This is an article - a thank you - to every man that has ever had the nerve to give me less than the love that I deserve.
Out of the men that I’ve dated and the men that have broke me, I have generalized, separated and labeled you all into three groups.
The thieves are the men that stole everything that I had ever known about myself. They bent the light so that I saw nothing but tunnel vision. It was like I had to ask permission to speak, like I had to look into their eyes for validation that I was still alive. Their soft hands knew their way around my curves, around my mind, around my soul. They molded me into whatever they needed me to be: a caregiver, a listener, a punching bag. Before I knew it, these men made me into a shapeshifter. I couldn’t bare looking into the mirror, I lost any ambition to do for myself because I was too busy doing whatever that man needed from me. I was a sad, broken little girl pining for love and hoping to find it in a man’s shaky, dirty palms.
You thieves are the men that stole a piece of me that I will never get back. You all took advantage of an already beaten down girl and you lead me to believe I needed to be needed in order to survive.
Thank you. Thank you for taking that piece of me with you, thank you for walking away and never looking back. That phase in my life was to learn to love myself and to put my heart in steady hands. You men are the reasons for my locked gates, my stone walls. You hardened me. You made me smarter; you taught me that love should not have to be begged for and more importantly, you taught me how to let go.
My heart still aches for some of the men in this category. After I learned to love myself back to life, I was convinced I could do the same for others. I searched for boys with heartache in their eyes and scars on their hands; boys who loved setting fire to themselves and watching everything around them burn. I thought that maybe if I could show them the healing traits of love that they had missed out on before, they might get to skip the part where they lose themselves in the fire like I did. I tried to make them open their eyes to see a girl like me didn’t want to take anything from them but wanted to give them something.
These are men that I gave and gave and gave for. Although I was a newly established woman and I knew how to stand my ground, I still wanted to give too much. I wanted to love these strong, cold men until they were soft again. I wanted to see the way their minds ticked and I wanted them to let me fix them. I wanted to trace their scars and hold them during the nightmares but men like this don’t want to be held. They don’t want to be loved. They want to suffer and I had a hell of a time learning that.
So thank you to my broken beauties. Thank you for showing me that although I can take care of myself, there is only so much I can give before I am out of fuel and your fires stop burning. You all taught me that there is a time to love but also a time to walk away. Some of you left me with shards of glass in my arms and blood stains on my favorite t-shirts from trying so hard to put your pieces back together.
I learned that sometimes, they are simply just not my mistakes to fix.
The warriors, ironically, are the men that have softened me. They know what blood looks like on their hands and they never wanted it on their hands again. These are the men that held me tightly in moments of darkness, loved me softly in moments of chaos and tried their damn hardest to brush every worry out of my twisted mind. The men that met me after I had been burned, after I had pieces of me stolen. The men who saw my suitcase packed by his bedside and noticed how quickly I laced my shoes when the morning light hit the bedsheets. These are the men that had fought battles of their own for years and had tried to learn the same lessons that I was also trying to learn. The men who were wholehearted, honest, anything and everything that I could have ever wanted.
The issue with the warriors is their PTSD always got the best of them. The ghosts of their pasts would wake them in the middle of the night, steal their peace and replace it with doubt. These men are the ones that were trying so hard to escape battle but forgot to fight off the demons in their heads, too.
These men made me love again. I forgot what it was like to lay in arms and not be terrified. I forgot what it was like to see someone just as they are; someone that only expected me to simply be. If only they would have let me fight beside them against their heartache instead of fighting against me, maybe one of them would have stuck. But then again, I wouldn’t have learned anything.
Thank you to my warriors for showing me I’m not the only one with trust issues and secret scars. Thank you for showing me that I don’t always have to be running or giving or thinking or planning. Thank you for just letting me be.
Heartache has no mercy. Only time will heal wounds and only pain will make you learn. But I hope at the end of the day you realize how much you deserve. You realize your wrongs, your bad habits and you fix them to your best abilities. Suffering isn’t something we can ever truly get away from. We are always fighting, always trying to make it through despite the ache in our chest and despite how hard it gets to breathe sometimes.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I deserve full love.
Not one way street love, not selfish love, not brainwashing or heartbreaking love. I don’t deserve love that leaves bruises or anxiety attacks.
I deserve a love that makes up for every heartache I have experienced for trusting too much and loving too hard.
And so do you.