What If I…

Do you ever find yourself thinking about where you’d be today or what your life might have been like, had you not done this or done that? If only you’d done things differently. Sort of a had you taken the “road not taken” kind of question. These days, all I seem to do is ask me these questions. It’s not that I’m one of those people who live in the past and can’t move forward, because I’m really not. I just wonder, that’s all. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always asked the hard questions. I take things personally and feel things hard. Maybe too much sometimes. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. I’m sensitive and emotional, and I still don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I haven’t always been like this. I wear my heart and emotions on my sleeve. I tend to speak my mind, think later, as my family says. A trait that has landed me in hot water on several occasions, as you can imagine. It’s maddening though. It’s like the older I get, the more emotional I get and I don’t like it. Simply put, it sucks. Especially because I’ve learned that it’s easier to just keep my feelings and thoughts to myself. You can’t get hurt as much that way. I know, I know. It’s not healthy and whatever and that I should talk and trust people more, but I can’t do that.

I haven’t always been so closed-off like this. I used to be able to tell people everything, my grandmother for one. When I was little, we were so close. I told her everything. I think it had a lot to do with me being the youngest of the grandkids, the “baby”. I’m not gonna lie. I was spoiled. A lot. Or as my grams would put it, “loved a lot.” I can remember when I was really little, before I started school so maybe three or four years old. I remember watching the older kids leave on the bus for school every morning, and my grams and I would have the rest of the day to ourselves. I loved it. I miss it. One of my oldest memories of my grams and I was my first day of kindergarten. I remember standing outside the school, holding my grandmother’s hand, crying and begging her not to make me go inside. I remember her crouching down next to me and smiling as she wiped my tears with the sleeve of her shirt. And I remember what she told me next. She told me that if I really didn’t want to go inside, then she wouldn’t make me. And she wouldn’t have either. If I’d asked, she would’ve taken me back home with her. Yes, I was THAT spoiled. Then she said that I should try it, just for the day, and that I might just end up liking it. I remember her telling me not to be scared and then she promised two things. That everything would be okay, and that no matter what, she’d always be there waiting at the bus stop when I came home. Now that I’m older of course, I know that she had just been using that “reverse psychology” tactic adults are famous for. Basically it’s to get kids to do what they don’t want to do, by convincing them that the decision is theirs to make, albeit it really is not. Sneaky, yes. But it works. Weird how that is, but yeah. Thinking about that day, it makes me wish I was five years old again. It was so much simpler then. When boys still had cooties and you got bruised knees rather than bruised hearts. I wish I could be that innocent again.

But things change. You grow up and you realize that the world just isn’t as black-and-white as you were led to believe. That nothing is what it seems. You realize that all the kisses in the world can’t make the hurt go away. And those promises can’t be kept forever. It’s life. Growing up. It sucks. I wish I could be that trusting little five year old girl again, that I could still cry to my grams and she’d make everything okay. But she can’t fix this. So much has happened. Good and bad. I’m not that little girl though. I’m 23, I have responsibilities. And secrets, I have so many of those. Sometimes I wonder what my grams would think if she knew the truth. If I told her everything. She’d be so disappointed. Even I am sometimes. The reality is that she can’t make it okay. She can’t clean up the mess I’ve made of my life. She can’t change me. I can’t change how I feel or how good I’ve become at keeping things to myself, at shutting people out. It’s like some kind of defense mechanism I have, I don’t know. But sometimes it just makes it all worse.

Anyways, back to my original focus. What ifs and regrets. Believe it or not, I don’t have many regrets, not really. Are there things I would have done differently? Sure. But as the saying goes, you can’t regret something that once made you smile. Whatever I’ve done, at some point it was what I wanted. It’s that simple. But things don’t always work out the way you would have liked them to. I should know. My life is a perfect, constant example of that. Like Mr. shouldve-known-better (and yeah I need a new nickname for him I think). I don’t regret him. Honest. Would it probably be easier if I did? If I hated him? Probably. Everyone thinks I’m crazy because I don’t, but they don’t understand. Sometimes I get so mad that I want to scream, but I don’t. I sit there and I don’t say a word when they say that I’m better off without him and that it’s for the best. It’s easier to just let them say what they’re going to say. Easier for me to just walk away and leave before they see the tears or see how much their words bother me. If only they knew how wrong, how blind they are. But they don’t know. they don’t realize that the more “advice” they give, the more I just want to push them all away, to scream at them to stop and to just leave me be. One of the reasons I stopped talking to my friends is because of that, because I just couldn’t take anymore. The texts and having to hear how they saw him somewhere or whatever. I DONT CARE!! I mean, technically, I do care or it wouldn’t bother me so much, so maybe I should say I don’t want to know. I don’t understand. No one cared when we were together. I couldn’t say his name without getting crap for it. All I ever heard was how I was ruining my life and throwing away my reputation. That I was delusional if I thought he actually cared about anything other than sex. No one cared. No one believed me when I said I loved him. No one. It hurt so much. Even worse, everyone was glad when it was over. Glad. My life was in pieces, but they were happy? I’m sorry, but something about that isn’t right. They didn’t understand and it’s too late to make them. I wasn’t asking for permission. Why couldn’t they see that they were only making it harder, hurt more. When it ended, I just wanted to forget. To pretend that it never happened, just for a little while until I could handle and face it all. Every mention of him–it’s like a slap in the face. A constant reminder of how badly I screwed up. And yeah, it’s painful as hell.

