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The Five Stages of Self Grief


Why I didn’t dress up as Darth Vader this Halloween

Stage 1: Denial

When you realise how horrible a person you can be, looking in the mirror becomes an unbearable burden.

I scrub off the smell of skin and alcohol and throw up in the bathtub whilst vodka-tasting tears run down my face. Scrub it off. Scrub it all off. Scrub it hard. Try to make sense of what lacks a name and solid ground.

Everything spins.

This is not who I am. I am not that person. I do not do that kind of things. I hate those people.

Logic seems so out of reach and all I wish is that I could make sense of it. Of why I would do that, of how I could possibly hurt you.

You told me you didn’t know me, and I guess I didn’t know me either. Not really. Not at all. Because tearing my heart out of my chest and committing an act so void of feeling, respect or just basic decency is not something I thought I’d be capable of.

I lie down in bed and the flashbacks begin. Alcohol, that treacherous whore, won’t even allow me to torture myself by remembering my own mistake. So I go over our moments together. I see your smile. I feel your embrace. I hear your music and realise I know all the lyrics to your verses. I experience the full power of your green eyes, so far away now.

Stage 2: Anger

The memories play around in my mind and I wish I had the strength to forget the words. But I hold on. I hold on to everything that is you and what I did to lose you. I hold on to my mistake which is hypocritically erased from my mind, convenient enough to be used as an excuse I do not want to appeal to, and unbearable when trying to understand my own human nature.

She was soft and beautiful and had wavy brown hair. She looked at me and I remembered everything I’m still curious to experiment with. I forgot everything as the shots rolled. You mentioned I said I liked the feeling, of licking on my neck and I can’t even deny it. Must be true if I said it.

This bloody sabotage prevents me from allowing myself to be happy, hurting others along the way of my self destructing personality. I suppose my defense mechanism worked, you didn’t even get a chance to hurt me. I struck first and killed us both in one short blow. And now I’m left here, looking at the reflection of a murder-suicide victim - figuring out how to cope with the monster looking back at me.

Stage 3: Bargaining

I’m forced to move and face the real world, reluctantly. As I see that person in the mirror, I realise change is the only way to move forward. It has to get better. I have to make it better.

I’m going to stop drinking. I’m not going to go out anymore. No more cigarettes for me. I will become the person I believe I am and promised you I’d be. I need to clean my house, get my shit together.

As I start making changes I become acutely aware of the fact that this is not something that needs to happen because of you. Hell, it doesn’t even relate to you. You’re a side effect victim of a lifestyle I’ve been leading for far too long.

When was the last time I felt solid ground beneath my feet? Like I had things under control and wasn’t just surviving, with upcoming plans that last no longer than the upcoming weekend? I honestly don’t know. Maybe somewhere along that time when I decided to leave that relationship life and breathe again. I just breathed in too hard, too long, too intensely.

I need to do this, for me.

I’ll admit, though, I still kind of wish you’ll join me once I’m done.

Stage 4: Depression

I can’t keep feeling this. Can’t keep spending my time going over all the reasons why I won’t forgive myself even now that you have. You showed me your dark side and we held each other, holding on to all of our broken pieces in the hope that they will come together and someday we’ll be whole.

I shivered.

I keep thinking all we both need is time. Time to heal. To stop seeing that pain in each other’s eyes. In my own reflection.

Time. What a dark little game.

Time will not change who I am, it will not eliminate that potential and that’s what scares me to the bone. I would rather live in ignorance, in bliss, than try to move on knowing this is a part of me. This is me.

So I go numb.

I turn off my feelings, shut off my brain. Rip off my thoughts and dismember my heart. I avoid the drink that calls out to me and sweep the floor a little harder; thinking about that cigarette butt that will no longer be because I refuse to be addicted to the nicotine of my foul actions. The drug that would wrap my body in a tingling sensation that could make me feel alive. Or worthy. Or something.

Oh to feel alive and, oh, to be with you. Shoulda, coulda, woulda we both said. You have no idea.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Hey. Want to hook up and not talk? I need to breathe you in. Feel your body, see your smile, and let go of the pain I’ve grown accustomed to. Yeah, it’s probably a bad idea. Let’s do it anyway. I need to forgive myself and indulge in your body.

Thing is, that person I couldn’t bare looking in the mirror at, it’s a part of who I am. It’s who I can be and have all the potential to be if I wanted to. I’m also the person that will never take pleasure in hurting others with my careless actions. I’m the one that is taking measures and making sure that this never happens again. Ever.

It’s the monster inside of us that shows the potential within our twisted souls, but our actions, our choices, those are the ones that will define who we are.

I am better than that. I will not hurt you or whoever comes along in life. I have happiness and love to share, and will continue to struggle with the heavy baggage I carry on a daily basis. I won’t let it define me, won’t be that dark shadow in the night.

That reflection? It’s not who I am. I am who I am despite of that, and because of that.

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