An Open Letter to All the Boys I’ve Loved Along the Way

Dear YOU, yes YOU,

I want to thank you for giving me a list of new experiences. Each and every one of you have shown me something new, or given me a new lesson along the way. You taught me my favorite analogy: the glass of water. I now believe that I am the person sitting at the table with one glass of water. One waiter (boy) comes along and fills only a little bit of my glass. I’ve tried to have more than one waiter filling my glass at a time, and always, always, always I never end up finding ONE MAN who will fill my glass up all the way.

To you –  you were my first love, and will always be my first love. Though we aren’t together, you still mean everything to me, and I would walk through fire for you. Although you’ve moved on and so have I, you taught me what love (and marriage) was supposed to look like. You held my hand through every death, and taught me how to breathe again afterward. The lesson I learned with you, is no matter how you think that puzzle piece is supposed to fit where you have it planned to go, sometimes, it just never fits. I’ve loved you the longest.

To you – you taught me lessons on family, and what it meant to love a family member unconditionally. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in the way someone has hurt your feelings that you tend to walk away without question, even if they are your family. You taught me how to farm, and how to love the little things and make them bigger just because I loved them. You also taught me what I am good enough for and what I’m not. You taught me that I was right when I said I could never stay with a man who cheated on me. Never mind the fact that it took me 3 years to realize it. You also taught me what it’s like to fall out of love with someone. I cheated and stayed with you, because I just didn’t love you enough…or not at all anymore.

And you, you taught me that I really meant it when I said that when a “man” puts his hands on me, I need to walk away. Even though I loved you, and wanted everything to work out, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Slamming my head into a bathroom sink was just not the way things should have ended. With you I learned the power of a good friendship, and what it’s like to have a huge group of people who love you-unconditionally. And you too, taught me what it felt like when you fall OUT of love with someone while you’re still married to them. It’s a terrible feeling.

The fluidity of relationships, how easily someone can give up and walk away is the biggest lesson I’ve learned. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee from anyone, no matter if you’re married or not.

To the boy who taught me what it was like to have crazy love, like the Van Morrison song….You will always be my “what if” and my heart will always skip a beat when I hear your name.

To the boy who spent a year of his life with me, while living a secret double life…Thank you for teaching me what I should have already known. My instincts are ALWAYS right…and most importantly, you taught me what it feels like to be cheated on when you’re really in love with someone. I had done the same thing, and finally feeling how it felt to be the cheated on and in love, was a breath of fresh air ensuring me that I’d never cheat again. You taught me that I really did want a family, even though it would have not been ideal my heart was so full when I thought I was having your babies.

To the boys who have been in the cracks in between…Thank you for teaching me who I was.

You each gave me a piece that created the woman I am today. I learned to never put too much pressure on someone to be in a relationship. No matter how ready you are, they may NEVER be ready…to be with you. I learned that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to make it work, it doesn’t and won’t and you should just walk away. I have never been good at walking away, but I’ve finally learned in my 33rd year, that walking away is the best thing I could ever do for ME. I’ve had guys I’m hung up on, guys who have just used me for sex, and guys who start a relationship with me only to break it off with some stupid reason that they’re unable to communicate to me.

I call each and everyone of you a boy-because if you were a man, things would have ended up differently.

You wouldn’t have cheated

You wouldn’t have put hands on me

You would have not divorced me 7 months after my mom died.

You wouldn’t have just used me for sex

You would have COMMUNICATED openly with me

and YOU wouldn’t have shattered my heart until I was unable to ever recognize a piece of it again.

Truthfully, I allowed these things to happen to me, and I can’t wholly blame you. After 33 years, you all taught me that it’s time for ME to step up and ask for what I want. Not taking what you can only OFFER me. If it feels like you don’t fill my cup, I need to find a new waiter.  If you are only willing to offer me a continent, I need to find someone who will give me the world.
I can’t wait until the day where I find someone so crazy in love with me that they don’t mind showing it in public, in front of any person I see. Someone who is meant to be my lobster and knows it from the moment he sees me.

Until then, I’ll just be grateful for all the boys along the way.

-J

Pismo Beach

When I hear your voice, my heart both shatters and skips a beat.

Looking back now, I could tell that you would be trouble the day that I met you. The look in your eyes, and the hunger that was like a laser pointer right into my soul.

My heart spoke to you.

It gave whispers and palpitations that weren’t a joke, they were me, falling hopelessly into real life love….Pismo Beach

Our days together were blissful, I’d see your name on my phone and hear you call me babe and I’d melt into a puddle no matter how angry or upset I was with whatever was happening.

I remember the feel of your 5 o’clock shadow. The soft bristles that reassured my hands that you were as beautiful as I saw you, and the hair that graced your hands and the deep almost blackness of your eyes…and Pismo beach.

