“You’re absolutely right. I was completely animated. My actions were actually outlandish for where I was at, so I had to leave.”
Fiction. Based on a True Bittersweet Farewell under the Mostar Bridge.
by Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
He tells you, “goodbye forever,” not because what he says about you is true, but because waiting for you is too hard. You send him videos of exotic places you want him to join you in, and he wants you to use the money you saved to hustle back home with him.
You laugh wickedly when he tells you that he got fired, because he accused you of causing that firing. And you’re laughing at the absurdity of the accusation and you’re laughing to cover the hurt you experience every time he projects onto you.
He blames you for his sufferings. Perhaps, in an attempt to try and push you away the same way you tell him that you need time apart to steer him towards enough self awareness, in hopes that he could come to the end of himself, so he can finally be a real man, and show up as a real man for Amy.
The craftsmanship is impeccable.
The day before, you had already bought a moonstone ring, and two moonstones in the shape of yin and yang when the bracelets clasp together.
The artist tells you they are moonstones and you buy it immediately.
You know when you know.
You wonder if Aaron is finally picking up what you’re putting down. He genuinely wants to help you, but you know that he can’t help you until he helps himself. You’ve been through this insanity many times over. You know exactly the struggle he is experiencing. He is in half-man mode and cries for a spiritual teacher whereupon he can transform and grow up, but he knows he falls short and his shadow aims to take you down. Crabs in a bucket mentality.
He was already fired by the time you got to calling his work to complain. It was a reactive move, you’ll admit. His threats to sue you triggered deeper false narratives…narratives like your ex just wanted you for your money, just like Aaron wanted you for your money, since that’s what he kept nagging at you to do. Liquidate. Cut the check over to him and now his company is suing him for stealing leads. You’re not surprised if it’s actually true. His shadow blinds him to his own character defects. He has trouble being honest.
That’s what the drugs do.
It keeps you lying.
You, on the other hand, are aware of his desire to treat you like another client for the close. You also accuse him of treating you like a call girl.. He’s already told you that this assumption is untrue but your shadow insists because it is coming from your insecurity, and there is nothing under the sun he can do or say to convince you otherwise because objectifying him into art is so much safer than actually showing up to love him and allow him to love you.
He requests no contact. Your shadow secretly delights in this. You got to give it to him; it took him 9 months to finally call it quits. But that’s only cause 6 out of the 9 you were in Europe. He tells you there’s no point since you’re not coming back. He’s right and wrong at the same time. There is no material end goal to gain from this relationship. The two of you are not starting businesses together, but spiritually, there are many points to be gained.
You’ve been so conflicted. You know the enemy and God are both in this fight, but you’re still having a hard discerning what to do.
Until Pastor Steven Furtick laid it out clearly:
You got to discern a temptation from a trial.
When it comes to a temptation, you must resist.
And perhaps that’s exactly what you and Aaron are doing and have done.
When it comes to a trial, you must accept.
And that is where you have found your completion when he self-righteously accuses you of being evil when you are actually anti-evil.
You accept that he will not understand your aim until perhaps one day he’s at the hospital where Amy just gave birth to their first born child. Then he can look back and realize that you were actually batman all along. You were playing the devil so it could scare the devil out of him, enough to realize that the path you truly desire for him is the same as the one you wanted 9 years ago when you were in Amy’s position.
You would have wanted the other woman to be so blatantly evil that Sonny would have come running back to you. In true humility he’d say, “Wow babe, there are some crazy messed up women out there. You’re not so bad after all. I don’t want a perfect woman. I just want you in all your imperfections. I’ll endure and perhaps there are some parts that I need to change about myself as well.” And secretly, Sonny would have realized how ugly he became by wanting to leave you for some illusory “perfect woman” when the grass is greener on the other side. You know that by now, he’s regretting his decision to run away from you and the dream you two had built together for 7 years. By now, he realizes that there is no perfect woman and that it is his perspective that needs to change all this time.
