My friends tell me to burn your clothes, to keep your Xbox, and to cut up all of our pictures taken together, but I don't want to do any of those things.
If you had broken my heart a year ago, I would have taken their advice in an instant, but it wasn't a year ago, it was a few months ago. I'd like to say I saw it coming, but in truth I didn't.
I keep replaying the same moment when I was sitting in my desk chair uncontrollably shaking and crying while my roommate asked me if I was okay. I even skipped class that day because I was afraid of collapsing in the street or breaking down in tears while trying to listen to my professor.
My heart was in shambles and I believed you were going to be the person that permanently broke me, but now I know you're not.
I look back at our two years together and I know we couldn't have lasted as a long distance couple because we weren't even making it when we lived in the same state.
Our problems started the first day of our senior year, not even two months after we decided to be in a relationship with each other. You'd come to school telling me how your mother didn't like the way I dressed, how I chose to wear my hair, or how I acted in front of her.
How could she already not like me so much when I had only met her once? We'd been dating less than two months and the odds were already beginning to stack up against me. The closer we became, the worse it got and I know I should have broken up with you that same year, but I didn't because I clung to the hope that this was all a test and it would get better.
It didn't get better and I was regularly reminded that I wasn't good enough for you. It wasn't just your mother's words anymore-- it was coming from your siblings, cousins, and aunts. You'd silently sit back and listen as I was told that I would need to learn how to cook and clean for you because you'd be coming home from a hard days work.
But wouldn't I be too?
I was expected to live and exist for you. On multiple occasions, I cleaned your room, bathroom, did the dishes and made you plates of food, and not once did you object. Never was it taken into consideration how I was raised or taught to do things even though I constantly brought it up to you. Instead, I was always making sure you were okay first, while you would check on me whenever it was convenient.
For a while, my life revolved around you because although I deserved better, there were moments when you would make me feel like I was your number one. Calling me your woman, bringing me roses when you messed up, or saying how much you loved me shouldn't have been good enough reasons to stay because your words never aligned with your actions.
Now I understand the saying "I wasn't in love with you, I was in love with the idea of you."
I never got used to a traditional Hispanic custom for the women in the family to take care of the men. I wasn't born into a world where that made sense and I rebelled against it every time I was told to feed you. I was raised with the idea that women are men's equals and that a relationship was based on teamwork, but that was never going to be the case in our relationship, was it?
The more I resisted to step in line with the women's roles in your family, the more you saw me as a burden. And eventually, you no longer loved me for my strong will.
Eventually, you chose to stop listening to me, and instead resorted to yelling or manhandling me on an occasion or two. The more you were told that I wasn't good or pretty enough the more you began to believe it.
Yet, I couldn't get past the false image of us being happy together in the end. As long as we both refused to wholeheartedly accept who we were and the families we were born into, it could never have worked. I don't think there will ever be a day where I was willing to sacrifice my independence and freedoms to take care of a man.
One day I would like to have children, but I wouldn't want my husband to be one of them.
Past the obvious sexism and occasional racist remarks I endured, our relationship had so many other issues. We would argue about the same things and you nor I could ever get past it. I never understood why you would try to force me into a box when you supposedly loved how I was.
You never understood why it was so hard for me to be like the other women in your family. Then, one day, I had heard enough and told your mother how I really felt about her opinions and that's the day we no longer had a future together. It wasn't a lack of love that split us apart, you just couldn't see the point in trying to make it work anymore.
Everyone tells me it's okay to be angry and they look confused when I tell them I'm not. I don't think I'll ever reach that angry stage because that would require me to hate you, and I don't. It sounds juvenile when I tell people that you hurt my feelings but it's the degree of pain that I feel. Every time I try to describe it, there's not a befitting word. I can only describe how I feel as an image of a whimpering puppy and the sound it makes because that's the saddest sound in the world to me.
I've been told that a person who grieves their first loss takes a long time before they're ready to consider dating again. I guess their right because I can't imagine being with someone else right now, but I'm hopeful for the future. It'll take one step at a time, but eventually, I'll be able to look forward and put you in the past.