An Open Letter To The First Person I Loved:
When I think about it, falling in love with you was like skydiving on blind faith. I remember my heart racing the first time I told you I loved you, before clarifying, I was in love with you. The next six months were both euphoric and melancholic. I felt entire, and I felt empty, and everything was dichotomous. I both loved you, and learned to hate you.
In the time that I spent loving you, I forgot how to love myself. I stopped eating all together. I became reliant on self-harm as a method of reminding me that I was alive and still breathing, because sometimes, I felt so separated from myself, I forgot my own existence. I swallowed too many pills, and was asked every two hours: where are you? what’s your name? do you know what day it is?
I felt entire, and I felt empty, and everything was dichotomous. I both loved you, and learned to hate you.
My family felt silenced. I was unpredictable. I lashed out at the people I loved the most, because they saw the self-destruction before I ever did. Still, I loved you. Disobeyed, swam even deeper into the unknown, tried to prevent you from sinking because I understood. I understood that your darkness and my darkness were intertwined. I didn’t think that we could exist without one another.
I was passive about things I should have been excited about. I was valedictorian of my graduating class. I wrote a speech that I delivered quietly, monotone. I cried off all of my makeup as I stood in my grad dress looking at myself in the mirror. I smiled and laughed with my family, but I forget the context, only remember refusing to celebrate with my friends after the banquet ended. I began to understand that you were somehow connected to destruction, and all of your demons were pouring into me.
I started getting better, and I think that scared you. I think you needed somebody to reassert your love for the dark, to stand in it with you. I couldn’t. I wasn’t that person. I wanted to pull you from the place you were stuck, but your reluctance resulted in the end of our relationship. I remember being angry. I remember crying. I remember wanting to call you.
Since then, there have been moments where we contacted one another, only to drift in different directions. Nothing ties us together anymore. But I do have something I want to say to you. We do not speak, you will not see this, but I need to say it.
I think you needed somebody to reassert your love for the dark, to stand in it with you. I couldn’t.
I know that you’re not getting better. I know that things are worse for you than they might have ever been. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you are still struggling to ask for help, that you’re still struggling to find your peace. As much toxicity as we produced by being together, I still know that you don’t deserve to feel worthless, or less than, or like this world doesn’t want you. It does.
I have grown so much since the girl I was at seventeen. That girl didn’t understand how you could be so harsh and shrouded in darkness. But the girl I am now understands that even if I stopped loving you a very long time ago, the people still surrounding you haven’t.
- A Girl That Once Loved You
P.S. Thank you to my family for staying with me through all of the mess. I am so sorry for the things I said and did when I wasn’t myself. Sometimes, I think about that period of my life, and it feels like I was possessed. Something larger and darker than me took over. But I love you each of you. Always.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054 for the National Dating Abuse Helpline.