Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Preface: Last night I had a dream about my ex. (With a little e. You'll see why shortly.) Those of you who know me personally know which one I'm talking about. The dream, which would have, had it involved anyone else, been a pleasant memory, was genuinely disconcerting. It wasn't a nightmare - in fact, in this dream, he was being sweet. I woke up with fond memories of him. Which is a problem. A SERIOUS problem. I tried to deal with this all morning, but while I was sitting at my BS office job (ah the joys of work study), it was all I could think about. And I needed to study for my midterms tomorrow, but I could not, for the life of me, process what was going through my head. So I wrote a letter. I won't be sending it to him, but here's what it said. (Be prepared... it's long. There are a lot of things I wish I'd said to him.)

Maybe you can tell me why the hell I'm thinking about you right now. You should be the furthest fucking thing from my mind. What's worse is that I'm thinking of you fondly. That's not OK with me. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't mind. But I shouldn't have fond memories of you. Not because there never were any good times, but rather because it's important that I not remember them. Because if I remember that, for a time at least, I really believed you loved me, if I remember how good we were together, sexually at least, if I remember how every once in a while, you'd do incredibly romantic or loving things, then I might not hate you any more. And if I don't hate you anymore, I might want to to talk to you again. Just for closure, I'll tell myself. And then I'll do something stupid like call you when I'm home and ask you to meet me for coffee. Which would be probably the stupidest thing I could possibly do.

I don't make a habit of hating my exes. Even those I don't speak with anymore, well, I don't hate them. I know it's healthier for both of us if we don't speak, so that's how we operate. But you. I have to hate you. It's important. Because if I don't, I risk bringing you back into my life when I've spent so much time and effort making sure you're removed from the same. So I can't think about any of those good things that happened while we were together. I just can't.

Instead, I need to think about how shitty you treated me. I need to remember that for every night you'd do something romantic, there were five where you would get drunk and scream at me. For every time we'd have great sex, there would be three where we could only have the kind of sex YOU wanted. You refused to indulge me, even a little, no matter how much I indulged you. And, for the record, yes, the anal sex fucking hurt. Didn't you notice I was only "willing" when I was drunk? No, of course you didn't. And also, for the record, I know now that it doesn't have to hurt. In fact, it can be a hell of a lot of fun. And I owe someone else for showing me that. And you're the reason he laughed when I asked, flabergasted, "you mean it isn't supposed to hurt?!"

I never felt sexy standing next to you, or laying with you. Not because I wasn't sexy, but because you told me I wasn't. You never let me forget that you were better-looking than I was. You told me every fucking week. You'd tell me how lucky I was that you would (condescend) to be with someone who looked like me. You didn't like me wearing high heels because it made me taller than you, and that made you insecure. It was bad enough I was heavier than you, you'd say. I didn't need to be taller than you, too. "I know I'm more attractive than you are," you'd say, implying that you were some kind of saint for being with me anyway. And then, the next person I was with? Well, he was better-looking than you are. Fucking gorgeous, actually (a generally accepted fact among those who've met him). And in actuality, he isn't much taller than you. But here's the catch: he made me feel, as cliche as it sounds, like the most beautiful woman in the world. He'd find things to compliment about me. Little things, like how I kissed him or how I sang or how I looked waking up next to him. And he made me feel sexy because he was sexy. And he'd tell me I was. And, the real kicker? He and I were better together than I could have ever dreamed you and I would be. It was, without question, the best sex I've had. For any variety of reasons.

And where you would get drunk (off the booze you'd buy with my money while living in my house where I paid rent,) and insult me and throw things at me and hold me down when you didn't want me running away from you; he would invite me over, share a drink or two, and talk with me about literature and art and music. And then he'd take my face in his hands and kiss me softly, then gently lead me to the bedroom.

I want to tell you all this because I want you to know. I want you to know that I realize how awful you were to and for me, and I want you to know that you didn't break me. You made me feel so fucking worthless. And I realize now it was all a strategy to keep me down so I'd be too scared and too weak to leave you. And when you were worried that I might be getting ideas in my head to leave, you'd invent a problem. You'd violate my privacy, and read my personal (paper) journal, then wake me up to fight with me about it. And when I didn't shrink then, because I wouldn't apologize for writing something down instead of saying it to you and because I refused to censor myself simply for fear you'd find out, you reacted like a petulant child. With a drinking problem. You channeled Stanley Kowalski and showed up at my work, drunk off godknowshowmuch whiskey at 5pm, screaming at me and banging on the glass. In addition to being angry at you, you fucking embarassed me. Not that that was something new for you. You know precisely why I wouldn't bring you around my friends and your fucking jealousy was literally tangible. Tangible in the bruises you'd leave only in places you knew no one would look.

So I don't owe you a goddamn thing. This letter will serve as all the closure I could possibly need. I don't need to go to coffee with you. I don't need to see you again. Because you don't deserve that. You don't deserve to have me in your life. You gave up that right the moment you laid a hand on me. The moment you spoke to me like that. The moment you used me. I'm sorry for myself that it took me so long to get you out of my life, but now that you are, that's exactly where you will stay.


Roland Hulme said...

Wow. What a moving letter.

It's very therapeutic to write things like that and I hope it made you feel better. Unfortunately time does have a habit of making us forget the bad and remember the good - you're wise to remember (just so you'll never let anybody treat you like that again.)

Amalthea said...

Oh my darling, we forgive too often, those of us who have been broken and used and yet still choose to believe in love and beauty and hope and ideals... but hopefully for our sake we don't forget. I felt this, every word, in a place deep inside that people created in my past with their ugly words and deeds and bruises. You're right to keep those memories to protect yourself. There are certain people that don't deserve YOU in any way in their lives. My first boyfriend ended up being like this, because he believed he could manipulate me to the end. My father was one of these people. For a time my grandfather was. Officechick E is a lesser version of it as well.

I know when I shut people out I feel unfair..I hope that you don't even a little bit in this case. That you don't feel guilty for hating him. I always want to keep the hope and give people another chance. The right thing to do for you is clearly to keep your own strength, keep this person capable of undermining it away from you, and continue to love yourself and celebrate your rejection of abuse.

I know you know this, and I'm probably stating the obvious. I can't help it when you manage to strike a chord with me all over again from across the waters, lol. I swear I would think I was inventing this connection if you didn't agree with me that the parallels are always there.

I can't wait to see you celebrate and share your physical beauty with us (that this asshole ex of yours rejected) for HNT!