I left my husband for you. The process was daunting and because of his abusiveness, he almost killed me. But I was willing to do it for you…and Pismo Beach.

After several months of trying times, I remember the first “real” date we took going to that small mountain town, we were so very happy to be together. Eating lunch at our favorite restaurant and me taking you to the place that means the most to me in the world. I knew then that you would have my heart before I could even try to give it to you.

But, like a strong man contest at the carnival, the steel hammer hitting the bell as hard as possible, I remember the day my heart shattered. It was the day that you were taken away from me, in handcuffs. We had made love all night I believed with ever fiber of my being that you gave yourself to me wholly, we danced in the living room and shared all of our hopes and dreams…planning our future together and…Pismo beach.

You quickly proposed after that day…I said yes without a single hesitation. Mostly because you being taken away from me was never something I was prepared for.

Hearts racing, promises made, and then the inevitable crash.

I tried, tried and tried to do anything and everything I needed to keep you as “mine”. But, I learned the biggest lessons in my life during that time.

Lesson one: You can’t ‘win’ someone just by buying them things or sending them copious amounts of money… They HAVE to be yours to start with. And you….were never really mine.

Lesson two: A proposal through a jailhouse phone is the furthest from romantic as you could possibly get. And absolutely nothing good can come from it.

Coming to the realization that you were never mine was a hard pill to swallow. Not the capsule with the little beads in it, but the large ’horse tranquilizers’ that get stuck in your throat midway down. Pretty soon, the pills started piling up because I just couldn’t understand what was happening-YOU-were slipping away. I started choking, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. If only I did this or that I thought, if only I loved you more. If only, if only…. Pismo beach.

We made plans together we’d have small, intimate wedding at Pismo beach, and travel up and down the coast of California…every beautiful thing that life could have offered us started to shed off of me like the skin of a snake. I started to believe that if I held on to that skin, you’d see it and come running back to me. But then, I’m instantly taken back to the time where you held me in your arms so tightly, knowing that it was the last time we’d touch for months if not years. I haven’t touched you since.

Fast forward to the day I found out that you had chosen someone else-in a far less intimate way than you had been with me.

We fought. We said horrible things to each other, bordering on emotional abuse. If we were out in the open together it would have been sword for sword, gash for gash. Your cuts would always be much deeper. I knew that I had given you every.single.piece of who I was, but as time went by the tiny pieces of you that I forcefully gathered had slowly started to disappear.

Soon, I was left with only the memory of Pismo beach.

I left you then. I left you for someone I thought was far better than you were….But I could never get over you the way that I should have. I was always hanging off the side of the mountain with a rope, waiting for you to pull me up.

When you finally came back to me two and half years later, I bore my heart and soul to you. This time-I gave you my heart before you could even try to take it. I told you of the days that I missed you and how my heart literally ached for you. I thought you were my person. My once in a lifetime, take me out of the dark places, give me sunlight and share your soul with me person. My, fictional if I killed someone you’d help me bury the body person. I also told you of the nights that I just cried because you were gone. The only thing you said was that you missed me too. Slowly, much like the time before you started to disappear. The words were less harsh, and the swords were not as sharp, but nonetheless they were there. The last time I talked to you, you pretended to not know who I was, even though I reminded you that we were engaged for a year and a half and I sent you thousands of dollars in prison…then, you “remembered”. The conversation with you was ugly-you were ugly. I learned that you started doing drugs, and were probably nothing close to the man I thought I was falling in love with all over again.

You married another woman yesterday. I don’t think I’ll ever see you again, and I know that the first moment I see you with that ring on your finger, I’ll probably need to go somewhere and shed a few tears. That ring was supposed to be the ring I gave you, promising MY forever to you.

I’ve moved on and am dating an incredible man, my heart stopped beating and physically hurt the moment I heard that-you and I will never be a ‘you and I’ again. The days of Pismo beach were long gone, the thoughts of even a remote possibility of Pismo Beach were now also gone.

You married her in a court house. So incredibly far away from Pismo beach.

Now, three years later I can sit back and look at you and realize that you never really were my person. I made you my person because I thought that I wasn’t enough of a person for myself. I thought that I NEEDED you so that I could even breathe, and you played into that without even stopping to think of the damage you were doing. I can say that I now stand on my own mountain top, with no signs of the skin that was shed. I think of you fondly, but also with a gut wrenching sadness in my heart because I know that you are no longer the man that I fell in love with that day on the couch at your sisters house. You are a man who now shows your weaknesses slowly and firmly. There are no more questions any longer about whether you’re my person…Because I now know that I am my own person. And I’ll never go to Pismo beach.