"The stairs creek as we sleep. It's keeping me awake. Your mind is playing tricks on you my dear"
I am writing you this letter because I need to. I need to tell you some things, about how you hurt me, and the scars you've left. Things you may not want to hear. And I imagine you don't.
But people tell me it can free me from you.
Even after more than 2 years without you, I dreamt of you last night. You were all over my floor. I was in the bathtub. You were lying there, dripping wet. And I couldn't cross over you, without touching you. I heard noises and voices. They weren't real. But, that's what you do.
You fuck with me.
Listen, I am not in love with you. I want to say that over and over and over again. So the message gets through. But, I doubt it will. You are the abuser, and I am the survivor.
There are no victims here. Not anymore, John.
I know you will remind me of how you held me when I was alone. But, you terrified me too. As much as I hated you, I desired you. I could not breathe without you. There was never one moment, one breath, one thought, one sentence, one line, where I did not inhale you as if you were necessary to life.
I loathed you. And I couldn't leave.
I knew that you were hurtful and harmful and dangerous. I knew you would abuse me, and beat me, and mutilate me. You would leave me bleeding on the floor all night. And wake up the next day, to say: "I am sorry my gorgeous queen. I love you."
Come back home.
You would pick me up softly, with your scent. You would put your lips against my neck, and whisper gently in my ear..."just one more time, just one more time..."
And I would forgive you.
I remember you in the bathroom stall at work. How my eyes would go foggy during meetings, and I knew it was noticeable, but not quite understood. So, I would take you, hidden in a tiny bag, and I would smoke you up just to be alive again.
I remember forgetting your tools and companions in the bathroom at the Christmas Party at work. I remember being thankful that my boyfriend walked in after me, and handed me my almost losses.
I remember the ritual, the crushing & the snorting - the swallowing & the smoking - I remember every moment of you, even when I don't want to.
There were moments I was so completely terrified; I couldn't even see. I heard noises that weren't there. You spoke to me in whispers and told me I wasn't human. My friends tried to stop me. They said you were awful and abusive. They begged me to give you up.
They said you were going to kill me one day.
I believed them. But I loved you.
I remember being arrested after staying up with you all night in a hotel room in Playa Del Ray. We had to go to the airport the next day. I knew I had to stay up. I had to lay on my suitcases and listen to every whisper, every wind - I had to protect us. There was something inhumane after us. I would save you darling.
I would save you from the dark.
We would listen to Of Monsters and Men and cry. She sang about how the stairs creeked and it was keeping her awake. He said your mind is playing tricks on you my dear...
Do you remember our first dance?
In Barcelona? I was feverish and sick and a friend introduced me. She said you would help me. You'd make me feel better. I remember that night like it was yesterday. You were so beautiful when you slept.
Months later, I would meet you in a clinic. You would be warm and inviting and I asked you how you showed up here? In Arizona, of all places? I just knew...you were my soul mate. For many years, we were off and on. I couldn't commit. You weren't available. I stayed away. You chased me. We loved and we laughed and then you would leave. I would die inside, shrivel up on a couch and sweat. My legs would go restless. I would cry. I missed you.
You were haunting.
My love, I am reminiscing. And getting heavily involved. It was in Malibu. I had a book of poems by Sharon Olds and when we saw each other again, years later, I couldn't believe you were real. You were standing in front of me again.
This time, you would make my sadness go away.
Remember we pulled the car over on the side of a cliff on the PCH? We were staring at the ocean and holding each other tightly. It was wet and windy, but I never felt more secure in my entire life.
We were in this, together.
I wrote words. Words that were stuck and could not come out. Words that didn't breathe without you next to me. I wrote and I wrote and it was magical and beautiful and I felt held, and loved, and protected.
We would carry on this way for many moons.
I'd lay in the bathtub with you all night and we would read. We stopped seeing other people. We were alone, but never lonely.
We didn't need anyone else when we had each other.
Why did you have to hurt me so bad? You started changing. I started changing because you were changing. I lost faith in you. You used to be my light. You sung to me and danced with me at parks. You walked on the ocean and tucked me into my sweet home in Santa Monica.
You existed in me.
When I tried to run. When I wanted to leave. You'd slam the door shut. You would barricade me in. I felt weak and unsteady. You didn't make me happy anymore. And yet I knew, life could not go on without you. We were far too deep. Far too toxic to each other, but so enmeshed that when I bled, you bled.
You led me to do crazy things.
You made me paranoid. I would rip up my computers and smash through television screens and mirrored paintings. I couldn't see myself. Remember, when you made me cut into my own skin because of the monsters and the wires? You convinced me of things that I couldn't believe, but I did.
The doctors told me to leave you. That if I left you, I would get better. But, I was tired without you. I couldn't wake up without you. I couldn't face life without you.
These things all seemed impossible.
There were interventions and rearrangements. People hated you. Like, literally told me you should die. And I just couldn't. I told them to fuck off. How dare they? Who did they think they were keeping us apart?
They didn't understand love.
I guess you were finally charged somehow. I know you disappeared. It wasn't slowly. It was quick and hard when you left. People told me that we were killing each other.
And I thought; "well, maybe I wanted to die."
Remember when we attempted to? Remember when you said the only way to escape this terrible, terrible world would be to die? But, you promised me there was beauty on the other side. You said I wouldn't be paranoid anymore. You said I would stop hiding in corners, and picking at my skin. You said there were heavens and safety. So, we swallowed each other in that parked car in Hollywood.
But, I didn't take enough to die.
You tricked me. You always fucking tricked me.
