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Dear Bri,

I've put this letter off the longest
Because it doesn't come from anger
And although it may resemble it
It does not come from regret either
This letter just comes from my soul
From me
From a place I can finally trust

This letter differs from the rest
Because I want it to be a mix
Between explanation and closure
And the others I didn't want them to read
But part of me hopes you do see this
I just finally think I understand
Why I had to leave

First of all
I never used you
Not one time
You learned that I'm fiercely independent
And I hope you know it was never
Ever
Ever
About money for me
Or about your home town
Or your fathers property
No that relationship was about love
I loved you

See, the thing about love
The thing I didn't know about
Was that it changes over time
There are not always sparks
Even so, those fade eventually
And from there you must create deeper ties
Connect to one another on a new level
That is the point at which I failed

I know you hated how
I always explained my behavior by my past
And for that I am not sorry
What I am sorry for is the fact that
I did not step up
I did not know how to grow with life
How to let go of the pain
How to move forward
Instead I hid the pain behind drugs
Legal and prescribed
And behind other people's affection
I pushed away the pain
Because it hurt way too much
I was not ready to face it
I had no idea how to do that
And by not accepting my real feelings
I not only blunted the unhelpful ones
But the pleasant ones as well

By not dealing with my past
By not allowing myself to heal
I could not have allowed myself
To love you

It's been over a week since
I wrote the first half of this
It's hard to find the right words
It's hard to open my heart
On something so sensitive
As a love that I ended prematurely
I want to let you go though
We both deserve to be happy again
And I am, most days
But I need to acknowledge my heart
Allow myself to be sad one last time
I want to be entirely honest with you

You've been the hardest person
For me to let go of recently
Now that you live in town again
I think about you a lot
When I'm driving through campus
Past the engineering building
When I'm walking back to my car
Memories constantly surface of us
Like when you left that phone number
On the windshield of my car
And it was to some Pizza Hut in DC
Or driving through the town where we lived
Surrounded by white snow
Singing different parts to Pentatonix
Or when we spent Christmas with your family
And we connected through the calm of a place
So far from the city
As we chopped down a tree and
Played video games under warm blankets
Or even when we sat on the edge of a cliff in St. Francis
And I told you I felt nothing when we kissed
So so many memories
Of love
Of pain
Of a connection
Of my best friend

And it's not that I want to be together again
We are very different people and
I really am happy again
And I don't want to make you sad
Or make you feel anything bad
Because no matter what I care about you
I just need to reprocess everything
With the recognition that
That relationship would have lasted
If, back then,
I were the person I am now

See,
We may have been entirely different
And we definitely had our issues
But you were right when you said
That I couldn't commit
Because I couldn't commit to myself either

I couldn't love myself
I couldn't believe in myself
I couldn't process the trauma
I had no idea how to
I didn't know what to do
I felt only pain all of the time
Underneath everything else
I always had a sadness hanging onto me
I was emotionally unavailable
I didn't know how to love
I didn't know what love meant
Because I never loved myself
And I don't believe that line
That you can't love someone else
Until you love yourself first
But it sure makes it easier

Back then,
I didn't trust myself
So I let everyone else lead my life
I never questioned the path either
I just accepted life as it was
Because I didn't believe that I could change it
Which leaked into our relationship
Because if there was something I needed
Or something I was unhappy with
I could have tried to talk about it
I made the choice not to

I used to self-sabotage a lot
Before I realized that I didn't have to
I could feel those urges anytime
But that did not mean I had to carry them out
I lived entirely by my emotions at that time
When I was sad, nothing could be positive
When I was angry, I had to let it out
I did not even consider that
My actions and my emotions
Are two entirely different things

I have grown so much since then
I'd like to hope you'd be proud
Because despite anything I've said or done
I still care about how you feel
And how you see me
I'm always tempted to check your writing
But now I can distinguish between
My helpful and unhelpful urges
So I do not allow myself to try
You deserve your privacy
And I deserve to not let my residual feelings about us
Interfere with my life now

I just want you to know that
I messed up when I hurt you
I made a choice for us both
Instead of sitting down together
To talk and figure out how we both felt
I don't think I could have figured myself out
If I hadn't left when I did

Because since then
I went through a toxic relationship
That empowered me almost as much as it broke me
And I hurt some people along the way too
I thought I loved people I really didn't
I did acid and developed positive habits as a result
I actually take care of myself now
And most of the time I like myself
Often I even love myself
I stopped doing drugs
I finally trust myself and
I listened to myself for once
And I'm changing my career path now
I learned to be mindful of my feelings
And to not take them out on those I love
I learned what love means
I developed more compassion
I learned to be assertive
And entirely honest and real
I learned who I am

And now I'm here
An entirely different person
Writing a final letter to you
A person who I loved
Who's also entirely different now
But someone who could have been my forever
Once upon a time

But I'd like to believe in fate
And trust that all of this
Is exactly what needed to happen
For both of us to grow into ourselves
And I can't speak for you
But you will always be in my heart
Thank you for the years we spent together
Thank you for teaching me that life isn't all bad
Thank you for being there for me
For being patient and kind and for loving me
Thank you for being you
I truly hope that you find happiness
I wish you peace and love
And everything good
And I wish the same for me
Dear Sam,

Your ex
Who happens to be my best friend
Opened up to me the other day
About how they used to resent me
Because of the way you treated them
When I entered into poly with you
Which is entirely understandable
Especially considering that you
Decided to tell them something big
While you guys were out with friends
You just couldn't wait to tell them
That you didn't think that you were poly
Because you thought you only loved me
Yet I never heard this from you
****, I never even saw it much
Whenever you complimented me
You balanced it with one about them
Which I thought was fine
Because they're a really good person
Little did I know that you were
Being so abusive to them all the time
While telling me how much you love them

