EmoHero: First Monster

This is based on a challenge I have joined on habitica, and I don’t know what to expect from it. The premise is to reimagine your emotions as people- heroes and monsters, specifically- and to describe them in more detail. This is my second post on the topic. All entries on this topic will be tagged with EmoHero, if only for my sake. If anyone is interested in looking at or joining the challenge, here it is.

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This challenge was created by Take This

Today, I’m going to write my first monster. The instructions are to “turn one of my negative feelings into a monster,” “to list its vulnerabilities,” and to describe “the most effective way to take it down.” Seems pretty straightforward, I guess. I will begin with fear. Just like last time, bold is the character and plain text is the concept.

Fear is… I wanted to say that it was large or hulking, but I honestly think that fear is probably rather small with deceptive powers. Like a toy next to a nightlight casts a giant shadow on the wall, fear is often harmless, but very convincing. I’m not sure how to approach this, because there are times when things are dangerous and fear is both accurate and helpful. I think that for the sake of this exercise, situations where it is reasonable to feel fear should be separated from the fear that I’m writing about. If I am in the path of an oncoming car, fear is actually trying to save my life by telling me to run, so in that situation, fear could be a hero if you think about it.

Argh! I’m just sitting here, stuck, because I can’t decide if I want to create 2 characters and reflect on the duality and the power that one draws from the validity of the other… or if I want to focus on 1 character and just avoid getting bogged down in complexity. Either path seems fine. I will try the duality route, I guess. Caution is the rational feeling, the one that tells you to run from things, people, and places that will hurt you. Fear is the irrational feeling that keeps you paralyzed by whispering danger in your ear, even when you’re safe.

Most people meet caution first. They encounter something loud, fast, hot, unfamiliar, etc., and it startles or even hurts them. Caution shows up and makes the child faster or stronger, and it enables them to escape. Caution stays by their side until the danger passes, and then it leaves. Caution is ready to come running at a moment’s notice to help us endure and avoid danger. As someone with a service dog, I admit that I can’t help but think of Dora right now. She performs several alerting jobs, so she watches and listens to me and responds when I need her. Maybe caution is a super dog! (Let’s just pretend that the ‘super pets’ phase in DC Comics’ history was a good idea for a minute, OK? Just roll with it.)

So, you meet caution, and it helps you, which means that when fear shows up, you can easily think that it’s caution again. That means that fear also looks like a dog in this scenario, but… I can’t imagine it as a healthy or friendly looking one. It also feels like I may discover its appearance on my own if I come back to this question later, so I’ll move on.

Fear is a weak creature with powerful illusions, which makes it an energy type monster. With most casters, energy wielders, and support characters, the key to beating them is closing the distance between you and hitting them- hard. Sure, Cyclops’ optic lasers can punch you through a building, but he’s just as vulnerable to broken bones as a normal human. It makes sense, then, if the key to defeating fear is to get close to it before doing damage.

Let me think. There was an X-Man with mirage type powers… Danielle Moonstar, maybe? She could show people their greatest fear, and her role in battles was usually to… disorient people, I guess. Sometimes, she bought time for her teammates, so they weren’t fighting outnumbered. If I write more of these, I need to look for any teammates that fear might have- things that follow on its heels and strike me when I’m already vulnerable.

What are fear‘s weaknesses? I often get scared of things like walking into a room full of strangers, writing 2 pages of a project, asking someone I care about to make time for me when I’m lonely, exposing a weakness to my husband, attempting a skill that I haven’t mastered, etc. Here’s a few things I have found that are stronger than fear:

  • Objective information- Sometimes, I can rationally see that the fear isn’t reliable or helpful.
  • Another perspective- Because I know that my sense of danger is skewed, there are a few people I trust enough to base my actions on their view of the situation.
  • Determination- Sometimes, I can also be too stubborn for fear to stop me from taking the next step.
  • Support from others- When things are going to be difficult for a while (like when I’m struggling through the long process of learning a new skill), having others who are willing to walk beside through the ups and downs makes it possible to push through.

Overall, there are two approaches to defeating fear. The first is to invalidate its claims or break its illusions, and the second is to take action, even though the illusions still hold you.

