The tab button doesn’t work on this so it will be difficult to tell when each paragraph starts…
I understand you’re hurt. I understand why you don’t want to talk to me or see me. You have never liked to talk about your feelings with me if they were not happy feelings. I mean, biologically men tend to run away from their feelings, where as women confront them (my textbook even said this… that’s why I can say “biologically”). And you are a man. And even after being yours for almost three years you still made me struggle to pull everything out of you, not even because you didn’t want me to know how you felt, but you didn’t want yourself to know. This is what you are doing right now. You love me. I love you. I’m afraid it will always be this way. You’re not willing to confront this, or me, or us. As usual I want to run into everything head first and see you and talk to you. I understand that you can’t talk to me or see me, like I said before. I don’t think you’re wrong for feeling that way (no feelings are ever wrong). But, in all honesty, I don’t really agree with what you are doing. You’re a big boy, Matt. I’m sorry, but you are. You claim you haven’t moved on from me, but you have a girlfriend, Matt. You have a new girlfriend. Someone else has taken my place. I feel wrong telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. But, I truly feel like you should have the balls to confront me and your feelings, which shouldn’t even exist. Of course we’ll always love each other. You are my first love. You are the first person I ever made love to. My life changed while I was with you. I grew up and became more aware of the type of person I want to be because of everything that was going on in my life at that time - which includes you and your family. There will always be love, strong love, between us. There will always be incredible friendship. There will always be unbelievable sexual tension. These things will always be. But, for you to commit yourself to another human being while everything is still so raw… is that fair? To anyone? Of course part of me is saying this because I’m hurt. But if you can’t see me or talk to me, and it’s because the thought of me still plunges you into emotional depths you can’t bear because the feelings are too recent… is that fair for you to promise yourself fully to another person? It’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to me. I understand why you have someone else. You’re a serial monogamist - a monogamy whore, like me. And I was tempted too… because knowing you have someone and you’re someone else’s is one of the best feelings in the world, and I had gone three years with this feeling, and to have it taken away was difficult. But I couldn’t succumb partly because I felt like it would be disrespectful to what we had. I know this isn’t true, and it’s partly irrational for me to feel this way, but I feel replaced. And I feel disrespected. We broke up, and I knew you would be with other girls. And I believe in love, I do. I believe you really could have fallen in love with someone else even within the extremely short time we were broken up. But it’s still so painful… And honestly embarrassing. I shouldn’t care what people think, and I know this is all in my head, but it gives the impression that what we had wasn’t meaningful and was replaceable and really was just a silly high school relationship. In the end I don’t care what other people think - and actually now that I think about it, when I said that I didn’t mean that’s what it seems like to other people. I meant that’s what it seems like to me. It’s also just difficult knowing so soon who you’re with. Obviously we agreed we wouldn’t talk about what we were doing with other people. But you don’t have to talk about it. I know what (and who…) you’re doing. That’s weird for me. You don’t have to know anything about me… But I feel like I know too much about you. And this is the most embarrassing part. I wasn’t going to say it, but at this point, who cares? When we broke up I thought we agreed it was just a break… and that over the next break we would get together and talk about how we felt and reevaluate the situation. Then I talked to you on the phone and found out you were at Columbia and just avoided me the whole time (which actually really, really, really hurt my feelings) and you reacted with kind of a mean tone (a “I-told-you-so” tone) when I said something about missing you and us. Because of this, I didn’t mention the break thing. And then the next break you wouldn’t see me… And that’s when I found out you had a new girlfriend. And I felt like an idiot. Matt, I’m not blaming anything on you, but I stopped being able to eat that day. I know that I explained my starving myself as related to my illness - and it is. It’s also related to you. And here’s how it all connects…
Seeing that you refused to respond to my cry for help and then seeing that you had moved on to someone else brought back extremely unresolved feelings I have from our relationship (that is grammatically disgusting - I know those phrases should never actually be used as subjects, but I’m going for content not quality). I didn’t realize that these feelings still haunted me so seriously until I realized what I was really doing in starving myself. I need to explain these feelings for myself. And please let me do this and please understand that I’m not saying these things to attack you or hurt your feelings. Please be mature and think about me first and really, really try to empathize first before thinking about how you feel. I know I’m asking you to go against human nature here. But that’s what love is. Thinking about someone else before yourself. If I could ask for one last thing for you to do for me, it would be this. Just try.
