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Because of My Loneliness

*Originally published on Thought Catalog.

Because of my loneliness, I met you.

I couldn’t bear the deafening sound of my own heart breaking, so I looked to you to cover my ears. I looked to you to silence the pain I had been carrying for so long, and I had hoped it would be you that would make it all go away. The only thing that went away because of your presence in my life was me.

Because of my loneliness, I lost myself in you.

I was never used to being on my own. I had lived most of my life involved in one duo or another, be it through friendship or romance. I was rarely alone. The day I met you was the day the person I had worked so hard to become began to retreat. The person I had built up from rock bottom time and time again began to look for the first crack they could slip through to return to the pain they knew all too well.

You were my escape plan from all of the problems in my life. But at some point that plan changed, and suddenly all I could think about was how to escape from you. You toyed with my emotions and laughed as I frantically tried to hold it altogether. I should have left you the first chance that I could. But because of my loneliness, I convinced myself it would never happen again.

Because of my loneliness, I stayed. Even when I knew I shouldn’t.

I can pinpoint the exact moment everything began to change. You were no longer the person I first met; you became the one my mother always warned me about. You were charming when you needed to be, but behind closed doors, I often could not recognize the person standing before me.

Because of my loneliness, I convinced myself you were not that person, even though you relentlessly showed me that you were.

I wanted so badly for our relationship to work out. I had spent so much of my life waiting for someone to fall in love with me that I could not bear the thought of losing what could have been my only chance at true love. Except your love never sat quite right with me. No, your love was one I had to earn through forced silence and mounting pressure to be who you wanted me to be. Our relationship was about pleasing you. I had no value past what my body could do to gratify yours. I rarely said no because I knew what would happen if I did.

Because of my loneliness, I let you take advantage of me. Because of my loneliness, I convinced myself that this was what people who loved each other did. Because of my loneliness, I gave everything to you, even though I really and truly did not want to.

You were supposed to be the one to make the hurt go away, but instead, almost four years later, I still cannot shake the way you made me feel.

Because of my loneliness, I often think of going back to you. Because of my loneliness, I have tried to contact you again. Because of my loneliness, I can sometimes convince myself that the love you gave me is the only type of love that I deserve.

My loneliness tells me that if I would have just stayed with you, I would be better off. It tries to remind me that you were able to provide me with things I myself will most likely never be able to afford; you could have been there to give me the kind of life others on the outside desperately admired. But only if I continued to give myself up for you.

Because of my loneliness, I was willing to change my dreams to fall in line with yours. Because of my loneliness, I was willing to do whatever it took to help you become the person you wanted to be, even if that meant twisting the truth to make you sound better than we all knew you were. I became so good at lying to myself that I still have days where I question the validity of my own memories and feelings.

Because of my loneliness, I always blame myself.

My loneliness reminds me that if I wasn’t so difficult to love, I would not be alone right now. It makes sure I understand that every failed relationship is no one’s fault but my own. There is always something that I could have done differently or said better. Somehow, I always manage to ruin everything.

Because of my loneliness, I have convinced myself that no one will ever love me as much as you did.

My loneliness chastises me for ever letting you go, as it will be impossible to find someone else willing to put up with all of this. I am the one who is difficult to love, and I am the one who should have been more open, less anxious, less angry, more fun. I just should have been more.

Because of my loneliness, I cannot help but feel inadequate. Incomplete. Broken.

But then I remind myself of who I was before I met you. You were not my first deal with the devil, and I am learning now that you certainly will not be my last, but if I made it through the hell you created and named “love,” I know that I can take whatever else comes my way.

You see, my loneliness would like me to believe that I am nothing. My loneliness wants me to see myself as damaged goods, when in my heart I know that I am not the walking weakness it pegs me for. I am a person who has been hurt, who has hurt, and who will continue to be hurt, but who can also come back when everything around them is begging them to stay.

Because of my loneliness, I have seen what happens on the days when the light won’t come out. But because of my loneliness, I have learned that sometimes you have to be the light. Sometimes you are the only good thing in a bad day, and sometimes that has to be enough to get you through to the other side of your pain.

Because of my loneliness, I have found my strength.

I am whole, even when it tries to tell me I am broken.

I am here, even when it tries to tell me I should leave.

And I am fighting, even if it tells me I have already lost.

Because of my loneliness, I have found myself.

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