Never enough: Addicted to love with the wrong one

Private schools and beautiful vacations, big parties and expensive gifts, custom made homes and over the top holidays together, but no relationship whatsoever to show for it.

Poor little rich girl.

I knew nothing about struggle or bills. I didn’t even understand the concept of money until I married a man who didn’t have it. I grew up never having chores, learning to cook or doing my own laundry. Everything was already done for me before it was even a thought to ask. When things would break, they’d be replaced or fixed immediately and I wanted for nothing.

My first car was a graduation gift I didn’t earn or ask for, but it was given to me without rules or stipulations. I didn’t pay for insurance or maintenance because it was taken care of for me. When I got my first checking account money was put into in and when I’d overdraft my account, it got paid off. I didn’t feel entitled, but I knew I had advantages growing up that other children didn’t. I can’t remember wanting something that I didn’t eventually get.

Each year I was given money to buy a new wardrobe and shoes, even when I didn’t need them. College and books were paid for, even though I’d often ditch to be with whatever boy I had interest in at the time. I didn’t really understand repercussions and consequences because I never was forced to pay them. I had everything I wanted and more, but I was so emotionally empty on the inside. I know from the outside looking in, I had it all and in many ways I did but no one knew at what cost. Everything comes with a price.

The flip side to such a comfortable lifestyle was never really getting to know my father. Some had absentee fathers physically, but mine was absent in the emotional sense. He worked long hours, leaving for work before we woke and getting back long after we’d already gone to bed. My father didn’t invest time in me or try to get to know me, because his focus was on work. It didn’t stop me from wanting his love, affection and praise, that sadly even up until this day he’s never given me. I supposedly was the fruit of his love, but his actions or lack thereof, seem to state the opposite.

At the age of fourteen, my father decided to divulge many secrets about his past that rocked the entire foundation I once stood on. My father told us he had an illegitimate child we never knew of, had dealt drugs, suffered from every addiction you could think of, attempted to commit Suicide, was a known womanizer and had a violent past. The truth was my father had once been a monster and was nothing like the innocent poverty stricken child he had led us to believe. Everything my father hated he had been, and every form of judgment he passed down, he himself was guilty of. It left me feeling deceived and unable to fully trust anyone anymore. I couldn’t justify my fathers absence and lies, and after learning the truth about him, I came to understand some things about myself.

I could forgive a plethora of sins committed before me or done to me, but I could never forgive someone who repeatedly lied to me. I was hurt, confused and irate for many years following his confession. I also came to discover how other men I’d admired, loved and respected had done similar things in their past as well. It left me wondering if all men were really monsters at their core, or if all they really needed was saving. That mentality planted in me as a child caused me to look at every man and question the very same thing over and over again; is he a monster or is he a good man?

I developed a painful addiction of loving the wrong kinds of men. Through trial and error I learned that knowing something and feeling something are two entirely different things when it comes to love. I guess I always wanted to be the inspiration for change in another persons life and by healing others I thought maybe I could heal myself. I was still trying to come to terms with all the issues I never addressed as a child. I was the girl that wanted the time and not the diamond watch. I wanted my daddy and not all the stuff he gave me to fill his place. I think to me that became more apparent as my rebellious acts grew. I was running with the wrong kinds of guys, sneaking out and putting myself in dangerous situations. I couldn’t vocalize my pain so I buried it thinking it would just disappear, but it didn’t. My Dad and I wanted different things. He wanted my submission and total control, I wanted to be loved and free.

I️ desperately wanted his approval, but he wasn’t the kind to even pay a compliment. All he did was criticize, judge and control. He was emotionally detached and physically unavailable when I needed him most.

As a little girl I remember watching t.v shows where Kids were being smothered with fatherly affection, praise and unconditional love. I often wished to have a dad like the ones I saw portrayed in the movies, and found myself imagining what it must feel like. I still hoped for random hugs and kisses, sweet notes left at my bedside to wake up to, but those things never came. I learned to cope by living in my world of dreams and fantasies, focusing all my attention on my little sisters, while quietly praying for the day that my Dad would finally notice me.

