Smoky Horizons

By Jalauna Phillips

If you ever drank from your schools water fountain, I'm sure you've seen the Maya Angelou quote that's reads, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

I've never been one to burn bridges with people. I'm more of a "closed for reconstruction" type of person.

Yes, people have done me wrong and yes, there are bridges that should have been scorched as soon as I crossed it but that's just not me. No matter how bad someone hurts me, I can never bring myself to light the match. Sometimes I get close and pour the gas but I never make it to the fire.

I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good or bad thing.

Could it be both?

On one side, I believe it could be good because it humbles me and reminds me that there is always room for grace. On the other side, it leaves a way for people to cross the bridge again.

Once again, I'm standing on the middle of a seesaw.

This balancing act has made me question why I leave so many bridges unburned. I am learning that part of the reason that I refuse to set bridges ablaze is because there are always feelings attached to them.

Referring back to the Maya Angelou quote, when I stand at the edge of the bridge, I am flooded with feelings and memories that the bridge contains. Even if the person hurt me or was in the wrong, its the feelings that keep the ground fireproof.

There is validation on the bridge.

When I stand at the edge of a relationship bridge, I am reminded that I was lovable at some point. That I am not hard to love or completely revolting. If I can stand on this bridge and feel loved, then why burn it?

There is comfort on the bridge.

When I stand at the edge of an addiction bridge, I am reminded that I can feel safe in not feeling anything at all. That sometimes life is too much to bear so it's okay to find any way possible to not bear it at all. If I can stand on this bridge and feel safe, then why burn it?

There is success on the bridge.

When I stand at the edge of an accomplishment bridge, I am reminded that I was capable of doing a great thing. That I did this thing and I did it well. If I can stand on this bridge and feel successful, then why burn it?

If I can stand on this bridge and feel worthy, accepted, valuable, in control, admired, special, then why burn it? If I can stand on this bridge and feel something, why must I burn it?

In my weariness from the day, I am shaken by a voice telling me that burning bridges removes the access that people have to hurt you. I could end this post here but I want to make sure I let you know everything that I am hearing.

You are not burning the feelings, memories, experiences that come from the bridge, you are burning the person, place, thing that made you go back to your side of the bridge in the first place and the access they have to you.

You are trying to self soothe your present self by returning to the place that brought you love, safety, comfort but in the same breath you are self sabotaging by returning to the thing that also hurt you.

Those feelings, memories, experiences are attached to you, not the bridge or the thing standing on the other side. By returning to the bridge, you miss out on bigger and better bridges.

Trust me, the feelings will come again. You will feel safe, loved, comforted, joyful again. Give yourself time to find other bridges to cross. I want to see you happy again.

It is so very possible to feel those things and experience those things without the attached hurt and pain. It is possible to just feel loved, to just feel safe, to just feel good. You deserve a life that is not constantly accompanied by pain.

It's time to burn some bridges, love.

My Eyes Are Set On : a smoky horizon.

P.S. don't forget to stop, drop & roll.

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