Lessons From Lovers Past

The One Whose Heart I Broke

I learned to skateboard with your hand in mine. You taught me how to bare my soul without saying a word and how to get lost in the milky chocolate of your eyes. I learned to roll a joint and drive a stick shift with your watchful eye on my every move. You taught me how much words can mean, and how much more meaninful silence can be, punctuated only by the sound of your heart beating. I learned to not expect a phone call when you were gaming with your buddies. You taught me that breakups are never straight forward, and that “I’m no good for you” sometimes means “my friends don’t like you.” I learned that moving on after being dumped ruins second chances. You taught me to say “I love you” when I feel it, not when it’s “acceptable” to. I learned that sex with your ex is always a bad idea and leads to sticky situations forever afterward. You taught me how much it hurts to break someone’s heart.

The One Who Got Away

 You taught me how to play poker, how to change my car’s oil, and how to do a wicked smoke show in the school parking lot. I learned how to play Halo and how to make friends with almost anyone. You taught me how to whole-heartedly pursue the things that make me happy and to leave behind those that don’t. I learned the “rules” of Catholicism, of UFC, of that ridiculous drinking game we made up and couldn’t remember the next morning. You taught me how to truly miss someone – someone who wasn’t physically far away, but was emotionally distant. I learned that no matter how often you let me go, I’d always come running back when you beckoned. You taught me how many people can get hurt in an off and on “relationship,” and how much it hurts that you would never refer to us as in one. I learned that once I stopped going back to you, once I pretended that I didn’t love you – we actually made great friends. You taught me how much it hurts to see someone you still love, years later, dating one of your closest friends. I learned that, 10 years after we last spoke, Kokanee beer, black mustangs, and “Speedfreak” by Motorhead will always take me back to the front seat of your car on the night you told me it was over for good. You taught me that sometimes, what we can never hold on to is what we want the most. I learned that there are people you will never quite let go of.

The One Who Fathered My Child 

Because of you, I learned to stand on my own two feet. You taught me how to drink and smoke more pot than I ever thought possible. I learned that in moments of intoxication, the most mundane experience can be otherworldly. You helped teach me that a mother’s love compares to nothing else on Earth. I learned that no good deed goes unpunished. You taught me that it’s okay to walk away when you realize you’re on a crash course to disaster. I learned to hide my bruises and to make up convincing stories for those that were impossible to cover. You taught me how to duck and cover, when to stop talking, how to plead for my life. I learned to take a hit and go right back to washing the dishes without waking the baby. You taught me that your cocaine use was “no big deal” and something you “had under control.” I learned how to recognize your actions when you were using – the way your eyes would take on that funny glint, how you’d clench your jaw, the unexplainable rages. You taught me that I was worth more than your abuse and that loving someone can mean leaving them.

The One I Thought I’d Marry 

You taught me how to swap out the rear differential in a Toyota Supra. I learned how to start a fire, how to open up and let someone in, how to speak of the unspeakable moments in my past. You taught me to let loose once in awhile, to have fun, to not give a single fuck about tomorrow because the night was young and worries were for the old. I learned how beautiful the stars are on the top of a mountain with only a blanket and your arms to keep me warm. You taught me to hold my feelings in, to never voice them for the fear of being called “crazy,” no matter how valid they may have been. I learned to fear a breakup with every fight because your solution was always to walk away for good. You taught me that my best was never good enough, that no matter how hard I tried to be who you wanted me to be, I would never stack up to the standard set by The Love Of Your Life who broke your heart three years before we met. I learned that being  friends with your ex sometimes means you’re still sleeping with them.

