r/offmychest – Katie P.

I originally posted this a couple or so months ago under a throwaway in Reddit’s offmychest subreddit in attempt to help along the healing process. I only received a couple of comments but one in particular started putting in motion the spawn of ideas that would eventually lead to this blog. Someone called it beautiful.

I don’t feel like I should try to validate this with a preface or background of any sort–having it as security–outlining how I don’t care whether you read it or not or “hey, please don’t judge due to [such and such] circumstances.” This is a place to just get things off your chest. All I request is a space for this all to exist instead of just in my head. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s very real but all the pieces aren’t laid out for others to see.

I fell in love with a girl. Our history prior to me falling from emotional security is extensive but on some level, what does it matter? I was pursuing her friend, I suppose. I tried not to see it that way but in all actuality, I felt something so I decided to see where it was going, in that off-handed “maybe I won’t get hurt this time”-way. Somehow I just ended up getting close with her best friend now my ex-girlfriend. I can try to ascertain the truth and genuineness of my love for her to you all and at the same time indulge on those lovely memories when we were just starting to open up to each other and how the air was tender to the touch and how intoxicating the ecstasy of the fall was but I won’t. Hopefully it’s enough to say that I love her in order for you to grasp what I’m putting out. You’ve fallen in love, haven’t you? And if you claim to never have, you will. Whether you try to or not; whether you want to or not. We just do.

Fast forward a couple or so years and I’m just messing around at her place. She has a portfolio to put together. She wants me to leave because she knows that with us together this thing is never gonna get done. I tease, I push. So she lets me stay. Her bedroom: I’m gushing about this artist a friend showed me and a song that I’ve been listening to a lot. This song that helps me feel a lot of things. She interrupts me and loops her arm in mine. We draw closer. My arm dangles off the front of the bed as I absentmindedly stare at the carpet. I was floating upon a sea of intimacy. Unfamiliar waters for a boy who grew up in a household of ghosts, no family to be found living there. But I didn’t want to move. Not because I was afraid of drowning but because it was enough to just bask. My arm dangled and traced circles in the air as if I was stirring a pot. What I was cooking, what was being created at that moment, I guess I’ll never know now–it’s over.

Time rolls on. A paradigm shift is brewing in a storm as the horizon shrinks in on itself. A chapter of my life is about to close. Higher education to challenge. I thought I was going to leave behind a dysfunctional “family” and become more than my upbringing (I suppose this alludes to how old I am though I can’t say the focus has ever been my age, it shouldn’t change anything but I know it will). I thought I was going to march on through the dregs of the present with a close-knit yet makeshift group of friends as we took on the world on our own terms, on our own time. Feeling as though everything and everyone close to me was in synch in some queer way. You probably know how this is too. I thought maybe I’d have a partner too, ending a lonely spell that had lasted my entire life up until that point. Illness struck those I hold dear, distance and convenience shattered friendships and I was burdened with more responsibility than I had ever dared fantasize about. I was being forced to grow; I was being forced apart. And so I fell, again. In a different way. I fell…apart. They call it positive disintegration; I called it depression. You need not tell me such a sudden lifestyle change, such an attitude adjustment isn’t conducive to the humble beginnings of a once flourishing, intimate relationship. And so, she suggested we split up. Go our separate ways. I had lost all friends, my family suddenly yet slowly becoming a part of my life as I was starting to rekindle the bonds (because of her no less!), and I had no job because its search had fallen to the wayside due to sacrifices I had to make given the bleak circumstances. More than that but regardless, it was looking grim for our fair Narrator. She looked at me and asked if we should break up, posing it as a mutual separation. “Look at us, our relationship…” I know. I knew. I knew I couldn’t keep her as she was in my life, I didn’t have the heart. Sure I may not have believed it was going to be like this forever but I had thought it was going to be more, not less. Yes, life is weird and it can always end up being something more in the future, regardless if she was my significant other or not but…oh, where had the time gone. What have I been doing? She wanted out at my lowest point, I didn’t want her to leave but I knew…I knew I wanted her to be happy, to do what’s best for her. That was in part something that contributed to our end: I didn’t want her to suffer what I was and what I was experiencing, so I tried to keep her out of it, then I would bounce back and forth, hoping to wriggle my way into a comfort zone so I can be honest with her about this too, as I had about everything else in my life. It never worked out that way–turns out she had become very angry with me but hid it behind a parade of laughter and smiles. Sure I hadn’t been the helplessly romantic, energetic (but rather inexperienced) guy I had before but underneath, I was still struggling to do my best. At least now I can say I did my best no matter how selfish it looked but at the moment, though at the moment that’s not what I was thinking at all. I knew she meant it, it was like when she first told me that she loved me. So I let her go. Afterwards over the course of some time I tried to get her “back” but she wouldn’t have it. It was nothing or friendship. I couldn’t do it. I still felt the way I had no matter how wounded I was. To do so would tear me apart slowly and the ribbons of our relationship would only end up uglier than it already was. I used to have the words to calm me, to reassure me, to keep me focused on moving forwards and growing…the words to combat that ultimatum, how unfair it was or something or other. The words were righteous and I believed in them. I trusted them. Where are they now?

