Writing a novel opened my world to various avenues I hadn’t previously visualized; I realized that even in my darkest moments I could make my audience feel something. I could illustrate scenes of emotion, scenes of anguish and false hope, scenes of elated ecstasy, empathetic sentences to drive home the themes within my mind. I wonder sometimes what it was that pushed me to finish that piece. Was it the attention I knew I’d receive or the passion behind my words? Was it those brown eyes I wished I hadn’t lost sight of or that I knew I had been dealt a hand lucky enough to have gazed in a similar direction? I finished the book around 3 AM on a Monday morning, music blasting into my ear and emotions spilling through my fingertips and onto my keyboard.
I felt empty and whole simultaneously; it was over, and I had something to leave behind.
It is wholly important, I believe, to note that throughout all of my despondency and pessimistic surrender, I did experience happiness in small and genuine bursts. Doing well in school, even during my constant subconscious insults, offered joy. Helping my friends, or helping people in general, gifted my soul the cheerful exhilaration I so sorely lacked. Speaking to my favorite teachers made me hopeful, even to the lowest extent. In my depressive hopelessness, it is essential to note that I felt those tiny moments of a begrudgingly agreeable euphoria. Please do not misconstrue this. My point is as simple as it is complicated – sadness, depression, these experiences that damn near drove me to suicide, were still present in all my triumphant moments. I can recognize this now, yet during those days I failed to see both sides of the ever-present emotional enigma.
During those days of impressionable anxiety and stresses entirely different than the stresses I experience now, I never truly understood regret. Embarrassment dictated my loneliness and my life, and while I projected and presented my best fuck-you-attitude, I struggled with the anxiety of wondering what others thought, but I never regret being my lonesome self. I never regret being the weird kid. I never regret any part of myself during those days.
The regret began when my charming, tumultuous affair with Logan began. If I could give myself advice, at least to the girl I was back then, I’d remind her to remember that one cannot discover personal value in another person, that searching for value in someone else is incredibly dangerous. It breeds an abusive environment. I’ve been told that regret is ridiculous, mainly because you should never regret something you once wanted so badly. That’s some sort of preposterous bullshit. You are, by all means, allowed to regret choices and people and thoughts – you’ve grown and changed as time passed, and those arduous and burdensome regrets signify that you have learned.
I regret giving myself to Logan to the fullest extent. I regret looking into his eyes and telling him I loved him, because part of me never would and never could love him. Each interrogation into my daily life left me under the impression that he wanted a part in my life, not that his only desire was to control mine so that I could accommodate his life so fully. Lonely and broken as I was in high school, during those long days, I would have never allowed his words to bend and break my spine.
He loved himself more than anyone else. The worst part about loving a person who consistently breaks your spirit to bolster his own is that you never really know if you want to get out until it’s almost too late.
An unfortunate memory remains forever burned into the depths of my mind. We were nearing the end of us, both destroyed by the distance and demeaning banter, and he brought up the depression I never had total control over. He used it against me, said that maybe our relationship would be better if I would just “be happier.” He called me selfish. He called me dramatic and called the sadness I could never shake unfair. It was my depression that ruined us, and I should’ve had a better handle on it, he said. I should’ve tried harder, he exclaimed. I should not have been that way. In his world, backhands and shoves to the chilly dorm room floor cured that depression.
Black eyes and bloody noses, bruises that meant I hadn’t learned my lesson, weekend trips became the longest nights of my life, and I would lie in bed, beside this person who broke my heart and my blood vessels, thinking about how lucky I was to have someone who loved me as much as he loved me. There were days when we would explore campus, he carefully and pathologically controlling my stride with his grip on my hand and my mind. There were days when he easily walked ahead of me while I limped behind him, keeping up with the supposed love of my life after the most vehement thrashing of my life. I spent those purple weekends reassuring myself that he would apologize and kiss me goodnight.
The grass felt softer up there, or maybe it didn’t, and maybe I was seeking out a gentle touch. The stars were maybe brighter, shining down onto me as I waited for him, giving me hope that he would look into my eyes and see some sort of midnight beginning. I, during those days with him, forever wanted this gleaming hope to save us, and to save him, and I wanted to look at him and believe that he was closer to me than those stars. Our relationship left me alone in some kind of vacuous, vacant negative space. The gravity of love left my bones behind. Barren and devoid of myself, my wasteland heart stopped beating, and my numb fingers stopped writing.
Suffice to say, I regret him, and even more, I regret disclosing so much of myself to an exhausted, vain heart.