So I worked hard, got awards, was well like with teachers and popular among my classmates. I was a star athlete when I decided to play sports and favored among all my teachers. I later showed him I had true talent by serenading him on a family road trip when I was thirteen. Al of it was a conscious effort to get his approval and attention yet every accomplishment was followed with complaints and negative criticism of some kind.

I could never win..which to me meant..I could never really be worthy of love.

I know my first real rejection by him came when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I asked him if he could play “make believe” with me, but he told me no and said he had given me four little sisters for that purpose, and I should go ask one of them instead. I can still remember the burning in my throat and the turning in my stomach, but I couldn’t show him my hurt. I smiled and acted like I understood, then ran straight to the bathroom to cry in the dark.

That is one of many moments he neglected and disregarded me, talked over and corrected me. Eventually I learned to stop hoping, stop asking and stop expecting something that would never be returned. He was too tired, too hard headed, too distracted by responsibilities to notice that I was learning to live without my daddy.

Raised like a princess, but treated like a soldier; I learned how to mask my sadness with surface indifference and humor. I was expected to be submissive and practical, but those concepts always seemed so foreign to me, much like my father. The things I️ did come to know about him, I didn’t like or understand, so I made excuses for him and assumed that the problem had to be me.

He never did apologize or acknowledge any all of the hurt he’s caused me over the years, nor has he validated me in any sense. Even at 33 years old, my father has rarely to never shown me any emotion beyond disappointment and anger. And now I see how that negativity, disregard and neglect has eaten away at my heart and soul.

He should’ve been the life vest that saved me all those times I isolated myself in bathrooms and closets, trying to hide my tears; instead he ended up being the anchor that stunted my growth, by weighing me down and eventually drowning me. No matter how many times or ways I’ve expressed my pain, my cries have fallen on deaf ears. It’s made me question why I am not worth more than his pride or his need to be right.

How can one man can be both the problem and solution? Builder and destroyer? Sickness and cure?..

..And how is it that everyone else can see me, except him?

Apart from the emotional stuff, my father was an excellent provider and planner for the future. Today he is completely debt free. He owns all his cars, motorcycles and homes. His hard work has finally paid off, but it has cost him dearly. He’s missed out on years of quality time with his wife and five daughters. He has everything he’s ever wanted, but now no one to truly share it with. A big beautiful house that remains empty most nights, because we’ve all gone our separate ways. It’s sad that my father thought that providing financially and giving gifts would be enough.

I’ve grown tired of telling him what I need to feel accepted and loved. He doesn’t understand how his cold indifference, harsh words and abusive actions have hindered our relationship throughout the years. I suffered physical abuse at his hands and took the blame in order to protect my family, all while never feeling truly loved or accepted by him, ever. Yet somehow I’m supposed to believe there’s a man out there capable of loving me in the ways I need?..

My own father can’t even do that.

People understand up to their own experience and perception of life. And I guess the same could be said for how people love as well.

I know when it came to talks of the future, love and marriage, my father always pushed his opinions about the kind of man I should desire. I’d tell him all the characteristics I wanted in a partner and he’d laugh. My desires were always for emotional fulfillment, words of affirmation and quality time. My father’s desires were superficial, logical and more so action over words. He wanted a man with money, education and power for me and my sisters. He felt marrying less would be beneath us. He’d say “it boils down to this, you can marry the rich man or the poor man. Suffer in luxury or in poverty.” I never understood why suffering and pain were realities my father always foresaw in his daughters future relationships, but they did. I often challenged him on his stance because I’d argue back saying I wanted to love and be loved for things money can’t buy. I desperately wanted to believe that not all men were going to treat me the same way my father had, but one thing he instilled in me was my fear of love and inability to fully trust a man. I never wanted to be a man’s trophy wife left on a mantle to gather dust and be forgotten. I wanted to be a passionate partner who could be an inspiration to her man on his own path to fulfilling his lifelong goals. It was clear that my father wanted the reality but I was set on the dream.

