I wasn’t ready for that conversation we had on the phone a few years ago, and I was so nervous to hear your voice after so many years... to be judged by you... I’m afraid I was an ass. I couldn’t really connect the dots and put into words what I wanted to say to you about my regrets from the past. I was still figuring it out 5 years after we broke up. Now that I am married, I have looked back and I realize I can’t go through all my relationships in life running away from my problems and I have to take responsibility for my actions. It has taken me 10 years to really see how things were and how much I really hurt you. I was too hurt myself and proud to admit to you that I was wrong. I was the one who crossed the line and I pushed you away. That song you said was about me makes me cry every time I hear it now because I know it was true. I was Maggie May. I will never understand why we hurt the ones we love, but I did love you.
Please do not look at this as some attempt to redeem myself, I know what wrongs I have done and forgiveness isn’t mine to control, although I have many regrets and things I am sorry for. To be honest, the reason this sounds like a diary entry or a blog post is because I’m really not sure if I have the courage to send this to you. I only wish to explain what I couldn’t say to you a few years ago over the phone, if for nothing else, my own selfish catharsis. So here it goes...
When did things go so terribly wrong? I remember the day our senior year of high school when you turned around in class, and I admitted to you I had a crush on you in elementary school. I had had that crush since your first day as a new kid at our school but was too shy to to tell you until that day. I had always been intrigued by you, and when you admitted you had shared the same secret crush on me, I saw it as a sign. After that, we were inseparable for the next 5 years. We were so young when we started. Just 17.
I remember when I thought you hung the moon. I remember looking at you in the car when you were distracted driving or when I was listening to you go on and on about something you read and thinking how lucky I was, how amazing you were, and how much love I felt for you... how I would never hurt you. Looking back, when did you go from the dreamy boy who stopped time when I saw you running through the playground your first day of school, to the enemy? When did I decide I would be better off if I erased you from my memory and pretend you never existed? I tried to, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” you. I referred to you as, “He who shall not be named.” I sold or got rid of anything that reminded me of you. Eventually, I shoved the feelings and the nightmares of one day having Alzheimer’s and only being able to remember my relationship with YOU while my future husband looked on tragically way down deep inside. Dreams are cruel, though, and you still haunt me from time to time.
Some time toward the beginning of our relationship, I remember crying while you held me and tried to comfort me. I told you I thought I was going crazy. You said, “You are not crazy. Crazy people don’t know they are crazy.” I was sure your source was valid, as it usually was, but I didn’t really believe it was true in my case. I wanted so badly to believe I was not “crazy.” Until even recent years I would repeat your words like a mantra in my mind when I would start to feel out of control. The fact was I had developed PTSD after years of trauma in my childhood that I didn’t know how to cope with so I kept it inside to myself. I didn’t even know I had it or what PTSD was at the time. My family didn’t know much about mental health either. I was given the impression by some family members that counseling or therapy was negative and anyone who wasn’t “normal” were looked down upon. Weak. You might have had that impression from them yourself. I was suffering from mental illness for some time and had been unknowingly making things worse with unhealthy coping strategies like eating disorders, avoidant behavior, rationalizing, codependency, etc. Over time, I became so depressed that the only thing that made me happy anymore was you. I became dependent on that. I needed you to feel good for both of us.
You couldn’t handle my intense emotions and chronic depression. You became withdrawn. I was angry at you and felt lost because we had been together for so long in my opinion at the time, that you should have understood me by then. I thought you shouldn’t have been so cold. I couldn’t get you to open up. I even started to analyze you thinking maybe you were a sociopath with no feelings. Now that I am seeing things clearer, I realize it was completely irrational for me to expect you, a young man in his first relationship, and NOT a mental health professional to help me with my problems or even understand what was happening to me. You loved me at the time, after all, so you were greatly affected by my deteriorating psyche as well. I couldn’t see that.
I didn’t think I was good enough for you, and when you developed romantic feelings for my close friend (that we were incapable of discussing and therefore let go of) my last shred of self worth was destroyed. I became mean and withdrawn myself, drinking more and more, and eventually started finding solace from strangers through emotional affairs online. I was in the middle of what I can only describe now as some kind of mental breakdown. I am so sorry for what you went through sticking it out with me. You must have really cared about me to go through the rough times we went through at the end for as long as you did. There is nothing I can do to take back the cruel things I said and did back then, but I am sorry. I am ashamed that I was so foolish. I used to look back on our relationship with regret but now I know it changed me for the better. I am even able to look back warmly at old memories that I thought I never could. I hope you can do the same, if not now, someday. Thank you, truly, for being my best friend for those 5 years. I was lucky to have a chapter in your life. I wish you happiness and peace always.