Sunday, November 15, 2009

See, I'm All About Them Words

[Note: I have to say that even though this blog is called The Verbal Filter, I normally do hold back a teeny bit. There are things that I don't always want on the Internet. However, I've decided that if I want to be a true writer, I have to accept the vulnerability that comes with putting my thoughts and feelings and experiences down for anyone and everyone to read. I'm taking a cue from my favorite quote and running with it: "If we had to say what writing is, we would define it essentially as an act of courage." -Cynthia Ozick]

Do you know what hurts the most about a breakup (or even the end of an unofficial relationship)? It’s not losing that person or having an empty bed again or even wishing you hadn’t wasted X amount of time with him. It’s not having to go back to being lonely and dreading the whole dating process again and getting slightly bitter when you see a million happy couples everytime you leave the house. As much as all of these things sting, the worst part is knowing that you can never have back everything you told him. Unlike the basketball shorts he left at your place or the toothbrush you left at his, you can’t ask for your secrets back. You can’t demand that he forget all of your vulnerabilities and all of your little habits that one only sees when it’s just you and him. You can’t get those back, and that’s the scariest part.

Sure, you still possess your quirks and the little mysteries it took a while for him to solve, and maybe the next person will learn these too, but the fact that someone else still has them, well that makes you sick to your stomach. It’s not just that he knows about your affinity for really terrible pop music or that you were the world’s most awkward kid or that you can be slightly OCD. Those are the things that endear you to friends and family, and that you know someone somewhere down the line will love you for as well. Those are not the things that take an enormous amount of courage to lay out there for judgment.

These things – the terrifying things – are those that you might tell the next person, in a moment of trust, about a darker time in your life you really don’t like to revisit. Or those confessions about yourself that only come out after you take a deep breath, because you worry they could snap the relationship right in two. But the last guy, and the one before him, and maybe even the one before that has all of that information too. And it’s annoying and frustrating and downright agonizing because he’s not using it, but he has it, tucked away on a shelf. And you realize that maybe that confession to him was the thing that did break whatever you had. Yet he’s still keeping it, like the gift he got for Christmas that he never really wanted, but is too selfish to give away to someone who might really appreciate it.

Words are the worst to lose, because once you let them loose, you can never fully get them back. Because you can’t touch them, and you can’t see them, but more than any of the tangible things that come with a relationship, you can feel them. Right where it hurts the most.


chandra said...

110% agree. I had those feelings after my last "break-up". I actually shared a secret with him that very few people in my life know, and I wish I could take it back. I wish he'd somehow forget what I told him. But now he knows and I can't take that back. I just pray he can keep the secret.

PS - happy to see a post from you again. :)

Step It Up with Steph said...

SO TRUE!!!!!!! I STILL think, "How dare he have all those secrets about me!" But then I try not to regret it, because in the moment that you shared a secret, you truly wanted to share it (or else you wouldn't have). So at least you felt OK about it at one point (at the time!) WRITE MORE PLEASE!!! love your writing.