Let Me Slide In Your Inbox!
One thing I always do before publishing blogs is read them out loud. It’s truly my best editing tip and that’s normally the sole reason why I do it. After finishing this emotionally draining piece, however, I decided to record myself reading it for the purpose of potentially sharing to supplement my written word. I’m calling it an audio-blog and I’ve obviously made the decision to share it with you. As you will hear, this is the raw cut. Immediately after I finished writing. No edits. ALL emotion.
If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I have written a lot of deeply personal blogs (i.e., navigating an HPV diagnosis, sharing my #MeToo story, and more). People have often commended me for my vulnerability and authenticity. And yet, it is the one that you’re about to read… that feels like my most vulnerable yet.
It’s difficult to write. And not just in a figurative sense. My body physically aches. As my fingers painstakingly pluck away at the keyboard, it feels as though someone has my heart in their two hands. They’re not small hands. They’re overwhelmingly large, encompassing every last fiber, and the grip is heavy, and strong, and all-consuming, and it gets tighter with every labored beat. Meanwhile, with each passing sentence, my lungs are gasping for a full, clear breath. I have to remind myself…
I have no idea if I’m ready to share this melody. I mean, my physiological reactions are clearly screaming no. I have no doubt that it would be much easier to shut the laptop, retreat into the darkness and quiet of this empty apartment, and pray for a peaceful slumber… but I also know that I sat down to write tonight for a reason.
While on my drive home, I had an extremely emotional response to a song on the radio. I had never heard it before, but taking in the lyrics, as I always do, I had to pull my car over.
The song, “To Hell and Back” by Maren Morris, felt like the culmination of three months of me trying to navigate a grief like I have never known. A darkness that I have truly never known. Those 3 minutes and 16 seconds were accompanied by my uncontrollable sobs, blinding tears, and a single plea: “Please make it stop.”
want need the heartache/heartbreak – truly can’t even differentiate anymore – to stop.
When I regained enough composure to finish the drive home, I found myself at a stoplight scrolling through social media and this quote popped up on my feed:
“Only when we are brave enough
to explore the darkness
will we discover the
infinite power of our light.”
And it was for this reason that I sat down to write. To explore the darkness.
To discover the infinite power of my light. As dim as it may seem to me these days.
I once wrote a blog called My Sweetest Melody. It was a love letter of sorts, to showcase a love that he and I both felt so protective over… because of how precious and pure we both knew it to be. It’s why his comment was Anonymous: “I love you pretty girl, with all my heart and mind.”
“My Sweetest Melody” would become a term of endearment between us. Something we’d say before bed. “I love you, My Sweetest Melody.” Or he’d send random texts like this:
When he told me he wanted to get another tattoo soon, I wasn’t too hip to the idea initially, simply because I loved the perfection of his skin. However, when he told me he wanted it to say, “My Sweetest Melody” I immediately melted into a puddle, noting my hypocrisy considering that I would have been right beside him getting a matching one of my own.
If you can believe it, that conversation was about a week before our breakup this past March. And that’s when the darkness took over.
Now, I’ve considered all the ways that I could write this. As I already mentioned… this feels like the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever written and it comes down to the fact that he could be reading this.
And while I’d love to be writing some empowering piece about how his choices didn’t destroy me, how I’ve found renewed strength, and how I’ve managed to find happiness despite it all… that just wouldn’t be true.
Instead, here’s a snippet of what heartbreak has looked like for me:
It’s looking at my watch twice a day at 11:11, by complete chance… and instinctively wishing for him.
It’s getting down on my knees and praying for him every night.
It’s speaking the same words to him each night before I try to rest: “I love you. I miss you. Please come home.”
It’s hearing his voice every time I close my eyes.
It’s waking up in the morning expecting to see him, but surrounded only by a pile of pillows.
It’s hearing a knock on the door, and feeling my heart skip a beat thinking that he has finally come home.
It’s my coworker turning a corner and her engagement and wedding rings catching the sunlight just right, nearly blinding me with the reality that I would never get either from him, as he often promised.
