“If you treated a partner the way you treat yourself, would you tolerate it?”
Short answer: no.
Long answer: I’d dump my ass the way I was dumped.
Long nights of contemplation and bouts of fighting back tears have reinforced that I was not abandoned out of a lack of love. It was limits of tolerance being exceeded. We often see in one another potential, our ability for growth and change, the people those we love could be given the right environment. I created the wrong environment for Eurydice. In point of fact, I made it a toxic one.
I would not be able to see this if I have just hopped into another relationship. I do not want to create another environment like that for someone, anyone, that I love.
Which brings me to the point of this post.
I no longer hate myself. I no longer want to kill myself.
I love myself.
I just don’t like myself very much. And if I could, I’d dump myself.
I am my own ex.
And my harshness towards myself, the puritanical way in which I seek justice for the wrongs I’ve committed, creates a toxic environment for myself.
This is why I need therapy. The medication merely helps me recognize and arrest the extremes of my shifts in mood and thought patterns. It doesn’t happen immediately, but it does happen. I do have awareness. I can hold onto the mast when the storms come, rather than being swept into it. I can see the storm coming. I can’t stop it, but I can weather it better than I ever could.
A little voice – my contrite head weasel – tells me it doesn’t matter.
I lost the dearest part of my heart and I will never get it back.
As I said in a rather maudlin bit of Tumblr art, I understand this. It was a gift. And Eurydice can keep it. Or throw it away the way she did me.
I just have to learn to live without it.
I love myself. I just don’t like myself. I am my own ex.
I want to like me. Even in the midst of my anger and sorrow towards this gap between who I am and who I’m trying to be (and, thankfully, the increasing distance between who I am and that thing I was), I want to make things right. I want to appreciate myself on a consistent basis. I want to treat myself the way I want to be treated, the way I want to treat those I love. I want to never lose sight of love, to base all of my interactions on love, and live in love every single day just as much as I am living my truth, naked and unashamed of it, consistently and transparently honest with myself and those around me.
I want reconciliation. I want closure. I want reassurance that love still exists, that it’s still possible, that it’s going to be okay.
I’m holding back tears as I type this because it all feels so impossible and far away.
Okay. Deep breaths. Game face. I can get through this.
I have had experiences where an ex and I have slowly, carefully, gotten back in touch with one another. Repaired some damage. Forgiven one another. Acknowledged that love does not fade, even as we as individuals grow and change.
Reconciliation with myself has never been a goal before. Because I was never honest with myself to realize the environment I make for myself or the true nature of my relationship with myself. But I have to make it a goal. I have to be on better terms with myself. By myself. For myself.
This has to be a goal in therapy.
It won’t stop me missing other people. Friendship. Intimacy. Partnership.
“Missing people is a constant state of being.” Furiosa (the person I call Furiosa in my life) said that. Or something like that.
She and I don’t talk much anymore, either.
I know the people who still do talk to me mean well. That they are trying to support me. I do appreciate the love, and the spirit in which such support is given.
But for the people who have abandoned me, no. It is not “their loss.” They are not villains or cruel people. They should not be demonized for taking back space for themselves. They should not be cast as evil beings out to hurt me. I refuse to subscribe to that narrative. Please do me the favor of not hating the people who’ve hurt me. They didn’t do it out of spite. They did it to protect themselves.
I am left with pain and loneliness. I tell myself, rationally, that is the extent of the punishment I deserve. There may be some hope at some point in the future of things getting better. Of divides being bridged. I can’t let go of that hope. I fight to hold on to any scrap of hope I can, day and night, like I’m running out of time.
Being stripped of everything else, of every comfort and every piece of Josh-that-was, this is who I am. I do not know how else to be.
And someday, at some point, I’ll learn to like myself again. Reconcile with myself. Forgive myself.
Thank you for bearing with me until then.
I wish everyone I still love could have done that. But I understand why they didn’t.
I wish they would understand me. But I understand why they won’t.
I wish for just one kind word. But, cancerous as it is, I understand the silence.
I will learn to live with it.
I have no other choice.