It could be the title of my ongoing autobiography. There are so many things that I’ve wanted to say to people and never did. Some of them are hurtful, or defensive, or damning. They are about being “right” and (self)righteous. But I don’t find it too hard to let go of those ones anymore. I think it’s probably for the best that they go unsaid (at least, unsaid to those people.)
What I truly regret not saying are the unspoken words of love, forgiveness, admiration, and truth. Why should it be hard to say those? I’m not sure – but I find myself totally incapable of speaking them.
Every time I get together with a certain friend of mine (the word “friend” feels really, really inadequate here) – every single fucking time – I psyche myself up. I tell myself that this will be the time. And every time, I leave our get-togethers kicking myself because I can’t say these things.
The most frustrating part about it? I feel like I’m enacting my parents’ flaws/problems – I feel like I can’t say the simple things that are kind or loving because they couldn’t say those things to me (I forgive them for that, but I’ve never said THAT to them either :/). Against all my therapy and progress and self-awareness, there is STILL a really really deep-seated/childhood-based aversion to love and the expression of it. It’s so fucking exasperating. 😦
Here’s what I should have said on any of the many occasions that John (not his real name) and I have gotten together since my massive breakdown that led to me moving out of our shared place, and what I still hope to say one day (and yes I could cop out and send this as a letter but to me it would show a lot more growth if I could (ever) say these things out loud.)….
You know when something’s really wrong – some flaw in your happiness, some wound or old scar in your heart – and it’s so deep and familiar that you feel it in your body as soon as you wake up, but it takes your conscious brain a few minutes to remember what it is?
For me, that feeling, that wound, will always be the memory of the way that I treated you during the worst years of our friendship.
It’s not often that you meet someone who feels destined to be in your life. It’s not often that you have so much in common – from your interests to your backgrounds to your personalities to your thoughts and behaviours – that you click as well as we always have. It’s even rarer that you think “Huh. Suddenly and almost immediately, I absolutely adore this person like my brother or my oldest, closest friend.” Many of my happiest memories are of you and me, having fun together the way only two bosom friends (to quote Anne of Green Gables) can. Maybe things would have been easier and simpler if we just loved each other in a “normal” heterosexual type of way. But we didn’t, and I’m glad we never tried to pretend that we did.
Part of what made it so easy to thrust you into the role of my caretaker, saviour and other half (not that this excuses it) was the fact that you do feel like my other half in so many ways. Part of me feels like you know everything I’m about to say – even what I’m saying right now – without me having to say it. But I don’t want that to be a reason to leave these things unsaid. They need to be said.
Words have never been less adequate than when I say that I am so sorry for all of the things I said and did while I was falling apart for all those years. If I could do something – anything – to make it so none of that ever happened, I would. I feel like I could buy you a private island or give you my firstborn kid as an organ donor or something and it still wouldn’t even come close to repaying you. I owe you everything, and one of the worst thoughts I can have now is remembering that for years – years that must have been fucking hell for you – I did my absolute best to hurt, maim and ruin you in response to all your help and love and self-sacrifice. It’s almost unbearable to know I can never undo it, and I can never apologize enough.
I know that you and I belong together the way that family do. I could pretend to burn a bridge with one of my siblings or cut ties with them, but the possibility that they might be unhappy somewhere in the world would make me miserable inside, and mean that my happiness was not complete. In the same way, it doesn’t matter if we don’t see each other or speak for years; I can’t really be okay in life unless I know that you’re okay. I could get famous and rich, and win a Nobel prize and end animal cruelty and have a perfect marriage and six healthy happy kids, and still be like, “But where’s John? Is he happy with his life?”
And that’s the main reason I’m saying this now: the hope that this will make you feel better or happier, if there’s even a chance that this can achieve that. If there’s any part of you that ever doubts or regrets the way you handled the lowest points of our relationship, please let me put those doubts and regrets firmly to rest. (FYI: This is to make you feel better, not me – so please don’t feel you need to respond at all.) I just want to say you did absolutely nothing wrong, and no one could have handled that situation better than you did. All the things that should have hit me about 5 years earlier than they did finally sank in when I stopped living at the farm. It is not an exaggeration to say I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for you, and that I will forever remain in awe of the patience, strength, bravery and selflessness that it took to do what you did for me.
I could say a lot more, but rather than ramble on, I’ll try to confine myself to saying how sorry I am one more time, and telling you how much you will always will mean to me—not only for the invaluable friendship you have given me but for the uniquely wonderful person that you are.