An Open Letter to Someone Who Probably Doesn’t Read This Blog

Dear T.C.,

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.



Same Same, but Different

Something very weird is happening right now. Actually, there are a lot of weird things happening right now. Let’s start with the least disruptive: because I can only do a handstand minus the wall when I’m outside (and also in a quest for cute Instagram photos), I spent a lot of time practicing yoga in the yard this weekend, and consequently there is poison ivy all over my back. ALL OVER. Granted, it gives me a good excuse to walk around my apartment without a shirt on in the muggy New York summer (shades drawn) (well, usually), but this certainly isn’t what I would call “fun.” Work has also been wild this week, and I’m leaving my apartment again this weekend to stay with D&D’s dogs in the Upper East Side, a staycation I can’t wait for, yet I’m desperate for a weekend at home in the Heights, curled into my chair with bad Netflix and little miss. All of these things contribute to weirdness in my already-very-weird life, but those aren’t what’s making my life weird at this moment. No, it’s something more funny and frustrating all at the same time. It’s funny because I’m acting so ridiculous, and it’s frustrating because I’ve had these conversations with myself before, and I can’t believe I’m having them all over again.

Lately I feel like I’m in the exact same spot I was a year ago, after six months of feeling like I’m a whole new person; like I’m a whole new person that’s exactly the same, with the exact same surroundings that have changed completely. People are still together but now they’re planning weddings, not Saturday nights; he and I are planning my next tattoo, only now it’s my sixth. I sleep in the same room that looks entirely different, and I’m having a conversation with myself I’ve had before, but even that’s a little different, too. “It’s all in your head!” the mirror tells me, “it’s just because you want a good story.” I tell her maybe it’s going to be right this time, and then I play Maybes and What Ifs, and she reminds me what happened last time, and why sometimes it’s silly to dream. It’s a conversation I had with myself just over a year ago, and now I’m having it again. Same same, but different.

Maybe things are in transition, and in an effort to prepare me for something totally different, the universe is throwing me a curveball of familiar, like a reminder that I pulled through last time, so just hold on for now. Maybe it’s just a fucking coincidence and who even cares tho really. And really, I’m probably reading too much into the situation, in need of an escape from the long days at my desk, and the long summer weekends where my free time sold out faster than a Taylor Swift concert. But all the same things wrapped into everything that’s changed are making the conversation that I’m having with myself again very strange, like a constant reminder of how much I’ve matured, except it looks the same as when I thought that was true the last time, too.

Someone I follow on Instagram posted one of those corny but poignant quotes recently, and I took a screenshot on a whim: “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.” On the least disruptive level, I sincerely hope that means that the poison ivy all over my back is healing and I won’t be in this kind of itchy-gross agony that has plagued me all week. It could mean that work is going to calm down soon, or that I’ll appreciate next weekend more than I already know I will, the only weekend in July where I have no plans but to enjoy my own apartment. But no, right now I think that means something more frustrating and funny all at the same time. It’s frustrating because I can’t figure out how to feel about this situation, and it’s scaring me that it feels so familiar yet foreign; and it’s funny, because I think this is what they call growing up.