I should have taken our separation to heart and moved on, but I kept on secretly claiming you.
Years have elapsed and my soul became weary from what was us. Letting you go was no longer an option—it became a necessity.
I wanted something—anything—to persuade me to stop claiming you. Hopelessly, I looked for answers in people’s faces, in nature, and in books. When I least expected it, I stumbled upon a passage that both floored me and woke me up.
“What can we actually take hold of, anyway? Nothing. Not our possessions, our thoughts, our feelings, our memories, our minds, our lives, not even those we love. Nothing abides. It will all change. Thus we don’t really sacrifice anything for freedom, precisely because those things we fear giving up are things we never actually had in the first place. We only imagine we had them.” ~ Steve Hagen
While those words have resonated deeply with me, one aspect in particular sticks out. Among all of my possessions, my thoughts, my feelings, and my memories, I could only think of you.
Reading that I’ve never owned you has brought my soul comfort. It was the exact answer I needed.
I’ve always claimed you as mine. You’re like a precious stone I keep in my drawer. God knows what would become of me if I were to lose it.
When we were together, my happiness was substantial—if it were drops of water, it would have filled the entire ocean. Your presence next to me and your voice playing in my ears were unmistakable signs that I could never remove you from my thoughts.
Even when I lost you, your absence became your new presence, and your voice continued to play in my head. Although I’ve lost you, I was still adamant on calling you mine. I defied reality and weaved my own delusional hopes into it.
But who am I kidding?
You’re not mine, and you never were to begin with.
You’re as impermanent as our story. You’re not the same person I met, and I don’t expect you to be the same. We’re changing, we’re growing, we’re learning. You’ve only stayed the same in my futile memories. And the truth is, I’ve always liked it. My mind was the only place where I could take hold of you.
There, reality could never take you away from me.
You see, we can never hold onto what changes. You’re like a cube of ice in the palm of my hand—I keep denying that you’re melting before my eyes. I try to take hold of you, but I can’t.
I try to call you mine but you’re not. You’re for nature, the galaxy, and the stars. You’re made of matter that the human mind can never comprehend.
You’re way too immense to be possessed or controlled. Your vastness is what makes you a special, free soul. Who am I to fit you into an aviary?
Perhaps the problem was that I always separated you from myself. I perceived you as an independent entity from me. But what if we’re one? If I know you are one and whole with me, then I would never fear losing you. I would never try to take hold of you.
Do you fear losing your lungs? Your heart? Or your hands? You don’t—they’re part of you.
You’re the universe that I want to fit inside the small human being that I am. Come merge with me, with all of your planets, stars, and comets.
I’m building a home for you inside my soul. I’ll leave you there and forget you. I won’t lull myself into thinking that I can take hold of you. You see, sometimes when we take hold of something, it loses its spark. And the truth is, I want you to keep shining.
Shine inside the home that I am.
Be whoever you want to be and choose whatever makes your light shine stronger. All the great things in life outweigh labels such as “mine” and “yours.” And you, you are great. You’re too great to be called anyone’s.
I’m not setting you free because the truth is…you’re already free.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Caitlin Oriel