This I Believe: Saying Goodbye

by Alyson Raywood


I believe in saying goodbye.

And not just to anything, but to someone you can’t seem to live without.  You say goodbye because all this person has done was hurt you.  But this is difficult.  It means accepting your own courage to stop believing in them, because deep down you know they will never change. And when they apologize to you for things you know they’ll never stop doing, I believe that’s it’s important to say goodbye.

Now, why do I believe in something that seems so heartless? Not on purpose, but not completely by accident, either. Saying goodbye is never effortless. Nor is it something we like forcing ourselves to do.  Making it a positive experience isn’t always possible, either, but not everything a person believes in is positive, and not everything a person lives by is positive. Accepting those two facts alone can make a person realize their strengths.

I grew independent once I accepted my first goodbye: my dad. It took me years when it should have taken no time at all. He was supposed to be my reason for wanting to prove myself on the basketball court; for not being afraid of the dark at night;  to wipe my tears off my flushed face and try again.  Sometimes it felt like I wouldn’t get anywhere without the wisdom of this empowering person, this individual who was supposed to fulfill my ‘reason.’

But that was just the problem: I couldn’t accept the void he didn’t fill, and tried to make up for it as much as I could. But It’s hard to make up for something that, well, isn’t there. Living in the consistency of thinking about him, and dreaming about what he could have been like, made everything that much harder for a curious little girl. My curiosity only grew stronger, and my wishes more complex, as I aged. I expected and wanted so much more, but never seemed able to get it.

So that’s when I began to force myself to want less. And I convinced myself that if I didn’t think about it so much, I’d eventually forget. Now, I didn’t forget anything, but I did start expecting less. The years went on, and after awhile, I finally accepted the nothing. I can’t express to someone how much it hurts to have to accept nothing from a man who should want to give you everything in the world, but I can tell you that once you’ve reached that ability, you can consider yourself superior to any other thirteen-year-old. And I don’t mean this to be presumptuous.

Evidently, I accepted it. The next step was saying goodbye. Saying goodbye, meaning moving on and basically being alright with myself. And walking away from any sudden urge or stupid apology that screams ‘not sorry.’ These aren’t easy tasks to accomplish, but it is possible. I said goodbye, not in the literal sense of the word, but for myself. I finally said goodbye to the one thing I never wanted to leave; I moved on from everything I once tried so hard to fight for; I said goodbye to my careless dad.  And in the strangest way possible, I became the strong person that I think I’m destined to be. I felt the power of the ultimatum, and most importantly, some closure.

This is why I believe in saying goodbye.


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