Growing up with an alcoholic and abusive father I witnessed my mom try her best to ensure my sister and I were both safe and as happy as we could be in an emotionally unstable home. I saw her stick by my father’s side after countless losses in gambling, making her scramble to find money to pay our mortgage. I thought love was made up of disappointing apologies, and unwavering faith in someone. I was taught by witnessing a severe lack of boundaries exhibited by both my mother and my father. My mom is one of the kindest people I have met, she taught me what patience, kindness, and compassion was. However, these things without boundaries or limits are not healthy.
2020 started out as best as it could, I was surrounded by people who loved me, and I was healing from a breakup in 2019. A very special person entered my life, someone who has had a rough go at life just like me, someone who held his boundaries, someone who cared and liked me for who I was. At least I thought they did all of this. We did many things: to visiting the Keys, vacationing in Colorado, and I was finally able to experience a new type of vulnerability I had not let myself be. Into the summer months while I worked a draining 9 to 5 job in Downtown Tampa Bay, their life started to fall apart very quickly. As I witnessed a family who had taken him in, after they adopted him then ultimately abandoned, and kicked him out. I had a spare room, and spare room in my heart to endure the trials and tribulations to come with this traumatic event happening for the fourth time to him. As time went on, he drifted away from me, and we were not as close as we had been. Eventually, he went back to his home state to see his birth mom.
One of the many photos I took on my trip to the Florida Keys. Despite the abuse, trauma, and harm I experienced, I cherish the memories I made there.
After Christmas, it came to an end. He came and got his stuff then cut off contact. I had let myself become someone I am not. I let myself fall apart over someone who gave up my love. I did not think this would ever happen to me. I had not understood why my mom clung to my father’s side even after all the abuse and disappointments. Now I know why, I understand what it is like to not be able to look someone in the eye and cut them off after all you have been through with them. To look someone in the eyes, worry that they might end up in a bad place because of their decisions, and not cut the toxicity out. My empathy, compassion, and kindness were taken advantage of. I recognize my part in letting it happen, and I recognize how I was manipulated. I will heal, grow, and learn from this experience.
All the times with this person were not just bad, they were so many good moments which make the bad moments not seem as bad or malicious. The good moments help made the white lies seem less like lies, and more like things they just forgot about. That the toxic atmosphere our relationship generated was worth it because of the love we had for each other even though it was eating away at me, killing me.
With time, my wounds will heal completely, and I will have learned all the lessons I needed to from this experience. For now, I must hurt, cry, and let myself fall apart without having to worry about how someone else would feel. The best lesson I have learned out of this so far is the fact that when someone needs me, I show up wholeheartedly, I do not hold back because of my trauma or past relationships. My friends are some of the most patient, kind, and loving people I have had the opportunity to meet. They held me up through all of this and walked me through the fog while I had a sprained ankle. My sprain is healing, I can walk on my own again, but they are still there by my side.