You also hope that by now Sonny has also come to the end of himself.
That is the golden rule: Love thy neighbor.
The question came down to:
What would you have wanted the other woman to do for Sonny and for you?
Do that, now that you are the other woman.
So you laughed at Aaron’s face when he told you that he was fired.
You said, “Good. You probably deserved it.”
And you’re right.
“God, you have no compassion. Now I see your true colors,” he tells you in disgust.
That’s a lie.
That’s the trial.
And you must accept Aaron’s misinterpretation of you.
Then, you must continue to fix your gaze upon Jesus’ calling for you. You have plenty of work to do, plenty of anointed places God has prepared for you to explore and learn about. Talk about a real-time, primary source history lesson.
You’re here at the very site of the warzone that happened less than 30 years ago. You are exploring sixteenth century mosques when the Ottoman Empire came. You are investigating the recovery period and witnessing the bronze craftsman who handcrafts each jewelry piece. You hear the reverberations of the Shadow being integrated through the songs of Muslim men who cry out every five hours in prayer to Allah, the one God.
You tell the Muslim artist who refused to be interviewed about his pain to passion testimony and maybe the word, “faith,” shaped like a cross triggered him or maybe there are an infinite amount of other possibilities why he resisted, but before you left, you told him, “There is only one God, and He is love, peace, and joy.”
You’re walking through old town Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina, and the river is teal green—the color of your soul in transition. Under the Old New Bridge that means redemption and grace after the war that happened some twenty years ago, you see a blue green stone that is 10 Euros beautifully crafted, and you think about gifting this to your mother.
You made it highly unsafe for him to open up to you. He thinks you have too much free time journaling about him. You tell him you are doing this to prototype a journaling program on the Hero’s Journey which is way of Shadow Integration, which is the character arch for the hero from the absence of love into the presence of love, which is the arch of the covenant with God, which is also the story arch from one’s personal tragedy into The Love Story. You text him Mostar’s famous bridge that symbolizes the peace, forgiveness, and love between the religions as a sign of healing and putting the wounds behind us.
Is it any coincidence that this morning the conversation started with him calling you babe, offering to pay you to build a PowerPoint for his new business and offering you a position at his new company if only you would come back sooner. You asked him if he is still working at the company since you left, and he suspiciously asks you why. You told him you tried calling to complain that he was defrauding you when he threatened to sue you; at a time when you had suspicions that he and Amy were in some Bonnie Clyde cahoots to defraud older women like yourself. It seemed strange to you that she already knew that the two of you were seeing each other but she had insisted on staying with him, but then again….is it so strange?
You stayed with Sonny.
You clung onto him in desperation.
Knowing there was real competition.
But you were also more focused on hating Sonny than loving him.
You destroyed it and conveniently blamed it on the other woman.
You hope Amy does not make the same mistake of projecting rather than owning her own Shadow so she can integrate it before she ends up being single, floating like a ghost, looking for home—so she can avoid the tough path you had to take.
You don’t know where in all that miasma of complications the projections happened. You’re not designed to know it all, but what you do know is how to trust God in sorting things out. if you could muster up the courage and the humility to ask God for guidance, and sit in patience to listen to what He has to say. You remember Sister Faye telling you this solid advice: If you don’t hear anything from God, do nothing.
You know that God tells you to focus on the Playbook and you know in your heart of hearts it is the right thing to do to give them a real chance of working things out.
So why do you still obsessively text? What is this dis-ease that you need to address? Where is your blind spot?
Dad told you since you were a girl.
Not saying is hard for you.
Not responding is tough.
Thinking but not acting on the first impulsive is a true struggle.
Think of all the relationships you would’ve still kept had you not reacted to the emotions of doubt, fear, and worry.
You still have to love your neighbor the way Karma, your sponsor, loves you. She loves you in the most unattached way of being. She didn’t hear from you for six months and when you two talked again, it felt just like yesterday. Why couldn’t you hold space like that for Aaron? What was the attachment? What was the hidden desire of the hero in you?