I honestly don’t think you ever understood how seriously ill I was. And not just the science of it. Yes, Matt, I could have died. Twice. And it could happen again to me at any moment without warning. But like I said, it’s not just the science or the biology or the medical terms. There are huge parts of my life that I can’t remember, Matt. I was literally in too much pain - physically and emotionally. My brain has tried to protect itself by deleting these memories from it. And it wasn’t even the fear of dying. I don’t even think I thought about dying until this third scare. Of course, it was partly the physical pain and weakness. Everyday I woke up - if I had slept at all - and all I could do was call out to my mother, who can’t even walk herself, and ask her to help me sit up. Can you imagine what it feels like to not be able to hold a fork to your mouth without being in excruciating pain? It’s not like the pain of a sore or pulled muscle. My blood was on fire, and I could feel my body trying to kill itself, weakening itself with each movement I made. I so clearly remember that birthday that I came to your house and we went out to an Italian restaurant. Your parents had to drive me the few blocks back to your house because I couldn’t walk. I dressed up even though I had to wear those sneakers. It was so embarrassing. I could barely even eat, but I tried for you. I don’t think you understood what kind of struggle a simple thing like coming to see you was. Even when I was ill I was willing to make the journey that you complained about so many times. You never thanked me, and you never appreciated it.
It was so scary the first time I got sick that I never fully comprehended it until afterwards. My world didn’t change, but the way I looked at the world did. I let go of a lot of people who I didn’t need and clung to only the closest people to me - including you of course. I don’t think you realized how much I needed you. I became a sadder person. I realized that my life would not be perfect, and I would never be the same healthy, untouched, untainted girl I once was. I felt dirty and ruined. I became even more negative about my body and started actually believing it was working against me (confirmed by everything else that has happened to me since… just saying…). I also started appreciating things more. Things meaning people. Things meaning beauty. Beauty especially in words. Words started to speak to me more, and this is when I really fell in love with Latin. I loved Latin’s purity. Its pure beauty. Its flexibility. Its poetry, its music. I loved how it was dead but could still be alive. And I felt like a part of me was dead… so I guess I related to this and wanted to emulate it (if it’s possible to do that with a language). There was more sadness in my life, but there was more color too, if that can make sense to you. I saw more and I felt so much more. I was so incredibly hurt by you. That you weren’t willing to wrap your head around what I went through and what I was still going through. I felt like you threw the whole situation away. I felt like you were too scared to care. But at the same time I fell in love with you so much more. See? I began to feel so many more things. I became an Achilles. Paradoxes on top of paradoxes, and that is why I was always so confusing to you when it came to my feelings. I could feel one thing but I could also feel another.
There is one specific time that you really hurt me, and I hate to say it, but I do hold onto it, and I think it ruined our relationship. It made me secretly resent you while I still fell more and more in love with you every day. I don’t remember what you said perfectly or even when it was - after the first or second sickness. But, you pretty much told me that you felt that you put more into our relationship than I did. First of all, it’s hurtful enough to be told that you’re not a good enough girlfriend. Second of all, it’s extremely saddening to realize that all of the things you do for the one you love go completely unrecognized and unnoticed (I often felt that you didn’t see how often I was helping you with your problems or doing small acts of love for you, where as when you did a small act it was like you reached into the sky and gave me the moon). But, third of all, you complained about my problems. You felt like our phone calls were more and more me crying about my problems than you talking about your life or your own problems. I have two things to say about this that I never did and should have at the time. If you had problems or things you wanted to talk about, it was your responsibility to bring them up on your own. I’m sorry, but at the time I might have been going through too much to be able to spend the exorbitant amount of time it would take to pull anything out of you. The second thing I have to say is that I was crying every week (actually more than once a day) for a reason. I might not have been physically dying anymore, but for so long I felt like I was dying inside. It was often hard for you to see how much pain I was in because I was so happy on the outside often. But I can honestly say for a majority of our relationship, not including the first maybe nine months, I was desperately sad. Often on the verge of depression. Maybe you didn’t notice. Maybe you did and ignored it. But that phone call still kills me inside and it ruined our relationship because it made me realize I was on my own and I had you to distract me and to love me and to love back… but I didn’t have your support. I’m pretty sure you did apologize for that phone call because I remember it really upsetting me. But I’m not sure that you knew exactly what you were apologizing for.
