When I was in my mid to late twenties, I had a friend who I spent a great deal of time talking about the world with. He used to tell me that his parents weren’t really his parents, they were just people whose custody he was put into at birth.
He had his own issues with his family, and without going into too much detail, I will say it wasn’t what we believe that children are supposed to grow up with.
I spent a lot of years being angry at the people who were in my life one day and then suddenly not the next day. When we love people, when we love the way they make us feel, we want more of them.
We want their time, their energy, their existence in our lives, and when they leave we comfort ourselves with platitudes about how they weren’t meant to be in our lives forever, and while that certainly may be true, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when we can’t see them or spend time with them anymore.
There have been a lot of people in my life who are angry at me for walking away, and many of them don’t understand that my decision had absolutely nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me.
It’s a selfish act to walk away from someone who wants you in their lives – because a lot of time we’re leaving so that we can survive the shit that we’re going through, and the people that we’re leaving behind may not understand what that means, or how terrible, scary, and dangerous, it can be for some of us.
Think of the wife leaving her children behind because her husband is beating her nightly before they go to bed, it’s awful for her to leave her children right? But what if the only way to save herself is to run as fast and as far as she can?
You can’t save anyone else if you can’t save yourself first, and any lifeguard, cop, or even fireman will tell you, that if you want to save someone else you HAVE to make your OWN safety your first priority, or you’ll both drown.
When I was in my 20s, I was drowning in trauma, but I honestly didn’t know it, I had no idea that the reason that I couldn’t function in the world the way other adults my age did, was because I was in a perpetual state of shock that I had not only been abused to the degrees that I had been, but also that I had survived all that shit.
I was very much like a girl who stood behind a glass wall while the entire world revolved around her as if she didn’t fully exist. I had friends, I had people to hang out and drink with, but we didn’t really know each other.
It was only after I made the decision to walk away that I was made aware of the resentments not for being a bitch or being mean, but because I had dared to walk away from so many people without really taking the time to say goodbye.
I don’t care.
I mean I am sorry you’re sad, and I appreciate that you miss me, there’s a small chance I miss you too, but to be honest with you, I really like having my freedom back.
I’ve never really had free will before, I’ve been brainwashed so much by abuse that for years I was doing everything that I was told to do, asking for permission when I shouldn’t have had to, from people who had absolutely no business giving me permission, I was not a fully conceptualized human being.
I was barely half a human being and anyone who took the chance to look closely knew it, but very few people did. For many people in my past life I was just something there, something to sit with, but ignore, something to intimidate, to abuse in as many ways as possible.
So to my mind, if you had wanted me to stick around then maybe you should have treated me better.
Not everyone who leaves another person is someone who was as abused and as traumatized as myself, sometimes their reasons for leaving are vastly different than mine, but in MY particular case, I was drowning and trying to be my own anchor at the same time that I was literally in some cases, trying to save everyone around me.
It took a lot, and I do mean, a LOT of people to pull me up before I was ready to answer all the questions that I had in my head, and a lot of answering questions before I decided that I simply just can NOT have anyone in my personal life right now.
I’ve been saying for years that I was ready to live without a man in my life, while simultaniously chasing men that were emotionally unavailable and slightly if not out rightly completely psychotic, I wasn’t looking for a person to have a partnership with, I was looking for someone to save me.
And yes, so was everyone else in my social circle, all of us were dealing with trauma, all of us were dealing with various experiences with abuse, shock, and awe, and we were drowning together in a lot of cases.
Some of us were loud, others were quiet, some of us were abusers, and others were perpetrators, but we made excuses for each other, because it was sooo much easier than trying to be alone, and I just got to the point that I couldn’t do it anymore.
I remember it precisely. I was in a strip club, staring at a transgender dancer, and I was really angry because this particular dancer was playing with their penis on stage – I wasn’t angry because they were playing with themselves on stage, cis-women dancers do that all the time.
I was angry because of the way my so-called friends were treating the dancer, and the truth was that I shouldn’t have been, and in many ways, wasn’t even surprised.
These were not people who were socially aware of a world outside the strip club. They weren’t involved in socioeconomic politics on the legal side of society, and they had no interest in fighting for human rights. These were people who were drowning in their own misery, and they inflicted that misery on soo many others around them. So did I.
From the time I was about nineteen, to the time I was about thirty-three, I really didn’t have friends who knew how to “do” life. Too many of the people in my life were forced to grow up too fast, either from trauma and abuse, or because they had children before their twenty-fifth birthday.
Kids were having babies in my social circle, before they were grown ass adults, and they were then expected to have all the answers to questions they hadn’t even be taught to ask.
I was changing the diapers of children that weren’t mine by the time I was twenty-four, for months on end, I was being called “mom” by children that weren’t mine, right after I’d miscarried my own child.
I was stepping up to help these young women raise their kids without fully realizing the effect that I was having on their lives, or vice versa, and I knew in many cases that if I stayed in these very toxic one sided relationships, I was going to drown.
And so I left, and now you’re angry at me for it.
Get over it.
If your excuse for being angry at me is “I’d rather you be dead then not have you in my life,” then that’s not love, and since I’m not interested in dying any time soon, I’m sorry you’re just going to have to get over the fact that I am not in your life anymore.
I don’t wish death on anyone from my past with the exception that I hope they aren’t drowning anymore. I hope they have found something to keep them going on days when they feel like they deserve to give up, I hope you have found love, and kindness, and hope.
I want for you for your dreams to come true, I want for your dreams of happiness and joy to surround you and lift you up so that you can become the wonderful person that I know you are, but I can’t save you, because yes as cliché as it is, I am literally trying to save myself.
If you resent me for that, too damned bad.
I am not going to apologize for saving my own life, and I am not going to apologize for choosing not to set myself on fire so that you or someone YOU love doesn’t die.
My life, my experience, and my joy might not matter to you, but they do matter to me, and I’m not going to be less of myself so that you can be happy with your mediocrity, I am just not doing it.
Great people want others to achieve greatness, they want others to feel greatness, they want others to feel happiness, they want others to feel joy, love, and excitement for life.
Great people do not tear others down and make them feel ashamed of living your best life. I know this because I’ve been a fan of some truly great people.
I am not sorry that you’re angry at me for leaving your life, I appreciate you, because your anger tells me that I matter to you and it’s nice to know that I matter to you especially since I never really understood how I COULD matter to another human being.
But that being said, if you love me really and truly, you’ll let me go without hatred in your heart and we’ll find each other again.
The abandonment issues you are dealing with have nothing to do with “me” and everything to do with the fact that you think I owe you my presence in your life. I don’t.
I know that sounds harsh but the truth sometimes does. You are not entitled to my existence, my life, my blood, my vagina, my heart, or my mind and soul. You are not entitled to own me just because you decide that you want to own someone, but you are entitled to express your displeasure that I refuse to be cowed by your resentments, anger, and hatred.
I don’t give a fuck if you hate me. I love me, and that keeps me warm at night. I hope it doesn’t bother you, but if it does I promise you the only one whose affected by that fact is you.
I won’t let toxic relationships into my life again, and if that means I never see you again then I am okay with that. I hope it means that we take this time a part to fix the holes in our hearts, so that we can have a stronger, more powerful, and healthier connection in the future, but I’ll never TRULY wish harm on the people of my past.
Y’all are the reason I am who I am today, and I really am happy with who I am becoming, that wouldn’t have happened without you. So I love you, but if this is goodbye forever, so mote it be.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall