You thought you left me helpless, but all I have for you is gratitude because you taught me how to live with myself.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 23, 2020. It has since been updated.
The day you got down on your knees on our holiday is still etched in my mind as clear as day. It was the best day of my life. I was excited to begin the new phase of my life. I remember the wine and pizza we had in our first home. Just the two of us, until a few years later when we had to order a bigger pizza; after all, we had two more members to share it with.
I never liked roses but I started loving them because you'd buy them for me every day. The fragrance would fill the corridors and all I'd think of is our love and the trust that I never thought you would break. But then I started noticing the changes.
Our little time at dinner wasn't ours anymore, your phone met your eyes more than mine. The calls that I waited for where you'd ask me what special I'd made for dinner became less to none at all. The end of the month's bills that you always needed help with became a little secret that I would never uncover, or that's what you thought. The green shirt that you hated became your favorite. I bought you that shirt but you hated it, didn't you? Then how did it become your only color so suddenly? Well, now I know.
Just like I remember the day you asked me to spend the rest of my life with you, I remember the day you left me. I kind of saw it coming with the little fights you'd pick over the smallest of things. The question "Did you eat?" that you loved to hear from me had become annoying for you.
The small tummy that you once found "cute" had turned to "fat" which I needed to reduce. So you see, I saw it coming. The day you left me you broke me into a million pieces, but along with it, you shattered my trust. You threw me out of your life like the faded shirt you didn't want anymore. But wait, my love, do not for a second think that you made me helpless, because you didn't. I was born again.
You changed a lot of things when you stepped out of the door that evening. You stamped on the trust that I built in our relationship for 25 years with just two words: "It's over." And it was. It was me who had seen all the early signs but still stayed in the hopes of mending the non-existent relationship. You leaving me taught me to listen to my intuition and my gut, because it was right when it said, "he's not yours anymore." I now make sure that I pay attention to what it's trying to tell. Women do have a sixth sense after all.
The day you left me you made me understand that you broke the trust I had in my decisions and myself. Everything I did was with you in my mind. How would you feel? How would you take care of our babies if I go to my mum's place for a weekend? What would you eat? Well, now I don't have to worry about them anymore. I've learned to prioritize myself once in a while because I deserve it.
You taught me that all the "guilty gifts" that you bought me just months before leaving me meant nothing to the kids you'd left me with. Our kids, no wait, my kids. Listening to how their day went every day to them fighting for the remote, I love it all. That is true happiness. And when they say "I love you, mommy," that's when I feel the most loved and beautiful. More than when you told me I was the most beautiful woman in the world. You must have told "her" the same thing anyway.
It sure took a while for me to rebuild myself from scratch. You had taken away everything, left me hollow but I stood up. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve but now I have a wall around me, built of principles. I now take my time to understand people and not fall for their outer appearances.
I'm not shy to say that I judge, it helps me filter out the kind of people I need in my life. The people who would be there for me in my times of need. People who would lift me when I'm down, and most of all, people who would love me for who I am.
So, all these years later I'm not angry with you. Neither do I question if there was something wrong with me because there was nothing wrong. I was perfect, I am perfect. Rather I thank you because the day you left me I learned to love myself.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.