And so I fell apart, her leaving the feather that broke my world. For better or worse, I rebuilt myself. Got a job, pursued education and became a little more enlightened. Went on adventures and lived life so fully that colors never seemed to have such depth before. The greens were greener and the browns were earthy. I enlisted! I’m MOS qualified as a 68W, combat medic, in the United States Army. I’ll put my life on the line to save those that call me “doc” because the fact that I am THE medic and they are my guys and gals, they run out there in the hail of lead and fight so that others can sleep peacefully at night. They do it knowing that I’ll take care of them the best I can. I’ve accomplished more than I’ve ever in this expanse of time than I have in any other chapter of my life, and the horizon looks promising as it crawls out in a strip of radiance past my peripherals. I’ve finally allowed myself to call myself a Buddhist, and I struggle with my chin up to cultivate my mind and to control my body. Discipline. Class. Honor. Happiness. Independence, wisdom, intelligence. Freedom. Humor. Those things are what hold me together. Yet…she comes back to me in weird ways. Scents, phrases, sights. She’s dialogue in my head. To make a long story a tad shorter, I had never truly let her go. Though I’ve been pushed to as I’ve gone along, finding out things about her and our relationship I had not seen and known before, I still struggle with this a lot. It’s torture, especially as I see myself make progress and then regress. It makes all my happiness just a slight shade darker. The sheens are still deep; it just adds an air of sorrow to the relentless beating of my heart.

I can go on but now that I feel my heart so fully exposed, I will carve out what I’ve wanted to say all this time but felt is somehow necessary to travel down memory lane up until this point. I know my mind is undisciplined. I know if I ever want to get far in life, I’m going to have to let go of the past and make room for the present. I know I have to let go of her hand in my memory and stop just letting my feet dangle just mere inches from the water that licks the support beams of this dock, the same water that sprays a cold mist upon my legs teasingly. I know that after I let go, I need to take the dive. Then swim. Swim and never come back. Swim so far out while never intending to conserve enough energy for a return trip. Maybe we’ll cross each other again. We are made up of stars and maybe we’ll collide once more. Maybe I’ll be ready then.

Yet, to bring things into a less artistic view…here I am, trying to reconnect with her. Surely I’m not ready; I feel anxious and now I’m stuck wondering about when is the next time I’ll speak with her. I knew it was going to be difficult, trying to reconnect. I knew it’d mess with me and reopen wounds. But I figure, “I’ll learn. Let me do what I’ve been trying to so hard to do all this time yet kept myself from doing. If the desire has held for so long, I might as well face it and the fear that accompanies it. In the end, I’ll be better for it if I stay mindful.” But I only feel mindful in reflection. What am I to do except keep training my mind, keep working my body, keep marching down my path. Learning to live a life and be someone I’d want to be. I wish to be free so I must work to free myself…but why does this feel right but yet bare the semblance of regression? No matter I suppose. I should get back to studying tranquility and insight meditation. I should get back to torturing myself over when I’ll make another attempt to talk to her. Maybe this time, I’ll get it right. Gain some closure. Maybe secret fantasies will be realized though I cringe at the thought. Hopefully, no matter what happens though, I’ll accept it and understand.

If there’s anything I want to do so badly right now then be hung up on this girl, it’s to love myself. But I can’t even really do that yet. Self-sabotage is a familiar comfort.

Here’s the part that drives me here, though. Here’s the part that I can’t seem to handle. I have absolutely no one to talk to about this. This is why I write; the lack of outside of it. The life I’ve lead here has been woven together with lies so that I can fit into the soldier schema. Less resistance, more room to exist privately. Masculinity, talk and do as a soldier does. It’s hard trying to balance that while dancing with your morals, your ethics. Home, I’ve started to reconnect with some friends. I can’t confide in them for some reason or another: I don’t want to put that strain on the relationship though it’s strange how a sign of a healthy friendship is the ability to confide and the ability to address problems within it, I haven’t built grounds for such a thing to happen with “so and so”, and to those I hold in higher regard, I don’t want them to see me like this…I am ashamed, and it’s taken me so long to realize. I am not as strong as they may think, as they may say. I am conflicted. On one hand, I feel like I should be past this and this is all my fault. I deserve to suffer from this. On the other hand, it takes strength to bare, strength to go about this so that you can lead the best life you can while not taking happiness from others or hurting them unnecessarily (funny how I’m a soldier). It would take strength to confide in others. Yet I feel like I would destroy the me that they see. It’s almost like a facade I keep and everyone expects me to keep it up, that I do not pain as I do. And to not do so…well, the consequences horrendous. Exposed. What I wish to be but fear to be, vulnerable and honest in my projection as I am in nature. I fear falling apart again, being alone again in that incredibly negative way. Being depressed again…yet isolation is a gift, a furnace and catalyst I know all too well. I can’t have both: people and isolation though I try to exercise. They are extremes. I see greatness upon both paths. But happiness no where in sight. The cessation of suffering hidden amongst the decisions and experiences I’ve yet to pass through.

But what keeps me going despite the desolate space where confidants used to visit, I walk a path and fight the good fight. Hopefully I will find good people along the way and extend my hand out to them. Fear, myself. Those are the only things that could hold me back.

This is fairly long, I realize. I myself probably wouldn’t read it all if I were just so simply browsing, so don’t feel bad or ashamed if you didn’t. There is no tl;dr here to be found, I’m sorry.

Now hopefully I won’t feel the itch to check back on this for responses or reaction. I want this to be about merely getting it off my chest but I feel everyone who posts a topic here generally has that same lingering feeling. Oh well. You live, you learn, 2,530 words at a time.

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