sad girl chronicles pt. 2: what if, for me, it’s always you?

(This piece of writing eventually evolved into the poem I posted a few weeks back – two paths)

I miss him. I miss you. I don’t know who I’m writing to anymore.
I’ve realised I’m burying a lot of it so the memories don’t hurt me. And I’m forgetting parts of you, but I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to forget that first night we got together. The intensity of those feelings. The electricity between us. The static. The chemistry. How it all just fell into place. Kissing you felt so right, so natural.

I don’t want to forget the night you accidentally told me you loved me for the first time. You said something like – I don’t just love you for what you look like. And I said, what did you just say? And then you said it. And I said it too.

I don’t want to forget the sounds of you playing your guitar for me. You are one of the most talented and modest musicians I have ever known. And I’m glad you’re doing solo gigs now. I really hope that goes well for you.

I remember the time when I needed to change the gauze on my leg and I was in agony, and you sat by me and played for me to distract me.

I remember lying in the bath once, with a cup of tea, listening to you play, thinking “I’ve made it”, and “How did I ever get so lucky?”

How did I ever get so lucky?
And I ruined it.

Or did we just grow apart? Like you said, maybe it was never meant to be. But it really felt like it was. I could picture our wedding and our first child’s name. I could picture you playing them lullabies to sleep. And us taking them to folk festivals when they were older. And they’d be musical too, because we were.

Maybe I put you on a pedestal, but I think you deserved it. Maybe no one will ever quite live up to you. But that’s okay. Because for three and a half glorious years, you were mine. We were a team. Adventure buddies. And I will always treasure those years. No matter how many years go by now without seeing each other. Maybe some time in the future we’ll go years without even contacting each other. I dread those years to come.

No one will ever come close to what we were, what we had, and how we loved each other.

Maybe you’ve already started moving on. Maybe we’re already on different paths now. Maybe we were on different paths long before I knew it. Holding onto each other’s hands barely by the fingertips. But I didn’t realise. And I didn’t see the warning signs.

Now our paths have diverged. It’s not our story anymore. It’s mine, and it’s yours. But for almost four years, it was ours. And it was magic. We were solid gold.

I just miss my best friend. But I’m not sure he misses me in the same way. It’s always harder being the one on the receiving end of a break up. Being blind-sided by it. It hitting you like a tonne of bricks in the chest, every morning when you wake up and realise you’re alone again. A cold side of the bed next to you. And stuffed animals as some sort of childish replacement for human affection. It doesn’t help that one of them you sent me in the post for my birthday, after we’d broken up.

I live with my emotions close to the surface. I know that now. I feel things more acutely. And you don’t. You bury them. You always have. That’s how I know that you’re moving on just fine and I’m periodically crying my heart out into the pages of my diary.

I just wished you missed me the way I miss you.
I’ve been trying to distract myself, but no one compares to you. I’m worried no one will ever compare to us.
I’m worried I’ll spend my life wishing it was you I was sat across the table from, you who I was falling asleep next to, waking up next to, making cups of tea for, returning home from work to, kissing.
I’m worried I’ll spend my life with your name on the tip of my tongue, and images of you leaving me at Chiang Mai airport playing behind my eyes.

What if that feeling never goes?
What if, for me, it’s always going to be you?

moving on

is it moving on?
or is it deflecting?
distracting?
and attaching
onto someone new.
or old.

is it moving on?
or is it ignoring?
burying?
so i don’t have to feel the gnawing
pain in my chest.

have i got tired of feeling upset?
or is it resilience?
have i become immune?
to the chronic emptiness?
have i just latched onto someone else as a coping mechanism, because it’s better to be wanted by someone,
than wanted by no one?

it’s not even been 4 months yet.
was last night too much?
did i take it too far?
what was i doing? what did i think i’d achieve?
patching over my fresh pink scars?

it’s done now.
moving on.

two paths

we once walked the same path.
you and i.
for four years, almost.
the same well worn trail.
well-trodden.
well-loved.
tended to.
there were small flowers growing out of our footprints.
and moss slowly growing on fallen branches.
and ferns reaching for light in the dark of the undergrowth.

we used to hold hands as we walked.

i don’t think i even realised our paths had diverged until i was clinging onto your hand by my out-stretched arm and my fingertips.
and you weren’t reaching for mine anymore.
i looked up, and could barely see you through the thicket that had enveloped the gulf now between us.

i didn’t see the warning signs.
i didn’t see the cracks beneath our feet.
i didn’t notice you veering off on your own course to avoid a fallen tree.

