Tuesday, September 27, 2011
And Then You Realize You Never Changed At All
Slowly but eventually the spinning stopped, I regained some sense of balance, and then I met A.
That night three years ago replayed in my head as I sat sobbing on A.'s floor at two in the morning, my mind slowly spiraling out of control. It was as if my boyfriends secretly get the same script upon meeting me, to read from once things inevitably get stormy.
"I don't know how else I can help you," he whispered in the dark. "I'd hoped you'd be the one, too."
Last night I not only cried out of pity and for the self-hatred that surges uncontrollably within me, but I also cried for A., for letting us fall in love when it feels like I'm still so far from being fine. I cried from the realization that no matter how much time has passed or how much distance is between the previous relationship and this one, at the end of the night, I'm still me, this same mess I've grown into. The floorboards were unforgiving as I doubled over, shaking my head, refusing to believe that I was here again. All these years and here again.
I might not be a child growing up under the ignorant wrath of tough love anymore, but even though I'm an adult, with a life all her own, and surrounded by people who love her, I still devalue and see myself as I did back then: jittery and paranoid, unsure and made overly sensitive from decades of intense emotions. One little criticism from someone who matters to me, someone for whom I have this need to please in order to feel worthy, and it creates a wound so sick it quickly metastasizes through my brain.
No one can know how it feels to be inside my head, but it tore my heart to see how I was slowly breaking his. I can't blame A. if he couldn't stick around as I fought through my self-destruction, I told him, but God how it hurt when I saw just how close to the edge we really were. All I could do was hold onto him with all I had, scared that if I let him go now he'd fly away, too. So we sat there on the floor, forehead-to-forehead, the room still too dark to see each other's eyes.
"I can't do this anymore," I told his silhouette. "I feel crazy. It hurts...I feel terrible."
We talked about the need for progress, turning to professional help again, and how I have to love myself more than I do now. When we ran out of words to say to each other, we went to bed, exhausted, and with my hand firmly grasping his.
"I need to know there's a light at the end of this tunnel," he said this morning. "I need you to stop hating yourself. I need you to stop hurting yourself. No excuses or falling because it's easy."
"I thought you were done last night..." I said.
"I thought so, too, but you're worth it so please tell me what it is I can do to help you. I want to believe that you can fight through this. I'm going to be wishing really, really hard."