You could have quit. You could have left. You could have argued your point, some more. You could have reacted differently. You could have been more understanding. More forgiving. More blind. More stupid. More in denial.
You could have fought “fire” with “fire”.
You could have been the same disrespectful. You could have done the same hurt. Told the same lies. Played the same games. Embarrassed them the same way. Made them look the same kind of fool. And worse.
But you didn’t do any of that.
You just stayed until you were READY to go.
You stayed until you had all the information your heart needed to be all the way broken. Irreparable for them. You stayed until your mind was all the way made up. Inaccessible to their manipulation. You stayed until your eyes saw fully and clear a truth that you have long been in denial about. Impossible to deny.
You stayed until all of the tears were cried. All the tears of forgiveness and pity and compassion and stupidity. All the tears of a particular hurt, a specific pain, a distinct timeline of events. A personal and private, maybe even secret, history of words and ways that you’ve had to suffer through.
With your chin up. Your head high. Your game face on. Your pride and potential being trampled and tried beyond abuse. Your name being distorted and dirtied against your dignity.
While simultaneously being the butt of the jokes. Being the words under the whispers. Being the destination of the pointed fingers.
You’ve been that.
And you still tried. Tried to reduce yourself to whatever amount of flexible you hoped would be enough for them to see that you’d do whatever. See that you’ve done whatever. See that you’ve let the unimaginable go. That you’ve stayed through the most horrible and hurtful of offenses. See that you’ve still cared. Stayed while being uncared for. Stayed while being uncared about. Stayed while being left, and ignored, and unconsidered, and dismissed, and denied.
You stayed the whole time. Present and aware. Trying to fix a broken that you had nothing to do with. Attempting to cover a hole much bigger than you were ever capable of. Trying to change a long made up mind.
Because you had hope. And of course love. And fear. Your fear was that deep inside they were feeling a pain that only you recognized. A pain that you had identified, and that your love, your trust, your understanding, your support, your dedication, your determination, and of course, your denial, could fix.
And you tried.
Until you couldn’t try anymore.
Until you couldn’t do anymore.
Until you couldn’t stay any longer.
You didn’t quit. You’re not wrong. This is not on you. There is no blame.
It’s okay to leave.
Surprise, you’re crying again.
But, it’s good to cry these tears. Tears of joy. That all of that didn’t break you. That all of that didn’t destroy you. That all of that didn’t end you. It’s okay to cry these tears. These are tears of profound revelation and respect, for yourself. It’s okay to cry now. Now that you know better. These are tears that will wash away the spit on your face.
Let these tears wash away the caked up disrespect and disregard. Let them dilute the concentration of hate and hurt that had long been aimed and assaulted upon you. Let these tears clear the blockage(s) that you had to create to protect yourself, to shield you from being so vulnerable. Over time you developed a hardened layer of emotion that allowed you to put up with more, for far less reasons or benefits than you did before.
Cry these tears.
These are tears of freedom.
These tears are going to heal you.
You used to think that because you were crying you were still in love. Or that you still cared. Or that you still wanted to be there.
That’s not what these tears mean.
These tears mean that you are still human. You still have feelings. There is still room to grow. And be better. And that you have the capacity to try, again.
After you take care of you.
It’s time to take care of you.