After my last breakup, I had a painstaking realization about how I was interacting with people. I was not allowing the love I needed in my world.
I have always had confidence in who I was, but for some reason I accepted poor versions of love. Versions of love that were fleeting with the change of season and that were harmful to my well being. I made excuses for people who took advantage of my ability to give love without the immediate need to receive any in return. I accepted forms of relationships that tore at my empathic heart and could not truly see me for who I was. My friends around me warned me that I was receiving forms of affection that were less than what I deserved.
One day I finally believed them.
I finally came to the understanding that I needed to be in a relationship that aligned up with who I was. Being an empath helps me understand people, but it also can hinder me if I accept love that is harmful to my wellbeing.
As I came to terms with how I should be loved, I wrote the last boy, in the list of mistreated loves, a letter. A letter to remind myself that I deserve to be loved better than I have allowed myself to be loved in the past, to live in accordance with who I am at the core, and to remind myself to look for connection and understanding for the next man who comes into my world.
In writing the letter, I came to better understand what I needed and how to heal from the detriment of mistreated forms of love. After spending time with myself and wrestling with the pains of my past, I was able to heal. I was finally able to see what I truly deserved.
To the last boy,
The first moment I encountered you, you seemed different; not like the other boys I had been around. The humor that streamed from your brain seemed endless as I fed your ego through my genuine laughter. I was intrigued by your sense of care and desire to be a part of my story.
The welcoming into your world surprised me, as your friends expressed their appreciation for my existence. It was a dream. For so long I had torn through relationships that could not seem to meet me halfway, but here you were, bringing me into your world and showing up in mine. You probably had no idea how much it meant to me that you simply showed up. Being a support in an uncertain time in life filled my heart.
But something was off.
I could not configure the details of the deception I slowly walked into. The deception in part created by the follies of my own mind. Dreaming and wishing this could be something more than just a fleeting moment.
My walls crumbled as I stepped into the feeling of love. Imagination was enough to fill the great waters with stories and affection I had not seen for years. I whispered to my torn heart, “Perhaps this time could be different… Maybe the fleeting feeling of affection would stay…”
You were a dream.
You were a dream as I set out into the night sky to meet your eyes. Your skin radiating as the moon trickled its way across your gaze. As time passed, you looked at me in such a way that made my heart skip across the water for fear of your intimacy.
I shied away, but you stepped closer. Welcoming me to your version of love. But it was not the same as mine.
As nights passed, I avoided your intimacy, for not fear of you, but fear of your idea of love as I soon realized it differed from mine. You saw love as a present moment, but nothing beyond. Love was a whisper of a soft summer season, but never could outlast the winter.
As the frost came, your affection cooled down. The daze of summer was over for you, as you recognized what life could be without a love you could not even see. Disappointment clouded my thinking as your true colors bled to black and white.
As the season changed, I could see how poorly I was loved by your sea of capped affection. Your love was a lake, stagnant, never flowing; visited by seasons of your own creation. While my love is a river; flowing and moving, changing and growing.
My love is not capped, stagnant, or isolated. It is ever present and ever changing. It is me. Only now do I truly understand how you could not see who I am meant to be. You choose to live in a world where love could never be more than just a moment.
Love is beyond a moment, love is deep. It seeps into beings like a vine that can grow ever bearing flowers or sharp thorns. It can twist into a heart causing it to breathe life, or be tangled in writhing pain.
Love is not a moment. Love is me. It is a beautiful river of flowing affection for the world that encapsulates every sense in my understanding of existence. It flows with the rhythm of life and asks beyond what normality settles for.
No, you could never see me.
I am exactly who I want to be. As hard as it was for me to realize you could not understand me, I know our paths are not meant to cross again. For I will be forever moving with the pulse of humanity in depths of love. Never stagnant, never still.
I am wildfire. Watch me burn with passion and blaze with ambition. Watch me love the world so great that it won’t consume me, but will grow with me. Watch me walk away and be okay because I know I deserve to be loved better. Cherished better. Cared for better.
I know I deserve a greater affection. One that moves with calm patience towards the horizon of love. A love that breathes beyond the sweet summer breeze. One that will see the depth in the change of seasons and love like the flowing river.
You were a dream. But I woke up.
The woman who finally knows what she deserves.
I look back on the letter to continually remind myself that I deserve a love that is ever flowing and life giving. In reminding myself, it allows space in my life, my heart, and my world to welcome a man that will love me for all that I am. One who sees love as a flowing river, who will curve between the mountains of life with me and see every day as another day to love just a little bit better.
It just took one last boy, and one letter, to help me truly come to understand what I deserve. In writing, I was able to find healing and finally allow space for the right man to walk into my world. And sure enough, he did just a few weeks later.
When we let go of what we do not deserve, we finally allow space for the right something to come along.
When we finally open our eyes to what we truly deserve in accordance with our well being, it opens wondrous opportunities to live a fulfilling life of love.
Love like a flowing river.
Author: Bethany Widdicombe
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Daria Nepriakhina/Unsplash