I think we’re allowed to let the monsters die
and yeah, I know, it stung when you pried your limbs
from between its teeth – there are
bruises on your joints that still ache years later
might never stop
and you’ll carry that pain
wearing it like a name tag,
like a reason.
you climbed out of the beast on your own
it might remember your taste but it can’t
bite down and
feel your skin against its tongue anymore
it is too old to chase after you
its teeth are rotting, sliding between chapped
lips onto the ground – unruly headstones – still peppered with
memories of you,
and you lived.
My sister taught me to view relationships logically. She calls her process the cost-benefit analysis and, when she first explained it to me, I thought it was too cold. How do you look at a friendship or romantic entanglement and sum up its worth? How do you justify letting someone go?
Recently, I saw a post on tumblr that reminded me of my sister’s lesson. To paraphrase, if we allow ourselves to cut people out of our lives because they’re a hindrance to our happiness, we must also accept that someone may cut us out of their life as well. It is, in fact, a give-and-take. Sometimes we are the monsters in someone else’s closet, despite our best intentions, despite our greatest aspirations. We’re going to hurt the people we love and then they will have the choice: stay or go. Sometimes, if they are afraid or hopeful, they will choose something in between – a grey area in which the ground is never still, never peaceful. When you linger there, your stomach is in your throat and you can’t fill your lungs fully. You are always out of breath, body torn between running away and bolting your feet to the floor.
I lived in that space for a very long time, longer than I care to admit. When I finally walked away, I swore to myself that I would not return. I also respect that others won’t want to be caught in that situation, which is a long way of saying that I only want people in my life who decidedly want to be there and I will never force anyone to stay by me if it hinders their happiness. I only choose people who choose me – I have no energy for anything else.
So, if you should ever want to leave me, I will urge you to go. There are very few people that I would chase