It’s opening the door to the apartment, expecting to be greeted by his wide smile, strong arms, and home-cooked meal [with trap music playing in the background], but instead, opening the door to an unimaginable emptiness and silence.
It’s sitting out on my balcony with his empty chair next to mine, mourning the sunsets we never got to watch together.
It’s listening to old voicemails, just to hear him say my name.
It’s laying on my couch working my part-time job and wishing he was at the other end giving me an attentive foot massage.
It’s standing in the bathroom, and flashing back to rubbing lotion on his back after every shower, finishing with a kiss between his shoulder blades.
It’s packing up his things, and immediately collapsing into the faint scent of him on his clothes, while inconsolable sobs took over my entire body.
It’s seeing notifications of people liking old photos of us, and my subsequent tears while re-reading the captions I wrote to encapsulate our love.
It’s being unable to eat at my dining room table because I only think about the time he moved it to the center of the apartment and lit a candle for our anniversary dinner.
It’s hearing “All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA and “Get You” by Daniel Caesar and being taken back to the exact moment they became special to us.
It’s looking at my bookshelf that he promptly put together because he knew it was the most important piece of furniture to me.
It’s taking two hours to hang curtains by myself, knowing he could have had it done (without the extra holes) in more than half the time and with half the effort.
It’s my birthday, surrounded by family, but remembering that it was supposed to be the first one we spent together.
It’s returning home for my grandmother’s funeral, to be triggered while driving by the place where we had our first date, and the spot on the highway where he so heroically changed my flat tire, and the park that he took me to because his dad used to take his mom.
It’s sitting on my parent’s couch, remembering his hand affectionately wrapped around mine as he told me parents that I was the best thing to ever happen to him. It’s remembering that their favorite thing about him was his hearty laugh.
It’s feeling the need to count the number of days I go without crying and, almost three months later, that number still being zero.
It’s finding a note he wrote on the back of a photograph: “The light to my darkness.”
It’s the endless stream of memories that most often come in the form of dreams, but have absolutely no issue invading my conscious thoughts. And while they’re beautiful, they also feel torturous and cruel at this point. And that’s what I meant by my plea earlier: “Please make it stop.”
And so that song brought so many memories back to the surface, all at once. In doing so, it highlighted every beautiful thing about our love. Namely…
I wonder how you treasure
what anyone would call a flaw.
You say a pearl without the pressure
wouldn’t be a pearl at all.
When my demons come a-callin’,
you don’t even bat an eye.
I don’t scare you, and I guess that’s why…
You didn’t save me,
You didn’t think I needed saving.
You didn’t change me,
You didn’t think I needed changing.
It was simply the perfect summation of how we loved each other. Two people loving without judgment, or conditions, or expectations to be anything other than who we were. Recognizing what others might see as flaws, but choosing to see them as beauty in each other’s perfect design. Unafraid of our pasts and the darkness that accompanied them, we instead committed ourselves to the present, and the light of our love.
And for the very first time since the last time I spoke to him, I was able to find a moment to just appreciate this one simple fact…
Our love changed me.
It was a light for me.
Of course, I wanted to continue to grow and evolve in our love forever, and I cannot, and probably will not ever, understand why he didn’t want that, too. Yet, one memory, among the hundreds of thousands of precious moments together… made me feel like maybe that part doesn’t matter.
July 7, 2018: Out on the back porch that late summer night, I quietly stared down at my phone and suggested to him, as the picture of us on my lock screen illuminated his face and mine, “It’s 11:11. Make a wish.”
Without taking a single breath, and with his eyes locked in on my soul, he softly said, “It already came true.”
That quiet, powerful moment, made me realize that…
Our love changed him, too.
It was a light for him, too.
And as I smile at that truth… I also feel the tight grip around my heart loosen. All while knowing it may tighten back up tomorrow, or even in my next few breaths. All while knowing this heartbreak isn’t over for me.
But in this moment, I find peace in our life-changing love and the blessing that we got to experience it and were brave enough to let it change us. To let it light us up.
And as I try move forward… I have no idea what the universe has in store for me. But I’m choosing to remain open. And most importantly, I’m still…