“two roads diverged in a wood”

it is not our path anymore.
it is not our story anymore.
it’s yours.
and it’s mine.
two separate paths winding their own course through the forests.

but for four years it was ours.
and it was magic,
because the path we walked together was golden.

i see you

I can see you.
I can still see you.
In the creased spine of a hardback book.
In the frothy head of a pint of beer.
In couples cycling together.
In small, scruffy dogs snuffling about the ground.
In rough seas against sheer cliff faces.
I see you.

In dirty running shoes.
In quirky, backstreet cafes.
And old, hidden-away bookshops.
In the smell of dust after rain.
Petrichor.

In tuneful, twiddly guitar melodies.
In beautiful vocal harmonies.
In the setting of the sun.
In the engravings on parks benches for couples who used to frequent there.
In old blankets.
And poorly knitted scarves.
In hazel eyes.
And a good beard.

In the smell of jasmine flowers.
Or azahara.
In spoken french.
I see you.

In old world maps, with promises of future adventures.
In well-worn trails through the woods.
In moss growing on a fallen tree.

In big jumpers.
In takeaway pizzas and nights of Netflix.
I can still see you.

In waterproof anoraks.
In the sound of my octave fiddle.
In the Brecon Beacons.
In any mountain range at all.
In fairy lights, strung up on the inside of our tent.

How long will it be before I can unsee you?
I’m not ready to unsee you just yet.


purpose as a woman

I think, since breaking up with my first boyfriend, just before I turned 22, I’ve had a fixation on fixing men. Or being their savior. Or, in the most recent case, “saving” him from a bad relationship. Like some sort of man-whisperer. Find someone who’s a bit broken, a bit bored of their relationship/dating, a bit messed up, and be (as Bernard Black would say) their “summer girl”. Young, confident, sassy, “not like all the other girls”, sexually available whenever wherever. Like I needed to be what they needed, rather than judging the situation to determine whether it’s something I even wanted.

I found purpose in being a man’s savior. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I’m punishing myself for not realising my first ex needed fixing until it was too late, and it’s like I’m repaying some debt to mankind. Maybe it’s because I thought I could fix our completely broken relationship if I changed myself. Controlled all the aspects I could control. Which, from my perspective, after what happened, was my body and my sexual availability. And to pretend like nothing was wrong when it really really was.

I look at a prospective partner and I think, “What can I do for you? How am I going to “make you see the light” or experience something you’ve never experienced before?” I think, “How can I fix you, and therefore by a valuable asset to your life? And therefore be invaluable to you. You’ll never want to lose me, and I’ll be safe from any more heartbreak.” Instead of “What does this person bring to my life?” Or, more importantly, “How can we enrich each other’s lives whilst still remaining whole people?”

I did it with my most recent ex. Yes, I did love him anyway, but maybe when I reflect back on it now, maybe I partly loved what I was to him. I “saved” him from him “boring” 4 and a half year long relationship. And he worshiped me for it. Well, he did initially anyway. Obviously all that stuff fades over time. And they forget. I was his summer girl. But in reality, I was his getaway car. And that’s why it was all so thrilling in the beginning. I was valued so much. I was exactly what this man wanted me to be. Until I wasn’t anymore. And three and a half years down the line, I’m back with my parents, unemployed and brokenhearted, miserable and lonely.

I really thought I had it all with him. But I think the sad fact of the matter was that I knew all along what I was doing. How I was deriving my self-worth from how I was helping a man and adding value to his life. I didn’t want to believe that. Because no-one wants to believe that. No-one wants to hear the truth.

“Santa’s not real”
“The tooth fairy isn’t either”
“There’s no farm where old pets go to retire”
“This isn’t real love – you’re just desperately clinging onto it because you only see yourself as worthy if you think you’re somehow improving a man’s life”.

Yikes. That stings.

Filling a hole in a man’s life is not your purpose as a woman.
Being that “summer girl” for a man with a troubled relationship history is not your purpose as a woman.
“Fixing” a broken man is not your purpose as a woman.
Being a getaway car for a man in a shoddy relationship is not your purpose as a woman.
Molding yourself and contorting yourself to fit a hole in a man’s life is not your purpose as a woman.

What is your purpose as a woman then?
I could write lots of empowering things like “championing the voices of the less privileged” and “lifting up your fellow sisters”. But, really, you can’t do any of that if you don’t take care of yourself first, and fill in the holes in your own life. Make sure you’re as full a person as you can be, so that no-one else has to be your emotional polyfilla. Like you have been to others so many times.

