I remember you would always tell me to open up. I guess a part of me always wanted to, but I was afraid of what would happen. I was afraid of being hurt, I guess, as cliché as that may seem. You told me I could trust you. You told me you would never hurt me, that no matter what, you would always accept me as I am.
I was always afraid being hated. For as long as I can remember, I would always have that fear, though I never really realized what it was exactly that I was afraid of. I just knew I was afraid of something, and that something controlled me, in a sense. Afraid to be judged, I would pretend to be someone else. I would keep my true self in my heart, where it was safe, so that if anyone hated me, they hated who I seemed to be and not who I was.
But still, underneath it all, I needed…someone; someone who could know me for who I was. I hated how I felt I needed to hide myself from the world. I wanted to take off that goddamn mask, at least for one person. I didn’t want everyone to remember me for something I wasn’t.
I remember you told me I could trust you with myself, my true self, and, me being a gullible and desperate soul, I trusted you. I told you things I never told anyone else. I told you about me fears, my insecurities, the very things I was so ashamed of and yet made up who I was.
I told you about all those things that happened before, those horrid memories I wish I could just wash from my mind. To anyone else, I’m sure they wouldn’t mean all that much, but to me, they were stark reminders of my inadequacies. You, however, were a little different from everyone else. It seemed as if you understood, and it made me feel that much better about myself. I don’t think you were ever aware of just how happy you made me. You had my heart in your hands, and you didn’t even realize it.
I told you about how, when I was little, I didn’t really have any friends. I was weird, but in my childish ignorance, I embraced it. Ignorance is bliss, right? I considered everyone to be my friend, but I never expected anything from them. They always made it seem like asking for anything was asking too much. But I was a happy child back then, and I didn’t care how anyone treated me. I was convinced that as long as I did what I could to make other people happy, things would pay off, somehow.
In return, I was avoided, laughed at, mocked, and, for the majority of middle school, ignored. I could never really get a word edgewise, and yet people I hardly knew would come to me for solace, as apparently, I was one of the few people who were willing to listen to other peoples’ problems without cutting them off in favor of me telling them about my own problems.
I was later convinced that I was destined to be unhappy, almost. That it was my ‘purpose in life’ to help others achieve happiness, that I was meant to sacrifice myself for the well-being of others. I believed that in a perfect society, all people would sacrifice their own happiness for that of others, and so everyone would give and everyone would get. I gave and gave and gave as much as I could until I couldn’t bear it, hoping that in the end, I would get something. I told myself I was doing the right thing…and even now, I think I was. It was the right thing, but it was also foolish and irrational.
Once I hit high school, I was confused as to what the hell I was doing with my life. I managed to force out a wry smile whenever the need arose, but I couldn’t handle it much longer. And so, I sought my own happiness.
I had always accepted everyone as well as I could, flaws and all. Even if I couldn’t bear the sight of someone, I made sure not to show it. I would never blame it on them, but a fault in myself. That’s just how I saw things. If everyone blamed themselves and forgave others, with no one to take advantage, I’m sure the world would be a little happier.
I realized that what I really wanted was someone to accept me. That was it. And if they could love me, too, I would be doubly grateful. And so, I told you everything, so blissfully convinced that you were that very one I needed.
For a while everything was magnificent. One day, you told me you loved me and it was then I realized: I loved you, too. You were everything I could possibly ask for then. I looked past every single flaw; in fact, I loved you for them. I loved you for every bit of yourself. Every aspect, every perfection, every fault, was just another thing about you for me to love. I trusted that you loved me for myself and so I made sure that I loved you for yourself, as well.
But…I don’t know, something happened. One day, you just stopped talking to me. I though it was because you were stressed out about school and band and work and balancing it all, so I kept my distance. I tried to give you some space. Every day that passed with no words exchanged, no glances, no smiles, was seemingly endless and wrought with pain. I was lonely, quite frankly. After a while, I couldn’t take it. I tried to talk to you without being too open or bothersome. I would wait outside the band room after school and wait for you to come out. I would smile and wave and it would seem as if you didn’t see. Well, at least that’s what I told myself.
I was perplexed. I thought I did something wrong. I feared that I was being too clingy and that you were trying to distance yourself from me. I tried to suppress it for as long as I possibly could, but eventually, I came to a sad but conclusive thought. I believed that my clinginess, my need to know that I’m loved, my predisposition to love with everything I had, was an integral part of who I was. At first I tried to change it, but then I believe that if you couldn’t love me with all of those little flaws, then you couldn’t love me for who I was.
I would have told you this revelation if you had bothered to hear. I would have told you today, even, if you hadn’t been so quick to walk away. I would have followed, but I knew that would be pointless.
That’s not to say that I’ve given up on you. You may have lost my trust, but I’m rather forgiving. I would probably give it back if you bothered to earn it. I guess I still love you despite everything. It’s just that, if you won’t have me for who I am, in my entirety, then you can’t have me at all.