"If you let him back in again, even for one conversation, I don't think you'll ever stop."
That was what Clayton said to me on FaceTime the morning I finally reached my breaking point and blocked Landon from my life for good. It is the statement that has echoed in my head every time I've thought about him. Five months later, and I've held strong; this is the longest I've ever gone without talking to him.
I learned how to cut him out. I found the strength to break the six-year toxic cycle I was caught in and take my heart back from a boy who never had any intention of taking care of it. And the longer I lasted in the recovery process, the more I realized just how messed up everything was and how I could have and should have gotten out much sooner. But since I can't rewind the clock, I made the promise to myself that I wasn't going to let myself be used and mistreated like that again. I thought that would be easy; there was no one in my life who was anywhere close to as dangerous as Landon was.
Then, I realized I fell for him.
No big deal at first. Sure, it was weird, but we made a promise to stay friends no matter what and hold on to the bond we'd had long before I told him how I felt. I was fine with it. I had told him from the beginning that us still being in each other's lives was far more important to me than the feelings I had for him. I was eager to hold on to a relationship of any kind. So I let things go, things that my friends tried to tell me were not okay, things that, in the back of my head, I knew weren't okay, either, but let slide because I was scared of losing someone who had been dear to me for quite some time.
Getting to spend time with Summer these past few days, we've been provided with a lot of time to talk and bond in ways that you just can't over the phone. She knows about every step of what has been happening, and how it has made me feel. We were talking about this, and when I made a comment wondering how I managed to get myself in another messed up situation with a boy so soon after I finally freed myself from Landon, and I said that history does seem to be doomed to repeat itself, Summer, like the wonderful friend she is, reminded me that that's not necessarily the case and that I have the power to change things before I get hurt even worse.
So I flew back to New York today with a lot on my mind. I knew I need to change things and set the boundaries now, but I didn't know how to do that without blowing everything to pieces. I don't want to destroy this relationship for good, but I'm scared, and I have to protect myself because I've learned too well by now that I'm the only one responsible for and truly capable of doing that. There's a lot to figure out, that's for sure.
But mostly, I'm just feeling really grateful that I have friends like Summer.
Friends who, no matter how far apart we are, consistently call me out on my inability to take care of myself. If it weren't for her, Clayton, and Emma, I would be in a very different, much worse position than I am right now, and I'm so thankful that even when the people who know and love me best are hundreds of miles away, I have the security of knowing that I always have people watching out for my best interest and helping me make the right decisions, even when what they have to say sounds harsh and isn't what I think I want to hear.
History really doesn't have to repeat itself. And because I have this support, I have the strength to make sure it doesn't repeat for me.
Praise the Lord who put such love and loyalty in my life.