The following was submitted by Ian, from I. M. Macfarland. In his own words, this is “a story about love, loss, recovery, forgiveness, and my personal experience all wrapped up with great symbolism and a powerful voice.” We certainly agree, and think you will as well. As always, show your support and RawrLove in the comments:
Shattered – Remember when you felt this way? When the man or woman of your dreams took everything you built, felt and loved together, and smashed it into your chest so hard it felt like a sledgehammer smashing through thin glass. Your heart broke into a million shards. Remember when they turned around and left you – never looking back? Remember how your body began to give way to gravity, and crumble until you were nothing but a pile of pointless, jaded pieces? Do you remember every shard of you that they broke, and every moment they destroyed? Every feeling they had trampled? You will.
One day your love will do this to you – or maybe they already have. Whether in the past, present or future, one day you will find yourself losing something so great you don’t remember who you were before it. Or maybe this was always you… Or maybe it changed you? You’ll never know. But despite your confusion, your overwhelming pain, and your hemorrhaging, open wounds – you will begin picking up the shards of who you were before love. And where this process takes you may be some of the most beautiful, darkest, amazing, disgusting moments of your life.
Somewhere on your journey – no matter who you are, and how alone you feel – you will hear something along the lines of “It takes time.” Some miserable, broken, empty husk of a subhuman will tell you this. You’ll look at them, and you’ll scoff, and you’ll pout – convinced they are full of 100% grade ‘A’ bull shit. One day – and I can’t believe I’m admitting it – you’ll discover they were right.
It might take a month, it might take a year, it might take a lifetime… It might take your life. I have to admit, I got uncomfortably close more than once to becoming my own demise. And, yet, here I am. Nearly a year later, a love later, and a scar later – healed. I have healed the wounds she once had caused, and, once again, I have forgiven her. I have forgotten her. I have surpassed her.
It was a strange year, – to say the least – but I enjoyed much of it. I was lucky enough – upon her
betrayal departure – to have one of my few friends return from Seattle. Why anyone chooses to leave behind a big, beautiful, wet city for the dirty, shit sack of a meth hole known as Tucson – I don’t know. Regardless, I was happy to have a companion along the path of self-pity.
And what a companion he was! In fact, one could probably say he was my guide along our path of self loathing and alcoholism. If you ever want to stop your life progress – seek out those who are 10 years older than you, but still making the same mistakes. It was clear that this friend would be a great deal of help to me, but it was also much more clear that we would part ways in the near future. He would hold me back, and I wouldn’t have it. I couldn’t.
Despite his flaws, he did help me rebuilt myself over about half of my shattered days. At least, he helped me rebuilt my legs – enough to run away from my problems, and eventually him. Isn’t it so much easier to claim you don’t love someone when you’ve sucked down half a bottle of vodka, and are seven inches deep inside a woman you’ll never love? Nor she you. I’ll admit – my love for vodka ceased with my love for shallow romance. Not even romance – just indulgences.
It all served as a great distraction, however. In fact, it was so completely numbing and consuming that I hadn’t even noticed that the shards kept falling apart. Some of them fell so hard that they shattered beyond any hope of repair. Parts of who I was had vanished, but an engine doesn’t roar while missing even the smallest cog. And so they would have to be replaced, but not with the same crystalline, flawless shards I was once formed out of. No – I would seek out shards for support – for power. My once pure form would be tainted by blackened, evil shards that I convinced myself made me strong.
Here’s a plot twist for you – they didn’t. Numbing agents work great for short term pain, and they are easy to kick if you know what you’re doing. However for long periods of time they do nothing more than mask pain as you wriggle around and damage yourself even further. Alcohol, drugs, sex – great numbing agents, but not a cure.
Despite my growing darkness, and my self-inflicted shadow, I was fortunate enough to be graced by a few lost rays of light. People who beamed (
me up Scotty!) into my life, and did nothing but try to save me – to cure me. Yet – and I know this analogy is probably getting very old very fast – without the proper medical knowledge, even the most effective medicine can be quite useless. That’s what I convinced myself they were – Useless.
They were simple minded fools with simple minded purposes. As far as I could see – past my blackened, tired eyes – that purpose was to corrupt me. It’s laughable, really, how wrong I was. I have to give credit to that one stubborn ray of light that stuck with me. I saw her as that first light at dawn. You know? The one that would beam straight through your window and into your eyes as you slept. And, just like how I’d react to waking up due to the sunlight, I’d curse, whine, beg, and tell her to fuck off. I realize now that she was trying to wake me from a growing nightmare.
I was a heavy sleeper, but I did – eventually – awaken because of her. Have you ever woken up in the middle of an ocean, or in the midst of a raging fire? Of course you haven’t, – and neither have I – but that’s how it felt upon opening my eyes. Fires were burning, but I made time to take a shower. This was the same shower I had the revelation that I wanted to be a writer. The same shower I decided to move to New York in, (in times gone by and now irrelevant) and, now, the same shower I decided I didn’t like myself anymore in.
It’s a strange feeling, realizing you don’t like what you’ve become, and the decisions you’ve made. You fall to your knees, you sob, maybe you even mutter, “I don’t want to be this anymore.” Somehow saying it out loud makes it mean a lot more – makes it carry more weight. I wished I had opted for a bath, instead of a shower, so I’d have enough water to drown myself. However, I’ve never been a fortunate man. I would have to make opportunities for myself – not stumble upon them.
So I’d say goodbyes, I’d offer reconciliation, I’d admit my guilt, and face my sins. With a lifestyle that revolved around drinking, fucking, and smoking I had a lot of apologies to make. I did what I could to do right by everyone, but my goal was entirely selfish, and I set my happiness as a priority. After all, that was the end goal. Eventually, I had said enough goodbyes, and even began sharing greetings with wholesome, happy people. However the majority of my time spent from that point on would be found in solitude. Time I spent meditating on what I’d done wrong, drafting plans, crying, and forgiving myself. The blackened shards had all fallen to the ground, yet the hole she made still remained.
Ten months had gone by since it all began, and I was becoming whole again. Through time away from alcohol, with myself, with friends and family – I healed. I forgave her, I fixed myself, and I started looking toward a brighter future. However, not everything was perfect – as things never are. I lost my job, but gained a path. I lost sex, but rediscovered love. I lost myself, and I found myself. The last of the shards had come together, and I was who I truly believed I am, I was, and who I want to be. Unfortunately, it wasn’t who I was meant to be.
“Coward.” The word rang in my ears, but it rang true in my life. I remembered why I decided to change myself. It wasn’t for her, but before her. Anxiety, isolation, depression… Suffering. I changed to get away from all of this! I changed to be better than this! After everything I’d been through, and after all of the positive change – I found myself back in the shower repeating those words.
“I don’t want to be this anymore!”
The truth is – I don’t know if I’ll ever truly love myself, or even like myself. In ways, the next two months since it all ended were self discovery. In other ways, they were relapse. I found the person I was before love, and now I’m building the person I want to be after it. If loss of love is the death of one identity, then recovery from love is the birth of a new one. I have shed the vile skin I once wore, and I intend to take good care of my new flesh.
However even the greatest men make mistakes. Some would say great men make the greatest mistakes. I’m sure we will all be blackened many times in our lives, but we must focus our attention on that one beam of light rather than all of the blazing fires that surround us.
In dedication to my one ray of light.
I. M. Macfarland