My entire body used to ache for you, longing for respect and consideration, dreaming of becoming the woman you wanted me to become. I spent hours, thousands of them, agonizing over why I was never good enough for you.

Many worlds and many words ago, I believed you saved me. I believed I loved you, that my heart belonged to you, and that you were too blind to see me standing there, in front of you, reaching out and offering the broken pieces of myself in earnest hope. I believed you might blink some night, that it would clear your vision and open up our potential. I believed you hated me, and then I believed you didn’t want me, and then, finally, I believed that I, somehow, was not good enough. I entered a someone-like-him mentality, tying myself up in the restraints of an excruciatingly concrete self-doubt. How, I would ask myself, could I have ever lost the love of my life? And that was the thing that continued my ceaseless and painstaking internal debate – I thought that you, just a boy who manipulated my everything and anything, were the love of my life.

It’s funny how we solely rely on others to justify our own self-worth. We look at these people who destroy any semblance of self-essence, and we think that, maybe, just maybe, we might find refuge rather than pain. And as if we could’ve never seen it coming, we greet the pain with disdain and surprise. I didn’t see it coming, not the first or the second time, but I waited for you to hurt me because I was willing to give all of myself to you. I thought, honestly, that I needed your unnecessary and caustic behaviors in my life.

I don’t need you.

In the unescapable realm of loneliness and existentialism that most people fall into after losing an opportunity, I broke down. My friends were with me when you pushed me, gently enough to send my fragile psyche and heart barreling into the abyss that was my heartbreak. My friends watched as you poured out your heart, but not because you thought I deserved your genuine sentimentality, but because your eyes began searching elsewhere. My friends watched me, tumbling and twisting and creating a world of personal contortion they’d never experienced. I was done, done with trying to be good enough for you, done with changing who I was and wanted to be, done with playing a game you began so many years before.

I didn’t want to roll the dice anymore, not with you or with anyone, and not because I wanted to stop taking chances – I let you cheat me, round after round, sending me into the red and black spiral, a bloodlust of Russian roulette, a gun to the head and a gun to the heart. I was done being the game, done with you testing your luck, done with the whirling of your casino mind. Lights and coins, the sounds of disgrace and respect equally entangled with your successes in the conquest you perpetually pursued.

Falling in love is not a game of chance, and it took one paragraph, one text, for me to realize that you had finally run out of chances with me.

I make mistakes. I hesitate to say so, especially when it comes to boys like you; I believe in the idea of regret only existing within one’s mind if you truly, truly, wish you could take back what you so deeply regret. Mistakes of the boy variety were still pieces of my life, pieces I’ve wanted, pieces I won’t ever say I regret, but you’ve made the list. It’s a short list, one with only you and another soul marring the page, and the two of you are tied for most insufferable man. I regret wasting my beautiful time with you. If I could take back every class in high school, every text and phone call, everything after we graduated, each moment, I would. You taught me so much; you taught me to love cautiously; you taught me to love fiercely but also to take no shit. And isn’t that what love is? Loving someone does not mean unconditionally accepting the faults and flaws of your person – loving someone means seeing those faults and making it a conscious decision to improve, making it a conscious decision to call that person you love out and then reminding him that you will love him through the pain of bettering himself. Loving someone isn’t accepting the bullshit. And it isn’t about dishing out bullshit, either.

Loving someone is mutually respecting and considering his or her humanity, and you only considered me an object. I was time to kill, and you had no problem tearing me apart, gear by gear.

I put myself back together, and this time, I did it without wondering if I needed your help to do it.

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