There are places my mind refuses to revisit, places my heart yearns to forget. I've worked hard to build walls around them, sealing every crack, every chink in what should be impenetrable. Sometimes, despite my efforts, I find myself thinking of you. I find myself asking questions that will never be answered. Maybe it's just part of being human, but exploring the parts of me that are broken has never been high on my list of enjoyable pastimes.
My mind travels back to the first time you said you loved me. I remember the silver charm, half a heart, that I wore to symbolize our love for one another. I stayed home to finish school, even though I yearned for Texas, for freedom, for you. Those were the longest two years of my life, but I survived. I graduated, and flew to be with you as soon as I could.
Was it your intention to break me? Did you want to clip my wings? Was I supposed to remain housebound, dependent on you for everything? If I look back at those early days, my honest answer to all of these questions would be no, but what would yours be? Once, I thought I knew. Once, I could say with great certainty that you wanted me to grow, to flourish, to become all that I was capable of becoming. Now though, so many years later, I'm less sure. Maybe my dependence made you stronger, even as it weakened me.
You were by my side as I fought my way through graduate school. You stood by me through countless battles with university officials. I was blind, but that shouldn't stop me from becoming the social worker I knew I could be. When I cried, you held me. You reassured me. You loved me through all the hardships graduate school put me through. Truly, you were my rock.
What tore us apart? Was it the fact that I had achieved so much, while you, a sighted person, had achieved so little? Did you resent the opportunities that were offered to me? When I asked, you swore it wasn't like that, but time and distance might cause you to tell a different story.
Finally, I knew we could no longer stay together. You had begun to drink. I was thousands of dollars in debt because of you. What had once been beautiful was now tarnished, bent, and broken. I couldn't fix it, and, honestly, by that time, I'm not really sure there was anything to fix.
So, I left. I ran 2,000 miles to rediscover me. I needed to know who I really was. Where did you end and I begin? What parts of me could be salvaged? These were the questions I answered on Long Island. It was a painful time, a time full of tears and self-recriminations. Slowly though, things got better. I owned the things I'd done wrong, and let go of the rest.
It's been almost four years since I left you. So long a time, and yet, so very little as well. The ten years of my life that were given to you are years I'll never get back, but they are years that have taught me so many things. I can stand tall now, flawed, but beautiful, broken but fixable, I hope. My spirit flies free in a way it never could when we were together. You bent me. Our relationship battered me. In spite of all of this, I am still here, still fighting, still loving, living, and making what difference I can to my small corner of the world. If your intent was to break me, I am pleased to report that you did not succeed.
This has been my entry for week 4 of
Please remember me when the polls open on Monday evening.