Still got the flowers that you sent / And the note you wrote that said that we were meant / To be forever / I keep them all as evidence / In a drawer under the mirror / Filled with empty promises / I don’t know why I keep letting you lie to me / Hard as I try it seems / I can’t break away / I thought that you would be the hero / Come and save the day / But you’re a villain / Your sins unforgiven
I’m going down, and you have watched me drown / In a river of tears, lost beneath the stream / Under the waves, I’ve found the strength to say / The river of tears has washed me clean / Go ‘head and wish me well / I’ll cry a wishing well / I’ll fly before I fail / I’ll set sail and drift away / So I won’t need you here / Love sinks and hope floats / In a river of tears, a river of tears
I catch your scent in every wind / And I recall the love we had I can’t pretend / That I don’t miss you every now and then / But the hurt is for the better / Moving on, it’s now or never / Lost in the tide, I can’t keep my pillows dry / Like there’s a sea in my eyes / I realize that sometimes love brings you flowers / Then it builds you coffins / And far too often / We end up falling to our demise
Alessia Cara “River of Tears”
Oh, LOVE. It’s the damnedest thing, is it not? Why does it always have to be so hard—why does it have to be so damn complicated? So damn confusing?
I thought I knew what it meant once. I thought it was real. Now I’m not so sure. About love, about that time in my life…about any of it. Was it real? Or was I just in love with the idea of being in love? I have so many questions, but I always come up short with answers. So much time has passed that I’m starting to forget…that I’ve forgotten.
I’ve moved on. Let’s not confuse this for something that’s it’s not. That’s not what this is. This is looking back and sifting through some of the mess, with one hand letting go, and with the other trying to figure out what the future looks like from here.
Again, was it love? If you ask anyone, they’ll say it wasn’t. They’ll say he was a fraud. That I was only being used. And they could be right. It could be true. I’d like to think that it’s NOT true, but I’m not that naïve. Either way, it screwed me up. I’m screwed up now. Everything is different. Everything. I learned from it all—the whole life lessons thing and all that—but it changed me. Some for the better, some not so much.
I have trust issues. Commitment issues. Big ones. Granted, I had them to a degree before—but that mostly stemmed from inexperience and naiveté, I think. But now…now they’re worse. Much worse. It’s hard for me to let people in, to really be myself and open up and go there. With anyone really…but especially with the opposite sex. It’s not that I don’t want to or that I don’t try—there’s just this disconnect, this wall that goes up that I really have no control over. It just goes up and it’s there and I can’t do anything about it. Is it my fault? Well, partially I guess, sure. And at the same time—no. Something happened. I didn’t imagine that. I was hurt. Really hurt. I had my heart broken. I was used in some of the worst ways you can use another human being—emotionally, physically. I was tricked and misled and lied to…and we’re not talking about a couple of times here or a few days. We’re talking over the length of fifteen months. I was fooled into believing I actually meant something to another individual and against all my better judgement, I fell for that person. Hard. I fell so hard. For a lie. For a fantasy that never was and never could be. And it was all deliberate. It’d be one thing if the other person didn’t mean to, if he’d just gotten caught up in the moment and it spiraled out from there…but that’s not what happened. This person, this guy I thought I knew, this person I defended and stood up to all my friends and family for…what he did was deliberate and calculated and just plain cruel. Every phone call, every meeting, every stolen glance…it was all intentionally done. As was the betrayal and backlash when the truth came out. Every word he said, every accusation and insult, every lie he and whomever else he had do it with him spread about me—it was intentional. He wasn’t a victim. We didn’t just lock gazes in that bar or meet out of some twist of fate. It wasn’t some love story gone horribly wrong. It was a deliberate manipulation and planned attack. And I was the casualty. I was burned. Badly. And while the physical reminders of that might go away, the emotional ones are still very, very present. Even now, all these years later. Though his name is no longer a whisper on my lips, his face no longer lingers in my mind or in my dreams, and those memories—for all intents and purposes—have long been locked away and forgotten…the scars are still there.
Which is why I’m in the predicament I’m in. I’ve gotten better. Some. I’m not quite as jaded and cynical as I was. But when it comes to love, I’m still wary. I try not to be, but I can’t help it. I have this amazing guy in my life and as badly as I want to just let everything else go and just be with him…a part of me is still holding back. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because he can’t possibly be as amazing as he seems. It’s got to be a ruse. That’s how I feel. It’s not rational and it’s driving me insane, but I can’t help it. He’s asking me to jump. He’s willing to hold my hand. And I’m just standing there on the edge, like a complete and utter idiot, scared out of my mind. I want to. God, how I want to. But there’s so many what ifs running through my head. What if I jump and it doesn’t work out? What if I end up with another broken heart? I just got mine pieced back together…I can’t imagine going through that kind of pain again. Or worse—what if it works out? What if we take that leap and it all goes well for awhile…until it doesn’t. Because people leave. They just do. You see it all the time. Relationships, marriages—they don’t always work out. And growing up, I’ve watched too many “love stories” spark and then die out. People aren’t faithful, they cheat, they always want what’s on the other side of the grass, so to speak. It’s not pessimism…it’s being realistic. It’s a horrible way to live, always doubting everyone…doubting yourself. Even when you have all the facts, when you know that he’s not him—that he doesn’t have some girlfriend or wife and child stashed away somewhere—and you want so badly to believe again in fairy-tales and love and happily-ever-after…it’s still so hard. He’s not the villain in this, and neither are you…and still, you hesitate. Because you know what can happen when it doesn’t go the way you’d hoped. When you’ve put all your faith and trust in this one individual and in doing so, you’ve essentially given him everything he needs to break you down and tear your world apart, from the inside out, if he so chooses. It feels like a game. You don’t want it to—and you don’t want to look at it as that because you don’t want to be that girl that’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop or expecting the worst in people—but it’s out of your control. And that control—it’s all that you have. After everything that’s happened, after everything that he put you through and stole from you…it’s all that’s left. It’s everything. And you cling to it. And it’s hard to give that up. Even if you’re there, even if you’re ready to, even if you want to. It’s still hard to let go.
He understands. God help him, he’s practically a saint. After all this time and even the distance…he’s willing to wait. And I know that guys like him don’t come around that often. I know that I should jump at this opportunity and just let go, once and for all. But I’m scared. I’m so fucking terrified. Love hurts. Everyone says that it’s not supposed to—that it’s supposed to be this great feeling and that when it’s right—when it’s really right—it’s not supposed to hurt. It’s supposed to be the greatest feeling in the world. And maybe they’re right. I honestly don’t know. But I want to. I want to at least find out. I’ve already experienced the heartbreak and the devastation. I know what it’s like to have the world ripped right out from under you—to have that one person you gave so much of yourself to turn around and treat you as if you were, as if you are less than nothing. I know that feeling. I’ve been there. I lived and breathed that feeling for so long, slowly suffocating. I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to come up for air. I want to breathe again. To feel clean again.
Am I ready? Hell if I know. I just know that I’m tired of living in fear and in the shadows of the past, second-guessing myself and everyone around me. There are still good people in the world—good guys…I have to believe that. And I have to trust myself to know the difference. I’m not that naïve 21-year-old girl who let herself be fooled by a pair of twinkling eyes and smooth lines and empty promises. I know better now. And he’s not him. If I have to keep reminding myself of that every single day, then that’s what I’ll do, but I’ve let him in this far…maybe it’s time to take down the walls…to really take that leap of faith. I’m terrified…but I think it’s time.