"I've dealt with that kind of person before, and you don't want to be that way," I told him.
"Yet you still keep going back," he replied.
My mind is split between knowing I deserve better and still yearning for what I want, grasping at anything that will help me avoid this loneliness. But deep down, truly, I know I should've left you before any of this started.
I should've left you when I forgot what I needed to give you everything I had, everything you wanted, when you wanted it. I couldn't decipher what I truly wanted from what I was willing to give, but I shouldn't have had to deal with that fight in my head. So much has been stolen from me already -- my body, my emotional labor -- how am I supposed to know what's truly mine anymore?
I should've left you when you stepped in front of the sun and created a shadow. When I realized how you towered over me, in stature, in vocal level, in strength of opinion, in needing to be right. I should've left you when the sound of vultures swarming around us woke me up like a bird's morning chirping but sounded more like a dying animal than a baby bird's birth.
I should've left you when I tried to gingerly tell you my secrets and you shut your eyes and ears, hanging padlocks like earrings, sliding glue along your eyelashes.
I should've left you when they told me to. When they told me who you were behind closed doors. Who you were both when I was and wasn't looking. When they asked me over and over again why I still talk to you. When your lips covered mine, inhibiting me from speaking. When I heard war erupting from your voice, spilling over onto my lap, scratching at my ears. My nose is filled with the smoke of your angry words slipping in between crevices in your room, in spaces we shared.
I should've left you when your anger turned into exclamations and screams that triggered old memories of fear. I'm reminding myself every day that if he or she scares you, that relationship isn't healthy, and that we are worth our health.
I should've left you when our relationship was more unhealthy than healthy, when I felt like nothing more than something, when my friend told me that someone who truly respected me wouldn't treat me that way. And I should've left you when you cared for someone else more than me, and I was standing right in front of you, crying.
I am the voices of hundreds of girls hanging like forgotten keys on the hook by the door. I let you in. I try not to blame myself for doing so. I pick up the keys this time; I unlock the door on my way out. My feet catch on the Welcome mat but even my tripping directs me forwards.
Leaving you means going back to when I was a young, new girl, a budding flower. Before they screamed when I cried. Before I felt someone else's hands on me. Before I felt fear or discomfort or disgust or depression. Before it happened over and over again. Before so much was lost.
But lose you and remember my worth. Lose you and find someone who treats me like a person should be treated. Losing isn't always what's screwed me over. And depending on the relationship, losing doesn't have to mean an utter, final loss. It's saying no, standing up for myself, not spending too much time with you, not staying when you hurt me.
"Raise your hopeful voice / you have a choice / you'll make it now... You have suffered enough / and warred with yourself / it's time that you won." -Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Falling Slowly