current state of mind: a little grateful
Lie down on the couch, what does that mean?
You’re a nut! You’re crazy in the coconut!
What does that mean? That boy needs therapy
I’m gonna kill you, that boy needs therapy
~ “Frontier Psychiatrist” by The Avalanches
I was recently asked if there is a past boyfriend whom I would welcome back into my life with open arms, if the situation presented itself. That question is a difficult one, as time changes all of us and the person we once knew and loved may be completely different now. I know I have changed – so I can only assume that “going back” really isn’t possible, even if we wanted it to be. The question did make me realize, however, that I owe a lot to those past loves, because their influences have made me who I am today. I decided to write a letter showing my gratitude. Here goes . . .
Dear Past Loves,
It is high time I showed you a little appreciation for all that you have done for me. You made the adage ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ into a reality for me. Our parting showed me that I am definitely stronger than I ever give myself credit for. I am also far more vulnerable and open to feelings because of you. My love for you proved that I am not an ice queen, untouched by emotions.
I have been exposed to music and art and books that I never would have found without your input. I have walked along the streets of cities near and far, holding your hand, mourning your loss, or celebrating the joy we were able to find for a little while; cities like Galway, Boston, Detroit, Belfast, Denver, Cleveland, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Aberdeen, Las Vegas, Bloomington, Fort Worth, St. Joseph, Toronto, Dallas, Omaha, Branson, Kansas City, Winnipeg, and many, many others. I have stories to tell – stories about you and us and me.
I learned to appreciate sports, statistics, law, even my taxes, all thanks to you! I have spent time in the wilderness, learning how to build a fire, clean a fish, and make s’mores. I have scars, both emotional and physical, from experiences we had. You inspire me to write poetry and short stories and declarations of my adoration. You remind me that I am beautiful and lovable. Because of you, I can clearly identify many of my flaws and I have found ways to compensate for my weaknesses, as well as forgive myself.
I trust in faith and love due to what we shared. I cry at movies when loved ones are parted because our parting enabled me to feel that emotional intensity at one time or another. I am healthier than I used to be and friendlier. I don’t settle for what I don’t want, because I know what I have to have in a relationship. You showed me what lines and expectations I need to establish right up front.
Sometimes, I think about you as I look at my “acquired” t-shirt collection. I hold the fabric close and relive a joyful memory that we share. Other times, I shake my head and smile to myself when I think about how our misunderstandings made me into who I am today. You have a permanent place in my heart. This I can promise you with no reservation. If you see me on the street or on a social networking site, don’t be afraid to reach out and connect. I hold no ill feelings toward you. You did what you had to do, as did I, and we are better people (I hope) because of those mistakes.
My highest hope is that you look back on our time together with a soft smile and an open heart, as I do.
Thank you for being the perfect you.
PERSONAL NOTE: My heart goes out to you and your family on someone’s recent move to hospice. Trust in your faith to get you through this trying time.
CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: You are an amazing, intelligent, beautiful woman who has taught me so much about friendship and love. You and the girls mean the world to me. Keep holding on.