*Note: I published this post, then took it down, then edited it, and am now reposting it following the total dissolution of my relationship with The Match. This latest version is shared out of a sense of obligation to myself and a commitment to not erase my own story or quiet my voice in an attempt to make someone else feel more comfortable. *
I’ve been absent lately. I was intently pushing a boulder up a hill, and when I realized that I was fighting a losing battle, I stepped aside and watched it thunder away. And now I can look up from my task and survey the view.
And start writing again.
One day, a wooden-handled hammer encountered a finely-made wristwatch, and the two fell in love. Despite their obvious differences — one thrived on predictability and precision, while the other preferred noise and impact — they just knew that they were meant to be together. The wristwatch was dismayed by many of the hammer’s instincts, and it soon had the hammer convinced that it was much better to be like a wristwatch than a hammer. Under the guidance of the wristwatch, the hammer began the painful process of becoming a timepiece — first by cutting metal teeth, then sprouting lacy wheels of steel. The hammer lay quietly on its side and spun awkwardly, keeping careful track of every metered movement. The wristwatch applauded the hammer’s successful attempts but pointed out the countless ways in which it was still unlike a wristwatch at all. The hammer persevered because it felt sure that its bond with the wristwatch could only endure if it could successfully overcome its natural tendencies. At night, the hammer, exhausted from the mental effort of transformation, would fall quickly asleep, yet the sound of grinding gears inevitably roused it from dreams of ancestor forests, unwielded and unforged by the hands of man.
In a way, the hammer belonged to the wristwatch now, though for many years it had belonged to someone else. Its previous owner had been careless with the hammer, and the neglect had left obvious signs of damage. The hammer, unsure how to mend the damage without help, had attempted to make do without any meaningful repair. After many months of painstaking effort to conform to life as a wristwatch, the hammer encountered its previous owner and found itself emotionally transported to a place of neglect and fear and panic. In that moment, the hammer made a choice that was so misaligned with its fledgling timepiece-self that the wristwatch deemed the hammer incapable of change. And with that, the wristwatch swiftly extricated itself from the hammer’s life.
While I’m thankful for the good times, the sweet memories, and the positive changes The Match left in his wake, I’m also thankful that I’m no longer traveling the painful path of abnegation that I began in an attempt to keep him in my life. His departure brought clarity that we both needed, and in the space of his absence, I have started to see myself through a lens of patient compassion.