Write about a time that you broke: A heart.

I know it’s been a while, but I’m getting back into the routine of writing every day. I always turn to this book for inspiration to get started.

I quickly did all of these smaller prompts until I reached this one that struck a nerve – Write about the time that you broke: A heart.

My first inclination was to run from this, and just go make a smoothie, go to the gym, and get on with my day. It’s pouring outside here in Boston, so it seems the universe had other plans for me – to catch myself in avoidance, and go to the place that’s the most real, even/especially if it’s the most difficult.

So here is my response to this prompt:

I was sitting at a restaurant across the table from Brett (not his real name, obviously) and I was about to tell him that I wasn’t coming back.

We had been on and off for years. I had the power in this situation, although I didn’t know it. Obviously any situation where you feel like you need to have the upper hand over the other person isn’t the best one for you. I definitely did the right thing. But I’m not sure I did it for the right reasons. Which is probably why it continued to have a hold on me long after this day.

We were pretty young, so the whole thing was mostly this dramatic cycle of inexperience and low self-esteem. But there was also an unconditional love and acceptance that I would come to learn wasn’t easy to find.

So I was very attached, even though I had been living in another state. I’d just lost my job and I had the opportunity to come home for good – and, though no one spoke about it even though everyone was thinking it – be with him.

I didn’t choose that option because I knew the type of life my parents had envisioned for me, and I felt the heavy weight of their expectations. Was that a good thing? Not always. It’s hard to confront the reality that your parents aren’t perfect, and at 23 I was far from ready.

So I didn’t think about it in that way or have any resentment towards them. (I still don’t, this did work out for the best). The thing is that I didn’t have the self-worth to have those high expectations of myself. And I loved them so much, I didn’t want to let them down.

I suppose I loved my parents just a little more than I loved Brett, and at the end of the day, that’s what won out.

I think he also felt that he would never be good enough in their eyes, and eventually mine too. He was right. I didn’t see it; I only saw what I wanted to see.

Brett never spoke of any of this. When I told him I wasn’t coming back, all he said was “well that’s the best thing for you”.

But his face said so many other, different things. I sat there and watched his heart break. I cried for hours after I got home, but all I was thinking of was myself. Maybe it would have been too painful to consider what I had done, or maybe I was just selfish.

I’m thankful I eventually found that self-worth. But that was a sad day. And I know Brett sometimes reads these, so I hope you know I’m sorry.

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