subject line: closure

 
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London, UK

5 months ago I told you I needed space to think. To think about whether I wanted to be with you or not. You asked how much and I said as much as I needed. What’s funny is before I said that to you I had made my decision, I didn’t need space to think but I needed to search the depths of my soul to make sure what i felt in my heart and gut were right. Fast forward to last weekend, you send me an impulsive WhatsApp message asking if you would ever get the closure you needed that I started to feel guilty that I had left you hanging in the balance of things. You see, I was too busy doing life (the good, the bad and the ugly) to think about where I left you. Although this might seem selfish, it is the first time in my life I put myself before anyone else and focused on me, my mental state and doing things on my own terms.

As much as you were once my comfort blanket, the bubble we lived in was bound to pop at any moment, it wasn’t realistic. I mentally checked out the first time we said bye. The second time you came back around, I was only here because you needed someone in your life to all to and you were gong through things. I won’t deny you were never there for me when I needed you. You were, but the relationship became about making sure you were okay and you got what you wanted and that consumed me. There were times I never wanted to answer your phone calls but I always thought what if he was having a bad day and just wanted to talk to someone. So it’s only natural I got to a stage where I was mentally exhausted and I can’t deny that these months of space have been the best i’ve had. So I guess I need to let you let me go cause I let you go a long time ago. And whilst you will always have a special space in my heart as my friend and my biggest supporter, I don’t think I could give you what you want because I reached the finish line of this 400m race a long time ago and left you at the 100m mark.

subject line: i hope this gets to you in time

 
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Golden State

I have had so many different types of days filled with so many different emotions throughout my life time. I have had days when I allowed myself to sink in sadness over little things. There were days when I was at war with my own mind. Days when I was happy, so happy that I felt like I was on top of the world. Days when my heart literally ached for someone who didn’t even think about me. Days when I felt completely alone although I had an amazing friend by my side. Days when I looked at life and didn’t see a purpose anymore. Days when I looked in the mirror and hated my body, the way I looked, a certain facial expression I made, my smile, or the side view of my nose. Now I look back, and for the first time I can say i’m actually happy, and things are going in a positive direction. I can look in the mirror and point out my positive features, instead of just over focusing the ones I don’t exactly love. I’m not bragging or saying I have reached “utopia”. I am saying that life may seem like a lost cause, or seem not worth it. Many things are temporary in life, some good things are, too. But the negative feelings and the negative thoughts that harass you everyday are temporary. If you find this email, know that things will get better. Stay strong.

subject line: thank you.

 
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3 Months Past Goodbye

We haven’t talked in three months, and I’ve moved on. Mostly. But last night, I thought of you and realized something that my heartbreak had blinded me to until now. You loved me. You didn’t love me perfectly, but you loved me pretty damn well. And it doesn’t matter whether that love was romantic or brotherly. It was what I needed, and every step I have taken since has partly been thanks to you. I hope I loved you well too.

subject line: wake me up.

 

North Carolina

Wake me up at 3am just to tell me that I’m not close enough. Wake me again at 7am because we need to get ready for the day. Once more at 7:15 because we both know I don’t do mornings. Tell me about the dream you had last night while we have toast and orange juice. I’m tired as hell but I hear and feel every single word that you say. Ask me how I slept because you feel like you’ve been talking for too long. My answer is always the same when you ask, sleeping next to you is heavenly. Apologize for waking me up at 3 while I assure you that it’s okay and that I’m so glad that you did, then rally in your stubborn persistence the notion that it was out of line. Start explaining how wrong it was. You won’t get very far into your rant because I need to kiss you. Not only to stop you from being ridiculous but because I love you so much more than I can express with words. So please, wake me up at 3am so I can pull you closer and kiss you softly. “I love you endlessly” will be my sleepy response each time; as those four words are the only ones that can even come close to explaining my feelings for you.

subject line: when you are the one that comes after.

 

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

he loved someone else before you. for a very long time.

you can’t just call it a “sensitive subject”,
it’s more than that.
we’re talking about more than two years of his life invested in one person
and one person only.

insecurity comes into play when you realize that you are a new set of hurdles for him that he is not used to.
you are not the person he’s grown accustomed to being with.
you are not the lips that he’s comfortable kissing.
your hair is blonde and hers was brown.
you are different.
you
are not
her.

take a deep breath, punch the air, shake your head out.

all of that is okay.

that’s how life works.
he and I have both left and been left. we have hurt people and people have hurt us.
life isn’t stopping for anyone.

and now, we’re together.
I am not her,
and that is okay.
time will pass. a year, two years will go by. hopefully three. four.

