I can’t remember if it’s Alok Vaid-Menon or Rupi Kaur who said this, but I think I am still in love with every single one of my exes. The thought is terrifying, but it’s a distinct possibility. Even if I hate some of them, I have to have trusted them at one point to feel so betrayed now, right?
I really hate this whole “I have feelings” thing. I went a good 24 years without any, and I felt so much better then! Everything makes me cry now. Those episodes in Avatar: The Last Airbender where Aang loses Appa make me cry. Stupid little memes about how people show kindness to one another make me cry. The internet is no place for someone with feelings.
Ugh. I hate how badly I want to show this part of myself. I’m supposed to hide it forever. If I put it out here on the internet, humanity is just waiting to eat me alive. I’m like, taking a huge breath just to even type this stuff out.
So this is my love letter to every man I ever loved.
I know half of you are probably in relationships right now, so I’m going to preface this by saying I am not trying to make you break up with her. I’ve got a partner, too. What I’m beginning to discover is that being single or not single are actually not that different…there’s not really a line. But that post is for another day.
I just want you to know I wish I had waited to tell you I love you. I wish I could have told you now instead. If I had waited, then maybe I could have given you my whole heart. It turns out that is something I had to learn. I didn’t know how to give someone my whole heart before now. If I had waited until now, I would have given it to you. Without hesitation.
I just want you to know I think I’m an idiot for not doing that. I think I’m a coward for not putting my whole self, my whole soul, and everything I am capable of into being with you. It took until now for me to understand that every human life is precious. Every moment I get to spend with another human being is precious. Every moment I got to spend with you was precious. Out of thousands of humans, you and I got to spend a little bit of life together. I hope everyone you meet feels so lucky.
I see all the good you are doing, even if you don’t. You bring such joy to people you love. You pursue such big dreams, even when it is risky or when you are uncertain. You show kindness to people. I should have said these things when I was right there next to you. It makes me guilty saying it now. I’ve turned out like my mother. I say sorry long after it’s relevant. I hope I figure out how to say it sooner for the sake of my current partner.
And now that you’re gone, I just miss you. I miss the strangest things. I miss your voice. I miss the way you reach across the table and hold my hand when we are drinking tea together. I miss watching the expressions on your face change. Is that strange? I miss your shoes. Men’s shoes are so not like the ones I wear. So simple and monochromatic. I wonder what it’s like to wear them. I wonder what it’s like to be you, to be told to hide your feelings from a young age, to be told not to show affection to other men, to be told the only way you can ever be close to people is to be in straight, romantic relationships. Will you come back to me? Not, like, to forgive me or with conditions or all that other crap, but will you just be here with me? Just be with me. I don’t need you to forgive me. I don’t need you to be romantic with me, and I definitely don’t need sex. I just remember what it feels like to be connected with you. To be two human beings together.
Oh my love. I’m only 28 now. Imagine what I’ll be like at 48.
Thinking of you makes me cry. I will only remember your face and your body the way I knew it, whatever age you were then. We will not stay like that, though. You and I will age and change, we will grow wrinkly and gain weight or lose weight or lose our hair or our hair will turn gray. That thought makes me laugh, but only a little giggle in the middle of me crying.
I will grieve when you die. I will carry the little mark you made on my heart. If I die before you, then God is good. But I suspect it will not happen that way. I don’t know why. Call it a hunch.
Selfishly, I am not going to tell you I hope all your dreams come true. I mean, I do hope it. Sort of. I hope you live a happy life. But I also want you to remember me. I hope sometimes, when you are rocking your new-born child to sleep for the fourth time in a night, the thought of me creeps into your mind. Or maybe some song will come on the radio, and you will think of me. And there we will be, thinking of each other and not telling each other. Life is long, friend. Neither you nor I know what will happen. After only 200 hours of counseling experience, I can attest it goes rather strangely.
Goodnight for now, then, loved ones. It’s for my past loves, but I know you’ve gained something from it, too.