At 19, I eloped to Vegas with the boy who brought me flowers and wrote me poems. The boy who called me “Pretty” and who couldn’t keep his hands off of me. I fell in love with the boy who couldn’t sleep without my body next to his or start his day without a kiss from me first. I fell in love with the dream I had in my heart and the lies this beautiful boy told me. I learned the hard way that my father was right and how the worst kinds of men hide behind attractive facades. It wasn’t until I left my dads protective bubble that I came to know the world of chaos, secrets, addictions, drugs, lies, manipulations, infidelity and pain. It was naive of me to believe that the boy who came from total dysfunction could ever promise me a happy life of peace and sobriety. After years of abuse and suffering in silence, I left the beautiful boy I once loved and accepted the reality of who he truly was all along. I️ never had my dream as a child or as a adult; they were all just nightmares in the end. And sadly, he’d be the first of many, in the long succession of men I’d come to love and leave.

Nothing could ever compare to the pain I️ experienced when I️ lost my first love. To this day, he is the only man I’ve ever truly committed to in every sense. I’ve never loved, adored, obsessed over, fucked, forgiven, fought, protected or lusted over another man like I️ did him. Letting him go took years to get over and literally almost killed me in the process. But after surviving the absolute worst, I knew that I️ could handle anything after.. and I️ did. The rest of the procession over the years became a blur. I no longer wanted the nice guy or the quiet bystander. I wanted the bad boys and rebels who were possessive, obsessive and treated me with the same cold detachment my father had treated me. Unavailable, under developed “man boys” who never got over their own issues long enough to realize that I had some of my own. They all followed the same patterns of addictions and abuse. All abandoned by their fathers at a young age, never taught how to become real men. They also had major mommy issues from childhood and subconsciously sought out women like me to heal them. Their mother’s were resentful, selfish and too caught up in their own vices to give enough affection or attention to their little boys while growing up. They never learned how to love and respect women, so they mistreated, manipulated, abused and used them. In most cases without them realizing, I had to fulfill both roles of mother and lover with these broken men. I’d give the little I had to fill their needs and leave them more empty and insatiable than before. Like two asteroids colliding in space, we’d crash into one another and be left in more pieces than we were before. I guess my dad was right about one thing, you can’t look for a man’s love in broken boys.

So here I️ am, back to the beginning, picking up the pieces, trying to rectify any fragment of a relationship I could possibly ever have with my father. I️ realize forgiveness and healing takes time, but I’m determined to heal this gaping wound, even if it’s just for the sake of my own sanity. I’m tired of subconsciously searching for love and approval in the eyes of men more fucked up than I am. It’s time I face all my insecurities and issues and try to see the ways my father has tried to show me he loves me. Tough love and provision may not be how I want to be loved or shown love, but I’ve accepted that it’s the only way my Father will ever know how to express his love for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful for the beautiful childhood my father provided, I️ just wish he could’ve been a part of it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever break free of this vicious cycle, but tonight I guess I’m just too lonely to care.

Lucky for you…

 

When music makes you feel nostalgia for the past

He used to play the gravity album by Our last peace all the time while driving. I rode shotgun, as he’d blast the music, windows down, shades on, his hand intertwined with mine. I vividly remember hearing track #2 play and how uncomfortable the words made me feel that first time time I heard them. The voice singing sounded so tormented and conflicted over the love he thought he’d found. Somehow I seemed to identify with the voice, but I also shared a kindred connection to the source of his pain. I think understanding that truth is what made it so uncomfortable for me.

Of course years later the song still resonates strongly and I’ve seen the consequences of these toxic one sided relationships. Subconsciously, I have been drawn to the kind of relationships that are doomed from the start. It’s a pattern I started over a decade ago and it’s gotten harder and harder to break as the years have gone by. I’ve learned that the wrong kinds of men are just as much, if not more, drawn to me because we share the same brokenness. The saying, of opposites attracting isn’t true, it’s more so, misery loving company. It’s sad looking back now and realizing that the men that were so desperate to save me, were actually the ones in need of saving.

