Untitled

She put the house up
For sale

I saw my past life
Flashing before my eyes

The kitchen
Where I made dinner
And that day I made more naan
Than we could eat, but I did it
Without my shirt on

The kitchen
Where she left me notes by the coffee pot
The coffee pot that kept me going on the hardest days

The kitchen
Where I hung that ee cummings poem somewhere I have never travelled gladly beyond

But she replaced it

Twice

The kitchen
Where she screamed at me
That time I had an accident
And melted

The kitchen
where I finally yelled
“I deserve to be with someone who wants to support me emotionally”

The living room
Where she threw that candle at me
And broke my foot

The living room
Where the television
Still holds my face print from when we hung it, and I almost dropped it

The living room
Where I spent days painting
But on the last day made her help
And I didn’t wear any pants

The living room
Where the couch we bought is 
falling apart from the time she fucked that other girl there and the lotion
The lotion ate away the faux leather

The dining room
With the chairs I hand sanded and painted
It took me a week
And cost me a pair of shoes

The dining room
Where I painted the built in cabinets with the wrong color because she didn’t help me that time

The dining room
Where we hardly ever ate

The spare bedroom
She told her parents was my room

And when I made it my office
She complained at the mess I work through

The spare bedroom
Where I painted alone
Again because she refused to help

The spare bedroom

The spare bedroom

And her bedroom
She painted again
The second time I left

She painted again on the day she demanded I come get my stuff

And her bedroom
Where she called the other side of the bed the pssenger side

And her bedroom
That she shared with me
And her and her and her and her

And her bedroom
Where she choked me in the closet

And her bedroom

And the front porch
Where I watched the rain
And read my books

The front porch
Smoking cigarettes

The back yard
Where I read books to her

The back yard
That she refused to fence in

The back yard

That caved in

The back yard
And the driveway
We resealed together
Pulling weeds and filling cracks

She put the house up
For sale
I walked through it one more time

And cried

And closed the door

Without slamming it

Without leaving a key
this time

I guess it’s haunted

I guess it’s time

Poem

I’m losing water

I’m losing heat

Creating steam

Changing states 
The sea dried up

Waves no longer crashing

Below, but shifting 

Up reaching the cosmos
The sea crawled up 

And caught herself steady

Magnamonious

As a mountain stable

And sure 
In the spring there will be 

New life in these branches
Elemental transformation

Liquid, solid

            Aghast. 

No longer daring people into my depths

No more diving into the wreck
This earth supports

Rooted in truth

Saved only for those 

Determined to climb. 

Letting Go is So Hard When You Really Want to Hold on to the Illusion

I’m sharing this text of the last time I tried to break myself free from a very toxic relationship. I am my own most destructive force. I know this. I give my power to her and then blame her when I have given too much. I know this, too. She came in and I did not listen to my inner knowing. My mind always screams “STOP”, and my heart whispers “just one more time” and we hash it out until my ego takes over and says-“you can control this.” 

The cycle has shortened to about two weeks before I can’t resolve the inner conflict and I absolutely have to cut myself out to regain some semblance of my own sanity. 

I’m learning to listen to myself, to articulate clearly, and I am trying like hell to take responsibility for my own stuff and not spread my pain like the disease it has become. There are more than a few entanglements in this relationship. The final one being the woman she always goes back to in between in our “had enough” spaces. They claim friendship. My gut tells me that there is something more deeply twisted about it. I don’t know what. I just know I want out of the entanglement. 

Always, in an effort to save myself I cut her off from me. If we are in contact, I will try to get her to change her behavior to fit my needs. She won’t. This clash between pride and jealousy has eroded both of our sense of self. 
Her: I’m not taking the easy way out. You’re cutting me off again. 

