It was a typical Thursday night and I was at the gym; my friend wanted to teach me how to lift. After my crazy stressful week, I thought it might be fun and a great stress reliever. Halfway through my workout, I go over to my water bottle and stop dead in my tracks.
I see you.
I see you there, laughing with your friends. Minding your own business, going about your day. We lock eyes and you scurry the other way, probably reminding yourself that “you did nothing wrong” and that I’m just a “liar.” And while you scurry off the other way, I’m left there staring blankly.
Numb, completely numb, taking a minute to process everything yet nothing, all at once.
I turn to my friend, tell him I have to go to the bathroom, I hurry off to the locker room and fall on the bench. And all I can think is, “I came here to get away. I came here to take my mind off of everything. I came here to breathe, to escape my troubles. Yet, here you are. My biggest struggle, my biggest problem.”
Why is it that you have this power over me? You took my power that night and every time I feel like I have gained it back, finally gotten my strength back, I see you. I see you just going about your life like nothing ever happened, and then I’m reminded of who holds the true power. You. Because even after nearly a year, you still hold that power and you hold it over my head like a medal, even if you don’t mean to, even if you don’t realize it.
I swear, every week, I tell myself that you don’t get to win anymore, that I’ve finally won, and I’ve finally moved on. Yet, when I lock eyes with you, I forget all that. It’s like the first day after, all over again. It’s a losing battle.
I sat for half of my workout in that bathroom crying. Feeling defeated in a place where you’re supposed to feel your best.
You won. Again.
But why is it? Why do you get this power? Why do you get to go about your day acting as if nothing happened? Why do I have to feel like the disgusting one? Why do I have to feel all the emotions? Why do I have to feel like the monster?
You did this. You did this to me, and you see nothing wrong.
Now every time I go to the gym, I manage to see your face. And every time I see your face, I have to take a few minutes to rest, to catch my thoughts, to catch my breath, to focus on staying alive for that minute when I feel like I’m going to die.
You put my life on pause every time I see you. Is this what you wanted? Is this what your 15 minutes of fun was for?
You got you 15 minutes of fun, and I got a lifetime of hurt. I hope it was worth it.