I always had problems with myself. I am used to overthinking things, feeling like I could always be more, like I’m not enough. In many ways I am grateful for these things, I spend so long thinking about people and how they behave, trying to understand and justify their actions. It always helped me to get over when people did wrong to me. I learnt quickly to pick myself up when things got bad, when people did things they shouldn’t have. It also taught me to be extra careful to never do those things to other people. All these years I lived with two goals in my mind: always be good to people and never intentionally hurt anyone and dedicate yourself to the things you love. The latter referred to primarily academics in my case, I always loved to study and my dream was to become and academic since as far back as I can remember. Caught up in this pursuit of my passion, I never really let people get closer to me than just as friends. I simply wasn’t interested. But things changed late last year.
I moved to a new city to start the next step of my career. This year was meant to be about me. Fixing myself, reconciling with myself, stabilising myself. My mental health hadn’t been so good over the past few years of university. I had overworked myself and the pressure of taking on too much as a result of perpetually feeling like I was not enough, not special, unique, trying hard enough, etc. lead me to an incredibly suffocating place and I had to get out. This was going to be my breather. Yes I was working but I needed this to keep me sane. I had decided I would keep a low profile this year. I was very centre of everything before, being involved in way too much, saying yes to everything and anything anyone would ask for help with/ ask me to do. This year I wanted to keep to myself and just do what I wanted and take on nothing else. Old habits die hard I guess and I fell back into my usual routine quite quickly even though I only really made an effort with the people in the apartments around mine. Then one day I met you and for the first time I don’t know why but I felt something a bit different. Maybe I was blinded by how tall you were but at the time I remember being drawn to how friendly you were and how open you seemed. I was usually the one who opened people up but there you were trying to open me up. Over the next few weeks you’d make an effort to be friends, talk, make sure I was okay, make me food, just sit in silence and listen to music with me. It was the little things and at the time in my head I was sure I wanted you in my life as a friend because that’s all I knew… until you asked me to consider something more. Usually I would shut it down like I had every other time but your carefree attitude intrigued me and my friends (and therapist) urged me to try it out – after all what do I have to lose it’s just a year and then it all started.
It took me some time but given the way I am I realised you loved being the centre of attention. The way you were at the beginning changed slightly. You were always so nice to me and friendly to others and caring and kind whilst having the confidence to initiate things I didn’t know how to. You taught me how to feel things and taught me to see how good things could be even if you weren’t the one who could give them to me. I study people a lot and you were no different. My friends and some of his friends that I got very close to after a while kept warning me to be careful. I was surprised that his friends would warn me too but I guess they began to care about me the way I cared about them. That was the problem I care but I don’t get feelings easily – in this case it might have actually saved me. I realised you were hiding very soon after we started. You were used to playing girls but I wasn’t like your exes and you got confused. You were used to being the person others wanted you to be or needed you to be – this included your close friends. That’s why people love you but they also know you’re not real.
With me, you didn’t know who to be because you couldn’t read me. The confusion was what kept you intrigued and so you switched up your colours to test the waters – it was funny, I just wanted you to be yourself but I guess you didn’t know how to be that. After a while, I started losing what little I felt for you. I cared for you deeply, I still do but it was because I was confused about why you didn’t try to get to know me in that way. Your opinion of me was a series of assumptions. There were elements of your character which I really disliked – like the way you would show me off like I was just something you owned. I’m more than that and maybe that worked for your exes because they were models, etc but it wasn’t enough for me. Calling me beautiful/ pretty/ hot was not enough. I wanted to talk about philosophy, sciences, politics, bull shit, laugh about the most stupid things, deep things unnecessarily, watch horror movies, laugh together, cry together.
Unfortunately for you, I have some great friends in my life who I had all of this with. That’s how I knew you never knew me because you refused to let go of yourself. You always said you can’t be friends with a girl. I should have known then… but I, like any other naive person, was hopeful, and thought I could show you it doesn’t have to be that way. I thought I could be your friend but you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to. In your defence you did try after I ended it, but it was too late. You did a lot of really messed up stuff. You don’t know I know about all of that. The way you used to speak about me to your friends, about my body, about how I was yours, about other things that you wouldn’t talk to your friends about if you really respected that person. Yet you would always feed me fairy tales that you respected me. I’m not sure you ever learnt what it means to truly respect a woman. Yet I still liked you, I was still drawn to you. I sat there and thought about you and how I could justify your actions. I actually managed to many times including when I found out you were with other women. You were the first person who showed me I could have feelings for someone like that but you were also the first person who showed me how much a mere “like” can hurt.
