Word Vomit (Essay)

Words by Zoe Allen. Art by Isabella Acosta.

Words are my weapon. They are my shield of self defense, sword of attack, and fortitude of wit. I counter those who anger me with rhetoric, and usually come out as a champion. Sometimes, words come out with no meaning. Others, my body lets them fall without having my brains permission. This is called word vomit. Word vomit usually entails saying things you don’t mean. And, while word vomit is a common occurrence, word vomiting the phrase “I love you” probably is not.

My boyfriend was dumping me. Subconsciously I must’ve known it’d happen, but still I repressed any sensible notion and continued to fight for the relationship. When the conversation between me and my boyfriend finally happened, I traded in my last option: “I love you.” I was on the phone sobbing, and it came out like a flow of hot, deadly lava.

“But I, think I, love you,” I said through the tears. I was greeted with dead silence. I do not remember exactly what he replied with, but I know it sure as hell wasn’t an “I love you” also.

I hit rock bottom that moment, lying in bed, sobbing, when I said “I love you.” I hit rock bottom so damn hard that my guts turned inside out and those three evil words catapulted out of my mouth.

In my opinion, love comes with time. It’s usually acquired. You don’t say those three words to simply say them. And even though I had been dating my boyfriend for close to six months, it’s now blatant that I wasn’t in love with him, but in love with the idea of him, and the idea of us.

There is a difference between loving someone and being in love with them. I loved him, in a platonic sense. I liked him, in a romantic sense. We met halfway only on the surface. His actions, like once leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere when promising to give me a ride home or letting people tread over me, showed me an inner self that I couldn’t love. And even though he’d attempt to quell my worries, his lingering feelings for his ex-girlfriend, who he was  later intimate with, were palpable.

Saying “I love you” was devastating. Saying “I love you” was my last resort. When I was met with silence, and eventually dumped, it felt like a cold hand had wrapped itself around my heart and clamped down. For a week, it felt like a stone. And then, at the end of that week, I was met with relief.

I was devastated when he dumped me because I felt as if I had invested so much of my time into a fruitless relationship. Now, in April, six months later, I am happy that our romance ended. I was all in for the wrong reasons, for the memories of us but not for him. I wasn’t all in for him–I was all in for an image of him I had drawn up.

I hope through this essay I’m able to redeem myself for the mishap that is misusing such three words, but writing this has made me feel stronger. Even with love–the most tricky, unyielding, roller-coaster of an emotion and state–there is always a way to learn and love better.

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