Actually, now that I think about it, taking the time to examine fear‘s illusions is also the process of distinguishing between fear and caution. It’s like holding up a flashlight near them and figuring out who is looking back at you. I haven’t found a picture-perfect description of fear‘s appearance or anything, but every time I try to find one, I see something like a skinny dog with thin fur, like it has mange. Courage is a dog with thick, lush fur… like a golden retriever, perhaps. Fear also looks like it should be pitied.

Why is that?

Maybe it’s because it can’t actually stop anyone from doing anything; fear needs you to believe it, or it’s powerless. If you don’t evaluate what it says or you don’t choose to move forward in spite of it, then fear can keep you trapped in a small life. If you ignore it or dispel its illusions, then all fear can do is watch you walk away and try to catch you later.

Now, fear has been one of the dominant emotions in my life, because I have been hurt very deeply, starting from a young age. Honestly, if you had asked me what I expected to feel at this point in the entry, it would not have been empathy, but I almost feel sad for fear. It’s hard to put into words, but it feels like…. I think fear has been hurt before, and so maybe it can’t go anywhere any more either. Like its leg is broken and it doesn’t want to be alone?

Does that make sense?

I think that if I encounter fear again, I need to walk up close, pick it up and bring it with me as I move into new territory. Because I probably will be scared, and the future will be uncertain, but I still need to move anyway. So maybe fear and caution can both come, and we can all go forward together until fear can recover and either dissipate or transform into something healthy.

Wow. This challenge is definitely more than I expected it to be. I think I will write a few more of these.

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EmoHero: A Cathartic Exercise

This is based on a challenge I have joined on habitica, and I don’t know what to expect from it. The premise is to reimagine your emotions as people- heroes and monsters, specifically- and to describe them in more detail. I honestly have no idea what this process will be like, but I’m going to try anyway. All entries on this topic will be tagged with EmoHero, if only for my sake. If anyone is interested in looking at or joining the challenge, here it is.

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This challenge was created by Take This

Ok. My tasks are to “turn one of my positive feelings into a hero” and to “list my hero’s strengths and weakness.” Then, if I can find “small changes I can make in my own life to play to their strengths,” I’m supposed to include those as well.

I think I will start with love, because it’s an emotion that I can easily identify within myself. I will use bold when I’m referring to the character and plain text when referring to the abstract concept.

Thinking specifically of my husband and my closest friends, I think that love would be strong, but not offensive. I don’t think that it would possess attacks, or at least, the love wouldn’t use those first when trying to solve problems. I think that she (I’m using female because I’m female.) is more of a defender, the type of hero who would step in between her teammates and danger, so she could take the hit herself. If love has any energy-based powers, they would probably be shields and healing, both of which lessen the lasting pain caused by attacks. If love was primarily a physical hero (like The Incredible Hulk, The Thing, Colossus, The Flash, Quicksilver, Wolverine,  etc.), I think she would have more physical resistance than speed or strength. I don’t envision her throwing tractors or running fast enough to stand on water, but being the type of hero who can brace for a truck impact and stop it with her bare hands. (But then, I guess she would be strong enough to throw tractors anyway.)

So if I were to refine it a bit… love would probably have some sort of physical transformation to a tougher state (like Emma Frost’s diamond form or Colossus’s steel skin). But would she be able to change back, or would she always be in that state? My gut says that it would have to be an inherent state; that she would always be in the strong form, but that she still might not make the best choices. Someone who is strong doesn’t always use that strength for others, or for good. Love isn’t perfect, but she is powerful. Sometimes, she can hurt people, and sometimes, she can be selfish and not use her strength to help others. Yeah, that feels right.

That gives us, let’s arbitrarily say, a steel-skinned woman with an average appearance. I think that love‘s character and actions are the source of her beauty, but I truly don’t picture her as a stick thin waif with oversized breasts and hips and lips, like you see in comic books. I think love looks like the girl you see in the coffeeshop, just wearing normal street clothes, with a practical hairstyle, more concerned with the nitty gritty business of living life and being genuine than she is with counting calories, makeup trends, or fashion. If she puts effort towards any of those things, it’s in a balanced way, as part of a holistic life, not because she feels insecure. Love is definitely secure in her identity; if she weren’t, she wouldn’t have any energy to invest in others.

Right. My “recaps” just make this longer. Let me try again.

  • Steel skin.
  • Average build and looks.
  • Confidence.
  • Vulnerability.
  • Deeply rooted selflessness.
  • Ability to create barriers and to heal.

