He left. He didn’t say the exact reason why, but he did make sure I knew all the reasons why I’m tragically flawed.
The point is, he left, and I think I know why.
I terrified him. I get it.
I’m not for the faint of heart. I’m intense and can be needy. I feel deeply and get hurt easily. I have strong opinions and sometimes take things to the extreme.
And I have darkness, quite a bit of it, that I’m terrible at hiding.
My darkness. I think that’s it. That is my “fatal flaw.”
Because as it turns out, most of you are afraid of the dark.
I used to try to hide it. I used smoke and mirrors to trick him into thinking I was “normal.” Not just normal, but near perfect with no issues that might seem strange or make him uncomfortable.
This worked in the beginning. My scars were deep enough that they couldn’t be seen until he got too close—I made sure that never happened.
Eventually though, the smoke cleared and what was left staring back at him wasn’t pretty, at least not all of it. Inevitably, he slowly backed away. And that was all I needed—one sign that he was out and I did whatever it took to make sure he left.
I always wished he would have done it sooner, because he confirmed it for me. The bad overshadowed the good. And I kind of liked him.
This is how the majority of my relationships unfold. I try to be on my best behavior for as long as I can. To be sweet, agreeable, and fun. I even pull off “carefree” for a while. But it never lasts long. Eventually the truth surfaces; I am too intense, I am too everything, and there seems to be nothing I can do about it.
Until I met him.
He appeared out of nowhere, like magic, and made all of the terrible things I believed about myself disappear. It was as if we were the same person: he too was flawed, with scars just as deep. But there was nothing tragic or frightening about him. To me, he was just beautiful. We each became a mirror that reflected the other’s essence. There was nowhere to hide and no reason to.
At least that’s what I thought. What I didn’t realize was he revealed only what he wanted me to see.
When the smoke cleared, I didn’t stand a chance.
His demons were many and seemed to multiply by the day. They thrived in the places where he went to hide, taking him to a depth I couldn’t reach. The more I fought for him, the more he retreated. I was no longer a reflection of all of his good, I became his projection of everything bad in him. I became the source of his darkness.
So he left, leaving no room for doubt. The bad overshadowed the good, and what proved to be the deepest love I have ever experienced resulted in the most pain I ever will.
My descent was swift, except for this time I plunged into the depths of his hell and couldn’t find way my back.
I lost myself completely.
“She conquered her demons and wore her scars like wings.” ~ Atticus
Something happens when you go to a place where you are stripped of everything you desperately wanted to be true: Nothing is left but the truth. All the pain and fear that got you there starts to consume you, and the only option you have is to feel your way out. You have to go deeper—to your very core—to the place that terrifies you most. And you have to face your demons there.
That is where I went, and that is what I did. It was my scars that took me there. The truth was, they were never confirmation that I was flawed; they were (and are) a testament of my strength, courage, and all the things that make me beautiful. My scars are the very reason I feel deeply, give freely, and love intensely. They are why I survived the dark, proving my core is actually light. And it was my core that helped me rise back up to the surface.
“You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love.” ~ Warshan Shire
I no longer believe my darkness is my tragic flaw. It think instead, I illuminated what he really wanted but wouldn’t let himself have. I exposed who he truly was, but couldn’t let himself be.
My darkness? It’s still there. But I’m no longer interested in hiding it. So if you scare easily, you might want to keep your distance. If you decide to brave it, however, come closer. You might be surprised to see what lies beneath. Maybe it will convince you to leave, or maybe you’ll get a glimpse of something beautiful and realize it’s not my darkness that scares you, it’s yours.
But don’t worry. As it turns out, I’m not afraid of the dark.
Author: Brooke Breazeale
Image: Frank McKenna/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell