An Open Letter

To –

I’d like to say that I haven’t always been this way, but that probably wouldn’t be the truth. I don’t know what the truth is; I don’t know how I used to be. Maybe I just didn’t think about it, maybe I hadn’t reached a sense of self awareness yet, and maybe I really needed that. Even now I have trouble looking myself in the face and taking what I see for truth.

I suppose this is sort of an apology. I can’t honestly say I know the extent of what I’m apologizing for; what I’m sorry for. But I do know, this time at least, that this is an apology I truly do owe.

So I’d like to say that I’m sorry for taking out my frustrations on the people around me who’ve done me no wrong. I shouldn’t allow myself this lack of control, no matter how desperately I want it. You see the myth in stressful situations is that we tell ourselves that if we were truly in control that we could fix it, escape it, change it, be done with it. But as far as our own decisions and choices and actions and behaviors are concerned, we are always in control. That’s what it means to be a person. We tell ourselves that control is what we want, when really, when things are spiraling, all we’re looking for is someone else to take the reins and steady us, grab us by our shoulders and don’t let go, stare us in the eye and tell us it’s safe to blink. But since we keep up this myth, this lying to ourselves, what we end up doing is something short of all this. We find scapegoats, we find those who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and we say things we don’t mean (or worse, things we do mean), we yell and we hurt and we damage.

This isn’t good for either of us; it’s cruel to you and it’s damaging to me too. I shouldn’t allow myself to lower myself to this. To lower you to this. If I do then who are we then? Not people who care about each other, preserve each other, build each other up. Instead, when I most need solid people around me to keep the world from spinning quite so fast, I’m making yours spin too. I’m handing that to you. And I am truly sorry for that. When I’ve realized this I resolve so, so strongly to never let it happen again, to never be responsible for this. And yet I fall, and here I find myself again.

I am also sorry for the excuses that I’m about to speak. I don’t like excuses, but I break my rule about them every time. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t let an excuse get the best of me. I accept the excuses of those who have ground my head into the pavement, who have stabbed me in the back (for lack of a less cliche way of putting it), who have wronged me one time too many. I accept their excuses and I let them move back in, let them get too close, let them do it all again. I don’t want you to be like that. It’s probably one of my greatest faults, at least on an interpersonal level. So I hope that this excuse is not one of many that you’re permitting into your life, and I hope that you will not overlook my behavior and let me continue to do this. Please – hold me accountable.

That being said, I want you to know this. I feel less steady than I ever had before. Surprising, I know. I have a good job in a good place. I’m supporting myself completely, doing everything on my own and not depending on anybody for anything. And I’m going nowhere. I know this may not make sense, but bear with me.

Before now, when things were crazy, life was stressful, and I had no foundation on which to stand, I could always look to the future. I could always remind myself that one day I would be done with university, or have a better job, or move out on my own, or start to live my life the way that I yearn for. That was all a part of the future, so the present was tolerable. I had goals and plans and even if it was beyond hard to achieve them, I knew where I was going, what I wanted. Now that sense of security is gone. I graduated university. I got a job that I could live off of, even if it’s not at all my preferred line of work. I moved out, not just out, but out of the state. Extrinsically, there’s no part of my life right now that’s the same as what it was even two and a half months ago.

So now I’m here. This is about as far as I was able to look, and now I’m here. What lies ahead of me? What’s next? Why has every bit of my past that I tried so hard to escape is all that has followed me? The negative influences that I was so excited to leave are all here at my doorstep. They come with hugs and love and promises to support me throughout the rest of my life. They come with promises and schemes and dreams and inside jokes. They come with little bits of ‘home’ that they know I’ve been missing, whatever that means. They come with a familiarity and strings attached. They come with assumptions of my acceptance, my tolerance, my unfailing loyalty. They come with accusations of my wrongdoings. They come with demands. They come with ‘forgiveness’.

They come with sleepless nights and chain smoking and I’m-nearly-crying-but-I-can’t-even-bring-myself-to-d0-that. They come with desperation and the most insoluble feeling of being hunted and trapped. They come with heartburn and stomach ulcers and self hatred.

This is what I’m dealing with. Dramatic, I know, I apolgise for that too. This here is everything I don’t want to tell you, everything I can’t tell you, everything you wouldn’t understand at all. And this is why I don’t tell you, because then we’d get into a fight about what it is before me, and how I should be able to do with it, and then we wouldn’t be talking.

But instead I’ve taken it out on you and I’ve yelled at you and been upset, maybe because I’m at my breaking point, but maybe because in my head we’ve talked about all of this and I don’t at all like what you have to say. I hate what you have to say. Even though you haven’t said it. And here we find ourselves, angry and not talking.

So no, none of this is your fault. The problems reside on my doorstep and in my mind. And there is no way in which this could be put on you. Truly, I am so sorry for having put this on you, for not having found a better way of dealing with my reality. I urge you to disallow me from this. I urge you to fight me and put me in my place and remind me that you are not the problem. Because I love you, and I’m glad you’re here, and I don’t know what I would do without you.

– from The Learner

 

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