I will try with my whole heart to love him better than any who came before me.
he doesn’t deserve any less.

and no matter what,

I will not compare myself to her.

subject line: in the moment.

 

Fort Knox, Kentucky

I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry to myself, I’m sorry to God, and I’m sorry to the person I keep making responsible for my feelings. In the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with the death of a loved one that is far from me, a car accident, and then just trying to continue adulting as if nothing is wrong. In that time there has been some petty things happening at work, and I don’t know if it’s just that I’m not thinking clearly or what, but I’ve felt attacked and betrayed. I don’t know if this is intentional, especially given my true headspace, but I always want to love those around me, be the bigger person. I haven’t been that recently. I haven’t been gracious, I haven’t put in the work. At work, I’m still working hard, but there has been a definite shift, and in the moments where I’m looked down on or feeling attacked, I break down. Not professional...at all. So, I’m sorry. I tend to hold onto things too tightly and can’t tell when it’s time to let go. This is my attempt at saying I’m sorry and sending it out unto the world. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know if this just my problem or not, and I’m recognizing that I’m not perfect, and that I can make mistakes. Part of me hopes I stay, and part of me has one foot out the door. Honestly, before I ever left to go celebrate the life of my loved one, my one foot was already out the door. If I do leave, it isn’t because of this. Though I can’t deny that this could be a tipping point. I’m trying my very best. That’s all anyone can ask of me.

subject line: I can't wait forever to learn about a mortgage and taxes and stocks. Where are you?

 

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Send her flowers. Send her flowers when you mess up and send her flowers just because. Figure out her favorite flower and go from there.

If she likes Thai food, eat it with her even though you don’t.

Kiss her forehead when you leave for work before her. Pull her back into bed when she leaves before you.

Grab her hand when you’re walking on busy streets. She needs to know you like to be connected.

Call her before you go to sleep when you’re apart. Remind her how magical and marvelous she is.

Go to church with her.

If you love her, tell her. Tell her before you break up with her. And if you want to marry her, do it. Tell her. She deserves to know. You don’t get to make that decision for her - find out if she wants that too. I’m sure she will. Who wouldn’t? When you know you love her, don’t wait - tell her. Right then. Immediately. This is so important.

You hurt me. It’ll probably always hurt. Don’t hurt her, too.

subject line: here's how I hope you love her.

 

Lansing, Michigan

Send her flowers. Send her flowers when you mess up and send her flowers just because. Figure out her favorite flower and go from there.

If she likes Thai food, eat it with her even though you don’t.

Kiss her forehead when you leave for work before her. Pull her back into bed when she leaves before you.

Grab her hand when you’re walking on busy streets. She needs to know you like to be connected.

Call her before you go to sleep when you’re apart. Remind her how magical and marvelous she is.

Go to church with her.

If you love her, tell her. Tell her before you break up with her. And if you want to marry her, do it. Tell her. She deserves to know. You don’t get to make that decision for her - find out if she wants that too. I’m sure she will. Who wouldn’t? When you know you love her, don’t wait - tell her. Right then. Immediately. This is so important.

You hurt me. It’ll probably always hurt. Don’t hurt her, too.

subject line: today will be different.

 
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New Hampshire

Last week, I sent an email. The surge of uneasiness washing over me, as I gathered my utmost courage to hit the send button. It took so much out of me to type something that could never be traced, that would never be more than an anonymous letter of uncertainty. I thought I was looking for an answer, the question, tangled in the depths of my being. I thought I was looking for a sign. But, when my email was published, my words inscribed upon these pages for a community of broken humans to read, I realized I was looking for something else. I realized I was looking for a reason to be afraid, a reason to tell myself it wouldn’t work.

You see, I’ve spent my whole life drowning in a pail of empty sorrows. “I am lonely,” I write, day after day, yet all that I am remains hidden within the canopy of this crooked facade. “I am afraid,” I whisper into the darkness of midnight nightmares, yet I forget that I may fall upon my God, His arms perfectly renewing. “I’m dispensable,” I murmur, when I can’t get my shit together, yet I pour myself upon the broken, hoping they may feel as though they’re worth it.

