When Fire Only Gives You Light

Sometimes I have to touch my pain to see if it’s still there. It’s a benchmark for me. How strong am I? Am I over this now? Will my fingertips burn if I hold them in the fire again?

XXX

I didn’t want to give him my words. I didn’t want to release the power of my thoughts to him. So I offered a year and a half of silence. I slept in mystery. But then for no reason or for all the reasons, I requested answers. In a broken silence e-mail, I asked why he had ruined my love for him, ruined me. Why in the face of my honest vulnerability he responded in lies and infidelity.

I felt the relief in his response. He’d been long ready to have this conversation. A few days and a phone call followed. Anxiety hung out with me in the moments between deciding to be open and the place where openness was practiced.

Then I heard his voice. My heart didn’t implode and my gut didn’t drop in the way it had been doing anytime a memory of him surfaced. Instead my heart pulsed in a shadow memory of our love. I pushed through the lapse and into the pain: “what happened?”

In the next hour he apologized for his weakness, his selfishness, and thanked me for my solid foundation of love and soul-exposure. I laughed, I cried, I talked, I listened.

I woke up feeling lighter. I didn’t know this weight of betrayal had been living on my chest. I thought this person I once loved didn’t deserve to know how he broke me, but only now do I see that it wasn’t about him, it was about me. I needed to release the hatred. And I did. I don’t hate him anymore. And I don’t hate myself for falling in love with someone who couldn’t love me enough to push into our relationship.

I can let the past be that.

XXX

I still think it’s healthy to check my pain tolerance. I know I’m stronger now. I know I won’t love someone solely for who they are, but also for the ways they treat me. And I’m over this, in the way that history is relevant and irreverent in the same time.

Most importantly, I touched the fire. It didn’t hurt; I had built up enough callused skin, scared from love lost, but healed in hope returned.

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