I wanted to share with you a true and personal story. Even though it's been nearly a year since I had the strength to remove myself from an unhealthy relationship, a year full of amazing personal growth and I couldn't be happier, I wanted to share my story in case anyone is going through something similar. I feel it's my duty as a writer, to share my experience to help others along their way.
If just one person reads this and decides to end an unhealthy relationship, change an unfair situation, or stop settling for less than what they deserve in any aspect of his or her life, then it was worth it.
Although the story revolves around the tweet that healed my heart, the moral of the story is that forgiveness, acceptance, and letting go heals all. Forgiving him was just the beginning of the healing process for me. It was when I was able to forgive myself for allowing someone to continually disrespect me and giving away my power and happiness, was I able to truly heal and move on with my life. I accepted that the past could not have been any different and then I just let it go.
In the words of T.D. Jakes, “If someone is willing to walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is not tied to those that left you.”
So forgive yourself, forgive others, and know that you deserve love, you deserve to be happy, and deserve to be respected – and that starts with you.
I was concentrating on folding my powder blue cardigan as if I were performing open-heart surgery, 'left arm crosses over to the right, right arm crosses over to the left, and then fold up from the bottom,' when a reflection of something tucked away under my bed caught my eye.
I was packing for my big move from New York, the intoxicating city that I had a love/hate relationship with for the last eight years. Loved the food, the fashion, the energy, the ambition, the models during Fashion Week. I even loved street meat and hailing taxis at 3:00am when I stumbled out of speak-easys with my friends, heels, and a sparkly clutch in tow. Hated the daily grind, getting stuck on the L train next to the sweaty man who conveniently forgot to put deodorant on that day. Hated paying $5 for a cup of drip coffee.
Placing the cardigan neatly into a box and with the rain sweetly dancing on my windowsill, I reluctantly walked over to my bed, kneeled down, fought the dust, and grabbed the glistening glass candle holder that I could no longer ignore. It had been given to me by T.S., a guy that I had dated on-and-off for three years, another love/hate relationship.
Loved how he knew how to make me laugh no matter how upset I was, that I was obsessed with cheese, that he would watch murder mysteries with me even though he hated them, that he made me grilled cheese and tomato soup at 1:00am just because I was hungry. Hated that he would never really commit, how trying to have a normal conversation would inevitably turn into a fight, that he never invited me out to meet his friends or family, that he held my self-esteem in his back-pocket, that I was never good enough to be introduced as his 'girlfriend' but yet was expected to treat him like a king, and that my happiness was always contingent upon his mood. Hated how he blamed the demise of our “relationship” on me because the moment I demanded the respect that I deserved, the only thing he had to offer me was the occasional gchat conversation. How dare I expect him to share his heart when all he desired was a piece of my body?
Even though I had offered him my friendship, he still found a way to cut me to the core. He told me that he was in love with another girl and that she was “the one” via text without the guts to say it my face. In his own words, “telling me that she even existed was irrelevant.” He only did so after he was “backed into a corner.” I had forgotten about the cowardice that laid beneath his tough guy facade like a snake lying underneath leaves to avoid the sun.
Love/hate relationships, I suppose that was my thing. But it was time for a change.
I placed the glass candle holder on my table as it were a foreign object, almost like a bomb. I eyed it, almost convinced that it was going to explode and melt everything in my apartment. It sat there all night and I poured my second glass of Merlot.
The next morning I was determined to tackle my stack of old magazines and newspapers – toughest question of the day, “Keep, trash, or giveaway?” I picked up a copy of ELLE magazine with Emma Watson on the cover. I thumbed through it and landed on her interview. I half-heartedly read the article, I still had one eye on the glass candle holder, when I got the part where she was recalling why she took her role in the movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and quoted a line from the flick, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I re-read the line a few times and then blankly stared at the glass candle holder.
It finally clicked. Was this simple yet profound statement the missing ingredient I needed to really move on with my life? Why did I even keep the glass candle holder? Why did the raindrops dancing on my windowsill still remind me of the rhythm of his heartbeat when we laid in bed? Why did the ghost of our “relationship” still haunt me like the stench of the man on the L train? Was there a part of me that thought I deserved the “hate” part of my relationship? If so, it was time to release that part of me, forgive myself, and move forward. It was time to take full responsibility for my happiness. It was time to clean house.
Back when I was a teenager I would have written down the quote in my diary, my place of solace where I left my cares, dreams, and most intimate thoughts. But being that's it 2014 my logical next step was to turn to Twitter. My digital diary, where I lived privately in public, and where I would release my belief that I somehow deserved the way he treated me. I sat there and typed out the 41 characters, “We accept the love we think we deserve,” with 99 characters to spare. As I pressed enter, releasing the quote into the ether, I felt a sense of relief. The burden that I carried of feeling less than by a man that never deserved me in the first place was now being lifted from my chest and disseminated to my 1,359 followers. There is strength in numbers.
I poured another glass of Merlot (it was 5 o'clock somewhere) and walked over to the table and picked up the glass candle holder, and thought, “Keep, trash, or giveaway?” #Trash.