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

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