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I gave myself to the cause. I forgot myself again. Instead of walking forward carefully, I developed tunnel vision.

And at the end of that tunnel was you.

But I wasn't so much focused on you and whether you were right for me, I had devoted myself to what you thought of me. I was measuring myself based on your opinions.

I was gone.

You became the goal, but I was forgetting to ask myself if you were still the right goal. I was charging blindly ahead, no longer seeing the world from my own eyes, but trying to see it through yours.

I knew I should've been more careful. I knew I was ignoring potential pitfalls. But I really didn't care. Worries like that just made my life too complicated. I just wanted to win.

I knew I could run a good race. It was something I was proud of. Unfortunately, winning wasn't always so great for me, leading me down directions I had not anticipated. Getting hurt in the process.

But the race itself was so exciting, so exhilarating. It gave me a reason to get up. The more doubt I put in my own head, the less I had to look forward to each day. Besides the race, life had become a dreary place. Days faded into one another, buried in a backdrop of broken dreams.

And so I would invent dreams to chase. Perhaps unrealistic dreams, but I didn't want to know. I needed purpose, and I was building you up in my mind as a race worth pursuing. I didn't want to examine the reality too closely.

Without my dreams, what would I have?

And so I chased you. You became my mission. I attached so much of my future happiness to what I imaged life would be like with you. I was probably just setting myself up for heartbreak, but I didn't care. Before you, I just wanted to sleep. I was angry at the people around me, even my kids.

It's amazing what a little hope can do. I'm sorry if I put you on some unrealistic pedestal, but I needed something in this world to hang on to. No, I suppose it didn't have to be you. I suppose you were just a stand-in for an idealized version of how life could be different for me. But yes, you happened to be there at the right place, the right time, and I latched on to you, projecting all my disappointed dreams into a vision of my future with you at the center.

I knew it wasn't healthy if I stopped to think about it, but that wasn't what I wanted to think about. I had nothing else. I wanted to fool myself. If I could fool myself that I was happy, then I was willing to be fooled.

The days that were dreary and gray had become full of possibility on the days I could see you. The cold, the rain, could all be ignored. Because they no longer mattered. The frustrations with school, my kids, everything else, could be pushed to the back of my mind. Would you help me raise them? Could I convince you to love them? Would you get along with them?

I lost myself in daydreams, imagining the best of all worlds whenever I saw you. And when I had to leave, I would be left with the disappointment that we hadn't gone as far as I wanted, yet with renewed hope that the next time would be even better.

I knew what to do. I was no fool. At least I was no fool when it came to running this race, though whether I was running the right race was a different question. It's burned me before. But you probably guessed that already. I suppose it was a flaw we both shared or we would not have found ourselves at that particular crossroads in our lives.

And so I ran on. Full of hope, anticipation, knowing I was leaving myself vulnerable, and yet trying as hard as I could to not think about it. I wanted life to be perfect. I knew it was too much to ask for, but after so many years of disappointment, I still held out hope that it was possible.

You were my ticket out of my life. My escape. I wanted you to be real. You seemed so real. I wanted to be able to tell my mother I could be proud again. That her child was more than a f***-up. That we would no longer be a source of worry for her.

I wanted to return home like royalty, head held high. I dreamed this dream not just for myself, but for my children and everyone else dear to me. And I wanted you to help me. I wanted to believe you were a good person. I wanted to believe you would help. I wanted to believe you would turn my life around. That you would turn all our lives around.

I wanted to believe I could see it in your eyes, that God was still good, and that He still had us in His heart. I wanted to believe that you were His vessel, that He would act through you, and heal the wounds that time and experience had inflicted on us.

I wanted to believe that you cared, that you truly cared, and that it wasn't just an act. I wanted you to be as good as the person I imagined you to be.

And so I ran forward.

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