“I love you.” Three words strung together with hope, promise, and sincerity. A collection of words that would flow from your lips directly into my soul and soothe all of my fears and anxieties.
I didn’t just hear those words and recognize the meaning, I took them to heart. I believed it as a truth and let those words control my happiness.
We were the couple that everyone strived to be, the epitome of relationship goals, so in love and lucky to have each other, the couple everyone put bets on when we would get married and how many kids we would have.
We were the model for everyone who saw us, but that’s only because they never saw what was really going on between us behind the scenes, they only saw the outside.
The core of our relationship was hard. It was dark and it was painful and it was a literal hell on earth some days.
I remember trying to reach the shore just to breathe right before I was pulled right back under the current of our relationship.
This isn’t regret. This isn’t me saying that I regret staying for as long as I did, or that I wish we had never met because then I wouldn’t have known real pain. I wouldn’t have known what it felt like to have my soul torn apart until all of the light slipped in through the cracks and holes that you so forcefully created.
This is recognition because before I can get better, I have to allow myself to look at what our relationship was. For so long, I didn’t.
Our relationship was one that I would never take back, not in a million years. I learned what it was like to love. I learned what people meant when they talked about feeling their soul on fire. I felt alive with you.
You were life. You were my life. You were my source of happiness.
Life flowed from your veins into mine in every kiss, every touch, and every beautiful word that left your sweet, warm lips. I learned what the word “strong” meant during our relationship.
Yes, you gave me life, but you didn’t seem to mind taking it away either.
Your words, while so beautiful and delicate, also had the capability of being so cruel and vile. Sometimes, they were a double edged sword and it felt like you took pleasure in stabbing them into me.
Your words drained the blood from my veins and converted what little was left into tears. And in the nights you took the life out of me, strong became a word that I let define me.
Strong was me holding myself together while I was at work and all that was on my mind was you and your words. Strong was me lying in bed at night next to the person who was supposed to hold me and love and tell me everything was going to be alright, but instead fell quickly into a deep sleep.
Strong was me sticking around for so long when my heart, soul and mind begged me to leave for many painful, agonizing months.
So thank you, because I became strong because of you. I had to.
You made me the strong, courageous, self loving, brave, beautifully un-broken woman that I am today. I love you and I want you to know that. I loved you more than I loved myself and for far too long, I lost myself in you.
Just know I don’t regret you, I don’t regret me, I don’t regret us.
Instead, I am grateful for you. I am grateful for me. I am grateful for us. In all of these things, I have become the best version of myself and I am so proud.