Out and Forward Like An Outy Bellybutton

I thought of you and my heart twisted. In one hand, I had a trash bag. In the other, I had a duffel bag of all our photos, our letters, your drawings. I stood at the garbage can, and the thought of throwing our memories away crossed my mind in a flash. Why shouldn’t I let go of this?

I put the duffel in the trunk of my car. A card slipped through. It was a birthday card you wrote me, two years ago. An eyeball, a heart, and u lined the first page. Your handwriting was neat and uniformed – something you did with class notes, or anything you were absolutely focused on doing. As I read it, I realized I had this huge smile on my face.

Thinking back when we first broke things off, I wanted nothing more than to leave that room. I made it a goal to never go back unless it was to sleep. I couldn’t escape our ghosts. And now I’m in my new place, I’m still thinking about you.

For the longest time, I had this terrible fear that I ruined you. That I was the worst thing that happened to you. This isn’t true. I did my best to build you up. There were many bad days, but there were just as many days full of love and care. It’s just easier to remember the bad times… But I’m seeing things differently now. It was a toxic relationship because we didn’t have a healthy foundation or healthy ideas of love. That takes two complicit people…  I was telling Spencer that I’m still pained by the fact that I can never make things right for you – that the best thing I can do for you is to live on. He had asked me if I ever wondered about the impact I’ve had on people.

I answered not really. As I finished moving my things out, Spencer’s mom suddenly began to cry. She thanked me for being so strong and keeping her family together through everything, for being so supportive and being there for them. I was surprised, and my gut twisted. I didn’t want to feel the sadness of moving away, but it hit me then.

I never intended to be evil. I always felt terrible when I lost control. I’ve always wanted to be a person full of love. I wasn’t a strong person… My weakness turned me to a monster. I’m sorry you bore the blunt of that. I’m not trying to give myself the easy way out when I try to rationalize why I ultimately ended our relationship. It was truthfully me trying to do what’s right. I wasn’t in love with you anymore. I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t realizing my potential  (completely my fault). I was seeing the effects it had on you. In my mind you were the best person in my world. And I really did think you deserved better. In my journey, I thought I had become a better person, sufficient enough to make amends for you. But that’s not enough. My redemption is a journey in isolation.

Though I can never help you, I’ve helped many other people in my search for redemption. I realize people are inspired to work harder in boxing classes because I go ham lol. My adventurous spirit has encouraged my co workers to pursue things they always wanted to try. My admission to USC has given my parents hope for our situation. My dad told me he will keep working hard and that I should too. An old friend messaged me the other day, saying he was inspired by how I’m running again to quit smoking.

And all of this began with you.


One thing I’m learning from therapy and psychology is that people need to have an anchor point in their past. It’s often the reference from which they orientate themselves and how they move or don’t move. I suppose I’ve made our relationship my anchor point, and maybe that’s not the healthiest. It’s sort of my north star for everything I want to be and everything I don’t want to be. I think I look back to it, hoping it’ll provide a source of comfort in times I feel lost in the world. Of course, it doesn’t really. It just says keep going.

Every morning when I wake up, I can feel myself on the edge of existential anxiety. If I linger for a few minutes, I can easily get stuck in my head. The answer is to keep going. It’s the worst when I’m tired, but sleep is always an option. Sometimes I wonder if you ever think about me still or have you erased me for the better. I still hope you’re doing well. It seems all my anchor points are dissolving. My childhood home will be sold soon. Our time together has become relic. I’m no longer living with Spencer, though for the better. Looking ahead, I wish I had a bigger support system. It’s like glaring at giant tidal wave. I know these next few years will either break me or make me.