperate for God, and what a difference that makes.
Now I can forgive myself for being foolish enough to put up with you. I recognize all of our experiences made me who I am today. Without them, I would have a different story to tell, and I’m happy God gave me this one.
Sometimes I think I miss you, but it’s really just the idea of you. I want to feel that momentary comfort, and know that maybe you still care. Sometimes it takes all my strength to resist reaching out, because I know I can’t do that to myself, not again.
So farewell to you and all the others like you. I pray you remember the heart at the other end of that unanswered text next time you decide you aren’t interested. Treat her better, ok?