Me: That’s true. We can agree on that. Whether you see it or not…you’re choosing her in a way that I can see is not taking you anywhere good either. I know you the best, remember?
Because you “don’t think” I can’t control that. I can’t help you. You don’t need my help. You definitely don’t want my help. That’s my ego issue. And my desire to say I want better for you. My control issues. My desire to see you say-oh fuck-I want better for me, too! To look at the gross stuff. And to grow. To start to think from one thing to the next. 
But ultimately you end up putting me in a position where I feel forced to remove myself. 
Because when you “don’t think” it hurts me. And you haven’t figured it out yet. Which means….you hurt me. And I haven’t figured out yet that I can’t want “better” for you than you want for yourself. I can’t want you to be different for me. I just have to go find different. 
I wish I didn’t care. I really, really wish that. But I do care. And because I care, and because I care about my own happiness, and that alone is within my realm of control-I have to go away. I HAVE TO CUT YOU OFF. not because you’re a monster. Not because I don’t like {sic}. Not even because I feel like a secret. 
But because I have to learn to choose myself. And every time I choose you, I’m not choosing me. Because you “don’t think” but that’s how relationships actually work-we consider the other people in our lives. And that’s why this one never does. 
You choose me when it’s easiest. And I’m not easy. That’s what I see. You choose me when you miss me, or you’re lonely. Because I’m always there. Because I haven’t learned how to say no to you and protect my energy and my space. And then this happens because I didn’t just say ENOUGH. Because I didn’t just say “no more”. 
Because I’m still in love with you. Because I haven’t let go of the hope that you will grow in my direction. 
You can choose {sic} in this way because the depth isn’t there that we have. I get that. But I can’t continue to exist in this chaos that you create and I perpetuate. 
You always ask-what do you want me to do??? And i always say I want you to do what’s best for you. And you always pick the option that moves you away from me. I get it now. I’m letting you go. You have shown me that I am not your best choice. And I receive that message with gratitude this time. I accept it. But with that acceptance comes a closed door. Because-choices. And this is mine. 

Excuse Me, There’s A Reason For This Madness

She was right in thinking that turning our past wounds into excuses isn’t healthy or good. I actually made a lot of excuses for her because I knew her history. I wanted her to feel safe. Ultimately, it wasn’t as productive as what I can now understand to be the truly loving work that happens between two people. 

The primary difference between a reason and an excuse is accountability. 

A reason is a logical and objective explanation of cause and effect. An excuse places blame on something external. 

To break it down simply: 

reason=responsibility 

Excuse=escape

Excuses add bricks to the walls we build. Reasons carve out doorways. 

To relate that to some of the situations that WE have encountered I would argue it as a temporal thing. Of course we are shaped by our past. But if we bring up the past as a justification as to why we are behaving a certain way in the present-that is an excuse. If we are able to identify the current problem objectively and take accountability for our contribution to the current shitty circumstance then we have found a reason things have taken the turn they’ve taken. With this, reasons help find solutions for better actions in the future. Excuses keep us tethered to old patterns of behavior by handing our power back to the painful circumstance that shaped our world view. World views are allowed to change, and I think they should often. This is an indication of growth. To be clear, there are many indicators of growth in life, but I am speaking specifically of emotional growth. 

I have been doing a lot of work to understand my old childhood wounds, and working to heal them. In other words, I have been thinking about this a lot. 

They say that nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to learn. I guess I knew there was more learning to be had with her. So, I’m grateful to re-open the door, and the pain. 

I’m not going to say that I have never made excuses, or that I won’t do it in the future. However, I do find a certain sort of liberation in understanding the critical difference between these two modes of thought. 

I’m trying to decipher which of those were reasons or excuses. It still ends up being a temporal thing to me. As children we are easily impressionable, and it takes a lifetime to come back into our true selves. My goal in this life is to unlearn all the negative bullshit that has been projected on me from external sources, and people who can’t or won’t be honest about their pain. 

She said that she doesn’t understand how it [love/relationship] could work with someone else if it didn’t work with me after being together for as long as we were. Time invested doesn’t mean shit if the walls are still there. 