That being said, I think there’s a big misconception about relationships that most times doesn’t get addressed. Codependency comes in all shapes and forms. It masks itself behind tendencies and behaviors that most overlook or fail to recognize. Feeling trapped or controlled in your relationship is a sure sign of this. Red flags like having to hide, water down, lie, suppress or silence any part of yourself for your partner is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship. For instance, a person doesn’t have to hit you or blatantly disrespect you for your relationship to be considered unhealthy. A person might think they are being good to you, but in reality they can only do as much good as they’re capable of. It’s not a slam to anyone, but it’s the reality of dysfunctional relationships. There are so many people struggling with codependency issues and don’t even know it. I know I have for a really long time.

Codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs. It also results in symptoms such as low self esteem, people pleasing, poor boundaries, reactivity, caretaking, control, dysfunctional communication, obsessions, dependency, denial, problems with intimacy, and painful emotions.

The most important, longest lasting relationship you’ll ever have in life will be the relationship you have with yourself, Take the time to get to know yourself, love yourself and grow. Because the truth is, no one will ever be able to love you in the ways you need, if you don’t ever learn to love yourself first.

Relics of the past: I didn’t lose you, you lost me.

“You don’t have to tell me
If you ever think of me
I know you see me dancing
Wildly in the fog of your memory
You don’t have to tell me
I can still believe”

I am an empath. A feeler. A healer. A free spirit in every sense. I am a woman primarily ruled by her passions, feelings and emotions. I am most sensitive when I’m upset or seemingly detached. I am ocean waves of conflicted thoughts and feelings, thanks to my perpetual intuition.

I once believed my empathetic nature to be my greatest weakness and flaw. I used to hide behind sarcasm, false confidence and humor, but I’ve come to the realization that I was wrong. My ability to feel such deep emotions is my greatest strength, and the very gift that makes me unique from anyone else you’re ever going to meet.

Nobody can love you the way that I can. No one can reassure, encourage or protect you, as I alone am able to. I understand now that this is my blessing and not my curse. My superpower is my ability to love unconditionally without limitations, rules, boundaries or demands.  I can love a person for who or what they are right now in this moment, without judgments or restrictions, and not just for the potential of who or what they could be. I love in spite of all messiness because I know that more often than not, love is messy. I remain in the present, never holding anyones past against them, and anyone who has experienced my love can attest to that. My love inevitability leaves imprints on the hearts of those I’ve touched forever. I am slow to love, but once I do, I love harder than anyone you will ever know. My loyal love will leave an everlasting mark on you, because when I love I don’t love from my heart, I love from the pit of my soul, and that is exactly what I aim to love in others.

Although love is everlasting I learned that relationships are not. I think that my ability to recognize endings has been the catalyst for my own personal growth. I know that by seeing people as gifts and circumstance as temporary, it has made letting go of those I’ve loved a lot easier and helped me to remain in the present. Some endings have been more amicable than others, but I’d like to believe that once I walk away from someone there’s an understanding that I have left a part of myself with them forever. I’m sentimental about the little things, so imagine how much more sentimental I am when it comes to people. Love is a constantly evolving force that has the power to heal, grow, change, inspire and motivate anyone. My intuition tells me a persons love language, and my gift is my ability to meet that need whole heartedly. Love is sacrifice and anyone that tells you any different has never truly loved anything or anyone before.

I know that some of you have tried for awhile now, and you still cannot escape me. I have become the unrelenting song playing on repeat in the back of your mind. I am the ever-present ghost, haunting your daydreams and nightmares. I am the face you continue to search for in a crowd and the reason why you take a second glance whenever you come across another woman that bares any resemble to me. I am the person you think of when you’re in need of comfort and understanding because I always understood you. I am the reason you linger in the places I frequent, because secretly you’re hoping to catch me around. I am the person your heart will never be able to forget because of how I once made yours feel. I am the embodiment of all that could’ve been and all that might still be. I am the undeniable laughter you’ll recognize forever even if you never get to hear it again in this lifetime. I am the person you will find yourself wondering about when you’re all alone and your mind begins to wander. And in those rare instances when a butterfly finds it’s way to you, a sweet memory of me will be brought to the forefront of your mind.

