I stared at myself in the long mirror, the sky warm and bright. But I did not feel that way. Then began morning routine. Get ready. Breakfast. School. If my life was a reality show, people would watch it to cure their insomnia.
When I arrive at school, my hands were trembling and my breath was broken. I don’t remember a time in my entire life that I had felt so much fear. The eyes of my peers burned a hole through my clothing leaving me bare and naked. I thought,” This is not how I wanted the new semester to start”. The new year, 2017 was beginning. Yet, I felt as though I was walking backwards. The farthest away I have been from my true self. At the end of 2016, my boyfriend, Raymond, and I broke up. My heart shattered but my mind was telling me that I would be okay and that I did the right thing. I broke up with him because I felt a disconnection between us. I felt as though I had to convince myself to love him. I buried myself in his neck but always felt uncomfortable. His hands around my waist was cold and I was suffocating. When he kissed me, I stood stiff, my eyes open alarmed, desperately counting the seconds until it was over.
When we broke up, I cried on my way home terrified that I made a choice that I would regret. However, my soul felt free somehow. Unbound. Ready to grow. This bittersweet feeling stirred within me until Christmas Eve. I saw his name on my phone ringing. I answered hesitantly and we had a sincere conversation. He admitted that he had feelings for another girl that sat next to me in one of my favorite classes. At the time, I felt my heart crack. He looked at me and asked if I was alright. “Of course” I answered through my pained smile.
When the new semester began, they were dating. I was overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. I was an open book with frail pages that would disintegrate if anyone dared speak to me about Raymond. I carried this meaningless burden around my chest for weeks unable to find the thorn in my side. Recently, a friend that I care deeply for, Elliot, eased the pressure that was crushing my internal organs. Elliot listened to me while I sputtered about my complex emotions. I felt stupid for feeling heartbroken about a guy I broke up with. I didn’t trust anyone with my emotions because I feared that they would judge and shrug it off. However, Elliot held his hand when I was cowering in the dark corners. Finally, I allowed someone to hold my heart. This action was the freedom that I was seeking. I needed to be reassured that my life was not set in stone by a mere boy that I wanted to love.
It has been a month, and I realize that I still do not understand “love”. But I do understand that allowing yourself to be loved is the first step to understanding this strange emotion. Trusting others and sharing your pain is a powerful way to heal. Elliot, thank you for saving me. For helping me realize that wearing your heart on your sleeve is beautifully brave.