I want to be careful not to make her too strong or to give the impression that love fixes everything; it doesn’t, but love can make it easier to endure pain, process trauma, overcome stress, make plans, reach out, and more. Love can empower others to be their best, and in that vein, I could have given love some sort of defensive buffs, but I picked shields and healing for a reason. Shields are for during the hard times in life, when having someone standing with you can help you make it through. Healing is for after the trauma is done, when you’re looking at old wounds and just crying, shouting, painting, singing, exercising, or fighting your way through. When you’re just in pain, but the only forward is through more pain, having people who care for you listen and be kind while you’re vulnerable is like soothing balm on a sore wound.

Ok. Great. That was… kind of fun, actually, because I enjoy hero stories, and I have a lot of fodder to choose from. I will definitely write up at least one monster, and see how that goes.

Last part… taking responsibility for myself and looking for ways to play to love‘s strengths. Yeah. Well, I can’t dwell on this too much, since it’s the opposite of the prompt, but the main weakness that I have in acting like love is selfishness. That’s a huge generalization, so I’ll try to be a bit more specific: I tend to act based off of my negative status effects (tired, hungry, frustrated, exhausted, scared, etc.) rather than the qualities of my relationship with someone (mutual trust, long duration, personality traits that I enjoy, level of connection to each other, etc.) or even the other person’s status effects (tired but they made breakfast anyway, busy but they made time for me, insecure about their worth, trying something new, etc.).

But how can I translate that into small changes? I guess that the two main things that I see here are processing time and admission of mistakes. If I can try to slow down my responses by a few seconds, maybe I will have more time to be kind and less time to say stupid things because I’m tired and I’m not worried about anyone else’s feelings. If I still make mistakes (ok, when I still make mistakes), apologizing to my friend and acknowledging that I should have treated them better reinforces my desire to act differently and it strengthens the relationship by removing the idea that I think treating them like garbage is fine.

Can I actually do that? I have no idea.

“Help for the Fractured Soul” by Candyce Roberts

I just finished this book today, and it’s been a journey. As I mentioned in my recent letter to mom, I’ve been reading about how a child’s mind deals with pain that is too large to handle. Often, it breaks.

This book is primarily written for people working with traumatized individuals, but I can’t afford therapy, so I read it in search of understanding and tips for working with my own mess. The main take away that I found is “Take this seriously; some of your symptoms are more intense than you’ve acknowledged before and if you don’t change, you won’t be able to progress past them.” Roberts didn’t say that. I just recognized ways that I dissociate, and repress painful memories, and check out of daily life.

Healthy people don’t have all of these crazy, interconnected responses firing up when things hurt. I don’t want to go from calm to unresponsive in a few seconds forever. I want to feel pain, accept that it hurts, and move past it. Right now, I just lock up and then try to do anything but understand why I’m in pain.

It’s like running on a broken leg; if I don’t learn about how I got injured or give myself opportunities to recover and grow strong, I will just make it worse.

I need to be willing to revisit those dark days that shaped my image of myself and to reject the lies they planted. I didn’t deserve it. I can’t control the actions of others, so it was never about being good enough. I am not worthless or irreparably broken.

I am hurt. And angry. And betrayed. And bitter. There is a reason for my feelings, but these emotions are also keeping me trapped in those dark moments when I was vulnerable and helpless and deeply hurt by people I had trusted.

To put it simply, I suppose you could say that this book showed me that healing is more complicated than I thought. During an earlier stage of my healing journey, I only dealt with pain until I could get it contained enough to seal it in a box and not need to dwell on it any more. Instead, it seems like I’ll need to reevaluate some old things, and allow myself to disconnect from them.

It’s hard to put into words. By accepting the emotions connected with trauma, I can know myself more fully and have a stronger handle on the truth. Yet, once I reach that point, I can also release the weight and intensity of the emotions, so that I don’t have to carry or fear them any more.

Oh well. In any case, Candyce Roberts’ book was helpful for me, and I’m still trying to responsibly evaluate her approach and its implications for my current state. I’m glad I pulled it off my shelf to read in its entirety.

The Pain of Rejection

Dear First Ex,

Part of me shudders typing “dear” and thinking about you, but I can’t think of another opening for letters. Bear with me, even though we both know that there’s nothing there.

Anyway, I was thinking about you yesterday. A few days ago, I fell into an old addiction again, and I realized that beneath the symptoms, there was an old lie. As long as I believed that my core was made of putrid darkness, and that no one could want to be near me, the addiction would keep coming back, because it’s comforting.

