The Art Of Letting Go

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story/memoir about how the people you meet shape you into who you are. A coming of age story of how I left an abusive relationship, got my heart broken, and lost everything I loved before I
found myself.

Submitted: May 10, 2018

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Submitted: May 10, 2018

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 Prologue

 

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The people you meet make you who you are. Every conversation, every friendship, every relationship, every interaction helped to shape you into what you are today. There was a point in time that I thought I was exactly who I was meant to be, I never understood other people my age feeling lost and not themselves. How hard was it? To know who you’re supposed to be? Since then my life has changed quickly and abruptly many times over, I took my first real breath at seventeen years old. What I was doing before then was anything but living, I only existed.

I was freshly seventeen when I had my first downfall; I thought I had everything I could want. I graduated from school early, I was enrolled in college for a major I was excited about, I moved away from home a couple months prior, I had a job that I enjoyed, and just enough close friends. And I was living with my boyfriend of four years… starting a future with someone I loved. I didn’t live the most exciting life but I was content, I didn’t have much to complain about or I thought I didn’t. I loved my boyfriend, Jordan; we had met the summer before my freshman year. I spent a lot of time with him, when we weren’t together we were texting, facetiming, consuming all of our time in each other. I hung out with friends less and spent more time obsessing over our life together.

Things with Jordan weren’t the greatest; I saw many red flags early on in the relationship that only got worse. But I was young, and I loved him and I wanted to be the high school couple that makes it. I moved into his house about two months before I turned seventeen, It was early April, I had finished school in January and spent my days split up between him and working. Along with the move we also took in our first puppy, we named her Luna. The minute I picked her up and got that first round of puppy kisses I instantly fell in love. Luna became my savior, the highlights of my bad days which after moving I had many. It seemed the longer we lived together the more he resented me. Although in my eyes he was perfect at the time, reality set in that he was anything but. He used his words to cut me down; he used his anger to keep me in control, and eventually his hands. By September I had been physically and mentally abused, cheated on so many times, and neglected for the most part. I kept convincing myself I was happy, that everyone goes through rough patches and that it was just a phase. I was right, it was just a phase. Our entire relationship was just a bad phase.

I never said anything to anyone about what went on at home. I kept a smile plastered on my face and kept reminding myself that this is what I wanted. I became depressed, and I gained too much weight from trying to eat my feelings away, I lost most of my friends because hanging out with anyone was always a fight. I decided to take a gap year and not attend college that semester; I had a bad relationship with my parents, and my job was less enjoyable after Jordan was hired. By this point in my life I felt like a zombie, get up and fake being happy, get through the day, then go to bed and do it all over again. The only thing I looked forward to was coming home to Luna, I’d take her on long walks at night after my closing shifts at Panera Bread. Luna was my heart and soul, I know she understood every word I said, everything emotion I conveyed, she knew. She helped me through it, kissing away my tears and forcing smiles out of me.

I decided to give our new Panera staff a chance; I started conversations with a few people, creating bonds. The first new employee I befriended was Abigail; I envied her so much because she never failed to be the ray of sunshine in the room. Everyone loved her, she was pretty and smart and all around a really likable person, and I wanted to be that person. She was so outgoing, so full of energy which was ironic because she was so small and petite. We created a friendship and we started to become very close. A few weeks later she introduced me to her childhood friend who was starting at our café, Stephanie. She was the contrast of Abigail; she was shy and quiet and kept to herself for the most part. We didn’t connect the way Abigail had thought we would, we had small talks about work and casual things every once in a while but that was that.

We adopted a couple more people into our little work group, new and old employees but we had a good dynamic going. Along with us we had De and his friend JC who were the likeable “hood rats” always keeping us up to date, Mack, who I wasn’t crazy about but I was civil. Mack was similar to Abigail, small and cute but the perfectionist. She was the perfect student, child, friend, worker, athlete... She excelled in everything she did and I hated it. We also occasionally had liv, she wasn’t like the other girls in our group, she was tough and funny and always stood her ground, liv was the type of girl you didn’t want to be on bad terms with. Panera started to become very high school like, drama and cliques and everything I worked to get away from but working as much as I did I adapted to it. All of my new friends from work made me question a lot, made me question who I was for the first time. I realized how different I was from them, how they all had defining qualities and I was nothing. I spoke when spoken to, I kept to myself, I didn’t have any hobbies or things I liked doing, all I had was Jordan.

