I was scared. I was terrified.
Leaving you was unquestionably a step I should’ve taken, but actually doing it was at the bottom of my list.
Looking back, I understand why I never had the courage to leave: I was scared of being left with nothing.
Nothing. I still recall how much of a threat this word was to me. I’d shiver when I thought about the emptiness my life would become without your presence. And although your presence was painful, I wanted it to linger as it filled empty spaces within me—spaces I never had the courage to face or to fill up on my own.
But courage comes to us when we least expect it. Or maybe, just maybe, only when we’ve had enough of pain, do we opt for change. And so, I left you.
I believe life is all about moments and it comes down to “when” we take them. However, we need to be aware enough to match our intuition with these moments in order to do something we never thought we would.
That moment, that utterly ineffable, magical moment, I finally had the courage to pick up the pieces, turn my back and explore the “nothing” that terrified me.
To my surprise, I wasn’t left with nothing. I actually found something that outweighs any relationship, no matter how beautiful it is.
When I left you, I found me.
It was like meeting an old friend. And I stopped feeling as if I lost you.
I couldn’t lose you, because you were never mine to begin with. The only one I lost was me and I wouldn’t have figured it out if I hadn’t gathered my strength to leave.
Finding me helped me see what love is and what love is not:
True love means not losing yourself in the first place.
True love is one that brings you home. One that lets you find more of yourself, day by day.
True love allows you to become yourself.
There comes a time when there’s no sense of separation, nor a sense of loss. Just two people together, becoming love and acknowledging that each is complete without the other.
By leaving you, I could finally focus on my life and aspirations again. I noticed how much effort and energy I had poured into what I thought we had—and that was wrong. Love shouldn’t leave you exhausted at the end of the day.
Love is not a 9-to-5 job. It’s not a fighting ring.
Love should be a ship that carries you on calm waters, not an immense forest you lose yourself in.
Now that I’m aware of this, I’ve become more cautious. You taught me that emotions don’t matter, passion doesn’t matter and astounding sex doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s being served and what’s not, what’s being won and lost.
And if nothing is being served and what’s being lost is your self, then it’s most certainly not love being experienced. It’s only a false sense of clinging and addiction. It’s the reason why we don’t notice when we have gone missing.
I’m glad I finally recognized this.
I’m glad I left you.
I’m glad I found myself.
Now I sleep with a smile on my face, as my own ally. I know a friend is with me.
I am with me. At last.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Adrian V. Floyd/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron; Katarina Tavčar