I've always felt trapped in relationships. The imagery of a bird captured in a cage, yearning to be free sums up how I feel towards the end of a relationship. The cage gets smaller and smaller, and my mind screams louder and louder so that there is no other possible choice besides breaking out/up. Once I'm free, I feel like I'm able to breathe and well, be myself.
I also cry my fucking eyes out, fully and completely, letting sorrow just overtake me. I grieve for the potential that won't manifest, for change in the future, and for the warmth and love that will become a memory.
Then, I'm okay.
I get to return to directing that love towards myself.
There's a part of me that loves fully and deeply with every relationship. I've never cared for a Mr. Right Now, companionship, or empty sex. If you're in my life, I want to bond with you (platonic or romantic). I want to know what you're about, your past, your dreams, and your mind. Show me your fucking soul (I know, its kind of intense).
But somewhere in my life, I learned that loving another meant sacrificing the love for myself, for him. I might even argue that I didn't even know how to direct love towards myself. I was looking for someone to fill this void within myself. I wanted someone to love my body with its curves, tell me my sadness was okay, be there for me when things weren't okay, and accept me.
And how many times was I willing to not pay attention to my intuition, to ignore the signs that someone was not ready to engage in the intimacy and vulnerability required in a relationship, to rationalize when they would conceal the truth (aka lie) or be plain selfish, to be miserable hoping that this person, this relationship would fulfill me?
TOO MANY DAMN TIMES.
But I don't blame them. It was really up to me to draw the boundaries or walk away, but speaking up and saying what's okay and not okay was not something I practiced enough in my life. Shit, I can remember having to work the nerve to say 'No' to someone in 5th grade. I remember, in head-start, having this classmate bite me. He bit my arms and body all over and I was black and blue because I didn't know how to say no. What I was accustomed to practicing was giving into someone else's needs and trying to understand things from the other person's perspective. I would fill in the gaps and tell stories to see why they did what they did and I believed it was my job to accept it. I'd cry and sometimes I'd yell and scream. There were times when I'd be ashamed of how much anger there was. I was emotionally charged, but what was I fighting for?
It was so simple, I should have just said good-bye.
I'm starting to see what love really might be and it starts within myself. The person I was looking to accept, protect, love, touch, support me is me. I still have that knack of seeing someone else's perspective of a situation, but I'm learning to value my own perspective even more. And just because I can understand and care about another person, it doesn't mean I have to support them, encourage them, or even be in each other's life.
Love yourself and someone else enough to walk away when something isn't meant for you anymore.
Because love is freedom. You grant the other person the freedom to honor your boundaries, to respect you, to be considerate, and to love. In return, you have the freedom to leave when they've shown they can't that.
Don't ever cage yourself into hopes and wishes. You're worth the freedom.