Each of you have tried to get me to see what you’ve seen in me all along. You recognized my uniqueness long before I ever did, and you fell in love with the parts of me that you had to dig in deep to pull out. I taught you to believe in yourselves again because I believed in you like no one else could. I made you feel the words I spoke because my actions consistently proved them to you. You felt the love I had in my heart every time I came around. As much as I may have hurt some of you, or as angry as you might still be, one fact remains true; you never stopped loving me or caring for me..at least not really. In the deepest parts of your soul, you knew to trust that my heart was in the right place, even if my actions were misguided at times. You knew what you felt for me was real, because you knew that I was real, and in turn that made what we shared all real. True love can only exist when there is truth, and every person I ever loved can rest assured in the knowledge that they were once adored and deeply treasured by me. You were each unique and special to me and no one before or after you will take your place. The pieces of myself that I’ve given away, I gave with no intention of ever taking back. What’s been given is forever gone, and what’s healed in its place is a newfound resilience and hope to love the next person with an even deeper, more sincere love. Search the world to your content, journey across every sea, hike every mountain high and every canyon low, but as hard as you try you’ll never find another person like me again. Turns out you weren’t the one that got away..

I was.

Just like Halsey, I’m bad at love

“Got a boy back home in Michigan
And it tastes like Jack when I’m kissing him..”

I remember your whiskey kisses, your eager hands and cat like green eyes. You loved having my scent all over you throughout the day, wearing the same shirts to work that I’d worn the night before. You bought my favorite shampoo and body wash as a means of convincing me to stay those late nights and it worked on a few random occasions. I liked the way your Armani cologne lingered on my skin and how even up until today whenever I smell it, I can still feel the stubble of your 5 o clock shadow nestling its way into the softness of my neck. You were never a man of many words and I was never one for lengthy explanations so I guess the way it ended was inevitable. Months later I’d receive numerous drunk phone texts and voicemails from you apologizing for leaving so much left unsaid between us. You told me that you went to my secret place in the desert where I once took you. You played my beloved, Stevie Nicks the entire drive and reminisced over the conversations we shared beneath the stars those summer nights. You said you tried recreating those moments on your own, but somehow the stars just didn’t seem to burn as bright after I’d left. Days became weeks and weeks turned into months before you’d set out to find me again and by that time it was too late, the once open doorway to my heart was now locked shut. Time brought you clarity while it permitted me the space to move on. I can’t deny that even after all this time I sometimes find myself looking up at the stars they way we used to, questioning where you are, if you’re happy and wondering who now lays on my side of the bed. I still miss those whiskey kisses and can’t deny that yours are still the sweetest lips I’ve ever tasted.

“There’s a guy that lives in a garden state
And he told me that we make it ’til we graduate
So I told him the music would be worth the wait
But he wants me in the kitchen with a dinner plate..”

I grew up with you and you knew me throughout all my awkward stages. You were the first guy to tell me you loved me. Back then I was way too young to realize what that meant, but more specifically what that meant being loved by someone like you. I’m sorry your intensity and passion scared me, I understand now what I couldn’t then. I admit I lost track of time and my purpose, but you wanted a commitment right when I was trying to focus all my energy into the music and finding my own way. I couldn’t give you what you needed. I couldn’t be the girl you first fell in love with. I didn’t want to be your muse, I wanted to find one of my very own that I could sing for and write about. I was honest with you about my feelings but you refused to accept them. Looking back now, I see that even though it wasn’t the same, I loved you in my own special way and I know you felt that. It’s probably what gave you hope and made you stay for so long. You will always be the guy that makes my heart skip a beat and the face I’ll look for in any crowd, because you found me long before I ever found myself. I know you wanted to be selfish with me at a time that I wanted the world. Ironically, only three years later I’d fall helplessly in love with him. It wasn’t long before he’d discover all the love letters you’d written and later guilt me into throwing away. I’ll be honest and say, I cried many nights over you and for you. You deserved so much more even though I don’t think you ever found it. I was told years later that you’d found out about my elopement through mutual friends. I still blame myself for not going to you that night and I regret never saying goodbye when I had the chance. No one ever had to tell me directly, but I know I am the reason you continue to stay away.