You are one of the people whose actions made it look like the lie was true.

Does that sound like I’m blaming you? It might, but the truth is that I’m too tired to feel any pain over what happened, and in the moment, I was only able to see my side anyway. I was in a low downswing of my depression, coming off of a suicidal period (or going into one?). There are too many emotions and too much brain fog for me to remember. It could have been too much. It could have been strangling the life out of you. Who knows? Regardless, there’s nothing to gain from another angry tirade at you, and I’m not here to write one.

All that I’m trying to say is that the choices you made, especially towards the end, were hard for me to deal with. I still think they show some cowardice on your part, because you recruited other people to break up with me for you instead of saying the words yourself. When I wanted to talk afterwards, just to see if there was a way that we could be civil enough that our mutual friends didn’t have to choose, you had someone insult me so that you could stay silent.

So I let you have our friends and our social spot. Looking back, it sounds a little like a divorce, doesn’t it? Weird.

Reading over my old journal entries yesterday was bizarre. I went from singing your praises to heaping abuse on your name in an instant. I was completely blindsided by the whole thing. I had been pouring everything I had into the relationship. You probably won’t trust me when I say that I know that depressed people don’t have much love to offer. Even before I met you, I knew that love drew energy from my very limited emotional reserves. I spent energy on trying to make you happy when I should have used it for taking care of myself or resting. I tried to take care of your needs. I didn’t criticize your lifestyle and I accommodated your needs. I poured out everything I had for you and you basically said,

“You didn’t get better fast enough.”

Yeah. It was a real high point for both of us. I’m still not “better,” by the way. It turns out that brains don’t fix themselves any more than dysfunctional organs or misshapen limbs do. Weird, isn’t it?

I’m sorry. I’m getting bitter, and I said I wasn’t here to accuse you. Staying angry with you or believing that your assessment of me was accurate is just hurting me. For a decade, part of my energy has been draining off to fuel the lie I mentioned earlier and the defense mechanisms around it. I’m done. I have to be.

Forgiveness is a strange thing. People have told me that it’s a choice: just choose to forgive someone. There are a handful of people that I have chosen to forgive, but I’m still angry and hurt when I think of them, because I still wanted more from our relationships than they gave me. I wanted love, care, an honest connection, to feel safe while I’m near them, but no. And it still hurts. Someone else has told me that it doesn’t sound like I’ve forgiven them. Forgiveness, therefore, must be more than a choice.

Today, right now, it feels like maybe forgiveness is actually part of a sequence, and that it only functions properly when done in the right order. Here’s my working model:

  1. Be vulnerable and get hurt.
  2. Mourn and feel the pain.
  3. Process the experience and its effects on you.
  4. Let yourself heal from it. Let go of the dark, angry words, even if their familiarity is comforting.
  5. Forgive the person.
  6. Move on a more complex person than you were before.

Yesterday afternoon, I just laid on the floor and sobbed. I remembered how my college friends found out about my depression and stopped talking to me. I remembered how a few months later, you left me too. I remembered how our friends just stayed with you, even though I tried hard to avoid asking them to choose sides and I wanted to find separate places to hang out.

All of these people that I was honest with, all of these people that I trusted, they got close to be and saw my broken parts, and then they left. And it sucks.

But here’s the thing- the small group of you are not representatives of humanity. You don’t control the choices that other people make, and just because you chose to leave me alone when I needed you most, it doesn’t mean that no one will ever choose to stay. My husband met me during a breakdown and he just kept walking closer to me. The messier I got, the more broken parts he saw, the more time he spent with me, and his kindness and gentle spirit still blow me away.

It’s unfortunate that my pain has prevented me from accepting him on the deepest level possible. That I’ve invalidated some of his choices and actions because I believed that he would be like you. That I’ve done the same thing with God’s love, because I believed that He would be like you. And I’m done.

What you did, what all of you chose to do, will never be ok. It will never be justified, but I’m not the harbinger of justice. I don’t need to carry the burden of the pain you caused me and the treatment that I needed from you. I don’t need to keep a list of areas where I gave more or tried harder. I don’t need to try to remember any pieces of the storm that was our last two meetings. God will remember for me, and He can measure out all of the pieces.