It’s okay if you’re looking for a sign, but I’ve realized that even if all the stars in the universe align in your favor, you’re still going to have to put in the work. You’re still going to have to live your life with an abounding grace, an abounding love. You’re still going to have to be the one to open your weary heart. You’re still going to have to be the one who says, with every bit of bravery your quaking soul can muster, “Yes, I can, today will be different.”

subject line: hour 13.

 

Boston

i wish i could understand why ignoring you for twelve hours makes me so proud of myself. half of me is hoping you’ll notice how quiet i’m being & you’ll wonder what’s wrong. the other half hopes you’ll never ask & maybe you’ll never text me again & i’ll finally be able to move on & not love you with every fiber of my being.
a lot of the time i wish i could give you up. sometimes i think i’ll just move across the country & ignore you for the rest of my life until i forget that i ever needed you. but instead here i am & it is 3am & you’re giving me the longest hug & you’re saying i smell like a daisy & you’re telling me you’ll stay awake until i make it home & text you that i’m safe. & i’m practically falling down your shitty carpeted steps because i feel like i’m floating & my heart could lift me all the way up into the air with how full of love for you it is. i would spend every 7am cranky & overtired if it meant staying up until 3am with you, just curled up on the futon with you smiling down at me with those bright eyes & carefree laugh.
i will spend every day wondering why you don’t realize you love me yet. everyone sees it. your roommate thinks you know, too. deep down you have to know that it’s always going to be us. right?

subject line: thoughts on being alone.

 
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Everywhere and Nowhere

I know that loneliness is a universal feeling. That as I type these words, a million other people feel the exact same way. I guess that knowledge should make me feel better, but really, it just makes me sad.

It’s 11:38 pm and I’m alone in a bed sized for two. I keep replaying my friends’ Instagram stories, trying to imagine myself there with them. Is it selfish to want to be wanted? Maybe. But I think it’s also human nature.

I’ll move out of this house in less than a month, into an apartment filled with just me and my thoughts. I won’t miss sharing a bathroom or a kitchen, but I will miss feeling like I’m a part of something. Tonight was just the first taste of watching the people I love slip away. I’m moving out and they will move on.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I guess it’s because loneliness is a universal feeling. I’m drawing imaginary lines between this email and strangers’ screens. If you find this email, maybe we can be alone together. Maybe that can be enough for both of us.

subject line: glass ceiling.

 

Midwest

He asked: ‘What did you want differently from me?’

We were about 30 minutes into our conversation at a quiet coffee bar — the same number of deep breaths I took on my 2 minute walk over to sit across from him and wish that calming mug of peppermint tea I was cradling was a shot of something (anything) bitterly strong. I was sitting across from him after 5 months of not being with him for 2 years.

I said: ‘I wanted you to be patient.”

What I wished I said: ‘I want you to be patient with me — a girl who may not look like she’s pushing boundaries of what she’s capable of in a relationship with you. But know for those 2 years that girl had been sky diving out of her comfort zone while still waiting to land in a place that reminded her she had feet to hold herself up. Know that she pushed through so many new boundaries that she forgot up from down. She said goodbye to the girl who was scared of saying yes. She came up for air to realize all of these new experiences were actually helping her discover herself. Know that driving three hours alone to parallel park in a big city, taking the train by herself to confidently walk a handful of blocks to meet you by the fountain downtown was huge. She showed up, she broke her own glass ceiling, and she could still feel through your hands she held that it didn’t seem good enough. You only saw her victories as small, but know she moved mountains and planets to swallow all her anxiety and drop-in head first to show you she was in this for us.’

subject line: missing a stranger.

 
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Back Home

I stood out on my porch today when it started to rain, and I held a cup of lavender tea in my hands and thought of you. We haven’t spoken for more than a week, and my phone feels useless without a new text from you lighting up the screen. It’s lonely, you know - it’s lonely being someone you left behind. I don’t know if you’re angry or if you want to hurt me or if you just forgot about me once you left the place where you really needed me. I thought about texting you a few days ago, sending you an apology for something I wasn’t sure I did, but I was hurt and besides, I didn’t know what to say. You’re a mystery to me these days, a stranger in my best friend’s clothes who doesn’t seem to want or need me anymore.
I miss you. But then, I’ve been missing you for a long time. Even though we haven’t spoken in a week, you haven’t been you for months. I guess I’m just realizing it now, finally seeing clearly as the tea grows cold in my hands and the rain pours down on the place we both call home.

subject line: you are the most wonderful.

