After It’s Done

By Amari D. Pollard

“I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

                        ~Maya Angelou

The silence—that’s probably the hardest part, I think: the stillness of the cellphone, the unspoken hellos, the missed comforts.

You tell yourself it doesn’t bother you. That you were just checking your email, you weren’t hoping to find a missed text. You blast the music to muffle your incessant thoughts, take two Advils to numb the throbbing, and then turn the volume up. The heavy feeling never really goes away—sometimes it softens, but it’s always there. So you eat. But the French fries and the ice cream and the alcohol don’t fill you the way you want them to. You feel puffy and put on a couple of pounds and end up feeling heavier than before. Yeah, the echoing memories are still there and the headaches don’t stop, so you pop two more pills and turn up the volume again and ignore the loud ringing in your ears.

After a while you start to wonder why it is that you’re really upset. Is it really because of him (or her)? Because the expectations you had for him and yourself and your relationship weren’t how things turned out? Or is it because something was missing before him? You had this small hollow feeling before, and with him that feeling subsided. And that possibility ends up being worse—realizing that you weren’t fully okay before, because now you have to go back to being that way. That person, for some reason, was able to give you some sense of stability, and you got used to it. For that moment, you could trust in the consistency of something—the texts, the gentle reassurances, the company. You didn’t even realize what was happening, and if you did, you didn’t care because the growing dependence was nice, it felt good: to be wanted, to expose yourself a little, to soften.

. . . And then it just went away.

You ask yourself how can you really be mad when he let you know who he was, what he was about—that you were never really an end, but a means to one. But you are mad, because there was something there that let you believe you were more. Even more so, you’re mad because you chose to ignore the signs, and were even willing to mold yourself into the role you were supposed to play; all because you would rather have pieces of him than nothing.

It’s more than being mad. It’s about the disappointment, which is the worst kind of hurt.

The disappointment you feel in yourself. Having to face the fact that you are capable of being so weak—that you could allow someone to have such an effect on your being. You were supposed to be stronger than that. The I-don’t-need-a-man mentality you had is shattered . . . just because of that one guy (and there will be more who will make you feel this way again).

There’s the disappointment you feel in him. Not only for hurting you (even if he doesn’t realize it), but also for living up to everything you thought he would be.

And yet, even after all that, you can’t seem to quiet the part of you that still wants him.

Eventually you realize this isn’t even just about him (or her). It’s about all of them, all the people who you gave bits of yourself to and let you down. The ones who you thought cared and respected you just as much as you did them.

From you’re little you’re taught to treat people the way you want to be treated. And if you do that, people will treat you well in return. But that’s just not the case. You find out people will hurt you, they will disappoint you, they will even disappear on you—that is inevitable.

My mom always tells me, “Don’t let people determine your happiness.” And I always think to myself, how can I do that when so much of my happiness comes from the people around me? What is my contentment if not for those connections and those shared moments? They say forget about the people who overlook you and your feelings and your worth; but it’s so much easier to hear the silence of those you care for, rather than the noise of those who care for you.

And in this moment, right now, that silence is deafening.

Make sure to check out a revised version of this article on Elite Daily

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