“I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe
That we’re meant to be
But jealousy, jealousy, jealousy, jealousy
Get the best of me
Look, I don’t mean to frustrate, but I
Always make the same mistakes, yeah I
Always make the same mistakes ’cause
I’m bad at love
But you can’t blame me for tryin’
You know I’d be lyin’ sayin’
You were the one
That could finally fix me
Lookin’ at my history
I’m bad at love”

My once upon a time. My first love. My only everything. My memory of you will always be in love with the innocence of who I was. Loving you made me into the woman I am and since you, I haven’t felt anything close to the magnitude of passion or attraction I had with and for you. I was so in love with you, obsessed with you, fixated and devoted only to you for over 12 years. All the men since you have remained in your shadow, never able to wash out your memory or your mark. I’ll always remember our passion filled nights that turned into early mornings. I was addicted to your touch, your intensity and intricate mind. I was the magnet and you were steel. And being honest, I don’t think I’ll ever feel again anything close to what I felt for you. Getting over others has been made easy, because losing you taught me that I have the love and strength within myself to overcome anything. I know I can and I will love again one day, but it’ll be in different ways. I’ve stopped trying to change the facts of our history and I’ve quit denying the importance your existence had in my life for so long. I found myself in the storm and my rainbow in my healing. I’m comforted to know you’ve found happiness again and I’ve made peace with the past; a past that has made clear her victory…by default.

“Got a girl with California eyes
And I thought that she could really be the one this time
But I never got the chance to make her mine
Because she fell in love with little thin white lines”

Familiar, dark and wild were the aspects of our personalities that drew us into one another. I met you at a very difficult time in my life, while yours was in transition as well. It all feels like a blur now in comparison to how we first began. From complete sobriety to drunken nights, dabbling in the substances we promised we would never touch again, to setting men’s hearts on fire to distract us from our own pain. We became a force of nature, destroying anything in our path. Your love became possessive while mine remained detached and carefree. We lived in different extremes in those two years, but now times have changed. You do more damage than good these days, but in your own twisted way you still try to show me you care. I’ll always care even it’s from a distance. It’s just in my nature and you’ll do what’s in your nature and self destruct. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the girl you used to be or the version of you I once loved.

“London girl with an attitude
We never told no one but we look so cute
Both got way better things to do
But I always think about it when I’m riding through

I met you at a party and clicked with you right away. It felt natural to go along with your advances but I didn’t realize you were playing for keeps. You pursued me harder than any man had, and I know you felt betrayed when I couldn’t reciprocate the same emotions. You showed me how to accept people for what they are and not try to rationalize why they do or don’t do things. You told me about all your tattoos and confessed your darkest secrets to me because you said I made you feel safe. I still laugh when I remember how you told me that I needed a woman’s love, because no man would ever be enough. Truth is, the only love and acceptance I ever needed was my own.

“I know that you’re afraid

I’m gonna walk away

each time the feelings fades

each time the feelings fade..”

It’s crazy how just one song can take me back in time to a certain person or place in my past. I don’t regret anyone of you. You helped mold me into the woman I am. Keep the pieces of me I gave you, and I’ll forever stow away the love and memories you gave me.

“You know I’m bad at love, but you can’t blame me for trying.”

Maybe you’re right.

