Many people joke about wanting an “easy button” to skip the things in life that are hard. This weekend, I wish for such a thing, but instead, I wish there was a button to erase the things that make my heart feel heavy, such as skipping songs that sound anything like love or happiness. I wish there was a magic elf that could sneak itself into my apartment and remove the remaining traces of you, like your jacket, your old sweatshirt, the coffee cup from your office.
Why am I wearing your sweatshirt?
The blinds are closed in my apartment. My phone is off. The only flickr of life comes from the light from my laptop screen. I stumble across these pieces of the life I once had and it points to the reality that I don’t want to face right now. Or at least not today. Right now, I just want to be stuck here in the dark, not working on plans for tomorrow, not thinking about how things can never be switched back, not accepting responsibility for the pieces that are scattered everywhere.
I once was a whole person. I once seemed together and full of life, even if there were parts of me that didn’t fit together just right. After all, I often made choices that somewhat shattered who I was and it was easier to fix myself as a whole than with duct tape. But small fixes are what I was trying for you to keep our future aligned with your plan for us. I kept pulling out pieces that didn’t fit what your picture of me included. I tried to throw them away, but locked them inside this box of me that I chained to my leg.
Now these remaining pieces are so jagged, the edges no longer align and the gaps between them do not emit or reflect the light, but reveal the darkness. Although I tried to keep myself together, to keep the darkness from seeping out, I could no longer contain what was hidden within. It was like a parasite, eating me from the inside. You sensed it, you even knew what it was, but you were unable to let the words out because it would mean admitting I was not an angel and I did not belong on the pedestal you created for me.
I tried to be the person you needed me to be, but in order to be that person, the darkness inside needed to come out and be exposed. When I finally had the strength to do that, it was all too much for you. While once I was your beloved, you no longer could think of me the same way or stand the sight of me.
All you could see was the darkness.
Sometimes when you reveal the darkest parts of your soul, you realize that your loved one never really understood you, never really saw you, never really loved you. All they loved was the mask you hid behind for their benefit. And even though they saw it as a mask, they later hate you for taking it off.
I would rather spend time here in the darkness, feeling that thing that I was so afraid of so that I can understand it and quit fearing it than live in some pretend fairy tale world with you…because the mask always has to come off at some point in the story.
And when you took your mask off, it revealed who you really were, too.
We often used to talk about how we were like a love story, but you see, love stories don’t end this way, only real life does. Real life offers real endings to those things that never really began. Our story was about two masked people who fell in love with the world of pretend and couldn’t survive in a world of bare faces and facts.
You said you loved who I was then, in the beginning, but you can’t love who I am now. Aren’t I still the same person, even if this isn’t who I meant to become? Can’t you love the darkest parts of me so that I accept these pieces as a part of my past and lessen their hold on me?
Did you ever really see who I was?
Life is messy and it hurts. If I continue to play the chameleon, changing for a chance for love, I will always have to hide the truth behind a mask. I no longer want this version of reality, this make-believe world of promised tomorrows, because the mask is not the best part of me.
I don’t want the easy button or to just patch a fix on this. I need to stay here and feel the raw truth of what has happened so I can understand who I am today, even if it isn’t the person I want to be.
You can take the mask, you can tell everyone what I did…because I no longer choose to play make believe.