When you realize that someone doesn’t love you, your first reaction should not be anger, although it often is. It’s an understandable and expected response. You’re suffering a loss that you never really gained—the absence of whispers, defining moments, and lifelines that could have been.

Recently, I’ve learned to buckle down what I refer to as The Upset; I strap it down until I’ve figured out its new shape and how heavy it might be during this go around. I envision The Upset as a sulky disheveled monster, born and amassed from the salt and iron in my veins. The Upset is the part of me that I can’t predict and frankly, shouldn’t have to. It is as exhausting as it is transformative. It is all encompassing. And I strap that unruly bitch down because I don’t want it tethered to any part of me. I don’t want hulking rocks in my shoes to make each step away from you harder than it should. And in spite of my resolve, the quickness in my stride, it’s still a struggle.


A pictorial of what I envision to be “The Upset.” The artist, my friend, calls the piece her emotional diarrhea. A beast by many names.

After all these years, the struggle of knowing you and wanting you has left me undefined. I’m amorphous, floating towards the pull of your words, even when they seem as hearty as hallowed-out anchors. And when I thought I got close enough to the sullied parts that you don’t want to me to see, I allowed you to call me young. I let you perceive me as too clean to have ever shed any rough parts of my skin. I allowed myself to be pushed away until I even lost that amorphousness. I became invisible mist. And if there must be some residual anger, if some of The Upset should escape the confines of that buckle, I should envelope those loose tendrils. I should focus within and begrudgingly accept that I let you do it to me. I gave you this agency and left no parts for myself.

I’ll admit it. I’m a veritable fool.

In my own naiveté, I let myself settle for the silly idea of you. As if that idea, shaped from empty words, actually amounted to anything significant. As if the idea of you were created out of bones instead of whispers from your loins. As if the idea of you and its baggage had any bearing on my freewill. Could there be anything more dangerous than accepting something that’s lesser than what you deserve?

When someone doesn’t love the current you, and you realize that there isn’t anything that your current self can do about it, see it as a goddamn triumph. Dance the way you’ve always wanted to, but didn’t quite have the gravitas to execute each move. Dance, because at long last, your road is without blocks for emotional evolution. And when the music grows quiet, when you think that you might nearly choke on the weight of your own grief, hold these fully-formed words to be true:

Anticipate that it is only an end, but not the end. It is never the end of you.


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