No one knows the truth, not all of it. They know as much as I want them to know. They don’t know how much has changed. How I’ve changed. They think I’m fine, but I’m not. There, I said it. I’m not okay. It’s not that I’m unhappy, because I’m not. I’m just not happy. Does that make sense? I just…I’m numb. I can’t feel anything and at the same time, I feel too much. I don’t get it. I wish I knew how to fix things, to make things right, but I don’t. I want to tell everyone the truth, tell them how much it hurt–how much it still hurts–but I can’t tell them. I don’t want them to try and fix me. I don’t want their pity. And more than anything, I don’t want to hear that it’ll be okay because it’s NOT OK! It’s not. And what scares me the most is that I don’t know if it’ll ever be okay. He broke my heart when he walked away, but that’s not all he broke. Or all he took. It’s pathetic to say, but a part of me died when he left. It’s not his fault really. It’s just that, THAT girl–the girl I was then–she’s gone and she’s never coming back. All that’s left is the shell of her. Of me. And nothing can change that.

It’s been a year. A whole year. I never expected to still care. I figured it would hurt for a little while, but that it would eventually get better. But I can’t seem to let go. Or maybe I’m just afraid to. Afraid of forgetting everything. Of forgetting him. Forgetting that girl I used to be. But it’s already happening, no matter how much I try to stop it. His voice, his face–it’s all fading. It feels like I’m losing him all over again. It hurts just the same, maybe more. God knows I should be grateful for this, to forget, but I don’t feel grateful. If I let myself forget, if I regret him, then it’s like saying none of it happened. But it did happen. It was real. To me, if nothing else.

Just because I may not regret what happened, doesn’t mean I don’t think about what might have been had I done things differently. If I hadn’t gone with him that night. If I’d never met him at all. Where would I be today. Would I be happy? Would I not be such a broken mess like I am. I’ll never know. It’s bittersweet. It’s ok. I have to believe that it all happened for a reason, even if I don’t know what that reason is. Maybe it was fate. Maybe I had something to prove. If nothing else, I learned so much. I know what it’s like to love. And to lose. Maybe it was a game to him. Maybe everyone is right and he was just a jerk. Maybe. But I loved that jerk. I loved the lie. I think a part of me always will.. And people are always going to wonder and ask, to think what they want. If I had it to do all over again–would I? Honestly, I’m not sure. Part of me wants to say yes, the part that still cares and remembers the moments. But the other part of me wants to say no. the part of me that is still hurt and broken and feels used. I wish there was a simple answer, but there’s not. Life isn’t simple or easy. Neither is love. It’s complicated and messy and it turns your world upside-down sometimes. If it were easy, then I don’t think it’d be worth it.

I don’t hate him. I have more than enough reasons to, but I can’t. I can’t hate him or resent him for making a choice and doing what he felt was right. He chose his family and her. And as much as it hurts to know that the person you love loves someone else and as much as it hurts to admit it, he made the right choice. I couldn’t ask him to choose me, a girl who still doesn’t even know what she wants out of life. I can’t hate him for making me fall for him, or hate him because he didn’t feel the same. I can’t hate or blame him when I’m the one who broke the rules. I’m the one who took it further than I had any right to. It wasn’t supposed to go past that first night. But it did. And I don’t care what I should or shouldn’t do or feel–this was my choice. My life. I can’t apologize for it or defend how I feel or my decision to not regret what happened.

The only regret I have when it concerns him is that I never got the chance to say all the things I wanted to say. To tell him that I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure he hates me. I know it had to be this way, that making him hate me was the only way to set things right, to make him see that everything he wanted, he’d had all along. But it still hurts. God, it hurts so much. Will it always? I have to believe that it’ll get better, if nothing else. It’s all I can do. I have to believe there’s some greater purpose in all of this. There has to be. And even if I’m wrong, then at least I know I did the right thing in the end. I hope he’s happy. Truly. And me–I will be. Maybe not today or tomorrow or even months from now, but someday. Eventually…



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