I heard you were jailed, committed. I'd been committed too. No one could handle us together. My mom told me she was dying inside. That our relationship made her physically sick. My dad had quadruple bypass surgery a year before we reunited in Malibu. His heart couldn't take it anymore. They had to take away my rights. I wasn't capable of making decisions.
You kept telling me everything was fine. I didn't need to worry. You'd make the decisions for me.
But you lied, as always.
The struggle of our goodbye could be a love story. It is a love story. I will write about it one day. You gave me so much material.
Some nights, I wake up hot and sweaty and flush. My heart is beating rapidly. I'm in shock. You feel too real in my dreams. Far too real.
I don't love you anymore.
I have made this clear. I think you finally understand. Maybe you went through your own process. But I imagine you are just out there abusing someone else, repeating the cycle.
I remember telling you how I prayed to a God I didn't believe in. You mocked me.
There was no God. I started to believe you.
We were living in the depths of hell and we kept going deeper and deeper and deeper. You said you could make your own heaven.
I think of you still. Not in fondness or joy or love. I think of how I conquered you. How I am a warrior for leaving you. Even if I left you over and over and over again. At least, I tried.
Some people don't even try.
Days are easier now. I don't wake up thinking about you. I remember the first couple months, I never thought a second could go by without thinking of you. I kept myself busy. There was too much loneliness. I read Rumi - he made it clear you were no good. I listened to Jasmine Thompson. She sang the sweetest love songs of all times.
I fought hard. But there is redemption on the other side.
I still have your scars. They are permanent.
I fixed my chipped tooth. Remember the one I broke when I bit into a computer keyboard? My Gawd, you made me fucking crazy. But, my hand is still covered in lines. Wounds that haven't healed. A permanent reminder of your damage. My mind is OK. My Doctor says I still need the meds to be sane. It's OK though. I know you love that you left scars. But, you always do.
You are the type to leave scars.
I stare at my hand some days. I relive our war on the brink of my left thumb. I am still traumatized.
There are things I can't do and don't do because of you.
Do you know Nayyirah Waheed? She is a poet. She says:
"I fell apart many times
what does that say about me
I live through
I guess I lived through a war.
I hear I am brave. I hear that I have climbed Mt. Everest by leaving you. I hear I am a better person.
Do you know people look up to me now? It's kinda crazy and weird and magical, in a way.
I know you would say: "YOU?!? What could you possibly offer the world? You are flawed and miserable.”
But, you don't know me anymore. I read more. I know I lost my books when we were together. I know hundreds of poems are missing from my life. I am sure you have them.
You are the type to steal things.
But, I read again. I find joy in it. I write too. I've written a couple poems, but nothing like the time in which we were together.
I still question myself. Because of you. Like, I listen to all these female empowerment songs - Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Pink, Adele. Oh Adele. She still sings about you.
But, anyway, I listen to them and I pretend to be strong. But, you still make me think I am weak-willed. I still say: "Who am I do to this?"
"What could I ever offer?"
The good thing is you are not directly in my ear anymore. You don't whisper the sweet nothings.
I can't hear you fully. Your voice is slowly drowning.
I like life. Can you believe I said that? Do you know I want to live? Like, I don't want to die. That's a very big thing for me to say. When we were together, I wanted to die every day. You made me depressed AF.
This letter is more for me, than for you. I just thought you should know how I am.
And in doing so, I am reminded of who I am.
I can't believe how strong I am. I still listen to the Format & Nate Ruess. He came out with his own solo album. I think of you in every word, in every lyric.
But, I've left you.
I am happy without you.
I believe in God. And He believes in me too.
My family has dinner every week. My dad looks at me like he recognizes me again. Remember, I told you how he used to look through me? He never said it, but his eyes read: "you are not my daughter."
I have two nieces. My sister even asked me to be in the delivery room with her. I got to see my second niece be born. Her name is Elliot. She is the most joyful baby on the planet. She likes to shuffle mashed potatoes into her mouth. I'm a Godmother too. Can you believe it? I am trusted to guide Savannah spiritually. My family believes in me again. It's a slow process gaining trust, but it happens.
I've made amends with some people you might remember. They forgave me. They cried when I asked how I could make things right.
People from my past keep telling me they are proud of me.
Sometimes, I am shocked at this.
It's hard ya know? I was so fucked up; I can't even remember all the people I harmed. I don't remember months of my life.
The harder thing is that what I remember IS the HARD parts, the awful parts. Like pushing my mom. Or being locked up in handcuffs and walked through my apartment complex by the police. I imagine my old roommates hate me. I would hate me too.
I remember telling my dad he was not my father and showing up 3 hours late to Christmas because I was ingesting you. I remember ignoring phone calls from my sister and shutting off all the people who loved me most. I remember the terror. The nights I couldn't live through. The hallucinations and the words and the fights. I remember that clearly.
You were a part of it all.
So I am healing. But, I'm doing well. I don't even know if you will read this. I never want to see you again. I need to make that clear.
My life is so much better without you. When I feel sadness or pain, I don't even think of you. I think of breath work or prayer or reaching out for help.
It must be shocking to know I've made it 2 years without you. I could hardly make a minute without you.
I am healthy now. You can't see my bones anymore.
I smile too. I laugh. I make people feel good.
I'm proud of myself. Your memory sometimes makes it hard, because it's still haunting. But, I remind myself I am alive and breathing.
I am here without you.
And I have a pig. Her name is Peaches. Cookie lives with my parents full time now. She was in too much turmoil with me.
And even though you never apologized and never will, I forgive you.
I FORGIVE YOU.
I really do.