The Shadow’s true desire?
That’s right… revenge.
Pure unadulterated revenge.
You are reminded of the genocide museum’s front display …dig two graves if you’re seeking revenge.
Aaron says he’s disgusted at you. You laugh at him in the most wicked way that sends chills down his spine. And there the Shadow is. It comes in handy when it’s time to play mock the villain, or at least play the anti-hero, to bring out the hero in the villain. Your Shadow masks truth that you felt bad when you found out that he was fired. You made you become more nicer to him, but really it wasn’t you who caused it…oh yeah…you forgot that he also has a powerful shadow he needs to contend with…but God is working though him.
Trust Aaron to God.
Your karmic timing with him is over.
You feel both relieved and saddened. You know in your heart of hearts that he is not the right companion to travel with…it is indeed Rylie…you can’t replace the person. Today you saw the copper spirals covering the kind of blue that reminds you of the Adriatic sea after lightning hit the waters that you witnessed in Dobra Voda…it is deep blue and it is the color of Rylie’s soul.
You truly need a Hail Mary…journaling is what keeps your grounded and your head above water….journaling keeps your sanity…It is through this project and God almighty through the Good Works of Jesus Christ that you continue in your journey.
Your soul feels heavy after that last text he accused you of being someone you are not. You know it’s his Shadow talking and you know he is hurting.
Hurt people hurt people, you hear Christine Caine’s voice in her book, Unashamed.
You are specifically hurt by the way he tries to slander your name and he is currently blindsided by it.
You can only let go and pray.
You think of him as a swine, specifically casting pearls to swine.
Perhaps it is what Sonny had experienced after the two of you broke up. The friends who served as intermediary during the break up process who are now no longer your friends, told you things Sonny said that made you think he’s a soulless villain but come to think of it, it was most likely because your friend was untrustworthy. She fired up the drama, perhaps even gaslit, the way someone else is doing to him about you.
It matters…the devil’s in the details.
Still this is beyond you to solve.
You must lean into Jesus.
It’s no wonder that when your spirit was being attacked, you had felt like an aimless wandering ghost after he text you the nasty accusations about yourself that were untrue.
You wound up in front of a church and there you saw a man who looked like Rylie holding a labrador dog while you were holding your dog. The dog was calm and did not mind Roxy and you. The woman and her mother came out of the church that you were peeking into and when they came out, he gave her the leash to the dog while she gave him their son, as he took their son and put him on top of his shoulders as they walked outside the church. The man, the wife, the son, the mother, and the dog left church, while you and Roxy looked at them. You then turned to the trees that glistened in shades of green. You are holding the Joseph Campbell Companion book.
You tell yourself.
No, doesn’t mean never.
No means not yet.
You think of Amy’s hope for you, “I hope you find the man you are truly hoping to be with.”
That is the hail mary.
That is the cobalt blue lining.
It brought you a kind of sadness and a kind of hope.
You did the hard and simple thing.
You played the villain so that Amy and Aaron can truly work things out.
You knew Amy needed some competition to break her entitlement and Aron needed to hear the ugly harsh truth about himself so he can humble himself down enough to truly appreciate Amy for who she is…good, bad, and ugly… all of it…because there can be bigger monsters in the ocean.
Blue green water dragons like yourself who could swallow men whole the way Kali does to men when she consumes them in fire. You also recognize Kali’s good spirit—it is the same spirit of Buddhavista, the moon goddess, who now sits on your middle finger to remind you of your purpose here and your willingness to embrace the void when necessary. Like Dream Rockwell once said to you in an interview, you must trust that the light has your backside covered at all times.
It occurs to you that your little sister, Maple, loves the Broadway play, Wicked, because all along, she wanted to understand how you turned into the wicked witch of the west.
Your sister loves you very much.
She understands you in the realm of art, more than you give her credit for.
She may not express it to you, but you know in your heart of hearts by the way Smartie talks about her older sister, just how much she loves and admires her bigger sister.