We all stand in need of healing. We are all seeking wholeness. For most of us it is a most urgent and ever-present reality in our lives, one we may perhaps try to bury or neglect but which, if we are honest with ourselves, we find we cannot ignore. We all know also that unless we attend to our inner conflicts and contradictions, not only will we find ourselves torn apart by our inner divisions but also we shall very likely inflict wounds on those around us…. This healing of our divisions, this search for wholeness, must be an ongoing process. There is no once and for all moment when we can say that at last we are whole, the past is buried and over, the hurts forgotten, the wounds healed. Instead we find that it is to be a search that we must expect to continue throughout our lives.
- Esther de Waal, Living with Contradiction
Last Spring I read something that I found on one of the countless sites that feature writers I frequent. It was a list of things you should and should not want in a significant other and while skimming the list, I came across a few words that you would've fallen under back then. Some good, some bad. In that moment it made me wonder: what list you would put me under and what words would you use when you thought of or spoke about me? It seemed silly to be thinking about that last year and it seems silly to think about it now, but I do think it's important to own up to our mistakes and flaws by beginning to stare them right in the eye.
It's easy to point fingers and spew words of anger that is sourced from pain. I was hurting long before what happened and I blamed you for that for ages. But I'm writing this for the days that I felt so ridiculously sad and upset, wondering how we went from those two college kids singing while driving in the sunshine to two people that were cold and bitter to one another as they ended things in the dead of winter. When the mention of your name or a glimpse of the model of your car would cause me to catch my breath and halt my movement.
But it's different now.
I can think about you and not have it cause an aching pain in my chest like it did two springs ago. I hear the songs we used to listen to in the early stages and I am not overcome with a wave of nostalgia. I steer away from romanticizing whatever it was that we were--I try to be more realistic and remind myself that we were both humans and humans are undeniably flawed and sometimes t's hard to our best selves. I can think about us as something that was once alive and thriving and growing but just ended, whether it was abruptly or not.
More importantly - I have forgiven myself for all of my own mistakes I made because I wasn't always a saint. I don't believe in the term 'you have to love yourself before someone loves you' whatsoever, but I do know that I had my own mess to sort out and I had to do that by myself. It was said to me that it's important to step outside of yourself and try to reflect on your own actions in any situation, but not for the other person, but for you--so you can learn, grow, and move on. I had to stand in front of a mirror and own up to what I did, even when it wasn't pretty or flattering or painted me like a saint.
I wasn't always kind to you. I didn't love you the way you wanted or needed me to. I was not the best version of myself when I was with you and that used to bother me. I always felt like I could've been better, softer, kinder, prettier. But I don't feel bad about that anymore. I don't feel guilty for it anymore. You were once someone that I told everything to; you were my person and I was yours, but we are not those people anymore. Not to each other, anyways. Instead of worrying about what word I would fall under and what list you would assign me to, I just try to be the best version of my self that I can be. I don't feel like I could've been better, softer, kinder, or prettier. I was who I was, mess and all. I wasn't my best and I made mistakes and vice versa, but we tried and I appreciate that now. I found my healing by putting an end to the blame game that I was really good at playing. It's easy to point fingers but sometimes you have to point them at yourself. You weren't the best for me, I wasn't the best for you. Simple as that. C'est la vie.
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