I was sitting at my desk the other day, happily getting things done when I suddenly choked on a giant dose of bitter.
I had been looking for some documents on my computer, and took a detour to re-read pieces that I had written in the thick of my previous relationship. I was taken back to tense discussions and squabbles that had made me question my character, my choices, and my values. For some time I sat there, scrolling my cursor over memories and experiences, wondering with perspective born from a place of strength, what exactly had allowed me to stray so far from my self.
It has been over a year since my last relationship went into a death spiral. I went through a period of emotional frenzy that followed our “official” break-up, but the months leading up to it were somewhat silent. There was little happiness or compassion. Resentment and distrust had taken up residence in a moribund relationship, and the times we were together there was a cloud of emotional confusion that shadowed us everywhere we went. And then one day it was all over.
We have neither seen one another, nor spoken in months. The last text message we exchanged was so acrimonious that I impulsively deleted not only the string of messages, but the entire contact from my address book as well. It was as if the act of removing the digital footprint would somehow eradicate all the heartache and frustration that had permeated my soul for so many moons.
Then began a period of real peace. I was able to move and think gracefully and with clarity. The ice that had settled in my psyche was melting, and the warm breezes of contentment prevailed. I became so accustomed to this emotionally tropical state that I was jolted from my reverie when the bitter welled up, unprovoked, unannounced, and unwelcome.
It makes me wonder if I still care. I don’t think I do. I know I don’t want to. But if a trip down memory lane can elicit such a powerful (albeit negative) response, does that mean that I am still emotionally tied to a segment of my life that I have chosen to put behind me?
Perhaps the bitter pill isn’t a dose of negativity directed at the other person, but the acrid taste of being disappointed in yourself.