“Not everything is about you,” I used to say to her, indignant at her unfailing ability to make the world revolve around her as the center. And who knew it then, that in the midst of my self-preservative defense, I spoke the truth.
Desire, you know, is a funny thing. You think it is all about the object of your obsession but it isn’t. It’s really just about you. It’s a state of mind; I would go so far as to say it is a state of being. It’s nearly trance-like. It’s hypnotic. You are both hypnotist and hypnotized. And the most curious part of it all is, you don’t remember when or how you even got here. Or why you let yourself fall down this rabbit-hole. Or why you don’t seem to be able to make your way back up.
My theory is that we get used to a certain kind of despair. What initially hurts and guts us open like fish becomes the sort of pain that we start using as a drug. It is a crutch, even though it is thorny and painful. It is a habit even though, like most habits, it leads to our erosion and downfall. Sadness becomes our crack cocaine. Our amphetamine. Our Valium. And that is the irony as well; that what hurts us is what we cannot seem to live without anymore.
Attach the same principle to a one-sided, emotionally cannibalistic relationship and you get the same results. You feel used but by whom? Yourself. You feel let down and neglected but by whom? Again, you. You feel punished and wretched, but who is the punisher? You. It isn’t about the other person, remember? You are both the subject and object of your misery.
This has been my eye-opener. It’s what kept me up until 3 a.m. last night. I wondered what I would see if I shed my romantic notions of unrequited love and tried to perceive things are they were; as opposed to the way I was. And the truth is always melodramatic, silent, and earth-shattering.
Imagine the release and relief of knowing that someone else is no longer the commander of your inner fleet. Imagine the unburdening. You can put down your baggage and leave it there. You don’t need it anymore. You don’t need anyone to continue making you feel like you’re worthless, because you finally understand it was never them at all. It was you. And your age-old need to reinforce the same pattern of rejection, cruelty, and neglect, without which you annihilate and negate your own existence.
It is exhausting to even write about it. I am thinking of a fisherman with a change of heart. Taking his catch back to sea, he throws the net back into the dark water and untangles the ropes. Half dead, half alive, the catch struggles to unlearn the human ways of breathing and takes huge gulps of saltwater. The sea gurgles and bubbles at the remittance of the life it nearly lost. What I am saying is, go. You’re free of me. Go where you belong. Because the cliche is the truth: it’s not you, honey, it’s me.
Sitting with the truth is a humbling act. It’s just you and this formless, shapeless entity of lightness. It hovers near you. It lets you get used to its presence. It means no harm, it says wordlessly. It isn’t going to hurt anymore. You can get up and leave whenever you’re ready to go out there and make a life with it. It’s coming with you. It’s going to fill in all the spaces that are voids. It’s going to stay and patch the wounds until it hurts less. The truth is your rehabilitation. It’s your redemption. It’s here to let you let go of everything that feeds the lie. It’s here to set you free. It’s true.