Most people think I’m ____, but I’m really ____.
Each week in my Writer’s Studio class I have to write an essay using an assigned prompt. We’re free to write in any creative manner we choose; it doesn’t have to be a personal answer.
I’ll share my essays here with you and I’d love to hear how you’d answer the prompts in the comments. (No essay required!)
Prompt: Most people think I’m _____, but I’m really _____.
When I left my marriage I was so broken. Broken into tiny little pieces; I was fragments of myself. People thought I was so selfish, but I was really shattered. Patrick painstakingly picked me up and put me all back together. He was the only one in my life who was willing to spend time with the shards of me and who was willing to get cut by my process of healing. I had pulled away from my life. Like the receding tide from the shore, I shrunk away from the hurt that pervaded every part of my life and I went to bed. I was safe in the covers and the darkness and the silence. People thought I was antisocial, but I was really depressed.
When I emerged from my darkness, Patrick was still faithfully by my side. I allowed myself to become completely immersed in his love. He was safe. He was unmarred by the hurt that had destroyed me. As such, I became him. Like a dry sponge, I soaked up all the things he was and became another version of him. This was safe and solid and in Patrick there wasn’t pain and hurting and betrayal and lies. In Patrick there was love and safety and knowledge and friendship. I was in love with my best friend. People thought I was scandalous, but I was really exhilarated and tenuous and afraid to take a chance at love again.
I expanded. My sponge grew as I took in all of the Patrick. I pushed aside the once broken parts of me to make way for the seemingly solid parts of him. The new parts didn’t fit exactly, but they fit. A bit of new personality discomfort was nothing compared to the pain I’d experienced from my divorce, so it was easy to ignore. People thought I was aloof, but I was really still growing.
The once-broken parts of me healed stronger than they were before. The once-broken parts of me pushed against the foreign parts that didn’t belong. I resisted this. I saw it as more conflict, more fighting, and more suffering. I tamped down and ignored the real me trying to break free. This resistance pained me and over time the pain won. I wasn’t strong enough to hold in the parts that didn’t belong. My arms were so tightly hugging onto the safety of my new husband they grew tired and my grasp slowly slipped, slipped, slipped until it was no longer grasping anything at all. People thought I was a giddy newlywed, but I was really struggling with my new identity.
My Self was tumbling through the ether, spinning out of control and weightless. My being was reconfiguring itself at dizzying speeds. I was reshaping my inner me to move out the things that didn’t belong to make room for the stronger, better, me-er parts. I was becoming whole again.
How do you love someone so completely without becoming that person? Like a bubble that swallows up another bubble, you become one. But then he’s not him and I’m not me and if one pops we both pop and what a mess that would be.
I want to get back to being the people we were when we became friends. He’s introverted and I’m outgoing. He taps his foot and I dance. He draws and I sing. He folds and I hang. He lopes and I glide. He stays calm and I freak out. He diffuses and I argue. He holds back and I push forward. He encourages and I encourage. He loves and I love back. He loves and I love back. We love and we love and we keep on going because that’s how we roll. And I can be me, 100% pure, grade A me, because he fell in love with me, not a Patrick-like version of me. He gave me part of himself to borrow for a while until I could piece myself back together.
Thank you very much, Mr. P. You saved me. In every way a person can be saved, you saved me. I’m good now. You can have your unflappable demeanor back, it doesn’t suit me. I’ll fly off the handle and confront the monsters with my usual flair. You can have your duck skin back, the kind everything rolls off of and I’ll get back to absorbing and overthinking and writing it all down and taking it all in. I’ll get back to the old me just as soon as I… wait.
I can’t. Where’d I go? And why are you dancing, P?
People really think I’m what? Hm, that’s okay. I don’t really care. I’m not the old me anymore. I’m the new me and you’re the new you. We’re us and I like that.