you could never see
the floor in my room
so covered
with filth and possibilities

i was a list maker
drunk on ideas
he was a shell of a man
drunk literally, nightly…
lost well before i begged him
to never leave me

one night he carried me
over the piles of paper
empty cans and trash sticky
and told me
what i had been waiting for
since he first pressed
his lips on me

he told me
he loved me

i remember finding myself in the quiver
i remember thinking finally
and wanting to say it too
as lovers in the movies do
but i froze
the intimacy too much for me
i pulled away
quite literally
i remember pushing his body off of mine
and i remember him looking at me
a pain so real
it felt as though
someone was cutting me

i just couldn’t go there
i felt myself choking
a not unfamiliar feeling
for a girl with full time bulimia
and i could hear myself wailing
from somewhere far away
shrieking through the sobs
i love you too
i do, i love you too
from very farthest corners
of my guarded psyche
but all i could do was mutter
as we curled up to sleep
trying to pretend
it didn’t happen

his resentment
became my drug of choice
and i spent the next many months
trying to make up for all the ways
the broken parts of me
kept hurting
those closest to me

but some things
we simply cannot come back from
some things
we cannot undo
or at least the effort required to do so
is better spent elsewhere
on the things that want changing
because it’s true
you cannot do the work
for anyone but you
and no matter how much
i was willing to live an apology
he was not interested in forgiving

i have always been one to drag things out
berating myself to a pulp
for all the ways good turns bad
for all the ways love leaves
and seems so conditional with me

you see i thought punishment
was the only reasonable response
to mistake making
a necessary part of the process
requisite for forgiveness
essential for future error prevention

as if me punishing me
was the very most right thing to do
making me at least honorable and good

what i didn’t know
was all the ways
i was abusing myself
were only having me
more distant
less available
harsher and harder
undeniably unable
to love much of anything
let alone anyone

it took it getting so extreme
they told me dying early
was a high probability
for me to snap out
of the cycle enough to see
it wasn’t working
it wasn’t wonderfully noble
radically right
but rather it was
rather selfish
yes selfish
and ineffective
at getting me
where i wanted to be
or how i wanted to be
which in this case
was more loving
capable of intimacy
able to say
i love you
yes i do
love you too

we can get quite obsessed
with our make believes
i know i do
we are justifying machines
building worlds on stories
we could never prove true

and i am not saying
there is never
a time or place for punishment
i am just saying
that at least for me
punishing myself
was just yet another way
of avoiding intimacy
while having myself
not feel guilty
i felt bad
and was trying to be good
i mean look
look at me torturing me

i took self loathing
to an extreme

which is actually maybe
the very most
not loving thing
we can do

❤️ emily joy rosen

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