Ending a relationship is tough- necessary- heartbreaking- and sometimes nobody’s fault.
You wake up and realize that while the love is equal, the paths are different, neither wrong, but neither right for the other at the time.
As I struggle here, trying to healthily grieve and cope through what might just be the first, and only, mature relationship’s halt I’ve ever experienced, it brought me back to the therapy journals I kept in rehab.
Sitting on my childhood bedroom floor this weekend, sniffling and snotting like a baby, I came across a writing we were instructed to do on ”love.” Such a basic word (#basic) but how often do we have the chance (or the time) to define what it represents to us.
This post comes with pain in my fingers as I write. Months ago, as some of you might have seen, we lost one of the women I went to rehab with.
Openly sick, infectiously honest, I wrote the following next to her one day and read it to the group. As I finished and my eyes looked up to the counselor to signal I was done, she raised her little body off the couch (where she loved to rest) and propped herself upright.
Damnit Lindsey, she said, wiping tears from under her eyes. You’re good at this shit.
Can you make me a copy of that? she asked. Just write it down somewhere.
Sure, I smiled.
I didn’t, of course, ever give it to her.
Forgot. Life moved on. I left. She stayed.
But tonight, I’m dedicating this to her memory and her struggle. Corrine, I hope you’re in peace, and thank you for showing me that words matter; and the perspective you choose to take from them is the perspective you’re left with.
“Soul Writing: Love” the dry erase board says when we sit down in the community room.
A collective groan.
Not doing it, Lilly mumbles- slinking down into her usual place between couch and wall- away from every counselor’s eye.
The lead counselor shushes us expectedly. You’re all a bunch of whiners, she says. You’re doing it.
I put my foot up on the couch in front of me- adorning my favorite ”pug n’ kisses” T-shirt.
So what? I ask. We just write what love is?
Feet down Hall, she says. What’re you raised in a barn?
Well she is from Texas, someone else says.
And I smile.
Write about it, it’s not hard, the counselor says. Write what it is to you, what it represents, what you want it to be, what it has been. Write anything, she smiles. This isn’t class people.
I chew on the end of my pen- Kenzie next to me drawing a picture of a bong.
Can we just write words? I ask. I don’t want to write it all out. I’ll get all off track. It won’t be what i wanted it to be.
Do what you want, she says. Write anything you want. It’s not for a grade. It’s yours.
20 minutes, she tells us. Go.
Pen on the straggled paper I borrowed from Kenzie’s notebook, I think about what love has been to me. What I’ve seen in my life that felt like love.
Parents who are still together.
A sibling who calls.
A friend that hugged me goodbye.
An ex that wrote to wish me well.
A time I looked at someone and loved them anyway, when maybe with someone else, I wouldn’t have.
My fingers, itching- I wrote the following- memories of my life bringing blood to my fingers.
Love changes; takes a different form.
It’s loving and not necessarily liking; the moles, the scars, the crooked tooth-
the change in waist, the acne spot, the random hair, loss of pigment, greying scalp, ratty sweatshirts, oversized sweaters, balding, food stuck in teeth, dancing around the room, stains on the carpet-
Greasy ponytails, burnt dinners, bloody knees, eyesight fading, bad investments, stubbed toes, dirty laundry, broken dishes, TV show marathons, messy rooms, wine-stained teeth, tripping on sidewalk-
Failed tests, loose teeth, snot down the nose, proofread papers, parent signatures, Velvetta- not Kraft-
Bedtime stories, Archie Comics, sharing beds, Sonic Tater Tots,
oatmeal baths, contagious sickness, doctor visit waits, high fevers, washcloth on forehead, cradled sleeps, Walgreens stops, twisting the top of a medicine bottle-
Slumber parties, friendship braces, AIM messages, Sim Characters, LYLAS-
clicking wine, car trips, stalled engines-
4-hour calls, sunrise on a roof, surprise dinner, a flower from outside, a floorboard fixed, IKEA afternoons, trapping the spider, checking the oil-
hands intertwined on the counsel, wishing to read minds, having a song- forgetting which one,
Game of dominoes, An “On My Way!”, waiting outside a store-
Handcrafted cards, uncorked bottles, wrong-sized shirts-
missed reservations, subway stops, airport layovers-
twisted bedsheets, your side & mine-
turning on the coffee machine, breakfast in the warming drawer, crock pots, an Oreo shake-
midnight walks, co-signs, grabbing the trash, laughing out of politeness, touching someone’s face, hand on your back-
crying over death, visitations, holding someone when they die, believing in God to believe in them-
hurling of words, viciousness, throwing of bowls, aggravation-
Running away- to know you’ll come back
Teetering pride, relentless apologies-
Leaving is not an option-
Respect what it is that you have.
Love is around you-
Seek it out in the other aspects of your life when one is hurting.
Lean on it.
Grieve what you lose in your life.
You will be okay.