I used to live in a world of black and white, but now I live in a world of grey. I am the product of many years of maturity, growth and life experiences. Today, I see things very differently. I’m not the naive little girl that once lived in the protected bubble my parents created. Looking back now I see that it was more like a kingdom that they alone ruled and controlled. The years I lived in their care were some of the best memories of my life. We were always sheltered away from the realities of the world. I never knew the depths of depravity that ran rampant right outside our front door. I was unaware of the real life nightmares others around me were living. I thought my upbringing was how everyone was brought up and in my ignorance I judged others from the high pedestal I had been placed on. I thought we were the lucky ones who knew the truth, but it turns out that they all knew better than all of us. Now I see that the world isn’t as simple as my parents made it out to be. Sometimes the “monsters” aren’t the creatures lurking in closet or the boogeyman underneath our beds. Truth is, oftentimes the monsters are those we love most and call, “friend”. Sometimes the ultimate enemy isn’t something or someone attacking us, but instead, the cancer of self-destruction that lies dormant inside ourselves. I was taught to put all my faith and trust into my parents hands, and by doing so, I became emotionally paralyzed and incapable of doing anything for myself. Everything was always done for me and decided for me. My father provided financially and my mother stayed home and raised us. He met our physical needs, while my mother tended to our emotional. Being little girls, I don’t think they realized just how great the effect our father’s lack of presence would have in our lives. Since our relationship with him suffered all along, so did we.

I was taught to never trust anyone else but my immediate family and make my decisions based on doubt and anxiety. I was never allowed to venture outside my parents overly- protective reach, and in time our home began to feel more like a prison instead of the fantasy castle we once believed it to be. In time, the walls that once protected us, would become nothing more than impenetrable barriers we could never be free from. Although meaning well, my parents suffocated me and had me living like a drone, subjected to a way of life and thinking they thought was best for me. Anytime I challenged that notion or their stance in anyway, there were consequences. Sometimes those consequences were far to harsh for a young girl of my age. Really, I don’t remember living a day without fear of judgment or not feeling under pressure. Many times I felt my existence was to better and protect the existence of my sisters, and others around me. I was the “guinea pig” and the “black sheep” since birth. Dubbed my parents “love child” only to be referred to as, “the problem child” in latter years. I would come to pave the way for my sisters, but it would cost me plenty of psychological damage, physical bruises and emotional scars that would follow me for the rest of my life. My sisters only know so much, and then their memory grows weary. It’s possible they may have even forgotten how bad it got, but I never did. Sometimes I can visually imagine that “road I paved for them” solely made up of my blood, my sweat and bitter tears. Even now, I don’t believe that they understand how traumatizing it was to be me growing up, especially being a sensitive, people pleaser like I am. I’m not trying to paint myself as some sort of scapegoat or victim, but if you’re going by the actual definition of those names, and all of my countless years of therapy I had listening to a professional pick me apart and diagnose me, than those labels were exactly what I was. Naturally, I’d become super defensive and want to rationalize all the bad. I didn’t want to believe the reality of what I’d experienced and I was in denial of it for a very long time. In many ways I still think some of my family is in somewhat denial of it or they want to play it down. I’ve accepted that they will never understand it as I do, and really, I don’t want them to. As much I gained by fighting my way out and breaking free, I still remained a prisoner to the mentality I was raised in. And so began the arduous struggle between my truth, and that of my families.

I know I was close minded for a very long time, shut off and far removed from everything and everyone. I lived, thought, breathed, reacted, processed and loved in constant fear. I knew I was loved, but I was never shown it in the ways I so desperately needed in order to feel it. I never felt quite right in my own skin, and I remember the many days I dreamt of eventually becoming someone else.

I know that as a child, I thought that puberty not only changed your physical man, but also your inner man. Somehow I thought that one day I’d wake up as someone else with a different filter of emotions and mentality, but that never happened. Puberty came and went, but I was still the same old me. Only difference was, I became more and more aware of my inability to be what others wanted me to be. I would struggle my whole life to meet their expectations, but in their eyes, I would continue to fail miserably. I sometimes look back on my decisions and wonder how many were really mine, and how many were done for the sake of “keeping the peace” or as an act of pure rebellion. I guess I’ll never know and it really makes no difference now, since the past has come and gone. But the pain has changed me and molded me into a different person. I see the world through knowledgeable and understanding eyes. I feel and follow my heart and emotions more than I do my head these days. I have grown so much in the last few years and learned to separate the image others have of me, from the actuality of who I am. I’m not a robot that can be controlled and set aside when they’ve grown tired of me. I have cried enough tears for those that have claimed to love me. It’s time I dried my own eyes and lived for myself, and so I have. I’m no longer seeking the conditional love and approval of others.