The One I Never Meant To Love

I learned the rules to football – CFL and NFL – and how to be an awesome chaperone for 13 year old boys at midnight releases. You taught me how to ride a dirtbike – first with your arms around my waist as you tried not to cover your eyes, and then on my own. I learned to ask for what I wanted from you, even if you never seemed to deliver. You taught me the beauty in a good morning text and a goodnight text and a million little “I miss you”s in between. I learned that you never really stopped with those texts, you just started sending them to the girl you were cheating on me with. You taught me to never let a man borrow my Darth Vader mug, because I still haven’t got it back. I learned that your family didn’t know we were dating – that they disapproved of me even as just a friend. You taught me to be ashamed of us, to stay hidden so that you wouldn’t have to tell your friends your girlfriend was a feminist. I learned that no matter how much you love someone, they can be done with you in a split-second. You taught me that sometimes relationships end months before we say goodbye.

Dear McFly

Dear McFly,

I know I said I was done with you and that I never wanted to speak to you again. Truthfully, that hasn’t changed. However, I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and, well, I kind of owe you.

You see, when we were together, you never gave me anything. Not a scrap of affection, an invitation to dinner, a suggestion to stay the night… nothing. Unless I asked, of course. I hated it. I felt like you should have known what I wanted, what any woman would want in my shoes. I was hurt that I had to ask to get a hug. I felt like a burden.

I was only half right.

True, you really didn’t give me what I needed, and frankly, you didn’t want to take me out in public for a reason. I’m still not happy about that. But, what you did give me was more valuable than I could have even imagined.

You taught me to ask for what I need, and to leave what I’d like up to chance.

So when I need Jedi to hold me, I ask him to. And when we both have an overnight babysitter, I’m not afraid to ask him if I can spend the night. Maybe it’s because he’s not such a self-centered jerk, but it seems that when I ask for the things I need, the things I’d like just fall into place.

You also taught me a valuable lesson about what I will and won’t stand for in a relationship.

In six months, you never once told people I was your girlfriend. You only wanted to hang out with me at home, away from where people could see us. You were ashamed of me, and I still am not quite sure why.

Thank you for that.

That might sound a little crazy, but hear me out. Thank you for making me realise that your issues with relationships extended far beyond anything I could have ever caused or solved during the course of our relationship. Thank you for showing me what it feels like to be a dirty little secret, and for making me acknowledge that I am worth so much more than that. Thank you for breaking my heart again and again and again. I would not have what I have now if I had not gone through the hell that was six months of dating you.

Thank you, McFly, for being the biggest douchebag I’ve ever met. And thank you, Universe, for bringing me my Jedi dream man, even if I did have to kiss some pretty big frogs first.

– T

Dear Boy

Dear Boy,

This is the last unsent letter you are worth.

You pursued, dropped hints, outright flirted… and I made the mistake of reciprocating. You backed off. So I dropped it because, hey, that seems like a pretty big signal that you’re not into me. Then you took off. Disappeared.

Cool, whatever, you know. I get it.

But now… now that you’re present, I don’t know.

I still think you’re gorgeous and smart and all-around fascinating. But I’m pretty sure I was duped. I fell for the pretty words and the almost-hints and the maybe-compliments.

In hindsight, it seems like a pretty shaky foundation for infatuation, but whoever said emotions have to make sense? For a couple weeks, you really made me think we might have been something. Now I’m sitting alone listening to Tiger Army and feeling sad because it’s seeming quite apparent that I read too much into things, AGAIN.

So, dear boy, you are still beautiful and amazing and brilliant, just as much as I am still a silly girl who believes too much in matters of the heart. But I’m done with the game, I’m done with the over-analyzing and I’m done with the maybes and what-ifs and trying so fucking hard to make you realize how wonderful I am.

Because, believe me, boy, I AM amazing. I can cook like you wouldn’t believe. I am passionate and caring and so full of love for the people and creatures and the very earth around me. I’m intelligent and well-read and full of surprises. I’m silly and goofy and not opposed to making an ass of myself in public just for the fun of it. I love nerdy things, like historical fiction and fantasy novels and cheesy sci-fi flicks, along with some really ridiculously awesome things like feminism and great sex and the Vancouver Canucks.

But one thing I’m not, boy, is foolish. I’m done.

I hope you don’t regret this.

– T