As this holiday season wraps us in its unruly reins, I am in constant battle between nostalgia and melancholy. Between commercials with couples kissing each other and ACUTUAL couples kissing each other, I find my wandering mind weaving its way back to old memories. To the faces and situations that have shaped me since the beginning of my youth. To situations that have plagued me but also grown me, hindered and then helped me become that woman I am today.
To 6 former lovers and the special one to come:
Over the past six years I’ve learned and grown quite a bit. At least I’d like to think so. Each one of you has played a role in that growth, in that evolution of my mind and spirit. And for the one to come, I only hope I’m ready for our adventure when it comes.
Our relationship was anything but ordinary. I, the young lamb unlearned and eager. You, the tail in the tall grass waiting. I won’t get into what happened between us. It is the past of someone I have killed. She was too weak, too unknowing. Too delicate for her own good. I use her now as a jumping block, anger welling up, protective instincts emerging. She was a clown, a pawn, and a puppet to your whim, but it was ill spent. That mistake has not been remade. And it will die in my clutches. I will take it to my grave. The hurt you caused is a sore to my side and I gladly keep it open, so as not to ever forget what fear and anguish can do to you. To never forget the injustices that were done. You taught me a lot about how precious innocence is and how protective of it we must be as role models and parents. It taught me how to speak to those girls and guys who’ve had their innocence stolen. You opened my eyes to how notions and presumptions and judgments won’t stop you from becoming exactly what you looked down on about others. But it can, however, give you the courage and equipment to step up above with new eyes. You gave me courage in our strife to be who I needed to be all along. To fight. For our son and myself. I was there after you got that scar on your eyebrow from the living room table. I was there when you got strep, when you quit on school, when I told you not to go to her party and you got arrested. I was there when you cried because we got the news. I was there. You taught me a lot about the real world and growing up. About what it is to love someone with force and unconditional blindness. And also when it may be time to let go, to be aware of traps and make decisions about what I’ll tolerate in my life. You taught me strength.You taught me sacrifice.
You came in our adulthood at a point in my life that was full of turmoil. I’m always going to wonder what would have happened if I’d have chosen you first instead, that night of ninjas and the corner booth in a restaurant I now inhabit weekly. You taught me about unconditional love. About a fierce love that attempts to overcome and stays despite pushing. You taught me about selfishness and selflessness. About easy love, and the smooth banter of two people who fell into comfortable knowing. I may never know how you feel or felt, but I always felt safe, and wanted, and my best self in the moments we shared. Even if afterwards I fell into uncertainty. You taught me how real those stories from women truly were, about hurt and internal devastation. You taught me how empty unrequited love can feel and how it can make a person seem crazy. But you also taught me the importance of always being true to yourself and speaking your mind, and not being afraid. You have taught me what fear looks like, and how it often disguises itself in many ways. You taught me that men can be just as fragile and scared as women, if not more in an evolving age of rights. You taught me that people don’t change. You taught me about finding yourself, and listening to the wisdom of our elders, and discernment. You taught me the value of myself, even without trying, as I slowly came into my own and decided for myself what was important. I grew in you to know the value of wanting something so deeply but choosing something more important for the future. You taught me love. You taught me foresight.
We were a short jig in the dance of life. People thrown together by chance instead of choice. It was gravity between us, but the kind that implodes on itself. A supernova. And no one can live there. There are still secrets that lie like rugs, covering up what would be a normalcy in this town of whisper. But it will be many years before you even may have the chance of understanding them. You inadvertently taught me things I can never unlearn, and in some other ways will always be grateful for discovering. You were my pretend, a distraction to cover up the deep longing for another that I couldn’t grasp fully. I needed to feel loved and for a time I convinced myself that lust counted in some way towards that. But alas, it didn’t and therefore I couldn’t stay. I know you wanted things to last, to continue on and flourish. But it was a darkness I couldn’t go back to greet. You taught me how love can make you hurt so badly that you become desperate for the wrong things. I learned how dark the hole and aching can get that you find yourself in all the wrong places. The deeper I went in that hole, the more hopeless I felt. It’s taken a couple years to feel like I’m distanced from it now, but it was a relief to also know that I wasn’t happy there still when I was given chances to go back. You taught me how important self control is. How important it is to take responsibility for your actions and what you do to others. I learned how easily one can give up on what’s important, and how to tell what is important to some people. I learned about family and loyalty. I learned about how blind you can become, to the point you’ll accept anything as long as it’s what you want to hear. You taught me self-control. You taught me decisiveness.
You were there for me when I needed someone the most. A time when I was trying to escape what I thought I couldn’t. You gave me courage and a hand up from the pit in which I was stuck. Slowly, we grew into each other, limbs from vines living too closely. But they tangled. And I was the stronger vine. I always knew what would happen really. I saw it from miles off like a storm you know is coming. But I had fallen in love with our closeness and your spirit. But you can always think a storm is beautiful from far off, until it gets close and tears down your house. Just as you were there for me in that important time before, you abandoned me in the next. A time when self-preservation meant more to you than I did. When your own desires overwhelmed who I thought you were. You became the mirror from which my First stared back at me, a beast of nightmare and pain. You looked less intimidating, but oh the power you held. You taught me to delineate in life what is important and stick to it. To always be true to what you have built yourself to be according to those that matter. You taught me that money can’t solve everything, it only brings out the fear in people. You taught me that love should be based on friendship, but not all friendships can turn into love. You taught me the importance of deciding where you are going and not listening to anymore more than you listen to your own heart. You taught me that looks don’t make the person, their actions do. You taught me to paint wildly, but always give what belongs to others to them. You taught me about smell, and nostalgia, and that filling gaps with comfort and what you know isn’t always the best idea. You taught me trueness. You taught me steadiness.