Fixate on fixing yourself first, instead of deriving your worth from your ability to fix others.

phonecall with a counsellor

“Sounds like you have a lot to process at the minute”

Yes.

“Leaving your job…”

Mm hmm.

“That promotion, that sounded like it was something you were really passionate about…”

Yeah.

And I guess you’re still processing your new diagnosis too?”

Yeah, I am. It’s a lot.

And then having to deal with all the negative emotions that come with a break-up too?”

Yeah, that’s pretty hard.

And then there’s the added stress of moving continents for the second time in a year.”

Yes.

“That sounds like an awful lot to deal with for one person”

I guess it is. You’ve summed it up quite well.

It is a lot to deal with. It’s a lot to process. I’m not sure I’m ready to move on yet. In any way, shape or form.

I think I just need to sit down.

renewing

I think I’m finally ready to share this one.

I heard somebody once say, that it takes
the human body 7 years to replace every cell
in an endless process of
dying and renewing
dying and renewing.
Which gives me great comfort that maybe
3 years from now
there won’t be a single cell in me
not one single part
not between my legs and not my beaten heart
there won’t be one single cell in me
that let you in.

Am I taking this too far?
Maybe I’m over-exaggerating but I saw
what you typed with hands that used to touch me
in that Google search bar.

It’s funny, in a disgusting twist of irony
that in college we’d rib you
that you liked younger girls.
But I saw what was hidden in your computer screen
I saw what you typed on sticky keys
and when I think about it like that
I don’t laugh
my stomach turns.

So maybe I’m not exaggerating
maybe it makes perfect sense
you didn’t feel what I feel so let me tell you how it felt;

You didn’t feel the shock waves of that night, that
cracked
my foundations.
Tore down the walls.
Like primary seismic waves
through the heart of my liquid core
every
cell
of my
body
shook.
You didn’t feel the aftershocks that
rippled
no, ripped
through the next 8 years of my life
with silent screams
and echoes in empty college halls of
it was your fault
it was all your fault
you were not good enough
you mustn’t be doing it right
you should be thinner, sexier, curvier, raunchier.

Or more tight.

Forgive me for being crass, or rude.
Forgive me if I’m too close to the line.
But you weren’t there when too close to the line became too close to the edge.

This is not what I signed up to.
I didn’t ask for this.
That warm summer’s night on the trampoline
sixteen.
A first kiss
that I thought was magic
everything that my playlist of country songs taught me it should be.
But not this,
not twisted and broken and tragic.

This is no eternal sunshine.
There is no magic button or cheat code
that could make it skip to the end.
No up up down down left right left right
B A start

So I’ll mend
I’ll fix and I’ll patch and I’ll tend
To this broken head and this broken heart.

And I’ll wait.

dying renewing dying renewing
I’m counting the days
til there’s no more
you in
me.

1000 more goodbyes

You’ve just left. After the most emotional night.

You just texted me saying “I’m breaking”. I am breaking too. Shattering into a million tiny pieces.

My heart hurts.

This evening, just before the rain came thundering down, you hugged me from behind as we looked out across the city. We could see the high-rise of the apartment complex you’re staying in. I asked which way your window faced. You said the other way. And we both sobbed.

I wish I could’ve just stayed there forever in your arms. Suspended in time. Just the two of us, Just how it should be. Just how it should always be.

But you had to leave. I’d made you tea. You said you’d leave after you finished your tea. Then the rains started. You said you’d go when the rains stopped.

I said I didn’t want you to finish your tea and I didn’t want the rains to ever stop.

But they did. And you left.
After another emotional goodbye. Where you told me it wasn’t my fault. Where you told me not to blame myself. Where you told me you’d always be proud of me. Where you said you’d be there for me if things got really bad and I wanted to hurt myself. Because you still love me. And you still care for me.

We kissed. Which we shouldn’t have. But I pressed my body into yours and I felt the earth fall away beneath me. No floor. No apartment. No Thailand.
Just us. Joined. One team. One unit. Together.

It physically hurt me to stop kissing you. To stop holding you. And to let you go.

We’ll see each other again. Probably, unfortunately, in work tomorrow. But it won’t be the same.

I hope we have another night like tonight. Even though it hurts. Another night where we bare all and cry into each other’s shoulders.

Where we say all the things we should’ve spent years saying.

I’ll part with you 1000 times more if it means 1000 more nights like this with you.

I am heartbroken.