We were a couple. We ended it.
I don’t want your friendship.
I don’t want your companionship.
I don’t want your too-little-too-late honesty.
I want something entirely different. That is my burden to bear.
Whatever you feel you’re missing, I can’t help you. I either give my all, or I give nothing.
You don’t call up Bill Gates to ask for pocket money. So don’t call me up just because you want to “hear my voice”.
* * *
I am spending more of my waking hours not thinking of you.
This gives me the time and inspiration to consider my own wishes, dreams and impulses. I wasn’t aware that I was de-prioritizing them for your own.
I was engulfed by the you-ness of you. Your beliefs, words, habits, foods, spices, clothes, even your facial expressions.
Now that I have the physical and mental space to make my own decisions, I see how quick I was to absorb the way you did things.
For Us. A word you encouraged me to use.
For Interdependence. A type of relationship you said you couldn’t do without.
Funny how as soon as I accepted this idyllic unity, you checked out of it.
* * *
I left myself behind and followed you.
I became obsessed with generosity and precision, because you were. So much so, that I have never experienced so much guilt in my life.
Guilt for the smallest things — like not making a meal in the way that you would make it. Like “the finest chefs in the world” do.
Or like not saving the world in a pandemic when I am recovering from both a head injury and a depression.
My admiration for you rose so high that I eagerly copy-pasted the standards to which you held yourself.
Nothing wrong with that. But when you throw in a history of never being good enough to receive love and appreciation, it goes down the self-sabotage route pretty quickly.
* * *
The never good enough mind turns on itself.
I convinced myself that I had to remain your friend, no matter what. As if it came with the break clause of our relationship contract.
I rationalized it.
‘Look how much he has done for me, out of the goodness of his heart. Out of friendship. For me. Silly old me.‘
‘Of course, I must repay his gesture, even when my heart breaks.’
‘Of course, I must continue as if nothing happened between us, especially since I was the one to bring this relationship drama into our blissful camaraderie.’
It doesn’t take a suffragette to see that I have become the stereotype of the enamored woman who would gladly sacrifice her own individuality to please and support the man she loves.
And yet, I embodied this stereotype less than perfectly. For, if I had reached your required standard, we would not be where we are. Done.
If only I’d been less sarcastic. Less honest about my feelings. Less injured, physically and emotionally.
If only I didn’t mind the fact that you were unapologetically obsessed with someone else.
* * *
The guilt of not pleasing you is only superseded by the longing to feel human again.
The confession I made to you in front of 100 people is still valid.
It’s harder not to speak to you than it is to fast for a day.
It’s only human. I loved you.
And, at our happiest, you loved the version of me that you liked most.
I’m not going to wait around for someone who doesn’t love and cherish me as I change as a human. Neither as lover, nor as friend.
Life’s too short.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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