Over a month ago now (maybe two), I met with a dear friend for brunch. It was a rescue brunch of sorts – I was suffering. I was questioning the relationship I was in, the fairness of it, the undercurrents and the mixed messages. I vented. It felt good to vent and I felt more at peace until we left the restaurant and the awful feelings washed over me again.
We walked into a nearby Dollarama. I felt nauseous and hot and like I couldn’t ground myself – like the ground beneath me had transformed into sinking sand. The items in the store were swirling around me and my vision blurred. I was having a full-fledged panic attack. (Dear Lord it had been years since I’d had one – and if you’ve never had one, I would never wish this upon you) I texted my therapist in the most desperate way, ‘I’m having a panic attack. I don’t know what to do.’
Hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, I know exactly what I should have done. I should have gotten out. I should have taken my own advice and trusted my gut.
I’m not sure what dictates the laws of attraction between people and despite some people’s best efforts to untangle this mystery – I don’t think anyone can ever explain the science behind it. Sometimes our hearts pull us in a million directions, and sometimes our hearts pull us in one direction that turns out to be the completely wrong direction. That’s the direction that walks us off right off of a cliff into a pile of daggers. Thanks, heart!
It takes a while to realize the toxicity of something, while you’re in it and even after. It takes a lot of reflecting and a lot of analyzing and it’s not exactly a walk in the park. And when the smoke has cleared from the collapse, you have to rebuild yourself from the ground up – once again, not a walk in the park.
It’s a turbulent journey. You’re scared to go to the places you used to go and to listen to the songs that were once yours together. You’re scared to eat the same foods the two of you used to cook. The things that were once solely yours have been tainted and stolen by a vicious and unforgiving memory.
Only recently have I been able to throw on a Ryan Adams record or a Lumineers track and feel somewhat okay. Some songs I have stowed away safely with lock and key. And that’s okay. It’s impossible to be completely immune. But I will not forfeit everything. I refuse.
Don’t let those bad memories take your spirit. Don’t let the person who threw you into a state of panic throw you out of your routine. Don’t let them inherit the neighbourhoods or restaurants that could still be so beautiful. Don’t let the person who was careless with your heart inhabit not only your thoughts but also the places and things that once held such joy. Let them have a couple things – do NOT let them take everything. And in the name of all things holy please don’t let them take your music. They’ve taken enough.
Grab a friend or gather a group of friends and go to that sushi joint you’re scared to even walk by. Order a bottle of wine and too much food and eat and laugh and create new memories. Go see that band live and feel so happy that you’re seeing them in the flesh and your eyes are tearing up and your legs hurt from dancing. Hell, sit in the dark and listen to that album and cry but listen to it eight times until the tarnished memories fade and you hear the beauty of the record again – like you’re hearing it for the first time.
It’s important to trust and have faith (I’m trying to take my own advice here – and I thank my friends for the constant reminders) that with time and positive energy, everything will shift back into its rightful place. The leaves are turning and the season is changing (the best one of them all!), and everything old is and can be new again. You just have to let it.