Unlearning Bad Habits

It’s amazing what rubs off on you when you interact with people. I never really noticed how dating a certain person could change how you view the world—and yourself.  I never thought that dating you would change me. Arrogantly, I thought it would be me making changes to you. I saw improvements around every corner. First, a job; then, the way you dressed. I would polish you up until you shone as brightly in real life as you did in my imagination. I would pull the brilliance I saw in your eyes up, up out from your spirit and help it flow eagerly and fluently from your mouth. Finally, everyone would hear the intelligence that was brimming right under the surface.

But, the job never really came. You were more comfortable in your sweats than a suit. You refused to be as smart as I knew you really were. The diamond was content being coal. So, instead of you, I changed.

I learned to make excuses. I learned to make concessions. I learned to be deaf, to be blind. I learned to swallow my disappointments and hurts; to push them down, down until they only showed themselves when everyone else was asleep. I learned how to lie to myself and to others. And I lied well; of course I’m happy, of course we love each other; this is the one.

I made justifications. You never hit me, so I shouldn’t feel abused. You always heard me, so I should never feel un-listened to. You were always touching me, so I shouldn’t feel unloved. I made so many allowances that I had convinced myself that I was your number one, your first and only priority.

I never realized how complicit I was in my own heartbreak.

Truth is, I probably never loved you. Not in your original form, anyway. I loved what I saw you could be. I romanticized you, us. I pushed so hard for you to be what I thought you should be—and failed so miserably—that I began to change me to fit you.

I became everything that I despise in a weak woman. I was weak-willed. I was needy. I was lazy. I became complacent in being mediocre. I let dreams and dream jobs pass me by. So, this is an apology of sorts; not just to you, but to me too. I let myself down. By focusing on you and my quest of changing you, I became something decidedly not me.

And, in the end, I did us both a disservice. I can’t make you into something you are not and I should have never changed who I was to fit who you were comfortable being. So, I apologize. Change and growth must come from within; one cannot force a plant to flower simply by chanting “grow, grow”. Change is work; hard, long work. Your journey and your growth is your responsibility, and mine is mine. I wish you the best wherever life takes you.

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