We can’t change our pasts, but we can change our reaction to it. Listening to her last night showed me that she is still in the victim role. We are often victimized as children. But we don’t have to stay there as adults. She said that she doesn’t mind being the hardass at work because as long as she can justify the value for the greater good, then she’ll do the thing that other people don’t necessarily want to do. I think that is totally fine, admirable even. Yet, it ultimately comes down to motivation. 

The work persona and the personal life persona are slightly different. When the “love of your life” tries to explain that they are not happy in the relationship it is not an attack on you, but a demonstration of love; a person who really cares about wanting to make things better. I know I put a lot of things on her-thinking if she could do something different then we would be better, and this often kept me from taking responsibility for my own shitty (codependent) habits. 

I don’t want to be codependent anymore. It is self destructive, and it keeps me in a constant position of powerlessness. I am not powerless. 

Those walls we build to keep us protected from the threats of the external world are not safe heavens. They are prisons that deny us the true freedom that comes with real love built from vulnerability. Each brick in that wall is an excuse. Reasons are what will pull them down. We can hide and run for as long as we would like. I know that I am finally ready for something different. 

I wish her the best in all that she does. No matter how much I still want it to be her that I share my life with, I’m FINALLY beginning to understand that no matter how much she has to offer someone, she does not have what I need. 

I came to this life to face and conquer fears. This is not easy, and it often leaves me in a state of anxiety and frustration. I’m learning that this energy can be used to propel me forward. I don’t always know what steps to take, and she’s right, sometimes I just need someone to tell me where to go, or what step to take. I’m looking for the person who always wants that first step to be toward them, and if they can see that I’m too scared to take it, then they step in closer toward me. I’m looking for the people who want to stand next to me when those arresting moments happen. The people who want to encourage me to take a step and do so by stepping toward me and not away. I want a person who isn’t going to look at my discontent as a fault, but for what it really is-a yearning for something more. Because this is the kind of person I want to be for myself, and for my partner. 

Comfort zones are great, but nothing ever grows there. I don’t want my comfort confined to a zone. I want safety. I want to be uncomfortable so I know I’m moving forward. I want risks and failures and movement. I want more and always more. 

I have been stuck for the past year. Sure, I moved to another state. Sure, I got into a phd program. Sure, I’ve done a lot of growth internally. I’ve retreated into my quiet space. I’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon. I’m ready to emerge from it, and I have no idea what the next step is supposed to be. What I do know is that I can’t be with someone who sees those cocooning periods as withdrawal. In my mind, they are not that. It’s about growth and understanding. I suppose I can admit that it would be helpful if I could articulate this process a little more clearly. Self-awareness usually comes from mistakes. 

Part of this creatively analytical mind I have brings forth a whole lot of daydreaming. As I work through the possibilities of where I want to go and what I want to do, I take my time. When I decide what I want, then I will take the action steps to get there. I’ve spent the larger part of the last year hung up on her. No matter how many people told me not to be. I asked her about these things, and she made excuses as to why we could not have those things that I thought would bring growth and togetherness. “I just can’t see it happening.” And “When do you think you’ll actually have time for a kid?” Were the excuses she offered. And even, “You talk about these things like they’re something you want in your own life, but you’ve never said you wanted them with me,” like, who else would I be talking about? See, external circumstances blamed for her own inability to create something new. The reason was fear. To be fair, she’s admitted that, but it didn’t change her perspective. 

The facts are there, and pretty clearly laid out. We aren’t compatible people. My primary hang up was that I had decided the direction I wanted our life to go, and she all but denied that possibility with no wiggle room. This threw me into a tailspin of uncertainty and disorientation. Although I wrapped my mind around it BEFORE I left-the mind is a tricky place to be. There are things I left behind that I associate with security and safety. Our home. Our home life. Dual income. Comforts. And of course, my dream of having a family. Ultimately, she WAS right; I don’t need her, specifically, to achieve those things. I just need someone who is ready and willing to take that risk with me. 

