Lessons from a Love Letter

Cleaning is therapeutic. Inside my ikea bookshelves I found dust, travel journals, old photos, way too many candles, and an old love letter. From the ex. THAT ex. The one who inspired my singleness and this blog five years ago. 

Most of our relationship was long distance (DC to NY), which had its challenges, and treasures - like handwritten letters. This one was dated December 28, 2008. 

The most wonderful thing about finding and reading this letter over a few times was how I felt. Which was nothing. Well, nothing for him, and love for myself. 

I am capable of dating someone for more than two months! Proof right here. 

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with that pit of dread in my stomach and don't want to get out of bed. Loneliness and anxiety holding me captive. This is a reminder that I can positively affect other people. And that I should get out of bed. 

My ex had deep-seated fear/anxiety/neuroses that I completely overlooked that completely blindsided me in the end. I have learned to see these red flags earlier. 

Am I electrifying? Wow. 

This letter is all about how him and how I made him feel. Which, I believe, is one part of love. But the another part that's missing here is what does he bring to me? How does he lift me up? By the end of our relationship he took and took while I gave and gave. 

Looking back on our time together I understand with compassion now that he was depressed. He needed me to bring goodness and light into his life. I lifted him up as long as I could but my arms got really tired.

No human can be happiness for anyone else. We have to believe in ourselves that we are strong enough - alone - to push through the fear and come out on the other side ok.

He never believed that, and I couldn't convince him. He was too afraid to tell me he was afraid. He was scared I'd get angry or leave him. So he left me first. Because that was the only thing he could control. The leaving. 

Five years later I have some clarity on the type of men I date, fall for, and love:  emotionally intense, full of highs and/or lows,  depressed, confused, angry, needy.

Five years later I am fundamentally the same person in this love letter. I'm proud that I've grown but am still me. What I am changing, finally, is the person who I choose to have a relationship with. Better late than never. 

I'm looking for someone who will be the goodness in my life, the same way I am for him. Someone who is strong enough to hold me up when I need it. Someone who will not rely on me for happiness. Someone who is already happy.

A Hate Letter to Couples

Dear Couples,

I don't hate you. In fact I wouldn't mind being one half of a couple myself. But here's what I DO hate: When you think that every institution or event or mode of transportation is geared toward your twosome-ness and that those who are twosome-less must defer to your double needs. 

Let me provide you with some concrete examples:

  • While sitting alone in hipster movie theater that serves food at tables, you asked me to move one seat over to sit next to the other woman who was alone so you and your boyfriend could chomp on nachos y queso during the movie. I would like to point out that I arrived 30 minutes as per the website requests, "Come early to ensure that you sit with your party." I was sitting with my party of one and you ruined it.
    • (I moved one seat down but didn't like it.)
  • When sitting on a plane in an aisle seat that I reserved very far ahead of time because I, a) Plan my trips months in advance, and b) Need aisle seats to feel free, you asked me to sit in the row behind so you and your other half could sit together. Did you not notice when you bought your tickets that you had the ability to choose the numbered seats on the computer screen? Or did you just plan this trip last minute? Either way I don't care. Suck up the 3 hours to Florida separated.
    • (I did not move. They glared at me. I glared back. Satisfaction ensued.)
  • When spinning on my bike before Spin class a gentleman who was clearly new to the class - New Year's Resolution Guy let's call him - leans over and asks me if I wouldn't mind switching with his girlfriend who was on a bike in the far back corner - so they could spin together.  Ha! New Year's Resolution Guy clearly has never been to Spin before because he'd know there isn't time to chit-chat.
    • (I politely declined citing laziness and not wanting to readjust my bike. I also mentioned that there isn't time to chit-chat. Watched him as couldn't stand up on the bike in 2nd or 3rd positions. Satisfaction ensued.)

So couples, it looks the score is 2-1 and I'm winning. Try to remember what it was like when you weren't a twosome. When you were a one-some and you just wanted some peace and quiet: at the movies, on a plane, and in Spin.