But Monday night, I had another emotional breakdown, completely out of nowhere.
Lying in bed, I kept thinking about happy and confident I was when I first met Grady. I’ve found myself reminiscing about those times a lot lately, because I just don’t feel that same sense of happiness and joy as I did back then. It’s not that I’m not happy with him — I’m just not happy the way I used to be.
I asked Grady if he missed kissing the way we used to, and he said that he thinks we kiss plenty now. We kiss during sex and we have those small moments where we kiss each other randomly. So, no, he doesn’t miss it.
He was right, but I couldn’t help feeling like we never kiss.
I mean, I am still so scared of it. I don’t remember the last time we really made out.
I realized we don’t kiss because I don’t want to.
The more I thought about it, the more upset I got.
I asked if he remembered how we used to kiss — just kiss, no sex. That phase when everything is insanely happy and exciting, and you’re both too nervous to do anything about it yet.
And he reminded me of this little-known fact about us: we kind of skipped the getting-to-know-each-other, holding-hands-only, making-out-a-lot phase.
We pretty much went straight to sex.
That’s not that unusual, right?
But lying in bed that night, I kept remembering all this kissing as if we hadn’t skipped that phase.
And then I realized I wasn’t remembering us.
I had completely made it up in my head. I was remembering kissing in general, I guess with people I’d been with before, even though I wasn’t really thinking of them specifically.
Because even Grady and I do kiss, I don’t kiss anymore.
I’m not there. I don’t kiss with passion. I barely part my lips, honestly.
Right now, kissing is terrifying for me. It’s scarier than sex.
I could have sex and not even kiss that much. Just avoid the scary stuff, right?
Thinking about this, I got even more upset. I just want to be normal, I kept telling myself. I thought I was finally doing so much better!
And so the breakdown began.
I couldn’t believe that I was FINALLY (slowly) getting back to normal for sex, but I couldn’t freaking kiss Grady the way I used to, with so much excitement and love.
I could probably kiss some stranger like that and not feeling anything at all.
Then it hit me — I was kissing without feeling anything at all. Kissing felt like a performance instead of me just being me, the same way that sex had been feeling for so long. I was being someone else to deal with my fear.
I was a mess.
Had I been performing sex and kissing all this time?
Had I been lost since my terrible first time several years ago, and didn’t even know?
I mean, I’m not being me with something seemingly so small as kissing.
Did he really have that much power over me back then?
How could he still have this much power over me, when I haven’t seen him in years?
I struggled between gasps and tears to tell Grady what was happening.
I was still under the influence of the man who broke me.
He still had power over me. It’s not fair, I said to him. Nothing’s happening to him after what happened. I’m the one left to pick up the pieces.
It’s. Not. Fair!
Grady asked me what I’m going to do. I didn’t know. How could I? I know what’s wrong. I have to be honest and open and vulnerable. I have to be brave. I just can’t. It’s so freaking hard.
But I have to.
I refuse to let him of all people have any goddamn power over me anymore.
It’s not up to him. It was never up to him.
It’s up to me.
So as silly as it may sound, Grady and I are going to try to “practice” kissing together.
It’s going to be scary. It’s going to hurt. And I know that I’m going to fail a few times.
But if I know anything, I know that after all this time, I don’t deserve this struggle.
And he doesn’t deserve to have any power over me anymore.
So I’m going to take it back.
Have you ever had to take the power back? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!
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