A few weeks ago someone posted this video on Facebook . It was the first time I'd heard the song and I agreed with his comment that this was "an emotional" video. When I watched, I was fully absorbed by the story being told. After hearing it for a few weeks now, it had been fading into just another song in the background as I tend to more important things in my overstuffed life. But tonight as I drove home from work I turned the radio on for no reason in particular (I usually prefer quiet after work) and this song came on. Then I had one of those moments when the sobering reality of my routine slips away and I am strikingly back in that place where I was so crushed over the one who got away. The one who I would've done anything for. My connection to him was twistedly close in an unspoken way yet so fragile and frightened that neither one of us was brave enough to take a step into the risk. We spent time then withdrew until one of us had the self-esteem to dial the other up and ask if we should get together and chat over tea until the wee hours of the morning. Ours is a story of missed chances that somehow must not have been meant to be. He is the one who posted this, and in my lost few moments I felt that pain of those lyrics: say something, I'm giving up on you. I had been there feeling that a million times with him, never imagining that maybe he was feeling the same. I was the one who left the situation, moved away, met the man I eventually married, moved cross-country and started a family. And he married too, and we don't really talk, and I don't know if he even wants to. But for those few moments of escape I imagined him feeling this way, waiting for me to be brave and show him how I felt instead of hiding behind my pen all the time, relying on undivided attention and smile to say what I couldn't. Maybe there were times he was as tortured by our silence as I was.
After I got home, this song was lodged in my head and I felt with full force how hard I would've cried to that song if it'd been released all those years ago, but as I imagined myself crying, my face twisted in pain, I looked at myself in the mirror. Not my body, not my fat, but my SELF in the mirror, and through tears and strained voice I said I love you to my reflection and my tears turned from self-torture to joy of hearing those words I have been wanting to hear from everyone else, and discovering that there was only one person who could say this to me and make all the needless suffering go away. I love the broken little child inside of me. I love me even when it feels like no one else does. I love that fragile person who just wants approval and to please and to belong. In the end, it wasn't me or him who gave up on each other; none of it is significant. The lesson I learned from loving him was just how little I thought of myself. And now, it is another dark place where light is seeping in. He didn't neglect to love me, I did. I gave up on me. And now I'm taking that power back. Memories and nostalgia can only burn you if you don't see the real lesson life is trying to teach you. Until you look into yourself, you can't hear the screaming.