She told me that she felt like the only reason I wanted her to move with me was for financial assistance. But we never even merged our finances. Her money was hers, and my money was ours. She is the one who told me to just take out the loan, and be a normal student. She never, ever indicated that this would be something WE could figure out together. Then, more recently, she said that after she got the first paycheck from her promotion, she wished she had her “spouse” there to share it with. I got hung up on the shift from accusation to celebration, but that’s a moot point. This is just more of the same. Her narrative shifts, and makes no sense in relation to the previous plot points. 

Ultimately, none of this about money for me. It’s safety and security. Emotional support. Comfort. I realized that I have those things on my own. In fact, I have those things built with a much more solid foundation here than I ever did there. This is the reason I left, and took responsibility for my own life. I needed something different. Something that did not exist in that space. I don’t need to beat the dead horse. We both know I’m not going back. 

I’m finally finished with the push and pull. I can see how that whole game was fueled by excuses. I pushed when I was triggered. I pulled when she didn’t react the way I needed her to. The reason I left is because she does not have what I need-openness, vulnerability, strength, and emotional security. Just excuses piling up bricks in a wall that I will never be able to break down. 

Taking My Power Back: A Letter to My Former Partner That I Probably Won’t Send

C~

If you’re going to reach out-I’m here to step in first. The odds of you reaching out because the shit hit the fan with you and your latest sexual conquest are high. We have been here before, and the door is now closed. If you’re planning to reach out because you are finally in a good place, and you think enough time has passed, think again. It likely hasn’t. But know that I am happy for you. 

Before you reach out to me, recall that time I told you that I didn’t trust you. Know that it was because I was finally beginning to listen to my inner knowing. The things you were telling me about this other woman. The things I listened to with compassion and objectivity: that she drained your energy; that she seemed like a good match, but didn’t actually have her shit together; that you were about to tell her to take her crazy girl bullshit elsewhere; that you understood how distractions worked; that you were certain the only thing she wanted you to say was that you wanted to be her girlfriend, and that wasn’t going to happen; that you were going to stay single for the rest of the year; that I was the love of your life, and you’re okay with that. Etc. You know the drill. I bring up the past to show you why I have a particular stance in the present.

For the first time, I was actually recognizing the manipulation AS IT WAS HAPPENING. This “look at how desired I am. Look at all this awesome stuff in my life now that you’re gone.” Mixed with the intonation that, “Nobody is as awesome as you. Poor me.” This time,I actually even had a visualization of a chessboard, and pawns moving. But baby, I’m a queen. 

Of course, any person with a truly objective framing on this situation could see how clearly you were searching for approval. How you needed me to be a distraction from your distraction because your distraction stopped working. You needed me to supply the energy that you were lacking to move forward with your goal. And how easily i fall into my own toxic patterns. But when I didn’t give you what you were looking for, you went back to the other distraction. Of course, you just said, “Well, I’ve let you go.” Because it is that easy, right, just a switch flip and the feelings go away. That’s what you always said. But I was different, you said that, too. So, before you reach out know that I understand that I wasn’t. I just stuck around for a really long time, and I would always let you come back. In fact, I waited for it as anxiously as I waited for my next opportunity to leave when your true self began to emerge again. 

This time we were just going to be friends. And my “No” started to get stronger, “no you can’t come to visit,” wasn’t easy to say, but my god am I glad I had the strength to say it. So, if you’re planning on reaching out, remember-I’m worth more than a distraction, and I know that now. 

I find a comfortable respite in myself knowing that this is no longer a space of judgment for me. It is pure observation. The observation is that your words and actions do not match up. And that I don’t have to say that this is right or wrong for your life, but that it does not align with what I want in my own. 

This was the same thing that happened whenever you said you weren’t going to drink on a particular night and I learned to prepare for the shit storm that was coming because those were the nights you got most fucked up and combative. You say you’re sober now, and I am so proud of you for that growth and change. 

