Poetry by Charles Joseph

But, this is not goodbye

Describe the last difficult “goodbye” you said.

Of course this is about a girl. I want to say that it was difficult to say goodbye to her but, when I think of it, I never said goodbye to her. She didn’t say goodbye to me either. But rehabilitating, and getting used to her no longer being a constant in my life was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.

Accepting the new state of our relationship was difficult. I have a lot of theories about love, possession, belonging, and the unhealthy nature of it all. Love is preached to be something of possession, belonging. If you are in a mutually loving relation with someone then they belong to only you. They must stay with you (perhaps forever) no matter what happens. So, we latch on to that. Sometimes, that really is the simplest way of going about things, but I have the opposite view on this topic. I believe that love is liberty. If you truly love someone then you must free them to be themselves and do what they want to do. Give them freedom so that they can be free to choose to love you. But that also means you must let them be free to choose to love someone else. That’s what was difficult to put into practice.

I held on to this idea of “forever” more than I should have. The dissonance between my belief (freedom) and my desire (possession) made the change in our relationship extremely difficult to accept. So I started writing letters to her and about her. In these letters, I talk myself through my feelings, try to understand what is going on in our relationship—how did we get here—and get a deeper comprehension of why I feel the way I feel. Selfishness. I, of course, never sent her any of these letters, and she will probably never see them. They are for myself, so that I can understand my feelings and be fair towards her—even though fairness doesn’t matter anymore. Even though she’s long gone and I cannot impact her. Talking to friends also helped a lot. My friends are smart af. 

As I think about her, I make sure to keep three things in mind: set her free because she has the right to do whatever she wants to, even if that is to never contact you again after telling you that she would; be fair to her, even if it is in the way you think about her; you didn’t do anything wrong. The last statement, “you didn’t do anything wrong”, helped me a lot with forgiving myself. It helped me feel less negatively towards myself and my actions. I didn’t do anything wrong. Everything I did was out of love. So why am I letting myself feel so poorly? What am I punishing myself for?

The last time that we had a full conversation, we discussed all of this. We talked about how we will continue in our relationship now that titles have changed, and that this is not the end. Just a change. I guess I was so morose because the change we agreed upon was so different from what the reality is. But I honestly don’t have a single idea of what is going on in her life, so why spend precious time contemplating upon an unknown that doesn’t concern me and that I cannot do anything about regardless? We had a healthy start to a relationship. We put together the limited knowledge that we each had of love to create a ”best” that we both ever had—with acceptance, freedom, humility, and all. At times, we unintentionally hurt each other, but we came to a mature, respectful, and loving conclusion to what we had. This is not GoodBye.

4 responses to “But, this is not goodbye”

  1. Really great post. That balance between love (which has many forms), unconditional acceptance, possession, and honesty is something we must all come to terms with, or else slip into delusion and depression.

    1. You’re so right, Tara. It’s an idea that I think about a lot as I struggle with accepting love as it is traditionally expected of us. Thank you immensely for your comment and support.

      1. Learning contentment and accepting peace with what we have is an incredibly important (and freeing).

        1. It is freeing, you’re right. It takes a lot of gratitude and I am working on that for sure. Thank you for your thoughts.

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