You were always afraid I’d be bigger than you.
I never cared much either way. Being famous isn’t something I’ve ever longed for, but for you it was oxygen. You sucked it in greedily, as though it were the only thing in your world which truly mattered. I guess with your pursuit of it, I shouldn’t have been surprised when your face popped up in that video sprawling across my feed. I wanted to hurl, not just vomit, but actually pick something up and throw it. I wanted to break things.
When you show up, the urge in me to destroy grows strong.
Almost six months ago, I swore I wasn’t going to waste any more of my good words on you. I told Micah and Ronne you would get no more from me after you tried calling and I ignored you. I was through giving you my favorite thing about living besides humans and food; the creation of imagery through language. But then your face started moving about in my Facebook feed the other day because whoever decided that autoplay on videos is a good thing clearly has never lived in a world where pain from the past shows up on social media and starts smiling and laughing at you when you’ve blocked it everywhere else. I tweeted about how maybe one day when your face pops up I won’t want to blow shit up.
That’s what I’ve been doing. Blowing shit up.
For a long time I internalized the damage you did to me. When I was forced to remember you, I just blew shit up. Most of the chaos that resulted from this action damaged me further. Just a little too much whiskey. Texting the wrong person. Shutting myself off from the people who love me. And retracing every single memory that had you in it, asking myself how I could have been so foolish and why I hadn’t seen you for what you were.
WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? No, seriously. WT actual F kind of illogical thinking is that?
I was trying to punish you for what you’ve done to me by punishing myself. Like somehow by inflicting pain on me it would translate to you. But it never could. You never actually felt anything for me, so there is no pain that could ever be done to me that you would feel. You never actually saw me. You only pretended to feel me. You never tried to truly know me. How ignorant of me to believe that by causing myself pain it would damage you? Or change you?
There’s nothing I can do that will ever change you.
There’s no coming-to-Jesus moment I can make happen for you.
There’s no whale coming to swallow you, spit you out, and send you running for redemption. At least, not one I can order up. If it comes for you, I can only pray it’s lesson will shake you to your core and change your character.
On New Year’s Eve, while sitting between two friends and drinking some good bourbon, I prayed a prayer about you. I was more than a little tipsy because that’s the only way I ever speak of you. I won’t tell you all the words, but I will tell you it was one of the most powerful prayers I’ve ever spoken aloud. I said your name and called on all the Light in the Universe, asking that you wouldn’t get a chance to hurt anyone else like you did me. Like you did the others I know.
We sealed that prayer with a shot of whiskey, a swear, and asked it in Jesus name. And I’m pretty sure He heard us.
Because I don’t know a lot of things about the Almighty. I haven’t quite figured out when and how and where He shows up but I can tell you this, eventually He does. Truth comes out.
I spoke that prayer and then I let it go because this year I chose love. I’m done hating you. I’m done taking responsibility for the path of destruction you leave behind you. Sometimes the weight of it feels so heavy on me. I think, “IF I WOULD JUST SAY SOMETHING….” But now, I’m done.
I just wanted to tell you I’ve stopped hurting myself when you show up and remind me of how you hurt me. Instead, I’ve begun loving me.
I’ve learned how to do it well. I bake cakes and ask for hugs and talk to people who love me and make cups of chamomile in mugs that say, “That shit you wrote is beautiful.” I write love stories. I eat pie. I remind people that there is magic in the world.
A few weeks ago, I even finally learned to dance. I wasn’t allowed to growing up and I was always afraid to as an adult. It’s the hardest thing for me to let go of my control and give myself over to the music. I’m terrified I’ll do it wrong or that I don’t have it exactly right. I finally asked myself, “Then what? So if you get it wrong, then what?” Because this is dancing. It’s not brain surgery or crepe making, it’s dancing. And in the beautiful new life I’m building, I’ve learned how to do it.
So, I dance and I curl up with my best friends. I remember how beautiful and worthy of love I am and how many people choose me every single day. I love me, because I deserve to be loved. You never really understood that. You didn’t know I was worthy to be loved. But after I completely shut you out of my life, I finally figured it out.
A few weeks ago, a man looked into my eyes and said, “You know you’re not broken, right?”
For the first time in I can’t remember when, I smiled up at him and said, “Yes, I know this.” Because I’m not. I’ve worked and fought and clawed and shoveled my way out from under the shit you helped pile on and I’ve found my way to the other side. It’s fucking glorious over here. There’s sunlight and so much love and also there’s pie. I always imagined that one day you’d show up here to see it. But I’m really glad you haven’t. In my world, most days I forget you exist.
But you do.
I know that because no matter how hard I try, your face keeps showing up in my feed. So, I wrote this to tell you I’m done hating you and hurting me. I’m loving myself like you never had the capacity or desire to do because I think everyone deserves to be loved. Even you.
Image by Lauren Wuornos. Edit by me.