The day I told you your controlling behavior toward me was your alcoholism manifesting in a different way, I was just trying to get you to see where you were still hurting, and how that was also hurting me. 

 I don’t want to be in a space where I am constantly on edge preparing an emergency kit for the shit storm that is brewing in your own soul. Nor do I want to exist in a space where the wreckage is frequent, and blame is passed like a hot potato. And I don’t want the feeling of constant questioning to keep rising because I just cannot make sense of things that just don’t make sense. Like telling me you don’t want kids, but telling another friend that you do. My apologies for the assumption, but it seems like the partner of 7 years who had been pushing for babies for two years might be a little higher on the list of people to tell you wanted kids. Instead, I was just told “no.”

So, before you reach out again, understand that I now require a level of integrity of those I invite into my life-something you have repeatedly shown me you do not possess. 

Sexual conquests, and drinking aren’t the only things. It’s also about how you talk about your friends. Always complaining. Yet spending your time with them anyway. I often wonder how many of them actually know who you are. But then I wonder if I ever did. And finally I wonder if you do. Regardless, I know how much I don’t want to be one of them because I don’t deserve to be treated that way, and I know that there’s no way that I got some sort of free pass where I’m just the unicorn for whom you only have good things to say. Because I understand how fucked up I have been, too. It gets like that when you keep fighting for something you believe in, but doesn’t actually exist.  I really believed you were the person I wanted you to be-the person you said you were. For some, ignorance really can be bliss, but I cannot live a life filled with illusion and delusion anymore-be it mine or someone else’s. So, before you reach out to me, please take a long deep look into your own life choices, and try to understand why this door is finally closed. 

For the record, I’m not a jealous person. No matter how much you’ve convinced me otherwise. I often went back and forth between I don’t trust you, and I don’t trust myself. Both were true. The bigger truth is that I’m a highly intuitive person who learned a long time ago not to listen to that voice because there was no point…I had no power over my circumstances. Now, I can listen to that little knowing because I am not a helpless kid anymore. I am the master of my own destiny. My jealousy in our relationship was never unfounded. In fact, there was more evidence piled up over the years of why I COULDN’T trust you than why I COULD. I knew every move you were going to make before you made it. And I asked you about it hoping you could give me a rational explanation to extinguish my own fear.

 Maybe this was negative manifestation, but maybe this was my intuition guiding me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t effectively translate that through my own inner knowing and I consistently gave my power over to you while simultaneously trying to control the outcome which I was never going to be able to do. I wanted so badly to trust you, and you and I both know I tried. I sought truth around every corner, and the more I searched the more scared you got. The more scared you got, the more you acted out. It was a vicious  cycle.

So, before you reach out, understand that I really do just know things, and I’m okay with that now. It’s a skill that still needs some fine tuning, but I accept this part of myself I have rejected for so long. I’m breaking my own cycles, and in doing so, I have to break all contact with you. This is my power now, and you can no longer drain it.  

The serenity prayer asks us to find the space of acceptance for the things we can’t change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. It took me a really long time to understand that “accepting someone flaws and all” in the name of love did not mean “accepting unacceptable behavior that is damaging to our own spirit.” It took me a long time to understand that courage and fear were two sides of the same coin. It took me even longer to understand what it is I am truly afraid of. It took me a long time to gain the wisdom that comes with the clarity of knowing that sometimes people just aren’t a good match for one another. So, before you reach out, remember that I am no longer waiting for you to change. I have accepted who you are, and I found the courage to step into my own fear of abandonment to say, “hey, if they leave you…that’s nothing about you. Because you, my darling, are awesome, and sometimes that’s too much for some people.” And that’s okay. You were too much lie, and I was too much believe. 

I told you that I believed you were capable of making the best choices for your own life. Well, I wanted to believe that. I wanted you to believe that. The more and more I watched you say one thing and do the opposite-the more I knew I needed to restore my own energy reserves.  I hope that you have come to realize all of these “flaws” in yourself, and I hope you can use them to propel yourself forward. As I have come to realize where I was the poison in that relationship. Sometimes our strengths and weaknesses are so closely related we get lost on the path of our own knowing. So, before you reach out, please understand I am finally on my right path, and nobody has the will to pull me off. 

