Some things are universal, whether you're poly or not. The connections we make with people imprint on us for years after those connections are gone. Relationships have the power to lift us up, throw us down, and fuck us up.
Last night I came within 50 feet of an ex-boyfriend, and the panic that rose in my throat shocked me. I was overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, and the impulse to run. The loop in my head was "don't see me, don't see me, don't see me."
This person is at the core of so much of my baggage. We lived together for several years, none of them great, and when I finally asked him to leave it was messy, awful, scary, and life changing. I'm still unable to tell the story, even to the Mister.
Even this morning, thinking of that brief glimpse of him, I'm stuck in a headspace that reminds me of rock bottom, moving home at 25, broke and with nothing but the clothes on my back. Depression, shame, and guilt are creeping up on me uncontrollably. Rationally I know that it wasn't really my fault, that I needed to go through that experience to get where I am now, but it broke me so completely that 7 years later I can't talk about it.
I love my life right now. I love my partners and my job and myself. I just don't love what it took to get here.