When I first moved back to Ann Arbor, it physically hurt my heart when I would walk up East U. and see your old house on Michigan. I then told myself to just not look — as if by physically not seeing the place where so many memories of you were, I wouldn’t think about you or feel that pain anymore.
It feels like I’m moving backward in a way — I moved to Tucson, then California, but now I’m back here. And this place holds so many memories that I thought I had moved on from.
What makes the pain worse is that I know you are in Tucson. A place that feels sacred to me, that represents so much beauty and pain and growth that I went through. And you’re stomping all over it.
You get to experience its harshness, its vastness, its prickliness. You get to feel the sun on your skin and the rocks scraping the skin off your fingers while climbing on Mt. Lemmon — a sport that also feels spiritual to me, something beloved, something that has saved my life on occasion. Something I introduced you to — you have and now I don’t. I want to kick and scream and sob the anger out of my body. It doesn’t seem to make it go away.
I know that I’m the one who ultimately ended our relationship. I tell myself that all the time to condemn these thoughts of you, the seemingly irrational anger and simultaneous longing. That I am now in a different relationship and I still think these things.
But yesterday, I tried shifting my language. Instead of telling myself I’m crazy for feeling resentful or for simply thinking about you, I said — it’s okay. I loved him. I loved him and I loved him here in Ann Arbor and so, of course, being back here is stirring up those feelings. Of course him being in Tucson, a place I deeply love, is stirring up these feelings. And maybe they will never go away, they will just fade over time.
This is what I want you to know: I’m mad at myself for not telling you when you asked my opinion of moving to Tucson — no. This place is mine. And although it’s your decision, my opinion is no — I don’t want you to move here.
But I didn’t. And so you did.
And now I have to live with that. Now I use it to remind myself to protect my boundaries. That I’m allowed to have an opinion. And I’m allowed to share it even if it’s not what someone wants to hear.
I loved you and that’s why it hurts that you are now in love with my place. And I’m back in ours.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
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