So this is it. I’m letting go of everything attached to this ball of pain. I don’t need any of the mess any more. I don’t believe the lie any more.

There are good traits in me. There are reasons that people might want to be my friend or enjoy being near me. I am not a toxic waste of space. I am a beautiful mess, just like everyone else.

So goodbye. I know we haven’t seen each other for years, so I don’t expect that I’ll even think of you again for a long time. It will be ok if I forget you entirely. It will be ok if I don’t. Either way, I’ll still be me.

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Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

I’m going to leave you here. I have a lot of walking to do, a lot of me to discover, a lot of talents to develop, a lot of life to live, and a lot of love to give. I’m going to grow into someone better, someone more vibrant than I am now, if only because I’m too stubborn to quit.

I know that the beautiful, glowing me is inside somewhere. I look forward to meeting her and then introducing her to the world. She’s going to love it.

~J

Moving Forward with Mom

Well, I actually texted my mom and asked her to make time to talk to me and she did. We met in a restaurant and talked for a while. I was really nervous about whether or not she had made any progress on being defensive, and she has. It was good, even though I didn’t expect it to be.

I brought along the book I’m reading. I told her that I’m nervous about integrating the pockets of emotion that I’ve separated from myself. (There are traumatic events that I can discuss in a flat, rational tone, because I don’t feel anything. From what I can tell, it’s not uncommon for people to become numb when they experience things that are too intense for them to handle. I need to begin the process of feeling those things, accepting the pain. accepting that the events didn’t shape my value, and moving forward.)

I asked her how she reconciled her love for her father with the pain that he caused her during the period of his life when he used alcohol to numb the scars he brought back from war. I listened to her talk through it, and it seemed like she understood that I would need to walk that path with her as well. I think she knows that it will take time, that there may be days that I’m angry, and that this process is more about me than about her. I don’t think she’s threatened by my journey.

Honestly, not much has changed since before we talked, but it was worth doing. If I had let fear make my choices for me, I never would have taken the risk of talking to her, and I would still feel alone and empty.

There’s still a lot of work to do. Healing is dirty and painful and long. Sometimes, things need to break again in order to heal properly. Sometimes, you have to pull out all of the pieces of pain you thought you had dealt with already, look at them again, make new connections or interpret them with new information, and then pack them away  when you’re done. Sometimes, you can move on once you’ve had enough new experiences that contradict your old expectations. Sometimes, you go a bit further down before you can climb again.

I’m not expecting a miracle or a quick fix.

I expect to cry and journal, to laugh and paint, to fight and scream, and to break through every wall of pain and fear that’s kept me trapped here. It will be hard. I will need breaks to heal and restore my energy. I will have to take care of my needs along the way or I risk getting sick or falling into a downward spiral.

There’s a balance between taking care of myself because I’m precious and pushing myself to keep going through the pain because it’s the only way out. I will find it and I will keep it, to the best of my ability.

Guilt & Obligation

I don’t know what to saw, but I’m freezing up, so I need to do something.

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Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

There’s going to be a baby shower in my family soon. It’s being held in a private residence, and the people who live there don’t mind if Dora comes, but the people that they’re renting the house from won’t allow it. It’s private space, so the ADA is a bit grey here, and if in doubt, I try to respect private space and the people involved. Access to public space is the intent of the law, after all, and I want to respect people’s choices about their own homes. It’s the decent thing to do.

So there’s some drama there because my cousin, who’s scheduling it, is like bending over backwards trying to find a way to make this work, and I appreciate that. She’s being really kind.

I also feel like I have to go, because I’ve never really been given a choice about these events. From childhood, I have been forced to attend every bridal and baby shower to which I’ve been invited, because, you know, I’m a girl. If I’m honest, really honest with myself, going to these parties has caused me more damage than I care to admit.

For years, I’ve been broken-hearted about my lack of a meaningful love life, and both weddings and bridal showers just served to reinforce my worthlessness. But I had to go, so I went.

And baby showers?

Do any of you remember my old entry called “Diagnosis”? Well, the lady in the painting is me. I received the diagnosis in… 2004, I think. It still hurts. Honestly, that’s mostly because I was basically like ‘nope. into the pain box you go. not dealing with you. nope. nope. nope. you’re just too big and complex and i don’t want to be honest with myself about this topic and no. bye!’

