Normally I’d start a letter with pleasantries: hope you’ve been well! It’s been a while! What’s new? But this isn’t one of those letters. I do hope you’ve been well, and it has been a while, but I don’t care what’s new in your life. I don’t care about your life at all. I stopped caring about your life after that last text message and I stopped caring about you shortly after you told me “I promise” and then we never saw each other again.
I felt the need to write you a letter to say two very significant things: fuck you. But also, thank you.
This weekend, with the new moon, I said goodbye to a lot of things. I said goodbye to the person you met on the platform so many months ago, the one with these convoluted fantasies about a meet-cute on the subway that clouded her judgment, the one who let you say things that never should have been said. I said goodbye to the idealistic dreams of someone who was hiding a broken heart behind alcohol and men and poor life decisions, and I really said goodbye to the girl who was so terrified of being alone that she let someone manipulate her for months, in some desperate plea to be loved. I blame me for a lot of her qualities, but I blame you a lot too. Maybe even a little more. Because even though I’m saying goodbye to that girl, there are pieces that I’m learning I can’t get rid of, not yet, and those pieces are your fault.
You took a dreamer and turned her into a hard shell, piling on armor surrounded by nails, so desperately afraid to let anyone get close again that she purposely closed herself off for an entire year. You took someone who trusted easily and gifted her with such deep-seeded anxiety at the idea of someone knowing anything serious about her because she’s afraid they’ll throw it back in her face. You took someone who saw the best in people first and made sure that she looked at anyone’s motives as malicious; everyone is just another person trying to stomp all over her heart.
But for all of that, for all of those qualities that I hate, I also want to thank you. Thank you for toughening me up before a long year of difficult decisions, and thank you for walking away completely with no explanation, because it made it so much easier to forget you. Closing myself off means that this year has been the most introspective I’ve ever had, and it finally gave me the strength to grow up. Refusing to put myself out there gave me the courage to start saying “no” to things in favor of a night with just myself, something I never thought I’d be comfortable with. Thank you for turning me into a shell of my former self, because it was time to shed that shell anyway, and find a new place where I can continue to grow.
And most importantly, thank you for giving me all of those barriers. After holding onto them like a child with a lollipop for so many months, it was a wonderful surprise to find out all it took to start breaking them down, just a bit, was an unexpected favor from my last wedding this year, and a Sunday afternoon watching football in Queens.
So goodbye – forever and for real this time. And fuck you.
But also? Thanks.