Ten Candles #throwback

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Photo by Rose Renolla

One. You asked me if I’m happy. The truth is, I don’t even know what that means. If by happy you mean being able to spend an entire day not haunted by you, then I guess I am happy. I wake up to different dreams now. I started liking new songs. I started working out. I can run up to three miles now without gasping for air. Everything feels different… even my definition of happy. It’s not the same as the happy I felt when you were here but I think this happy could work. This happy doesn’t come with the same hangups you did.

Two. I have spent so many sleepless nights wondering why things ended the way they did. Until I finally decided that I don’t want to ask that question anymore. I’ve come to accept that knowing why would not change anything. You’d still be you and I’d still be me. So we still won’t work. I guess we’re meant to be one of those stories about unfulfilled love. I guess we’re destined to be romantic.

Three. God, I hope that I’ve changed. Being the person I was and wanting the things I did put me in an endless cycle of internal battles I was delusional enough to think I could win. I kept deciding to logic my way through my feelings thinking if I played a game of elimination on all the reasons why I should take a leap of faith and cross them off one by one, I could find a loophole… a foolproof way to get what I want without having to gamble my heart. They did define insanity as doing the same thing again and again expecting different results. I was insane that way. I was insane that way, with you. And I’m hoping I’m different now because I don’t want to make mistake I did… with you.

Four. I don’t think I’ll love anyone the way I loved you. I will do better. I spent the whole duration of us loving you with silence. But I learned that there are things that should be said out loud. I refused to say them because I thought you understood… I thought I didn’t have to tell you. I wish you told me you wanted my words said out loud. I was never good at loving people in a loud way. For you, I would have tried. But that ship has sailed so you know what, the next time I fall in love, I will definitely do it better. I will scream it from my rooftop until my lungs burst. I will not be silent about it.

Five. After you, I thought about finding a nice boy who could give me everything I could possibly want. But then I realized that I don’t really want for much. The only thing left that I really want… is to just be a girl. I have tried everything… being a fighter, a victim, a sinner, a saint, a dragon, a sheep, an artist, a poet… but the one thing I haven’t tried yet was to be a girl. And because of that, I decided that I can never settle for anything less than the boy who can make me feel like a girl.

Six. A few weeks ago I noticed that I stopped thinking about what we could have been. That was the exact same time I noticed that I stopped missing you. I miss how it felt… belonging to someone, having someone who could feel like home. But I don’t miss you or your potential anymore.

Seven. I think if I look back, I could pin down the moments where we just didn’t make sense. Yes, with an s because there were too many of them. I think one of my tragic flaws is believing the best in people because there were red flags all over the place. That, or I like to pretend I’m color blind and I don’t see red.

Eight. I’ve heard somewhere that regret tastes good with Bourbon. Here is what I can promise you: Bourbon will feel like fire spreading into my bloodstream. I’d rather burn than say you taste like regret. 

Nine. If I had to pick a favorite among the things I should have done differently, it would be that I could be willing to love myself less. I think I loved myself too much I could be a poster child for self-love. The more I fell in love with you, the more I pulled away. I got scared of losing myself… in you and because of you. So when it came down to a choice, I decided I’d rather lose you. I know hearing this from me won’t bring you comfort. I’m sorry. I guess we now know why you still haunt me.

Ten. You were the very person who would have made me believe in destiny again.

Ten. I think of stab wounds whenever I hear your name.

Ten. Because of you I skip through my old favorite songs.

Ten. I hope you tell not just her, but also your children about me. I hope I ruined you that way.

Ten. Can we skip the whole friendship thing?

Ten. If you ever come to my wedding, make sure you watch my face while I look at him. Count my tears. Notice the way I smile and the way I couldn’t wait to be his wife. Know that because of you, I honestly believed I would never be that happy.

Ten. Maybe it was you. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was us. Maybe it’s no one’s fault. At this point, does it still matter?

Ten. I used to hug my heart to my ribcage worried I will lose it after I lost you. I used to stare back at the shell of who I used to be in front of my mirror after the sparks in my eyes died. I used to wonder if the hollow laughter I could hear from my voicebox really belonged to me. A part of me died the day we put an end to us. But I’d go through it again. And again. And again. Not because that’s how much I love you. I’d go through it again just to squeeze every last drop of lesson I have to learn out of a failed something. I’ll look at the signs until I know them by heart.

Ten. I don’t want to love someone like you.

Abreaction (from the heartaches we can’t leave behind) by means of emotional bulimia

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Feast 
on tonight’s eight-course meal – 
dishes personally handpicked 
from your most diminishing moments,
guaranteed to sate your taste for pain.