Some of you have irrevocably damaged me, and gone about life as if it never happened, checking on me every so often, to help you sleep better at night. Although forgiven, I have not forgotten your heartless acts and I will never allow myself to be hurt by you in those ways ever again. If you burned me, just know I burned that bridge that united us when you betrayed me. If you destroyed me once, I promised myself to never let you have that chance to do that to me again. My mantra has become a “take me as I am” philosophy in regards to my life. If you don’t like it, keep it moving. I’m done begging, chasing, and holding onto people that only want to stray. As Robert Frost one said,

“I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

See, the thing is, you don’t have to like me, agree with me or condone my actions, decisions and behaviors. You don’t have to like who I am friends with or who I chose to date. You don’t have to tell me what you “feel” is right or wrong, or tell me how I should live my life. You’re sole purpose in my life is to love me in spite of everything I am and everything I’m not. You’re role is to encourage, uplift and try to understand. If I haven’t asked you for your opinion or thoughts, than honestly I couldn’t care less what you have to say. As much as I have tirelessly loved so many of you, I have reached my breaking point and I am at the end of my rope. I cannot do for you, fix you, make you happy, or be the person you want me to be anymore. I was a victim of my past, but now I’ve found my voice. I am more than my mistakes and what has been done to me. I am more than just a mother, a sister, daughter, aunt, niece, granddaughter or friend. I am an entity all my own and if you want to be a part of my life, it’s gonna have to be on my terms. I’m not censoring, filtering, or watering down any part of myself to accommodate anyone else. If you love me like you “claim to” love me then this decision will make no difference to you. I’m so fed up with being condemned and questioned. I’ve changed in recent years and I am not following suit like I used to. Others say they are overwhelmed with trying to keep tabs on me and feel helpless, but guess what? I’ve lived in that feeling for over 3 decades. Some of you can’t take this small portion of rebellion in the last 3 years! I have spent my entire life, saving others and always being there for them. I had a good run but now the emotions are too great to be bottled and my wings are too big to be held down. It took what felt like an eternity, but now I see that I am actually free. I know now that there is so much that I’m still getting wrong, but along the bumps in the road there are some fundamental truths, I’ve gotten right. And maybe that’s really what life is all about? Carving out your own path along the many that surround you. Maybe life is about taking chances and making mistakes while learning to stand on your own two feet. Either way, I believe we all come to that moment in life where we stand facing the fork in the road, and have to choose which road to take. Even with all the pain and loss I have felt, I can be honest and say that I wouldn’t do it any different. I wouldn’t take it back or erase on of my experiences, good or bad. Maybe you’re right when you say I’m nothing like the girl I used to be. Maybe change hurts but with it comes growth. Today, I choose to believe that all of that black and white throughout the course of my life, helped to soften me to reflect a lighter shade of grey.

Dandelions, Sunflowers and Daisies

I love how beautiful flowers look but I can’t stand the way they smell. Their fragrance makes me nauseous and takes me back to moments I wish I could erase from my memory. As much as I love receiving them, I despise them just the same. Every single time I’ve lost a piece of my heart, the world in turn has given me bouquets of flowers to cling to. Each time I had to bury another part of myself, all I was left with were fragile petals that eventually would fade away. As captivating as such blossoms like dandelions can be, I would be more than willing to go without ever seeing another rose bud as long as I live, if it meant that I could have everyone I’ve ever lost to the grave back again. Tell me, what good does it do me to have a field of endless sunflowers and daisies, when I have no one left to enjoy them with me?