She rummages through the emails and letters that once dictated the voice of her heart.
She re-experiences the fallen tears of the past—not because it hurts—because the nostalgia’s potency causes a reflexive physiological response: like muscle memory, the tear ducts flood. Next comes confusion and nausea—who is this woman who impulsively splattered her tender heart on these pages?
She takes a deep breath, feeling into the insecurity that once ran her life, feeling into the wound of her past and how it drove her actions and created her reality.
She held on for so long to something that wasn’t meant to be hers because she was terrified to let it go.
She thinks about how so many reside in this fear and lie to themselves over and over again. The thought makes her heart ache even more.
Her relationship with him was over long before it actually ended and yet she refused to face it….
She reads through more of her despairing sentiments and insistent pleas and cringes at the weakness that is present in between the lines of desperation.
She focused her education on psychology, deeply immersing herself in the study of human development, as she was committed to understanding the ebbs and flows of one’s psyche—and yet she couldn’t understand her own. She could always talk the talk, but walking the walk required a strength that she didn’t possess.
The nausea becomes more intense and she comforts herself recognizing that she didn’t know any better back then—even with years of higher education and a theoretical background, she wasn’t ready to embody it—she was still a girl who didn’t have the confidence, the maturity or the sense of self to recognize the truth beyond all the fear.
She thinks of him as she closes her eyes and wishes that she could say these things to him now:
I am sorry for not hearing you, for not listening to you, for not receiving your truth that you so gently tried to make me see so many times.
I’m sorry for not being strong enough to be with the reality, for ignoring what wanted to be communicated, for attempting to manipulate you into staying with me for as long as possible.
I kept you close because I was afraid to let you go, because I was afraid to give you up, because I was afraid for it to end, because I was afraid to be without you.
And yet that fear could never maintain the purity of our love, could never fuel our true connection, could never sustain us…
I’m sorry I wasn’t conscious enough to have this conversation with you back then. I wish I could have it with you right now.
She thinks about all of those who come together in relationships and remain in them because of fear, because the unknown brings even more discomfort so they would rather lie to themselves, and each other, than confront it.
She doesn’t want that, and she knows he doesn’t either…they never did. And yet they endured a partnership that had expired because of this fear.
He stayed with her out of fear, never wanting to cause her pain.
She ignored reality out of fear, never wanting to lose him.
She feels grateful that they finally broke through this and parted ways—even though her heart has never been the same.
Rereading her letters to him allows her to see the truth, and realize the pattern she lived out for so long.
It’s a collective pattern among so many, and one that she is committed to reframing and healing in this lifetime; a pattern that has women and men making decisions rooted in fear, rather than love.
She takes a deep breath as the truths begin to surface—she pictures herself looking into his eyes and speaking these truths to him now:
It was never your job to make me feel safe.
It was never your job to make me feel seen.
It was never your job to make me feel loved
It was never your job to make me feel whole.
She takes another breath and closes her eyes, realizing the last and final truth:
That the love was never conditional—it was always meant to transcend space and time.
She closes her computer and drifts off to sleep with the newfound knowing that she will never lie to a man nor herself ever again, because she is no longer afraid.
Author: Jessica Winterstern
Editor: Renee Jahnke
Image: Courtesy of photographer Laurent Levy