You've probably heard it said that the amount of your pain is wrapped in the size of your love. Meaning that a person can only cause you pain up to the extent of how much pleasure they've brought you. Meaning that the disappointment only hits as much as the weight of the expectation. Meaning that your hate can only run as deep as your love: a person who never made you happy could just never make you sad; and only a person who knows where you're the weakest would know where to deal the most fatal blow. And that is one of the biggest fears of unions, for me: it becoming war, and me not knowing when it's been declared.
I used to have a couple neighbor who had nasty issues every other two days. And because I was pretty close to both husband and wife, I was the sounding board for each whenever something brewed. I remember how, when it got to a point, I would think, how could two people who so wanted to be together speak of each other so? Because they had been together for over eight years, you see; and of the eight years they had lived together for two before they decided to ceremonize it. So I'd figure surely they had to know how this makes them look? Especially when the wife would come to me with "evidence," and be like, "he doesn't know I (still) have/saved this; I'm just waiting for him to make a simple mistake, and he'll smell it." And this is where I'd think in my head, this could never be me. I mean, saving up evidence to use against the person I promised the best version of me, a memento from the last time they hurt me for the next time they hurt me? I thought it low. I thought it was an 'unpolished' thing to do—an uncivilized way to be. But I thought wrong.
The past year has shown me that it's not so much as a 'polish' thing, lol. And that anyone could be that: me too. It begins with keeping a record of wrongs, then weaponizing (every last one of) it; and it is a culture you build without even realizing it: forgiving but never forgetting, only filing the memory away as evidence for later use. My friend said to me yesterday that "I don't know how something so beautiful could end up so ugly," and I had no words. But I know the power of this memory that we have, that it can be both an angel and a demon: a blessing and a curse. And the angel can so fast become a demon, depending on what gets permanent storage in your memory, and what you do with it when it floats to the top of the pile.
And therein lies the dreaminess and nightmarishness of any relationship: memories. After all, it's only as good, or bad, as the memory you're pulling from.
Because I too am human, I have my faults, and I am not oblivious to them. As much as it depends on me, I try to not feed those faults; I also try to avoid things, places and people that tend to. But then there's always going to be somebody somewhere along your life's journey who you let feed it. My memory is one of my greatest gifts: I have memories dating back to when I was five. But I also have lived through certain child/teenagehood experiences, so I (thankfully) have certain periods of my life that my subconscious permanently blocks out, or remembers in patches. Owing to this, I like to think that I have a gift of "not remembering," by choice. I think also this is one of the reasons I do not find forgiveness difficult; and even though it more often than not makes me seem weak, I am able to continue as though it never happened—as long as I don't keep getting pulled back into the memory. But it is not so much "forgiving" for me as it is forgetting. I truly can lose all the feelings associated with a memory if I put my mind to it, but I have to be allowed to forget.
Memories can be terrible, is my point. Especially if you have a tendency to ruminate. And in not fueling them, I have personal precautions, chief of which is—especially in this age of screenshots—not saving or keeping things that trigger heavy negative emotions. I am particularly not a chat hoarder, especially when it contains certain unpleasantness that I'd rather not revisit so my continued being isn't hampered; so I am able to file it off as resolved, and move on from it, because I am mostly visual-to-mental. I will go anywhere, lose anything, to escape a memory. Or certain feelings. That of course means I sometimes throw the figurative baby out with the bathwater, because I really do "clear history," cause if I do not need to be reminded, then I do not want to be reminded; not even by me. This also is why the last few months have been a true test for me, 'cause I am literally living in the memory; and I can't just click a button and be rid of it. But I trudge on, learning something new: that sometimes you have to stay put, eyes wide open, live it through, see what's on the other side—for once.
I have always sort of known that it takes more than love to keep any house together; I mean, you can't live with another human for a prolonged period based only on the flutters in your stomach or the tightness in your chest. I mean, I tried it for like just a year and I know that some days get no flutters or tightness; some days it's just sharing space with another person you simply don't mind sharing with; some days, there is no chemistry, just choice: a decision, that it be them, in that space. But I didn't quite fully grasp it, until recently.
I particularly marvel when I see couples celebrate milestone anniversaries, and it also makes my mind spin, because I wonder how many times they've had to "clear history," or how many memories one or both of them have had to slap on the ground and firmly grind their heels on every time it swims to the surface. Because my cameo neighbors are still living together, some days all loved up and other days just good ol' heated "I'm still going to kill so-so, can you believe that he/she..." and even when the wife visits me with her newly planned war strategy and why she's on that path this time, or when the husband calls with how he's truly tired of "this woman; if I knew she would turn out like this, I wouldn't have done that wedding," I know that they still go home and choose to stay put. And I dare say they will be together till old age. Even on days when they want to be anywhere but, what with all the records of wrong stored in their head—and mine; and I just marvel. I also have another couple friend who you'd never hear fight, but can be in the house for days and not utter a word to each other. And it's just interesting to listen to when they make a joke of it long after it's passed. Like, how many memories have they had to kill so they can live? How many more will they have to kill? How many more times will they have to "clear history" just to begin again?
And I wonder if maybe not everyone has the grace for it. Because there's this whispering fear at the back of my head, about love unions in general...and this is a fear that I had in the latter months of my last experience: that when do you know when you've fought the last fight? On which fight does the love make a full metamorphosis into hate? On which fight does the last poisonous memory get filed? And when is the resulting fatal blow dealt? Because even though I've only ever had this one experience where everything was put on the table to be tried and tested for substance, I know now that the memory begets everything else: the hate, the blow. And half the time, like the cancer that it is, you don't even realize it until it's all the image swimming in your head at the slightest trigger. Or until it is the memory that you pull from on every provocation.
And the time between the filing and the fatal blow, I have learned, is the absolute scariest, especially when it's the other person who never clears history, when it's them with the ugly memory that is pulled from on every provocation; and it's you who has to live in fearful expectation of the blow, and just hope it's not fatal. But how do you know?
Or maybe I just have it all figured out backwards.
Maybe it's about being with your person.
Maybe when the fit is right, nobody keeps a record of wrongs...
A/N: Thank you for reading.
I made a post last week just for the sake of getting the bad air out, which was why I didn't share the link on any social media, but then it got read—got more reads than the shared one before it even; and that was all the conscience trigger that I needed to unpublish it. There are just some things you don't want immortalized, and that was one. Yeah, color me weak. But there are certain feelings I have an inability to store: anger, for one. Words puncture it for me: all I have to do is speak on it, and then it's all just a bag of air from there. And...since I made an open letter of it that, I'm not so proud that I can't make an open letter of this: to the 'subject' of my last open letter, I apologize. I hope that we both heal. I hope that you find your fit. I hope that they help you forget. And I hope that you let them.