 

Eastern Europe

The level of adoration I have for you transcends that which I thought I could feel for anyone ever again, but I’m not scared. I see you, and the ways your eyes light up like the shiniest of stars as your thunderous, full laughter fills a room until it’s exploding, and I know that you are what I’ve been looking for for so long. I didn’t think it existed, but here I am, sitting in your presence on a warm morning with a pot of tea in between us and sleep still in your eyes.
And it’s not our time yet, but I know that it will be someday when God knows we are ready, and we will bask in each other’s radiance and laughter as our dog sleeps on the couch and our collection of tea from the herbs in our garden fills our pantry and it will be wonderful. And I will love all of you and you will love all of me.
And until then I will wait patiently and continue to be in awe of you and your wisdom and perseverance and positivity in all that you do. And I will continue to glow every time you place your hand on my back and tell me that you believe in me even when I do not have that same belief in myself.
I hope someday to read this back to you, rings on our fingers, enjoying the first days of the rest of our lives together.

subject line: almost.

 

Sausalito, CA

You didn’t think I noticed. But I saw you leaving. I saw you leaving me. I tried to hold onto you. I tried so hard to keep you close to me. But maybe…maybe I held on a little too tight. Or maybe I didn’t hold on tight enough…Regardless, I lost you.
And when I lost you, I lost everything.
I lost everything that really meant anything to me. Common sense says that I should try to let you go. But I can’t. Because, it’s hard for me to let go of you. And I think it will always be hard for me. I think part of me will always want you. And I think part of me will always love you. Because I saw you. I really saw you. I saw everything that you were. I saw everything that you are. And I saw absolutely everything that I believed you could be. And when I saw that. I saw our future. When I saw that. I saw the best days of my life just waiting for me. Just waiting for us. I saw the day where I would take your last name. I saw the day where you would make me your wife. I saw the day that we would make an offer on our very first home. I saw the day where we would get the results of our first home inspection… and I saw the day where you would inspect our first home yourself. I saw the day where…just two days after moving in, you would tell me that we had to move out…because you found the slightest amount of asbestos or mold in our home. “We can’t raise our kids here” you would say. And I loved you for that. I saw the day that I held your hand as we welcomed our first miracle into this world. Our first baby. Our first love. Our first everything. I saw the day that we welcomed all of our future miracles after that. Our beautiful, beautiful babies, each just as special as our first. I saw our family on our Taco Tuesdays, our Pizza Fridays, and our Niners Sundays. I saw us laughing as we talked about who was being Santa this year. Who would eat the cookies? Who would eat the carrots for the reindeer this year? Maybe we would just throw them in the lawn? Pretend that the lawnmower got them. We will only take a bite out of them anyways. We laughed and we would write the letters to our kids from Santa and from Rudolph. You used your left hand and I laughed because you’re handwriting was still so much better than mine. I saw the day that we saw our kids walking down the aisle of their high school graduation. Of course at the top of their class (because you are so smart). And because you are perfect. And you are more than perfect to me. Because you are my perfect husband and the perfect father to our beautiful and perfect children. You mean everything to me and I will always give you the world because you deserve it and I will reach for the sun, the moon, and the stars because you deserve them too.

subject line: give me a sign.

 

Right Here

I realized this week, amidst the chaos of my evolving life, that I had feelings for someone. And, although, we’ve been acquaintances for years—and I questioned whether I had felt something for him when we’d first met—I’m finding myself drawn towards him in a different, more certain sense, now. I’m unsure how to extend my heart into the life of another person. I’m unsure how to trust someone who could simply toss me away after digging through all that I am.

But, I want to know him. I want to open my heart, and I’m afraid. If I do, I risk being broken. But, if I don’t, will I forever regret it? I don’t know what I’m trying to express, why I’ve found myself writing an anonymous email over such a trivial matter. Maybe, I’m just looking for a sign that something could go right, for once.