Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Letter To My Ex Boyfriends

Addressed to you: Those who have loved, hated and lost me,

I know that from time to time, you may Google my name. Or linger around my Twitter for a few minutes, because it's the only social network I keep open. I don't know how you feel about my life, because I don't keep tabs on yours. I know that I didn't stay particularly civil to you, because that's how I approach endings. When something is done, it's done. I do not want the burned edges, broken glass or tattered remains. I want a clean cut and lungs filled with fresh air instead of clouded with ash.

To the First,

Our relationship was one that no little girl should have burdened. At 16, I thought I was an adult. So did you. There are some things we should never have to experience, and never need to recall. It was like riding a carousel and the experience left me sick, I was desperate to stop the dizziness.

In hindsight, I feel a lot of shame.

Not on your behalf, although maybe I should have felt that too. I feel ashamed that I let myself get treated a certain way for 2 years. I feel ashamed that I couldn't defend myself, and that I allowed myself to be bent to someone else's will. 

Being with you was like being tangled up in vines. You trailed around me, and I would find myself tied up in panic. Each time I tried to leave, I got hit with shards of emotional blackmail and threats. The pay off was never worth it because you crushed my character, and exhausted my self esteem. You made sure I had no friends, and there was no one to turn to. When I finally walked away, you followed my every move to the point where I was terrified to leave the house. You tracked my progress, even a year later. You always wanted the last word.

We ended our relationship back in 2008, and I hear that you have yet to change. We were both children, and both consumed by the foolishness of youth. I hear you treated every girl the same way, and that you never really examined the qualities of gentlemen. I do hear that you're happy now, and I'm grateful that it is far away from me.

I can say our experience left me haunted. Even now, a stranger with a similar face can stir the coldest fear throughout my body. An action similar to your own can make me hold my breath. But don't think that you damaged my heart, and don't give yourself enough credit to believe that you broke me down.

None of it damaged me for the long term. I know that there are good men, and that there are respectful men. You made a scratch in my subconscious. It was superficial damage, because I was young enough to start again. I buffed it away, and I abandoned it along with everything else you gave me. 

That's where it ends. You see, words to me are currency. They are what I have, and what I work with. I mould them into meaning, I put them together and tear them apart. You will have no more of mine.

Then, came the Second.

You were kind and patient. You were the kind of person I needed to remove myself from the previous situation. You cared for me, and you stood there despite my riddling anxiety and issues. We tried to make it last through university, but it never could have. You see, I think we both served our purpose. For two years, you gave me exactly what I thought I needed.

Security. Kindness. Warmth.

In return, you had my loyalty and love. It sounds harsh to say that I was your teacher, but I really was. There was so much you didn't know about women, or the world. We walked down a road together, but it finally took us to a dead end.

Despite the catalyst that turned our relationship into dust, that expiry date was always carved in the back of my mind. It ticked ever so quietly, and I barely even noticed it. 

After the second, came a string of those who never were. Some of you were fleeting and disastrous experiences, while others made their mark. 
how to lose a guy in 10 days, movie quotes image

To one who was never my boyfriend (but changed his mind),

Please do not think that I think of you like I think of the rest. Do not think that I resent our time or experiences with one another, but you are here because you made a difference. 

You need to know that I learnt a lot about men from you. Not about young boys and their vicious games, but about men with ambition and goals to achieve. Although some of what I experienced with you was a facade, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Because it taught me my instincts about you were always right.

I always knew which parts weren't real, and I always knew when you put up a front. I actually knew a lot more than I let on, but I knew you weren't ready. You taught me a lot about who I could be, and brought out some of the best in me even when I was convinced it was the worst.

I knew that every time you ignored my messages, or whenever you walked away with no hint of emotion. I knew the man that you could be, but you had to take your time to get there. It took you a long time to see that we were well matched. By the time you did, it was too late. That's okay, because we managed to build a friendship from the wreckage. Maybe that was meant to be our journey. After all, we were both far too competitive to actually balance each other out. I'm grateful that I still have you in my life, and that you understand. I'm lucky that you still believe in me.

Thanks to a combination of men, overgrown boys and little acts of evil, I have learned the true meaning of worth and why I deserved more than what I got. I became prepared for where I am now, and I am better equipped to accept some facts about life. I know that women have to fight a battle to become strong, and that we extract and execute our power better than anyone else.

I know that I'm extremely blessed to have the relationship that I have today. Against all of the odds, and all of the scars burned in my memory, I know that two people could be happy together. And that it could be real.

Relationships aren't pushing and shoving, and fights so terrifying that your mother was afraid. Relationships aren't meant to be that way, and I don't deserve to be anyone's rag doll, Stepford Wife or easy bit of attention. I know better than that, and by now so should you. 

Sometimes I feel your shadows behind me, and I have to look twice. You are all ghosts, but some of you are more real than others.