This was a request that came along with one of my, “Your story from 10 words” submissions. I didn’t have words to work with but a theme and a basic sketch of what was needed. I hope this is what you were looking for and my heart goes out to anonymous. Many of us have been here:
Sitting in a place so full of ghosts how can one not be afraid? You try to find a quiet place to sort out your thoughts and you are chased by a never ending noise. Is it pain? Is it fear? Is it self doubt? You can call it what you want but its haunting. It’s unrelenting. And it never stops talking. It won’t, for one damn second, just shut up and let you think. Now it’s back again and I am digging my fingers into my skull, too tired to cry, too full of thoughts to sleep, and too confused to know how to fight it off. Why is this happening to me.
“Why isn’t the question you should be asking yourself. Why doesn’t matter. Focusing on that question is what is holding you back.”
The voice. The demon I am forced to fight.
“I am not here to hurt you. You have to stop fighting me and listen.”
I can’t do this. I can’t turn it off. Fear and pain are all I have left to defend myself. They are the shield keeping all the feelings I don’t want to feel out. If I drop them, I’ll die. I know it.
“You won’t die. This isn’t the end. Please, just for a moment, stop and listen.”
I can’t listen, I won’t listen. These ghosts are going to be the end of me. I feel so alone, so trapped in this confusion. There has to be a way out. I did everything right. Was it me? Is there something wrong with me? If I think about it long enough I will find the reason. If I take all the little pieces of my shattered heart and line them up it will make sense. I will know why this happened.
“What happened wasn’t about you. Selfish decisions are just that, about the self. You didn’t make the decision so how could it have been about you?”
Because it happened to me. It hurt me. It’s killing me. That’s why it’s about me. That’s why I have to find a way to fix me. I have to change whatever is wrong and then it will be right. Then I can fill this hole, this gaping chasm I feel inside of me.
“Torturing yourself will never fill that hole. Self hate cannot counter unfeeling vanity. The only thing that is going to fix it is to open your eyes and see.”
There is nothing to see but this. There is no world but this growing cancer. Everything was right and good and now it’s all spinning. I want it to stop. I want to understand.
“If you want it to stop, you have to stop it. This is your life to control, so do it. Have you still not figured out who I am?”
You’re a damn voice in my head, one of the thousands that won’t just let me be. You are a demon. It’s your fault this happened. You must be that broken part of me that caused this. You brought me here.
“No. That isn’t true and you know it. You know who I am.”
Hate. Hurt. Fear. Regret. Frailty. Insecurity. Sorrow. Tears. You are all the feelings I can’t stop feeling.
“No. I’m not. I’m you. I’m all the best parts of you and I can’t stand what you are doing to yourself anymore.”
No, no, no, no, no, no.
“Please stop. I love you so much. I don’t want you to hurt anymore. I want to help you but you have to let me.”
I can’t listen to you. I won’t. You are a liar. You are a deceiver. Satan, be gone!
“No. I will not leave you. I will never leave you. I will be with you, rain or shine, sorrow or joy. I am the one thing that can never, ever turn its back on you.”
Where were you then? Where were you when this all fell apart? Why didn’t you warn me? Why didn’t you save me?
“No on is capable of that. The future is made of emotion and it fluctuates like the tides. Somedays the swells are up and somedays they are down. It’s anyones guess what tomorrow will bring. That is what makes love so wonderful. It’s unpredictable. If it were safe it would not feel half as good. It’s like jumping from an airplane or riding a rollercoaster. The thrill is in the danger of it. The hope that we all hold on to is that the person we have placed our faith in will never let us down. The challenge you now face is what to do when that person does let you down? How do you pick up and move on? How do you let it go?
I can’t. It’s impossible. It’s too hard. it hurts too much.
“Of course it hurts. No one is telling you it shouldn’t hurt. But let me tell you something, something I think you haven’t realised. Do you know what you are doing every time you let yourself fall apart like this? You are giving him one more moment of your life that you can never have back. You gave him so much, none of which he deserved, and now you’re letting him take more of it for free. Every tear. Every moment of pain and sorrow. All of it is a gift to a man who wasn’t worth the world you’ve already sacrificed. It’s time to stop letting him have you. It’s time to decide that this is your life and he can’t have it anymore.”
My breathing steadied and I’ve unclenched my fingers. I can feel it. The weight that I’ve been shouldering for far too long feels like it’s getting lighter.
“Here’s the secret. I’m not supposed to tell you this, but I love you too much to hide it from you any longer. You have to stop being you and start becoming me: the you before he came along. You have to remember who you are outside of the context of this relationship. There was a day you were different. Do you remember?
“We all change as time goes on. New jobs, new cities, new relationships, new homes, everything we experience changes us even if we don’t’ want it to. Stubborn people who can’t see past their pride will say they are the same person everywhere they go and in everything they do, but this is a lie. We are all chameleons. We change colours and adapt. It’s how you protect yourself from the predator known as life. So you changed when he came along. The way to move past it is to change again. Become stronger, become smarter, raise your head up and look forward.”
I am. I will. I can see it now. I can feel it now. This wasn’t about me. This had nothing to do with me. It was done to me but it wasn’t because of me. It was about him. Only him.
“Life is a priceless gift. Whatever you may believe about the road beyond this world, you have only this one chance to be you. Every single moment is precious, so don’t waste a single one. I promise there will come a day that you will be past this and look back, cursing all the time you wasted twisted up over a man and a moment that is so trivial in the grand scheme.”
It comes down to a question; lay down and die or stand up and walk. Live or die. Surrender or fight. The seconds are ticking away, seconds I can’t have back. It’s time to face the ghosts. It’s time to face myself… it’s time to forgive myself. This is my life and I am going to own it. Every moment of it, I am going to own it. Thank you. Thank you for not giving up on me.
“You are never alone. How ever abandoned and isolated you may feel, I will always be here. I am always with you. You are stronger than you know, now stand up. It’s time to leave this place.”
Yes. It’s time. I am finished here.