What You Learn When You Lose Yourself In Another Person


Trigger warning

I lost myself in a person once. Everyone says that though, right? Every girl talks about this crazy love that they had and they were so completely “lost” in this blissful state of happiness, it was amazing and it felt “so right” but it was short, like a flickering flame, and they learned from it. I truly lost myself in you, though.

I forgot that I loved to read, and I forgot what it felt like to look in the mirror and like what I see. I forgot that I was intelligent, and that I had important things to say that people wanted to listen to. I forgot how hard I have worked to become who I am. I forgot how accepting I was of other people and their differences. I forgot that sometimes I prefer to stay in on a Friday night and watch multiple episodes of reality TV.

I forgot how to love myself unless I heard it coming from your lips. I loved you so much that it hurt; it actually physically caused me pain. Sometimes it hurt because I just couldn’t even express how overcome with emotion I was. Mostly it hurt when you were throwing things at me: words that cut so deep, almost as deep as the beer bottles that smashed at my ankles the nights when you were angry.

You’ll never believe it until it happens to you. You will never believe that you can be that person in an abusive and draining relationship. You truly do not understand people when they are looking at you with this face of disbelief. I made up more excuses for you than I ever did myself, and I believed every single one of them. People looked at me like they were so confused. “What happened to you?” I could see it in their eyes, and I just thought they were jealous. I thought that they could not possibly understand our love, our “overcome-all-odds-nobody-matters-but-you-and-I-together-no-matter-what” love.

That is not love. Love is not picking you up from the couch when your eyes are rolling back into your head, only for you to throw me on the floor. Love is not forgiving you for the lies you told over and over again. Love is not cringing every time you took another sip of your drink because I never knew if I would end the night with Jekyll or Hyde. Love is not feeling guilty about the things that I enjoy just because you don’t agree with them. Love is not being scared that at any given second the floor could fall through and everything could burst into flames. Love is not being tangled, and we were so tangled.

There’s a strange comfort in feeling needed. It’s dark, really; when someone bares their soul to you and expresses that their existence essentially depends upon you being solid. I was so scared to falter, because that meant you would fall. Anything bad that happened to you would be my fault and I couldn’t bear that burden. It was comfortable inside this shell we created for each other, this shell that we cut everyone else out of. But someone who loves you doesn’t take you away from the things you love.

I used to think that it was beautiful the way you took me out of my comfort zone. I thought you were pushing me to do things I could not have done without you. Really, you were just pushing me into situations I didn’t want to be in. You were testing me, testing me every day, to see if I was good enough, if I loved you enough, if I was worthy, if I would do anything for you. However, sometimes you can give a person everything and it still doesn’t fill the hole they have inside them.

So now each day is spent reversing the damage. There is a real strangeness in a healthy relationship. When your significant other can pick up their phone, or watch you pick up your phone, and no one is suspicious, speculating, angry or violent. It’s unbelievably refreshing to know that your plans aren’t going to fall through all the time, to know that when they say they’re going to be somewhere they will. It seemed like I would always feel paranoid by an unanswered phone call. Sometimes it still surprises me when I realize that I believe the statement “he’s just busy right now,” because it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of regression, and it’s not always easy. Still, it is such a wonderful thing to experience new and exciting and nerve-wracking things with someone; not because you’re afraid they’ll leave you if you don’t, but because you know they’ll have your back either way.

featured image – Sal Taylor Kydd