I’ve heard that toxic relationships are pretty easy to spot.
I’ve even spent time attempting to pull others out of toxic relationships before.
I considered myself somewhat of an ~expert~
Because I’ve had my fair share of gorgeous flowers tempting me, only to reveal themselves as dandelions later on.
I swore that I would never let it happen to me ever again.
But you strolled into my life with confidence and humor.
You changed everything.
I’ve fallen in love before, sure.
But it’s never cut me so deeply and fooled me so brilliantly that it left me feeling like an object.
Like I was nothing except a loser at the end of long, exhausting, impossible game.
I still remember when I realized that we were soulmates.
We spent that summer completely enamored with each other.
Sneaking into private pools.
Exploring every part of this earth we could just for the danger and the stories we’d have by the end of the expedition.
I watched you, wide eyed.
Still holding on to some sort of innocence.
I’m not sure I can even remember what innocence feels like anymore.
My obsession bloomed that summer, years ago.
And you recognized that you had me.
All of me.
As long as I loved you more than I loved myself,
You owned me.
I spent the next few years becoming gradually, painfully numb while you flitted around from one girl to the next, back to the first girl, on to another, etc.
And I sat in your room.
Watched you fall apart repeatedly while hating every inch of your life.
And I gave you pieces of happiness.
Every single day, I gave you another piece of my optimism,
I couldn’t bear to watch you deteriorate because others had drained you of all those things.
I gave you every good piece of me I had.
Until I looked at myself in the mirror one day
And I didn’t recognize myself.
There was nothing good left about me.
Just a shell of a human being who became drained and manipulative.
I saw you.
I began to distance myself from this overwhelming love that I had developed for you.
I attempted to fall in love a time or two.
And even succeeded once.
But as soon as you saw me rebuilding my life,
You came crashing in like a wild animal.
Burning down all the progress I had made.
And no one was willing to stay with someone whose heart was already spoken for.
I get it.
But even then, I couldn’t stay away from you.
My limit had not yet been reached.
Everyone sat me down.
And begged me to let go and to just finally move on.
Because what kind of person would give up on love?
I am not someone who just walks away from a relationship because of some particularly heavy baggage.
You were not a lost cause.
I told myself that repeatedly until one day when it all finally clicked.
Love does not mean that you are that person’s savior.
It doesn’t mean that you need to be that person’s only reason to live.
That kind of pressure is unfathomable.
And it ends of destroying both people.
I realized that this love that I had developed and nurtured was not going to just fade over time.
It was a dangerous, terrifying love that needed to be buried alive.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Refused to look back.
Refused to give in to every impulse I had to protect you.
I see it all so much clearer now that I’ve walked farther and farther out of the smoke.
You can’t save someone else; they can only save themselves.
They can’t change for you.
It may be romantic and cinematic, but life just doesn’t work like that.
People can only change if they want to.
And you just have to keep moving forward.
Keep walking until you see clearer skies and recognize yourself in the mirror again.
I may have loved you,
But now I have to love myself just a little bit more.
Facebook – Becca Tremmel
Instagram – @littlelionbecca
Twitter – @littlelionbecca