I think what ****** me off the most
About all of this ****
Is that I felt that I was done with you
I stopped thinking about it all
Either I'd processed all I needed to
Or I was repressing all the damage
Because you caused a **** ton
But finding this out?
It makes me so ******* angry
Because you had them believing
That things were great between us
And made me believe the same about you two
While you emotionally abused and
Deeply manipulated both of us
On such a level that
Certain songs give me anxiety
And I get flashbacks of you
Of us
Sitting in your house in the dark
The only light coming from candles
Music playing over the speakers
An ambient setting that
Holds so much pain
From both positive and negative experiences

Yet those don't even feel like memories
They feel like something I saw in a movie
Because by the end of those long 6 months
You brought me so close to the ground
That I still taste dirt when I breathe

I hate that you're in my head again
Because I was fine before this
Before hearing even more
Or the torture you put them through
And how the pain you inflicted on me
The pain that causes dark anxiety
Upon seeing any Jeep vehicle
Paled in comparison
To the ways you abused and hurt them
How ******* dare you
They were nothing but loving and caring to you
I could've screamed with joy when they left you.

I hope it burns.
I hope you know you're abusive.
I hope you think of us often.
And I hope you get help
And never do this ever again.
Dear Kailey,

This needs to be my last letter to you
And I don't even want you to read it
This is just for me and my own health
For so long I let other people
Dictate what was right and wrong
Especially with my own opinions and thoughts
Because I didn't trust my perspective
And I should not have permitted that
From you or from anyone
Ironically
The time that drives me mad
Occurred in one of our last conversations
Where I acknowledged the fact that
I might have still had feelings for you
But I didn't want anything like that from you
I just wanted to be open and honest
Yet you took it as me being cocky
And tried to take a jab at me
"I like how you assume I'd want to get back with you"
Which would've been an honest misunderstanding
If just two weeks earlier
You hadn't been trying to **** me
And then cover that with claims that
You still had feelings for me
And because I didn't trust myself
And because you assumed I was being shady
I must have been right?
So I created many different reasonings
That fit both my actions and your perception
But, here's the only truth
I did not want anything from you
We had talked about being friends
Ethically I wanted to explain myself
I wouldn't want to start a friendship
If you didn't know what I was feeling
But you believed what you wanted
Then decided to ghost me from there

Little did you know
I had immediately deleted your number
So about a month later
When you texted me out of nowhere
I only knew it was you because
After all the years I know half of your number
But it's not like you wanted to talk
In a way that friends do
No, you most likely were feeling
Either lonely as ****
Or you weren't getting enough attention
And you suddenly remembered I exist
Because you always thought I was a safe bet
The person who would always be there
Except that's an abusive expectation
Unconditional positive regard
That's a therapy technique
It's not made for relationships
Or human connections
So when you consistently use me
While your boyfriend is in the hospital
Or he's in a rough place and can't
***** you the way you want
When you text me after so much silence
Expecting me to even respond at all
And honestly I didn't want to

Initially I planned to ignore the message
Or just delete it
But why would I give you the power
To create your own narrative for my behavior?
So you can text me again in a few days
As if I was just busy and forgot to respond
Because I'm always here right?
Absolutely not
Not anymore
I'm done with your dramatic ****
With your inconsistencies and
Your using of me as an object of
Comfort and safety
I deserve better than that
And since you don't respect me
Enough to give me that consideration
Then I'll do it myself

And just in case you think I'll regret it
Or change my mind some day
Keep in mind that your grossly passive response
(A singular "oh"
To my assertive request not to talk to me again)
Immediately reinforced my decision
To put myself first
Because I love myself now
And I deserve much better than that
And I owe you
Nothing.
jcl Nov 4
it comes
slow, gentle

I sink
deeper, further

my breath
longer, easier

my awareness
narrowing, hazing

I sleep
succumbing, forgetting

It snows
falling, drifting

I feel
serenity, surrender

the flurries
golden, sparkling

I sense
wholeness, oneness
thinking about how the world doesn't really care about you can get really lonely.

but it's also liberating. your soul breathes a sigh of relief, and you can just exist.

it's empowering. you can allow yourself to take up space and own it.

but mostly, it's enlightening. you learn things you never knew you never knew.

you learn how to live.
Rita Sailor Nov 27
he wants to leave and i help him to pack
because i know where things are
because i want to keep them for myself  

no wonder he’s not sticking around
an abrupt invasion of privacy is bound to end this way
good thing he didn’t burn all the bridges just yet
they welcome him back with open hands

we talk about a friend of a friend who’s friend with other friends but not ours
twice removed thrice forgotten at the party
no bad blood but don’t hold your breath for wedding invitation
i don’t have an appropriate dress and no means to come by 
since we’re started talking in lower voices about grown-up things like mortgage and 401k
we’re in an endless cycle of negotiation
with ourselves and each other
so long, don't think I'll ever throw a party for this tea set for six
Adele KW Nov 16
It’s strange how a book can recall memories
Memories I try to forget and yet
I go searching for the pain to relive them
Not relieve them like a normal person should
I feel drawn to re LIVE the pain
And when I cry
And my warm tears
I feel running down my face
I think it’s like an acknowledgement
I think it makes my pain real
And as the water pools and trickles from my eyes
It feels real
And not just a numb memory
I had forced it to be
"The *** of Small Things"
Nov. 15. 18
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