I’m sorry things turned out the way they did. I hurt you and for that I’m sorry. I got to see the other side of the coin, from the angle of my tormentors. And in that moment I hated myself for it. I understood how easily one can turn to the other side without even meaning to do it. The truth is, with you I also knew. I knew from the start you couldn’t hold me. I was a wolf straining at the lead for open ground and trees and sky. You were the root that digs deep and gets stuck. I was red and you were tan. We were opposites in that way. Destined to misunderstand each other. I saw our life. I saw a vision of it in your eyes that first night. We wouldn’t have fought much, but I couldn’t find the passion in there either. I found safety in you. A calm that cascaded over me, a joy and a revelation for things found. But it wasn’t enough to satisfy the life that wanted to escape from my limbs and create. You were agreeable, but sometimes I wanted a loving disagreement. I wanted things you couldn’t understand, and didn’t want things you also couldn’t understand. I wasn’t in love. With you, I missed the one I loved more from the silence that the calm brought. And when I chose David, he drowned out those whimperings my heart made for the one I really wanted. So I chose him. And I’m sorry for the way I did it. Thank you for teaching me. I learned about myself in those days. I learned about staying true to myself. About how much more it can hurt to use someone, but how you can drown out that feeling too if you’re not careful. I learned what it was to feel like someone was thinking just about me, and how much I needed that and not to settle for less. I learned how important growing up is, and how love doesn’t always grow with you. I learned how scared you can get to live, and how that can trample your dreams. I learned that I can’t let it. You taught me that being grown up is a skill and not a gifting, so we must keep trying to be our best. I learned to never stop fighting for anything that’s important. You taught me that life is unpredictable, but the pools of life are small. You taught me to choose carefully. You taught me bravery.
Our time was very short. But in that time I became so wrapped up in everything I forgot myself. I forgot to be myself, and forgot that I should never apologize for who I am or for my past. I was so enamored with the presenting of yourself. How we clicked and lined up on many levels. And I fell so quickly, I didn’t expect to hit the ground with all the suddenness of a train. I have grown so much since my days at 20 and 21. I have been forced to grow and mature and be less fickle with some things, because I had little people depending on me and my choices. At this stage I suppose I just couldn’t be as giddy and impressed as I might have been five years ago. I wanted to be what you wanted, oh how I did. But that didn’t work out too well. You taught me a lot nonetheless. With new experiences and new feelings I hadn’t explored before. With you I learned how important family is, and how we should all treat each other with kindness. How I should always seek to be close with my family and tell them I love them. I learned I can’t cook bacon, though I might try now and again, but that maybe I just don’t want to be good at it. I learned how one moment can change your life, just when you think the whole thing has turned gray. I learned that you can’t buy maturity and the joy of having someone the same as you. I learned that you should never give up on your dreams, but that taking life so seriously doesn’t have to be a requirement. You taught me that bravado is everything and will at least get you in the door when you try. You taught me that nothing substitutes for one’s own initiative, especially not the initiative of others. I learned how badly words can hurt and damage you. You taught that all the apples fall close to home most of the time. You taught me that I could love someone and be excited for the future again. You also taught me how important it is to know yourself and your own timing, so that you don’t hurt others because you weren’t ready. You taught me hope. You taught me “to know thyself”.
To the special one yet to come:
Hello again, darling. I miss you terribly. I see you in so many other people that I meet and I can’t help but wish you were here. All these people before you, they have lead up to this point for us. I have learned a great deal and much more that I didn’t write. I hope the timing is soon, that I can stop watching everyone else move forward while I stand still. I’m trying to grow myself. To learn and work and play and find. I’m trying to be more than I was each day. I see how sad people in this life are, how they are just human like me. I can bark and howl and growl at how people are and wish them ill in that moment, but I have also seen the devastation they can face in their hearts. Unseen. Unknown to others. I see it and I pity them, I feel a deep sadness for their emptiness. It gets hard to wait some days. It would be easy to reach out and have whatever I want. But I want it to be right more than anything. And I won’t settle for less. So, hurry along if you can. My fingers long to stroke your shoulders. My legs to entangle against yours. The sweep of hands against coat tails and scarves that hang about our hips on a blustery day. The swish of my dress against your pant leg. My hair in your eyes, deep like a shining pond. The warmth of our laughter watching a movie late at night. Our billowing breath in the night air, Orion standing above us with the moon. Your sun-drenched skin. The dip of your neck that I rest within. The smell of books and the fire between us. This. This and so much more. Every moment. Everyday. Every minute that escapes my lips as I speak a name without form. A name called Love. I’m waiting for you, dear one. For the right time. For that free banter. For those new experiences. For the calm. For the stars imploding. For friendship. For innocence gained.
I love you.