Eight years. Eight years and I'm only now learning how to trust again, myself and others. Long enough, huh? Long enough to see how twisted the truth became. Long enough to see that what he did was wrong. Yet I was blind. There was a time I would have killed to do anything for him, to get him back, and I did. Oh boy, was I manipulated into bending myself over backwards...
I have come to learn that when a person wants you, they want you, and they will do what it takes to have you and keep you, not throw you away at the very next chance. I have come to learn that 'you look ridiculous doing that, why are you so awkward/weird?' does NOT mean 'I care for you and I'm just trying to help you out'. It doesn't help me out, it just makes me feel unsure of myself. If he was always so ashamed of me, if he always thought so low of me, then I don't see how he could want to be with me. How he could ever say 'I love you'.
No, I don't think he thought so low of me. I think he, on some level, wanted me to think low of myself, because I believe he doesn't know any other way to make someone stay. There's a pattern I cannot ignore. I like you is followed by I love you, then I want to be with you forever, then you're not good enough, then I leave you, then I can't stop thinking about you, then no one compares to you, then I like you, then I love you... (never mind that at some points he was with someone else). I guess he couldn't stop giving me false hope, could he? He couldn't stop lying, cheating, calling me names, having me as the bullet in the locker, in case all else fails, and in between all that, some sweets to keep me wanting more. And that hooks you, trust me, it does. It makes you fall for him in a Stockholm Syndrome-ish fashion.
It took seeing him do all the things he did to me to someone else, to realize that that's his game he's playing.
So he's done good things. Yes, he has. All the good times, all the things he did for me, all the moments when he made me feel good, those are stored and treasured, but truth is, they're tainted. Tainted with the knowledge that it was the rose in between the thorns, designed to make you stay by taunting you with its beauty, telling you that maybe this time he really cares, he really wants you there. But it's never so. The thorns tear you into shreds before you can reach the rose and keep it. And it has profoundly altered me. Like some PTSD sufferer, I still feel myself waiting for the other shoe to drop when anything seems ok, like nothing good can ever last long. And that, my dear, is the result of years of learning that that's just how things work.
Because everything I did was wrong. From the music I listened to, to the friends I had, to the way I interacted with people. I was tried and I was found lacking, in every aspect and every sense. And now I look to myself and I still have trouble trusting my instincts, trusting myself, my choices, the things I like. Like I need his stamp of approval on anything before I give it a shot.
But all in all, everything said and done, I have finally severed all ties, and I'm brave enough to speak up, to scream that I'm still here, stronger than ever, scarred but alive and free. He wanted reasons? There are the reasons. He was toxic, he hurt me so deeply I don't know if some wounds will ever heal, he made me feel worthless and used, pushed me away but never dropped the leash, like I was some kicked puppy. I regret the day I made the leash tougher to break by asking for something that took me too long to return so I could pay my debts and leave (and I know he's going to throw it in my face for as long as we both live). Yet, as I said, all ties are severed now, I owe nothing so I can now fly away and lick my wounds elsewhere, with two kindred souls by my side that I trust will hold up my wings when I don't have the strength anymore.
And enjoy the dragon scales I've grown, so pretty and blue-green and shimmery and unbreakable.