This is what it feels like, looking back

This is what it feels like looking back – on love (‘love’) through the lens of borderline personality disorder…

Like the only air in the room came from between your lips.

Like every cell in my body had hands that were reaching for yours.

Like nothing would be okay until I knew we were breathing our final breaths together – only then would I know that you cared enough.

No love without death.

The darkest of fantasies, played out in the daylight. Ugly from every angle but one.

How could I have called it love? Or was it? Maybe I was right to use the word. Though now, all it reeks of is obsession. Desperation. Fear. Breathless and dark and smothering.

It felt like I could take all the blows life could lay on me – as long as it was you giving them to me.

He hit me and it felt like a kiss.

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And now.

What a load of fucking bullshit.

 

He hit me and it felt like… he hit me.

And the darkness didn’t make it real. It just made it dark.

And the love/hate didn’t make it romantic. It made it exhausting.

And the games didn’t make it fun. They made it petty and cheap.

And our whole culture keeps buying into it. Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds and mars.

 

Love does not hurt. Love does not scar.

Love feels like the rock beneath your bare feet.

Like the roots of the lone tree still standing after the storm.

Like spring’s buds reaching for sunshine after an endless winter.

Light that may be covered but never goes out. Not really.

Love builds and stretches towards the sky, ever higher.

 

That’s love. And you and I never had it. Thank you for showing me what I need and what I don’t.

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The weight of the world

Do you ever feel like all the pain in the world is yours, and yours alone, to bear? 

Besides rage/anger issues, I would say the strongest hold BPD has on me is my addiction to suffering. I don’t know what else to call it. It’s an addiction in the sense that I can’t picture life without it, I don’t know who or what I would be without the portion of pain I keep hanging onto, and I don’t know the first thing about getting rid of it. I don’t even think it can be ‘gotten rid of.’

It’s as if the grief of every parent who has lost a child is deep in your gut; the broken heart of every desolate lover flooding your chest; the pain of every tortured lab animal pulling your nerves to breaking; the shame and self-hatred of every rapist and abuser eating its way out of your stomach. 

I think of Moses and the Egyptians, luring them into the ocean to drown as God closed it behind them. I often feel like a tiny spot has been cleared of water for me in the midst of the Pacific; the agony of existence in this world is the ocean all around me. I can feel the damp, cool threat of the water, hear the rush of it, know that at some point, it will crash down and swallow me without a trace.

I used to wonder if everyone felt that way. Was I the only one that couldn’t handle it?

My therapist says (there’s a blog title right there…) that people with BPD have a poor sense of self and no boundaries, so the walls that should be there to protect us from others’ suffering are not. We take on the burdens, the worries, the pain, the memories, the traumas of other human beings the way other people pick up style tips. 

I’m not sure I buy that. I’m sure that I do have boundary issues and my mental/emotional walls need to be better defined. But I can’t help but weep for griefs that are not my own – even though sometimes they are all tangled up with mine, almost as if it’s only “okay” for me to cry for myself as a side note to someone else’s pain.

Long ago I stopped crying for the pain. It’s only within the last year or so that I could start again. It feels like trying to empty said ocean with a teaspoon. I don’t really know how to feel about the truth that I know in my gut: Life is pain. There’s no exorcising it, no releasing it for good, no total healing, no ultimate catharsis, no leaving it behind. Not really. Our choices are to live with it or to not live. That choice is a lot to bear sometimes.

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