I’ve decided to post some older, personal writings. The reasoning is a little complex, but a lot of this public blog is exorcising the lingering anxieties I still harbor after a traumatic relationship. This was years ago, but my partner at the time discouraged me from sharing my thoughts and feelings (as I had always done), he gaslighted me into keeping secrets that would have upended his manipulations, and made me complicit in hurting myself and others. Was he the worst thing ever? Not even close. But I deserved to share what I wanted to share then, and as penance to my older self, I’m sharing it now.
This was written in 2009.
Five years ago today I received your email, the one where you laid it all out for me — the one in which you called us “the bluish haze before the sunset,” part of one another, the one where you said that loved me and that we should jump, together, into the abyss of forever.
We both know how that ended up. But I think of you sometimes, and I think of that letter. I guess more than the beginning though, I think of the end and how very disastrous it was. I’m safe now, emotionally. No one is ever going to hurt me like that again unless I do something to end what I currently have. I mean, yeah, he could change his mind. But it would never go down like that. It’d be civil and kind and very sad, but it would never be brutal and crushing in the same way. So now I’m safe.
Can you sense the inherent disappointment of that word?
It’s not that this isn’t where I want to be. It’s definitely not that I want to be with you. It’s that I don’t understand where we went, those two people who were so incredibly in love that a distance of 500 miles made us fall more madly. I understand all of the little steps I guess, but I’m still somehow chagrined at how each inch added up to miles and miles and miles between us when we finally lived in the same town. More importantly, I think about how it applies to me now — how I still feel very far away from the person I was two years ago when I met [redacted], and how even though I want to marry him and be with him for the rest of my life, I can’t help but wonder if all of these little steps we are both taking will somehow add up to miles once again. And what if we are taking small steps away from one another, like you and I did, without even realizing?
A couple months ago, I randomly stumbled upon the woman who played informant on that diary site. She hasn’t written in ages and I don’t think we were ever actually “friends.” Maybe she had a different name then, I don’t know. It was such a mindfuck at the time, but now I just looked at her page and thought, “Man, if I had a friend who was in that situation, I would’ve told her too.” How can you hate a woman who is simply attempting to look out for a friend? You put so many people in such shitty situations, all because you took pleasure in being mysterious (which amounted to being unkind). I always thought you were so brave, but I didn’t realize until later how I was the more courageous one in so many ways. Yeah, sure, I didn’t climb trees to unsafe heights, I don’t like car trips without maps, and you were more of an adventurer in general, but I always had the courage to say what I meant and ‘fess up to my mistakes.
Which began early, in our case.
I was so afraid when I got that email. I was thrilled, too, and I still have never felt that kind of rush — it’s incredible to me, but you remain the one person who spoke my dreams aloud. It’s a fucking shame that neither of us could stick to it, but it still brings tears to my eyes to think of you. Of us. And I’m sorry for my part in it, from the very beginning. I am sorry I fell in love with [redacted], too. I’m sorry that I didn’t answer your email with a resounding, “Yes, let’s go, let’s jump and be in love and be the only thing for one another.” In the email, you admitted that my even meeting [redacted] was your fault — and it was, in some ways — but I should have recognized what that email was to you, how vulnerable you were for that briefest of moments. And it never happened again, not even close, but I am sorry I left you vulnerable. I’m sorry that I answered out of fear instead of using my heart and head to realize what it was you were offering me. The Mike of 2006 is so dear to me, the memory of you is still so dear to me. I am sorry to have hurt that person, the glimmer of hope and joy who wrote me that honest, beautiful email.
I don’t think that person exists anymore, at least not for me. But I hope he is out there somewhere, having learned lessons and grown bigger and stronger. Bigger than the parts of you who knowingly deceived weaker, more trusting souls.
It’s like every time I rehash this, I expect different words strung together into different phrases to give me the answers I don’t and will probably never have. (Why, why, why, why?) I wish I could post this somewhere and know you’d read it — the directness of an email, even though I know you wouldn’t purposefully hurt me now, is somehow too much. I don’t want to disturb your day if you’re having a good one. I don’t want to disturb my potential new, good day if you write back. I just want to say it, know that you understand it, inherently understand your response, and move on to the next mindset.