Your appetizer is absence.
It is a taste you know so well,
something you can pull from memory.
Your father was never around
and never got to see you blossom into a lady.
Absence was the first lesson you learned,
the first taste you got familiar with 
as you sucked it from your mom’s tit.
There’s is nothing people can tell you 
that you don’t already know
about people failing to show up –
it’s the salt you sprinkle on every wound.

The next course is guaranteed to make you
ask for more.
Here, your insecurities were added as garnish –
the little something that could make any dish 
taste like euphoria.
One bite and you’ll dance to everyone’s tune,
pleasing yourself
by pleasing your audience.
This is the only thing you need
to validate your existence. 
I can see how much you like it – 
the tingle of adulation creeping into the fissures
of your mouth.
I can see that as soon as the taste leaves your tongue
you can feel your throat aching.
You ache to be more.

Notice the greens of this dish and remember
how you used to feel green with envy
because someone always had the things,
which you’ve always found yourself to be completely
lacking.
You were never enough.
You always had to be more.
You always had to be best.
You always had to prove yourself.
You always had to be something. 
Something.
Your existence became more and more frail
as you let your self-esteem hang by a thread
even as you knew your envy weighed them down.
You couldn’t understand why they were heavy.
And yet, you continued to fatten them up, every night
by feeding them their favorite lies
and tucking them under your blanket
so they can rest easy while you lose sleep.

Dead deams are savory.
And that is how the next dish will be,
filled with the moments where you
hid your smile, secretly savoring that, 
which your heart desires.
Nothing tastes better than dreams not realized,
possibilities that lived and died as just that – 
potentials.
You nurtured each wanting like it were your last.
But when the moment of truth came,
you held on to it tightly instead of letting it fly.
You crippled its wings because you feared
you’d be stuck flying low…
or that you’d never fly at all.
Wasted dreams aren’t sweet 
but they are memorable. 
You’ll take the memory of the taste with you
down to your last seconds on earth,
down to your grave – 
the memory of it shall feed the worms
and nurture the earth.

Regrets when served with spirits
are easier to scarf down.
Make you sure you pair this with the best wine.
You should have taken the job.
You should have said something.
You should have asked him to stay.
You should have done that shit when you had the chance.
You should have done that shit.
You should have.
Funny, the more you repeat the lines, 
the more you enhance regret’s flavor.

This rack of broiled rejection
is unique from anything else in the world.
It’s the only rejection you can swallow
without hurting yourself too much.
The eyes that stared at you
judging you worthless
have been crushed into powder.
Just a mere seasoning,
just a tinge,
just a few seconds,
just a twirl on your tongue,
but enough to make you wonder
why you think you’ve had it before.

Loneliness
has always been regarded 
as a side dish to something else –
the strong flavor needed to add edge,
the muted taste dulling the sense overdrive.
But here, loneliness stands on its own.
It’s not served with sadness or anger.
It’s not offered as a consolation prize
but as a reward.
Taste the loneliness
and feel its coldness spread 
towards the tip of your toes,
feel it manifest into something else
into a type of fear that screams
you will be forever alone
because you are unworthy of love.
This is why no one is brave enough to offer this dish.
No one is brave enough to take a bite out of it.

The words you left unsaid,
well it’s the ultimate dish.
And while most will offer it 
as a prelude
to absence,
or broken dreams,
or regret,
or rejection,
or loneliness,
we offer it as the dessert.
The words you left unsaid
should haunt you,
should exist as ghosts 
dangling at the edges of your teeth
ready to be tasted 
the moment you are tempted to speak. 
The words you left unsaid 
should be the last thing on your mind
before you close your eyes
and the first thought you have
before you face the day.

Feast
on tonight’s eight-course meal
guaranteed to make you bleed
and remember the last time you felt alive…
human.

Worry not if there will still be leftovers.
We will always have more.
We will always have enough
to reel you in
and have you dining
until your bones get cold.

Home is where the hurt is.

There is no place like home
yet, sometimes,
home is where the brand of poison
that can kill you
is manufactured.

There is no place like your bed
where you close your eyes
and pretend you don’t have to go anywhere.
And yet, sometimes,
your own sheets are drenched
by your darkness.

There is no place like your heart
yet, sometimes,
your heart is the raging advocate
for the things that hurt.
It urges you to touch the burning stove
even if it knows it’s hot.

There is no place like yourself
and yet, sometimes,
you spin the tangled webs
that lead to your undoing.
You are predator and prey
for those who are watching.

There is no place like your mind
and yet, your mind is the sword
hanging over your head.
You pronounce your own death
and call for a thousand cuts
knowing you can’t stand it.

There is no place like your head.
But when it is the abyss
swallowing your soul
how do you run
and where do you hide?