This morning, Shannon told me about a coworker she was worried for. She told me that this woman had been living with this guy for six years, and that he sounded just like you. She told me that this friend of hers has to hide her prescriptions from her boyfriend so that he doesn’t take them himself. Like that one time I sprained my ankle, and you stole all of my pain meds before I was going out of town. I had to go back to the doctor and tell him that I lost the bottle so that I could replace them for myself.
She shared some of the things that this guy is saying to her friend; and I realized, today, that I’ve only just accepted that I’m not the fat, ugly mistake that you lived with. The things you used to scream at me… You seriously made me believe that I was lucky you loved me because no one else was crazy enough too. Admittedly, I’m still working through that one.
I’ve already done the thing where I generally detail the timeline of our toxic relationship, and I’m not trying to repeat that. However, I figured you would be a great first letter for this series because you still, and probably always will, haunt me. I used to shrivel with feelings acknowledging your presence in my brain, and then swell with anger that I had welcomed you there. But, guess what? I’m glad that I can still hear you.
The memories of you used to drown me in rage, and now that I accept that you’re a part of me, I can catch my breath. Air has never been so transformative. Through your delusions and your torment, you catapulted me to a place of self-awareness that I never imagined existed. I’ve learned how to listen to myself, and how to recognize when someone is more lost than I alone can save. You’ve changed how I date, how I understand people, and coolest of all, by chaining me to your own doomed path, I learned how to unlock my own potential.
We are the only people who can convince ourselves of anything. There’s no telling someone how to feel or swaying an opinion that they’re not ready to let go of. So, thank you. Thank you for the lessons in misery– for sharing a piece of the world I hadn’t anticipated knowing.
But, for the record, these are the only words you will get from me. I accept the life I live because of you, and nothing more. I’ll set record time for dialing 9-1-1 if you ever think you can change that. I hope that you can get where you need to be without anymore victims. Good luck to you, and to those who continue to tolerate you.