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September

 

The beginning of my downfall was on the day of our four year anniversary. Jordan and I didn’t have the perfect relationship and I knew that but I expected something, I expected an acknowledgment that I didn’t get. He slept until I went to work that day; I didn’t get as much as a text. It was a hard day at work for me; I had teary eyes for a lot of the day because I finally had the realization that I had to get out of my dead end relationship. That night I was working with only Stephanie from our friend group, I didn’t say much given the circumstances but she just kept asking if I was okay. I tried to shrug it off and not talk about it, I didn’t want to be the victim, and I did not want the pity from people knowing what happens at home. Despite my efforts to dodge her, she was relentless. I could feel the words burning the inside of my throat, I felt the tears forming and my throat closing, I wanted to tell someone so bad, anyone. And her prying didn’t help me to keep to myself. After nearly the fifth time of her making sure I was okay, I let all of my thoughts go. I told her about him, about home, about life, about our neglected anniversary. Her response was something I didn’t know I needed, she didn’t even hesitate to grab me and hug me for what felt like forever.

 After that moment I immediately took to Stephanie, more than I did to Abigail. I never knew I was missing out on someone like her until I all of the sudden needed it. She became my strength; she was part of my motivation to right my wrongs and to start living for me. We talked every day although we didn’t always work the same shifts, and when we did work together we were inseparable. Eventually I started to feel okay opening up to more friends, the more stories I shared the more motivation I was given to walk away from my situation. Befriending Stephanie was something I never regretted, but unfortunately caused a lot of tension between Abigail and her. I never involved myself in much drama; I tried to stay far away because I didn’t want to be one of those girls. But it seemed at Panera the drama always found me. My new found friendship had pushed  Abigail to befriend Mack, which led to more time of her hanging around us, which I started to enjoy because we began to find out how not perfect she was.

After a few days off of work, I back tracked my progress and came back happy as ever with Jordan, We had gotten tattoos of our anniversary date, and some other new ones. All of my new work friends were speechless when they saw how lovey and put together Jordan and I were. I didn’t care what they thought at the time, they didn’t seem relevant to my life anymore, and I had Jordan. And in my eyes that was all I needed at the time. Though it only lasted a few days, I thought I was happy again, I thought I was wrong and the phase was over. And then he started picking fights with me about little things that didn’t matter. He would get mad when I talked to my friends, especially JC. Something about seeing me talk to him just really got under Jordan’s skin, for reasons I still don’t know.

After our fights, he’d go back to being the perfect boyfriend, doing everything and anything for me. Bringing me food to work at night, and milkshakes when I was upset because he knew they always cheered me up, coming home to clothes laid out and gifts and things that made me feel like he cared. Our relationship was not like others, when it was good it was really good, but when it was bad… the bad definitely outweighed the good, in the moment you fail to see that. I failed to see that for way too long. I was tired, emotionally, by this time. I had spent years chasing, and begging and crying and forgiving and I didn’t want to go through it anymore. I wanted to be like other couples, I wanted to be happy. And I never got to be with him.

We lasted about a week longer, one afternoon I came home from work and confronted him about talking to an ex behind my back, per usual I didn’t get a response, I only got yelled at. That was the typical Jordan thing to do, when he didn’t want to deal with me he’d yell, and sometimes just walk out without telling me if he’s coming home. I took the initiative to try to make things better, I even apologized for bringing it up but it wasn’t enough. He ignored me once again and told me he was going with all of his family to dinner, which would mean I’d be home all alone. I simply asked him if I could come too so I didn’t have to spend all night by myself, and that’s the question that ended our relationship for the last time.

He spent almost 20 minutes yelling at me and telling me how much he hates me now. He hit every one of my insecurities as he finally told me how he really felt. He made sure to tell me that no one will ever voluntarily spend time with me, and that I’m unlovable. And just to get one last dig in, he included that he’s been messing around with my friends behind my back. I still think about that conversation to this day, I still question all those things he burned into my brain. He broke me over and over again, every word he said shattered another piece of me until I was nothing and he was okay. He left me there alone that night, with my thoughts and his words.

I tried to make things better; I cried and begged even though I promised myself I wouldn’t. He started sleeping on the couch after he came home in the middle of the night smelling like perfume I didn’t own. I knew he was with other girls, I knew that he could hear my sobs from the other room, but he didn’t care. That was the first time that I realized that he just did not care about me. But that realization ignited a flame inside of me, I remember lying in bed and asking myself how I got here. Why I was embarrassing myself like this for a man to love me, why couldn’t I love myself more? Why did I need him to make me feel complete? I didn’t. And with my new mentality, everything went downhill from there.

It took me two nights to realize my worth, the next morning I woke up with dry eyes and a gaping hole inside my chest where my heart used to be. I decided not to acknowledge him anymore; I went on with my day with a checklist of things I needed to do to move on. My main focus was moving out, and building myself a support system. I went into work that day with a smile on my face, whether it was fake or not, I had to be okay. The first interaction I had that day was with my favorite supervisor, Cristie Jo, and the dreaded question… are you okay? No I wasn’t, but I assured her I was. I remember her grabbing me and hugging me, and telling me how strong I was, how proud she was of me. I choked down my tears, like I had to do many times that day.


© Copyright 2018 M.C. All rights reserved.

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