to an old friend: a letter I’ll never send

I remember getting mad at you for things you couldn’t control. I was so naive back then and so were you. I remember when you told me you couldn’t be there for me and I took it personal. I realized later that it wasn’t personal, but the way you treated me made it feel like it was. I was an afterthought in your day, and you could never care for me the way I needed. The way anyone needed. I was an inconvenience to you, and you taught me to keep my feelings to myself. Yet another thing I’m unlearning.

You were never an inconvenience to me, and that’s what made me bitter for a while. I cared for you, I cared for our friends. I was bad at showing it, sure, but you couldn’t deny the love was there. Or maybe you could, you always had this picture of me in your head. But it wasn’t me, it was someone else. Someone that looked like me but acted on their rage. Like I was out to get you. And maybe that wasn’t my fault, maybe that was your own inner demons telling you I was bad for you. Either way, we parted ways and I know it was for the best, but I can’t deny I miss it.

I don’t miss much, but I miss it. I don’t miss the arguments, I don’t miss the gaslighting, I don’t miss pushing the blame. But I miss the jokes, I miss the closeness. I’ve been alone so long; I can’t remember what it feels like to know someone else cares. I imagine it feels warm. I imagine it feels like a blanket that just came out of the dryer. I imagine it feels like the sun against my skin in the summer, and the wind against my face as I’m driving.

This isn’t a love letter; I don’t want you back. I don’t want any of our old friends back. I just want you to know I’m not angry anymore.

I want to be brave for you

I want to smile when it rains

I want to answer when you call.

I don’t want to live in fear,

it’ll be the death of me

but where do we go from here?

I’m trying,

but I’m tired of trying

and getting no results.

I want to be brave

like I was when I was ten.

I want to feel the wind against my skin

and not cower away.

I want to feel

again

I’m done with this complacency,

this everlasting loneliness.

it’s like they turned the lights out

and I can’t find the switch.

I want to be brave

for myself

so I can say I beat the demons in my head

I don’t want to be brave

for anyone else

because if I’m doing this for you

and you leave

what’s left to fight for?

I want to be strong

for myself

so I can look back

and smile when it rains.

Shipwrecked

There is a roaring ocean inside me.

It does let up from time to time,

but there are days I am left

shipwrecked and stranded.

It’s hard to see how it’ll all be okay

when I’m marooned on an island

in the ocean inside my chest,

but on I press

because what other option is there?


Easy

It was hard for a while

for a long, long while

then it was easy.

But it wasn’t that easy

to get to Easy.

It took years

long, insufferable years,

exhaustion, but persevering

and then it was easy.

The smile wasn’t

forced

anymore.

And there’s still bad days

there will always be bad days

but they don’t seem so bad

when I know

the good days will be back.


Nostalgia

I haven’t felt a single thing

and I worry I never will again.

What happened?

I used to be so lively,

nowadays I’d rather sit at home

than be with loved ones.

What happened?

It’s like a part of me died when you left.

I knew it would happen;

I knew from the start

and I did nothing to stop it.

What happened?

What happened to the person I once was?

I have a fondness for things from before,

things like games and music and pop culture

because it’s the only thing

that brings me closer

to who I was

before.


Getting Over It

It took nearly ten years of being miserable

and much too hard on myself,

but it’s been twelve months now and it’s safe to say

I’ve beat the devil inside me.

It happened when I decided it was time.

I was done living a life of despair,

claiming the world was out to get me.

I took a year.

I learned who I am and what my limits are,

I set boundaries when I had my low tides,

I didn’t beat myself up when I got sad,

I treated myself the way I’d treat an injured dog or child.

I was gentle, careful not to hurt further,

and now I’ve got all these coping skills.

I’ve got all these ways I can survive 

without falling into a pit of depression yet again.

I’ve got a lot to show for it

but most of all,

I’m just glad I’m myself for what feels like the first time.

Her, alone

She drove until she reached the forest, camped there for the night, and drove on to the next. It had been a week-long journey with no defined end. Teary-eyed and broken-hearted, she made the spontaneous decision to travel by car until she couldn’t remember his name. Or at least until it didn’t hurt to think about his bright blue eyes and his contagious smile.

She inhaled sharply as she merged into the right lane on the vast and ever lonely stretch of highway. She had just passed the only car she’d seen in the last five hours and the weight of her reality had been pulling her deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness, like a ton of bricks on her barely beating heart.

When she decided on this trip, she didn’t realize how depressing it would be. Traveling alone is clearly lonely, but she realized this just too late. It should have been obvious beforehand. Any sane person would’ve known traveling alone is as lonely as it gets. But she wasn’t sane. She was a grand mess- hair askew, nail polish chipping, the same shirt she’d been wearing since he told her he found someone new. She couldn’t bring herself to buy new clothes.

Work called her yesterday when she didn’t show up for her shift. She had a long talk with her boss about love and life and to make sure to keep them up to date on when she’s coming back. She was fortunate enough to have a job she could leave and come back to as she pleased. She was also fortunate enough to have the money saved up to go on an indefinite endeavor across the country.

None of that mattered, though, because the whole time she was miserable. She wanted to go home, but couldn’t bring herself to head that way. A part of her wanted to live out here. She was in the forests of Washington, thousands of miles from home. All she had were the clothes on her back and her water bottle, but the thought of stopping at home to collect her things- where her now-ex-boyfriend also lives- made her nauseous. She thought a lot about just how hard it would be to transfer to the Seattle brand, get an apartment, new clothes, furniture.

She found herself surveying houses in the suburbs. This one’s too small, that one’s got no driveway, this one would be nice. Oh, and an open house. It won’t hurt to go in. I can say I’m thinking of moving out here from Massachusetts. It’s true and doesn’t invite too many questions I can’t answer. Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I could afford this if I transferred to the Seattle branch. I should call my boss….