― Jodi Picoult, Leaving Time
The very many intricate details of the past year tug on my heart every now and again. I will never wish them away. Even when the little pinpricks behind my eyes force their way through, and even when the tears seep out.
I know that I have played my role in this story brilliantly. I never faltered in terms of my own beliefs and the way I felt. I also know that being hardheaded and emotional has its downfalls. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been wrong. I know I have made the choices that have put me where I am today. I know I decided to walk away from a situation that was no longer benefitting me. I also understand that I could have handled things differently.
It is true that some relationships are almost radioactive and explosive. Some relationships are like walking barefoot through a room full of Lego blocks: it hurts and it is unbelievably painful. A short-lived relief follows each step before the next sharp stab meets the instep of your foot.
While others may break your spirits at times, it is also up to you to acknowledge when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. It is up to you to register when someone does not have your best interests at heart. In other words, it is up to you to take some responsibility. Blaming a destructive relationship for the person you have become is unfair. A relationship is defined loosely as, ‘the way in which two or more people or things are connected’.
As much as someone has scratched and clawed at your heart, you have allowed it. You have allowed it by not walking away or by leaving the issue unresolved.
Each scar and scratch along our hearts and our feet are merely lessons. Each mark is a reminder of a battle won, a memory of survival. We cause each other more damage than we credit ourselves with, wounding and bruising each other. It is only important that we take some responsibility for the choices we have made along the way.
Maybe growing up means that I now know that I have a final say when it comes to my destination and the company I bring along. This acknowledgement is not only empowering but brings about a sense of forgiveness for those who have wronged me.
For even when I felt alone and damaged, I picked myself up and I made damn sure I could carry on.