I’m done with you.
I don’t say this in anger. It’s just that, when I walked away from that piece of our lives today and left you and drove away, I was done being a martyr. If the handing over of the keys was supposed to be my fire, then I walked in willingly and came away with sainthood. I’m no longer emotionally beholden to you. I am my own. And now, thanks to you, I am free.
When I met you, I was young and independent and fierce. I was planning to move to California in search of a new beginning and sun and the beach and a more open-minded community. But then I met you, and you convinced me to stay. Everything in me revolted against this idea. But there was something about you that made it seem worth it.
Do you remember that it was you who said “I love you” first? After just one month of seeing each other, we were sitting on my bed in my room at my parents’ house, and you said I was the first woman you’d ever felt this way about. You made me feel special enough to counteract the fact that I didn’t feel ready to say it back, even though I did so you wouldn’t feel awkward. Then you made love to me. I stuck around.
Do you remember I searched you out, how I climbed your city’s walls? I moved to Chicago for you, after all. I was scared when I moved out of the suburbs. You and Rose were the only people I knew here. And now, leaving, you and Rose are still the only people I know but don’t want to know, because you kept me locked inside this cage for the whole nineteen months I lived here and we all became monsters together.
If I am angry with anyone, it’s with myself, because I tossed my identity out the window when I became your girlfriend. I lost sight of my passions and values and goals, and I turned into someone I didn’t like. I poured all my energy into creating a little bubble with room for only us. We climbed in, decided we liked it, then we sewed ourselves inside. There wasn’t room in there to be individuals.
So now I’m finding myself. It’s quite easy now that you’re not around. After just 2 months of disciplined writing every day, I’m getting my fire back. I even started a blog. Next, I’m going to try painting again. Maybe singing. And perhaps, to impress the ladies, I’ll even pick up a fucking guitar. It’s funny: the possibilities are endless when you’re not here limiting me. I am recovering the me that was lost and reinventing her potential. I promise that I will never let you or anyone else steal my identity again. You see, I’m going to love myself more than you ever thought you loved me.
I wish you all the best. I know I dragged you out of your parents’ home at the tender young age of 30, that I was the first and only girl you ever moved out for, and how happy you are to go running back to them. It’s not weird at all. I hope your dates understand that you need to live there because your mom irons your shirts and cooks for you. And get ready for a lot more awkward sex in the back of your car and your brothers asking what the hell that stain is on the seat!
I don’t regret the fun times we spent together. I’ll miss cooking and setting off all the fire alarms in our building while trying to grill steak on the stovetop. I’ll miss watching Downton Abbey and drinking gin. I’ll miss decorating our apartment for Christmas. And wine tasting. But those are things I can do with my friends, or my future roommates. (Don’t worry, you’ll be invited. You can bring your new girlfriend and I’ll introduce you to mine.)
The life I’m going to build for myself and am building at this very moment is going to be, for the first time ever, mine. It isn’t going to be a counterfeit happiness that’s just handed to me because 2 people can more easily afford a gorgeous apartment and a bunch of nice furniture. I’m going to struggle to get by on my own. I’m going to scrape together my time and effort and art and build a life marked with deliberate choices, because life is too short to coast. And I’m going to appreciate it 100 times more than anything we built together.
You see, I can’t be a victim if I don’t see my situation as life screwing me over. No. You set me free from the cage that was us. Already I am regaining my confidence. And I can’t wait to meet, become friends with, and date other strong women. It’s not like I expect it to be easier, dating women. But I do expect it to be more real, because from here on I’m going to love myself before I love anyone else.
Finally, thank you also for introducing me to Tegan and Sara. I have to give you credit for bringing their awesomeness into my life. It’s been a long time since music resonated so deeply with my heart. I hope I didn’t ruin them for you.
The night sky is changing overhead for me…and it’s going to be a beautiful sunrise.