Blogust 2020: The Series, Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: The August Memories.

August has become one of the hardest months to go through for the many memories it carries.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I remember same of the most life-changing things that happen in August that I wish to one day forget completely.

Two years ago on August 18th, 2018, my family and I went to a mass for my grandfather who passed away just weeks prior due to lung cancer. His life span went from two months to two weeks, to then the following day finding out he passed on. I want to say our family hasn’t been the same since then and I don’t think we ever will be; he held us together like glue. Now? Well, we’d be lucky if we see each other twice a year or something. That day, I saw my entire family cry and for the first time since his death, I quietly mourned his loss. I’m not good with death and I always believed my role in the family was to be the strong one, but I was allow to cry and grieve that day. I didn’t. I didn’t grieve my grandfather’s death until I was by myself, in the shower, where no one was able to hear my cries.

One year ago, on August 19th, 2019, the decade-long relationship I had ended in a mutual agreement. Things were said to each other and we both know that our journey together was coming to an end. We had broken up way too many times before to not feel like it was time to officially call it quits. I remember simply asking my ex “what do you want?” and he asked, “from you?” and I just said, “for yourself.” It was the first time that I admitted out loud that I wasn’t in any position to love another person because I didn’t love myself. I knew I was doing nothing but hurting my ex by checking out, and it was my responsibility that I didn’t speak up sooner in hopes I’d feel better or be better. But, your soul just doesn’t work that way. She tells you when it’s time to let go and move on and she sticks to her word.

This happened the late-night before my first day at my first job. I was nervous about starting something completely new and ironically I was ending something that had been in my life for the last decade. I cried over the phone for hours, fearing that I was losing the one person in my life I thought loved me for me. I wanted to work things out, but I also knew that I needed to be on my own for a bit and figure out what I needed for myself. In hindsight, I feel guilty that my relationship had to be the thing I sacrificed in order to do that, but there was reason why it was sacrificed in the first place.

I woke up to then start my first day at my new job at the bookstore. I walked in and saw two people and my manager standing behind the register area, and I simply said, “hi, I’m Liz, ‘m here for the training…” With two other newcomers that day, I simply distracted myself from what had happened the night prior. None of the people at my job knew who I was, I guess I played the role of “normal young adult” well enough to the point that they didn’t know that my first day was the day my relationship ended until I told them once we got close.

One year ago, on August 25th, 2019, I cut myself for the first time since July 7th, 2013. I was on the phone with my ex, again trying to talk everything out and say everything that needed to be said in order to move on. It turned into an argument. It turned into a full-blown fight. I don’t remember the specific details because I used to dissociate whenever I was being yelled at or in a confrontation, but I remember feeling like all I wanted was someone to see that I wasn’t okay, that the way I’ve been acting and the way I’ve been for the longest time was because my depressive episodes were at its worst, that no, my depression wasn’t just the normal routine for nervousness at a new environment, my depression was the kind that those around me are empathetic about because they are afraid they’ll lose them to suicide. I just wanted someone to take my mental health seriously for once, and my scars on my arm was the only visible way to show people I am not okay. In hindsight, it was extremely unhealthy of me, but in that moment when I wanted someone to see me, I didn’t care.

The following day, on August 26th, 2019, it was the official first day of RUSH at the bookstore. Once my name tag went around my neck and I walked into that store to clock-in, I was “Hi, how can I help you?” Liz, not the “I cut the shit out of myself and the bruises are hiding under my sleeve because I’m deeply depressed” Liz.

Two years in a row, I lost two people who absolutely meant the most to me in this world.

My grandfather was the voice of wisdom, even when sometimes his age showed in his beliefs. My grandfather was my grandfather, despite him not being my biological grandfather. He took care of my sister and I since we were little kids; treated us like his own whenever we used to visit him and my grandmother just a block away from our house and eventually in Pennsylvania. He was tough, but he had a heart of gold and he was fearless. If he were to still be alive during this time of self-discovery and emancipation from my past, I believe he would be proud of me for doing something that was fearless. I believe he would still love the person that I am today.

My ex was my best friend before anything else, and to this day it still hurts that in this process of ending our relationship, I lost a best friend. I lost the friend that helped me pay for textbooks whenever I couldn’t cover them. I lost the friend that came to my uncle’s funeral to be by my side for a moment. I lost the friend that I used to support when it came to their wildest dreams. I lost the friend that was an amazing friend, and parts of me wish I haven’t fallen in love and made things complicated with our feelings. Unfortunately, things happen and if you sacrifice one aspect of the relationship, you sacrifice the whole thing, especially when both relationships were so intertwined with one another. I didn’t lose a partner that night over the phone, I lost my best friend.

Perhaps these are just some of the reasons why I’m so afraid to get too close to people. I’m afraid I’ll lose them, I’m afraid things will get complicated to the point you have to let them go, I’m afraid that one day I’ll say “see you later” and it ultimately turns into the last goodbye. I’m afraid of letting people too close to my heart. I can pour out my heart and tell you my history and my story because hey, I’m a writer, I tell my story almost in every post I write. What I don’t do often is let people live in my heart, just because it’s been broken so many times whenever someone moved out of it.

Theses August memories are some of the memories I still mourn, no matter how many years pass by and no matter how much I’m now in a better place. These August memories are some of the moments that make up my being as of today, and hopefully I am able to forgive myself and these memories and move on from them like I’m doing with the rest of my past.

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