Thank You For Teaching Me What I Never Could Have Learned If You Stayed


Some days, when the weather is a little dreary on my mind and heart, my thoughts trickle back to those who never truly knew me.

The ones who left before saying hello to all parts of me beneath the fabric of my skin, my aching but fervently beating heart.

My thoughts fester on the wounds left by the scavengers, the ones a little dead inside as well. Or perhaps I allowed myself to be scavenged, believing that what was left of me was worth being picked over by those who couldn’t bear to witness my forthcoming rebirth.

To their credit, they didn’t know that I would be reborn. Perhaps I didn’t either.

I hold onto the names and faces, not because I want to, but because, after all this time, I still want to make sense of the why.

How could they leave without saying a word to acknowledge me or my pain? I was a human in pain, too.

When I left that letter in his mailbox only to be met with more silence as a response, it broke me again.

I suppose I am still not fully healed from the abandoned feeling in my heart.

Perhaps they thought silence was the kindest exit strategy. But the only favor done was showing me in the most heart-crushing way possible how little self-worth I had kept for myself.

Cue the daddy abandonment issues.

My father was present physically but distant and buried in his work. I don’t blame him. I forgive him, in fact. I know he was imperfect, doing the best he could to take care of his family.

It is just a wound after all, and it isn’t his job to heal it. It’s mine.

My self-worth has always been a little fragile and precarious. It’s like a newly sprouted plant these days, hovering new growth just above the surface after many years of death and winter underneath the soil.

Perhaps I have had to see in the flesh the ghosts of my own self-patterning so I could lay to rest this wounding. Maybe these ghosts granted me an unacknowledged gift of solitary confinement without distraction or attachment to external love.

I suppose some day, maybe today, I can thank them for showing me all the parts of myself that I couldn’t love back then. I can thank them for showing me how much pain I was already in by reflecting a similar pain outside of me.

These were the cruelest lessons in a lifetime of already painful lessons. These were the ghosts I will probably never forget.

But these days, I am more willing to resign the victim in myself. I have been becoming the heroine of my own damn story. It’s the kind of story I never thought I would write, none I found in the fairytales I adored as a young girl.

No Prince Charming was coming to save me. I was coming to save me, and had been saving myself all this time.

This was the truth and the lesson of all the times I falsely believed it to be in the hands of another to love me, as I couldn’t bear to love myself.

In this multiverse, we are all lessons waiting to collide.

Sometimes they’re painful lessons. Catastrophic. Disastrous. Heart-wrenching, like guts hanging out of exposed skin.

Other times, they’re heart sealing lessons. Time mending wounds. Healing balm.

Today I reflect on the ghosts of the former selves, mine and others, with more expanded awareness and understanding of the why.

We hurt so we can heal. We heal so we can remember. We break so we can mend.

We always were the ones we needed to be to get to where we are now. In that, we can choose to reclaim our whole selves, not half selves waiting for another broken half to complete us.

I kept meeting broken people because I believed myself to be broken beyond repair. I believed myself to be incapable of fully loving and being loved, as much as I yearned for it.

To the ones who could never love me in the ways I am learning now, I honor you for your lessons. Our paths crossed to show me myself: a woman who kept abandoning herself. You showed me the courage it took to start tending to her own garden of love.

Thank you for teaching me what I never could have learned if you stayed.

Thank you for showing me my brokenness so I could find my wholeness. After years spent searching for it in another person, I am choosing to see it in me.

And maybe someday I won’t meet another ghost. I’ll meet a whole person, like me, who started stitching their own heart back together. I’ll meet a person who also has sought the road less traveled.

When this familiar victimized pattern resurfaces on days like today, I choose to expand my awareness and remember that the pattern is not the whole truth of me.

I choose to not ghost myself any longer.

And in that, perhaps these ghosts will stop haunting me and I will remember my freedom and choice to love wholly again.

Ghosts and all, I am whole. I can now relinquish the ghosts who will never know me, because I am knowing me, and in that I am healing me too.