I say that, but at the same time, I got an onslaught of really horrible thoughts dumped into my head about how I was so fundamentally flawed, I couldn’t even be a woman right. Like, somehow the fact that I have glands and organs that just decided to stop working is a sign of how truly flawed I am as a person, since 99% of the females on the planet do not fail in even this basic way.

Add in the fact that my grandmother who is a dangerous, passive-aggressive lady may well be there, and perhaps you can see why my husband suggested that attending the event without Dora might be a bad idea.

So I told my cousin not to worry about it, that I was sorry that I was changing the answer that I gave her just last night, that I would figure something out. But now, she feels bad about the whole thing, and so does her grandmother (a kind lady who smiles easily). And I don’t want her to feel bad, so I should go without Dora.

But I don’t want to hurt myself any more because I already have mountains of pain and lies to dig through and process, so maybe I shouldn’t go at all. If I choose not to go, for my wellbeing, then everything with the location and the invitations she’s already ordered just sorts itself out nicely.

But I’m making people upset by not going, and I don’t know how to communicate ‘it’s ok; i didn’t want to go anyway because i hate baby showers,‘ without sounding rude or… whatever characteristic is associated with disliking things that I am supposed to like.

Yes! I know that I am supposed to be able to experience other people’s happiness with them instead of ‘making everything about myself.’ I have been told already. Thanks. I don’t know how to do that when the events in question are both bound up in unhealed traumas that I never get to make progress on because every time they surface, people essentially tell me that I shouldn’t have them in the first place, so I have to bury them again.

I just… ARGH!

Why? Just why?

I can already tell that I shouldn’t go to this. The healthiest choice I can possibly make is to avoid being hurt any further, whether that makes sense to anyone else or not. The only alternative I have is to go, sit silently, pretend that I’m having a decent time, and just marinate in my pain… like I always have, because it makes people happy to think that I am happy about the same things that they are.


I am so jealous of my husband and brothers for not being invited, not being put in this situation, and not being expected to enjoy this type of thing. It’s just difficult sometimes.

Somebody That I Used To Know

I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a particular song playing in my head after I typed that title, so here’s a cover of it that I enjoy.

Dear Pysch Major,

I thought of you again yesterday. One of my current friends was apologizing for having forgotten to tell me there was a scheduling conflict with our regular hang out time. She had been crying over it, actually. It was strange, because it was ok with me. I know her character well enough to take that mistake in stride and keep going. While I was reassuring her, I told her about you.

Do you remember the anime convention that you didn’t attend with me? I scheduled time with you and our mutual friend in January, so that you guys would definitely be free in July. We had gone together the year before and enjoyed our day. Moving 3 hours away from you guys after college was hard, but that’s why I wanted to make time to hang out.

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Photo by Mark Cruz on Unsplash

I drove 3 hours, looking forward to seeing you guys. It’s a long, straight road with nothing to see. I arrived and found our friend. We hugged, laughed, and chatted. I asked her if she had heard from you. She hadn’t, but apparently, you had become harder to reach since you started dating your new boyfriend. So I called you. Do you remember what you said?

You had forgotten. I told you that’s why I tried to set this up so many months in advance! You said you hadn’t put it on your calendar. I asked if you were still coming. You said you had something with your boyfriend. I hoped you would say that you were gonna reschedule with him and hang out with me, like you promised.

You didn’t.

I think I asked one last time if you could come or find a way to make it work. You said no. I tried to pretend I wasn’t hurt, and I hung up. I ended the call and I ended my emotional connection with you. How could I trust you or spend energy caring about you?

You wouldn’t apologize for forgetting our plans. You didn’t even try to reschedule your plans with your boyfriend who lived like 15 minutes away to spend time with your friend who drove 3 hours to see you. You expected me to understand. Well, I understood that I didn’t mean anything to you. I understood that I had been pouring more into the relationship than you had. 

I understood that it was over. 

It still hurts me, you know. Yeah, one of the two of you remembered our plans, and was looking forward to it, and she made room in her life for me. We had a good time, in spite of your choice.

I was just completely blindsided by it. I never suspected for a moment that our relationship dynamic was… unbalanced? Unhealthy? Broken?

I know we’ll never talk again, but when I get past the pain, I miss you. I hope you do well in graduate school and clinicians (or whatever the counseling version of apprenticeship is called). I hope that you grow and bloom and help others to do the same. I hope you laugh and run.

I just wish I could be around to see it.

Take care.
~J