I’m not here to blame you or myself. This message is meant to bring clarity, and provide a space of forgiveness for myself and you. Remember, we are always mirrors. I was so afraid of being abandoned by you, or by anyone, I accepted the unacceptable over and over again. There was a part of me that thought I deserved the emotional abuse. I had abandoned myself.  There was a piece still hurting inside me that thought if I could just behave better, then you would still love me, and you wouldn’t leave. I know, it seems like I left-of course, I exited the space that you claimed we shared, but at every opportunity exercised your right to show how it was your house, and I was a visitor. I’m not talking about physically leaving. Leaving happens in many other ways. You left whenever you shut down. Unfortunately, you were always going to leave. You had to. One, its in your nature. Loyalty is not your strong suit. Sorry, but it clearly isn’t, as evidenced from the years I tried to make sense of it all, but mostly from that last incident when I told you I was hurting, and you tried to push it away for another day, but more importantly for the way you went to another woman in order to avoid what was going on with me-the one you claimed to love. That’s not love. And I don’t deserve that. So, before you reach out, understand that I already have all the answers, and everything else I ever thought I needed from you. 

I waited a long time for an apology I would never receive from you. I even listened to your stories about how poorly you felt for what you had done to these other women, and tried to believe you as you tried to convince yourself that I was somehow different. i kniw now that i wasn’t. and with every missed opportunity for you to apologize to me, my wounded ego grew more sour. I needed to forgive you, and I needed you to feel remorse. But I couldn’t make you feel something you didn’t. I couldn’t make you love me the way I needed to be loved.

Eventually, I had to forgive myself. It wasn’t you that needed to apologize to my soul. It was me. When I began to forgive myself for staying in a space that I did not belong: a space where I was a secret, a scapegoat, an emotional dumping ground, a crisis counselor, and a convenience, but not a lover, a true friend, a real partner, or companion; I finally did let you go. And I finally grabbed on tight to myself because I have the strongest love anybody could ever give me. 

So, before you reach out just know that wherever I am, whatever I am doing, and whoever I’m with…I am delightfully happy, just as I said I would be. And know that my happiness never had space for you. And it still doesn’t. 

I hope that you have found the right space to fit into. I hope she really is what you need and deserve-and I know she is for better or worse, but not as in marriage vows. I mean, even when the shit hits the fan she was the best choice you could have made so I could finally save me. I still hope you can love her in all the ways we couldn’t seem to love each other. 

If my assumption about you and her is wrong it doesn’t matter either way. Because this is the only version of you I can ever know. Because it is the one you have most consistently shown me-a predator, a liar. When I finally stepped back to observe the actions rather than rely on the words you used to build the illusion, and the way that illusion best fit my needs at the time. I find truth, clarity, and hope. 

I hope you understand the true reason our paths crossed. All the lessons to be gained from all the years we spent dancing with the devil. I’m finally learning to love myself. I’m finally seeing my own power. So, before you reach out, do us both a favor. Please, just don’t. 
❤️~T

Crossroads

We walked down E Bay Street

Charleston, SC 

Searching for our way back

Home. 
Both of us knew we needed

To make a left turn soon. 
I said at Vendue

She said at Queen
We argued for three blocks

Until we reached the 

corner of fate and destiny
At the crossroads

We were looking for the same thing

Calling it a different name
To the right-Vendue

To the left-Queen
We were both correct

We were both wrong
Viewing it from

Different sides

Of the street
She wouldn’t admit it

Only that she was more right

As we both turned left
We both knew 

where we were going

We just could not reconcile

A way to get there together. 
I took her hand as we turned 

left down queen st. 

Vendue behind me
We made our way home

But I no longer lived there.