I was going to write this piece about something else- most probably something light-hearted and fun- but a few days ago I received a very (and I mean very) long and honest text message from somebody I thought I was really close friends with. Long story short it was along the lines of ‘you bitch too much, you’re too negative and I can’t stand being around you’. So, I’ve decided to write this open letter to the person who sent me the message because my way of dealing with things is through writing words on a page and hoping they bring indefinite closure. So here goes.
Dear person whose words have scalded my mind and sunken my heart even if they were only over text,
You should know that I’m the kind of person who takes these kinds of things like an arrow to the heart. I was in the car with my mum on the way home from school when I first read your message. I have to admit that I just wanted to burst into tears and throw my phone away, out of sight and out of mind, but I couldn’t. I felt trapped. I think the things that shouldn’t hurt more when they come from somebody who actually means something. I waited until we got home, ran up to my room, slammed the door behind me and cried for what seemed like hours and hours and hours after that. I read your message over and over. Does everybody hate me like you do?
I’m not sure why, but when I get upset, I just can’t stop being upset. Things play on my mind for weeks and it doesn’t matter how many times someone tells me “you’ll be okay”, I just can’t get over it. I just wanted to hurt myself. The world will be better off without you, Tara: I repeated this over and over to myself in my head until I started to believe it. Maybe everybody else does hate me but you were the only one honest enough to say so. After a while, I was a combination of upset and angry. I didn’t want to go to school the next day because I felt embarrassed that I had let myself get so upset over it all. Maybe I was even a little bit afraid. I wanted to punch anything and everything. My other friends couldn’t help me all that much: “you’ll be okay”, or something to that effect. Everything is okay.
I think that sometimes people like to be brutally honest and maybe, some of the things you said are true. Maybe I am too negative. Maybe I can’t ever be happy for people. Maybe I am difficult to be around. But what I have to remember is that these things don’t define me – my flaws do not define me. Everybody has a quality that makes them irritating to somebody that they encounter at some point in their lives. Do I have more than others? Not likely. Just because you can’t stand me, does that make me an awful, despicable human being? Not at all. I still breathe. I am still a countless army of cells. Chemical reactions still happen in my brain every second. I am still made up of hydrogen atoms that once formed stars that are long gone now. I am still my mother’s miracle; a combination of natural science and art that happened by chance. Somebody else’s opinion of me does not change who I am. Humans are prone to mistakes; we all say things we shouldn’t have. I know for sure I sometimes fail to think before I open my mouth and for that, I am sorry.
My favourite spoken word poet, Sarah Kay, once said: “…getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they love the taste of air.” And it’s true. Sometimes people like you have to come along and push me to the ground (not literally of course) to remind me to stop feeling sorry for myself, get the hell back up and love myself again. I thought I trusted you and vice versa, I’m sure. I am sorry to the moon and back for what I did to upset you and I wish I could unsay a lot of things I said. I understand that we all lash out like cornered animals, wounded and afraid. But you have to understand that your words hurt like knives in my back; a back that was already bruised and scarred before you came. I don’t know if we’ll ever be friends again; I don’t know if either of us want to, especially right now. But I would like to tell you that I am no longer upset or angry or afraid. I’m sure that I’ll be just fine.
Yours truly, the person who hurt you whom you just wanted to hurt back.
Photo from here.