I still care about you but I found a way to forgive you. I never argued with you about these things, I always chose to close my eyes and trust you and you betrayed it. I didn’t listen to my friends even though I knew they were right because I needed to make this mistake. Mistakes teach you things that you don’t learn otherwise. I don’t regret any of it because I grew so much as a person. I was always that friend who used to pick my friends up after breakups, sort out people’s problems, listen to them, care for them. This time I felt the things they had felt and I felt the pain but it gave me perspective I realised I thought I had but I never did. We are friends now, you still call me everyday. You got used to me like I got used to you. I know you find me interesting because you’re still confused with me but I no longer am confused about you and the day I accepted your reality I woke up and felt at peace. Contentment. I know you are still confused and that’s why you think about me. Why did I break up with you? Why did I let go? Why did I not fight with you? Why was I civil and why did I want to be friends?
Confusion is what holds us in place. I feel sorry for you because I know something must have happened for you to feel that you couldn’t be yourself around people. There were days when it felt like you were trying. You’d just come to see me and sit there in silence hugging me and I could feel the raw emotion. I get it, there’s a lot I don’t say too but I never faked who I was. I hope one day you trust me enough to open up to me as a friend. We can’t be together but it doesn’t mean I don’t care. You really messed up but I’m not angry, oddly I never was because I saw you were the way you were because of things you couldn’t get yourself to tell me and so I always told you I’m there for you if ever you need me no judgement. I say that to all my friends because I mean it. I was disappointed, shocked, saddened for months yes but I could see your perspective in the end, I could justify what you had done enough for me to pick myself back up even though you were wrong.
You said to one of my friends that you thought I was always busy studying and working and you didn’t want to bother me recently. I think you lied, you just got lazy because I never actively asked you for anything, I wanted it to come from within you but in case it was true, I want you to know I would have made time for you if you told me. Again I know I’m closed and confusing and I’m sorry about that, but I was 100% always real with you, I never lied to you and I meant every word I ever said to you. I work a lot but I make time for those important to me and you saw the way I always made time for my friends but I guess here we come back to the one regret I have. You really didn’t know me and I understand the way your mind works but you didn’t open up to me about the massive burden I could feel always weighing you down. I’d be lying if I said you didn’t try, I know you did and you still do whenever we spend long enough together – maybe because of just the physical attraction maybe… but I can tell in the silence, or the way when I wake up and see you just looking at me that part of you wished you could let go but you couldn’t – not even just romantically, I think you did respect me and care. You cared and respected me as far as you are able and that realisation helped me to get up and move on.
You gave me more than you have given any other girl/woman in your life. I forgave you for everything and I hope you forgive me for my shortcomings, for confusing you, for talking in riddles sometimes or being overly cryptic. You always asked me if I had feelings for you; maybe me saying I care but don’t have “feelings” or anything deep stopped you from trying – how could I, I physically stopped myself because I knew you liked the idea of me being attached and you being less attached just so you could show off yet again to your friends. You can’t “love” or even build on a “like” if you don’t trust and I forgave you but you weren’t real with me, I couldn’t pin down who the real you was, yet I still feel something for you and always will – I just don’t know what it is. You were my first for a lot of things and I will always remember you. I’ll always be there for you if you ever need me. I do care about you and I know you do about me. I hope you learn to truly open up and love someone. I hope you one day realise you can be yourself. And you may forget me but I hope atleast you leave with some fond memories and we can nurture the friendship we have. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep going. It was taking too much out of me but even though we didn’t even get to being “official” I hope you remember the good parts. I forgave you and now I can only remember the good. No regrets. I am grateful I met you. I am grateful for the mistakes I made with you, you taught me so much. You say I taught you a lot too. I hope we can leave it there and move on and be better with whoever we are meant to be with.