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Confessions From the Past

The Chapter About The Color Grey


It doesn’t always look so obvious. In fact, in rarely does. In three and a half years, there are so few who truly know the extent of what you’ve combatted against. Because it’s not really black and white. In fact, I would say it really never is.

For us, it looks like walks through the park. Smiling, laughing, talking about the future. Holding hands. Listening to love songs on the radio on the way back. Ray ban sunglasses and a big smile as he drives us down the road.

But then, after even just a few minutes, it sometimes look like fighting in public. Yelling at each other across the grocery store parking lot. Slamming car doors. Then, silence. All because you picked up the wrong size flower pot and had to go back to the gardening section to get another one.

Sometimes, when it’s really hard, it looks physical. Like when he holds you down and insists he didn’t mean all those things he said, he was just mad. It looks like sleeping in different beds. It looks like him blocking the door and pushing you back, not letting you leave the room. It looks like laying still while he’s on top of you while you cry. It looks like him not noticing. It looks like you wondering if it’s your fault for not saying you didn’t want to.

But sometimes it looks like staying up late, watching a movie and talking all night long. It used to look like spending time with family or sneaking away together because you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. Renting hotel rooms in college. Spending all of each other’s money on the other person for their birthday or Christmas.

Sometimes it looks like ‘I love you’ flowers. Sometimes it looks like ‘I’m so sorry’ flowers. Or ice cream delivered right to your door after a long day. Sometimes it looks like spending all night together in the backseat of your old car kissing and watching the snowfall.

Sometimes, it reads as a ‘Goodnight, I love you so much,’ text message. Sometimes it’s ‘You’re breaking my heart, please stop talking to *insert name here*’ at 11pm while you can’t sleep again. At first, it looked a lot like both.

It looks like family vacations. It looks like outings with friends, holding hands under the table. It looks like pretending nothing is wrong, because you’re never fully sure if anything is. It looks like fighting over whether or not you should get married and have kids right this very second even though you don’t want to.

It looks like laughing. And it looks like crying. Crying in bed together, trying to end it but knowing the world would end if you did. It looks like wiping away each other’s tears and getting through to the next fight. Or the next perfect day. Because there’s really no telling which it will be.

And, a few weeks ago, it looked like your therapist asking you to make a plan. A plan to end all the grey area, the good and the bad. A ‘just in case’ plan. To use, you know. Just in case. To ensure your safety. No being alone. No being alone. No being alone. Somewhere public, but private enough. Like a park. Call your friend right away. She’ll come get you and pick up your things for you later. Go, go, go.

It sounded like a phrase. A few, actually. ‘Gas lighting.’ ‘Emotional abuse.’ ‘Bipolar disorder.’

And then, it looked like a sheet of paper with all these words on it that seemed to make the grey area a little less confusing, but still grey, nonetheless. Then, it looked like a video about these words, these phrases. Then two videos. Then three.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s hard to see, as I’m sure you remember, exactly where the good meets the bad a lot of the time. It’s hard to leave. It’s hard to stay.

I wanted to remind you of this because I’ve only ever written about the black side of things, never the white. Maybe because I wanted it to be much clearer than this, but it’s not. I’m not sure it ever will be. Maybe, as you read this back, it is, in fact, much clearer. They said hindsight is 20/20. But, in the thick of it, right now, all I see is grey.