Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.

You’ve been in my dreams again. I’ve been trying to figure out why you’re popping up again. In my dreams, I’m always frustrated with you. We aren’t together in my dreams, the relationship has ended, sometime ago. My dreams are an accurate reflection of the reality of what happened…

You were in love with me, not him. You wanted to be with me, not him.

You picked him, not me. You were afraid you would lose your children and your parents if you left him for me, so you stayed. 

You staying was something I always understood, it hurt like hell, but I understood. What killed me the most was when you began to deny and lie about your feelings. What killed me the most was when you told me you were in love with me, that your heart belonged to me, then within days you changed your story and said you were in love with him. We both knew that wasn’t true, being in love doesn’t work like that, but you insisted it was. It was part of your “fake it til you make it” plan. I’m not sure that plan is supposed to apply to denying who we truly are to fake being who others want us to be. That fact that this is the route you chose, to deny a part of yourself to please others, it makes me very sad for you.

In my dreams this is always what plays out. You denying your true feelings. I’m left feeling abandoned in this thing we were in together. I have no where to go, no one to talk to. I’m alone, left feeling unworthy of your truth; left feeling like I’m not good enough; left feeling like what I’m going through no longer matters to you. Yet all the while you want me to remain your friend, not just your friend, but your best friend.

It’s crazy how some dreams can be such an accurate depiction of reality, while other dreams have no sort of resemblance to reality at all. My dreams of you are always so accurate, the ignite such real emotion, emotions I’d hope I’d never feel again. I wake up feeling what I was feeling in my dream.

This morning, I tried something different when I woke from this dream. I place one hand over my heart and the other over my belly button. I laid there for a moment, connecting my heart, soul, and mind. Then I brought myself to the images of my dream, the emotions I felt, and I reflected on them while I was completely connected. This is what I discovered…

My self worth was never dependent on whether or not you were in love with me or whether or not you were honest about it. My feeling good enough was never a matter of what you decided. Whether I am lovable or not has absolutely nothing to do with the love you have or don’t have for me.

Note: I also need to point out that I do not blame you for how I felt in response to your choices. This is not about blame, this is about my own self realization. 

Right this moment I was thinking about how long ago it was when I met you and then it hit me like a ton of bricks, why I’ve been dreaming about you again. It’s been 8 years this month. I don’t think it took us much more than a year of knowing each other before we began our affair. My world hasn’t been the same since the moment I realized you felt more for me than just friendship. I can still remember that moment like it was yesterday.

You asked me for something (it a little yellow piece that locks a key-switch in place). You were walking behind where I was sitting. I handed it to you over my shoulder. When you took it, you took my fingers in your hand, held them for longer than necessary, and squeezed them, just enough to let me know. I turned and looked at you, our eyes met, neither of us spoke a word, we just smiled. I think it was that night we talked on the phone for what seemed like hours, both confused, unsure of what we were doing, both knowing this isn’t something we should move forward with. That next morning you walked up to me with intent and without hesitation and you kissed me. I froze, I was frozen in place like a fool. When it was over I was disappointed that I froze. If that was my only chance at kissing you, I had blown it. Somehow the next day I found the courage to do exactly what you did. I walked up to you with intent and without hesitation and I kissed you. That kiss, with both of us engaged, that kiss changed us both forever. 

But I digress.

My take away from reflecting on my dream this morning is that I am the one who determines my own self-worth, if I’m good enough, and if I’m lovable. These are things that should NEVER be dependent on someone else. That is way too much power to give another person. These are beliefs I get to keep about myself.

Our relationship shattered me. It’s taken me 4 years to get to where I am now and I’m still picking up pieces. But it has also taught me a lot about myself over the years. It also lead me to some very wonderful people, that I likely would not have met had it not been for how broken I was.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.

-Mary Oliver





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