After that point… part of your love died for me because I feared that you could never be there for me the way I needed you to be there for me. I’m sorry, once again I’m not trying to be mean. I feel that our relationship was always built upon honesty and you should know the truth. I did break up with you because I needed to be on my own. But part of me felt that I was already on my own, and that’s why I felt so trapped by our relationship sometimes, if that makes any sense to you. Don’t get me wrong - I never didn’t love you. I still love you, Matthew. I still love you madly. You made me so incredibly happy. I have the best memories of my life with you. But I also have the worst. You always got mad at me when I said you won’t understand. It’s because… you really didn’t understand. I hate to say that because it’s so mean. That was so mean, I’m sorry, but it’s a source of incredible pain for me and I need you to get it. I think you can understand, Matt. I keep coming back to you and trying to contact you and honestly, the only reason I ever stayed with you was because I believed that you could understand. Olivia thinks I should give up because you won’t ever. But prove her wrong. Please try to understand. The pain was physically bad enough. But emotionally even more. I felt so isolated with the world - I could no longer interact with it. And imagine how isolated I felt when my own boyfriend wasn’t even there for me?
And this is how it connects to the email and your girlfriend. Both occurred around the time when I started to feel like I was getting sick again. Obviously being sick the first time was scary. And it was scary the second time because it was so much more painful. But this third time (even though I’m fine for now…) was the scariest. Just knowing the pain that was in my future was scary enough. But the idea of having to go through the new medical treatment while in school was terrifying. Also, just the having to go through it all again is so emotionally draining. Your rejection - in the form of refusing to be there for me when clearly I was extremely upset and moving on to someone else - brought back old feelings of sadness from the two other times I was ill. I was devastated when the only person I wanted would not understand me and support me. I was also devastated because I thought I was dying. And I was pissed that my body kept ruining my life. It ruined us and it ruined me in multiple ways. So I tried to take control over it in the only way I could. I tried to beat my own body to the punch and starve myself.
Can you see now, maybe just a little, why you’re not the only one who is hurt, why you’re not the only one with a broken heart? Why I’ve been hurt for years and why my heart has been broken since that phone call?
I’ve reacted to all of these feelings in the strangest way. I love you so so much that I hate you. But I don’t really. I don’t even think I believe in hatred or even anger. I think they’re feelings of being hurt. So I don’t hate you, I’m just hurt. I’m hurt so much that I don’t want to know you anymore, but at the same time I want to be your best friend more than anything. That’s why I try to contact you when I know you shouldn’t. Because I feel like you must have these conflicting feelings too… And for some reason I think deep down you really do love me and do want to talk to me, just like deep down that’s how I feel.
There are so many things I want to tell you. It’s still in my nature to think of you first, to want to call you or text you when something important happens to me. Like the other day, my dad bought a new shower curtain, and it has Latin on it!! Latin!! On my shower curtain! And oddly enough the first thing I thought of (besides a series of Latin related bathroom jokes) was that I wanted to tell you. Or, I read the most incredible, beautiful, heartbreaking, truth-bearing, enlightening Whitman poem… And I wanted to send it to you because I wanted you to experience it as well (here’s a link to it… http://www.bartleby.com/142/19.html). I want to know about you and how you’re doing and your classes and your life. That’s why I inappropriately cling to your instagram, on which I should really unfollow you because my obsession becoming unhealthy.
What I want you to take from this is that in the end I clearly always have, always will, and still do love you. It hurts to admit that for so many reasons. But it’s the truth. A secret part of me likes to believe that you will read this and be enlightened and realize how I’ve felt this whole time and feel it too and as a result love me more than you ever have. And a secret part of me believes that or at least fantasizes about that because in the end I am a hopeless romantic and believe it or not optimistic. In reality it can’t happen, but read that and see that you have had an effect on me - optimism! I’m trying to be more optimistic these days because if you’re not you get heart disease and are all around more unhealthy (thanks psych for explaining my bad health with the fact that i’m negative and grumpy!). So no more negativity and no more grumpiness. Which also explains that former optimism. But mostly you’re to thank. In the end I don’t know what you will take out of this letter. You might just be hurt and more angry and more wanting to avoid me. But I personally would rather see you on a scheduled meeting than be surprised and taken aback and be awkward.
If all these words do are upset you - then I guess my optimism is a big pile of shit and people don’t grow or learn anything. If they just hurt your feelings, then I hope one day you can look back at them and see that I had to do this for me. And it sounds selfish, but I spent three years of my life being extremely unselfish for you. I hope you’ll be able to look back and maybe even realize what a struggle it was for me to come and see you on your birthday, and spend the night in pain around a bunch of people who probably didn’t really know - really know. In the end, even if these words mean nothing to you, you can know, even as embarrassing as it is, I still love you so much. And I still am so thankful for the love we shared. I love you so much, Matt, and it’s painful, but it feels so great to just say that. I love you. Sorry if you don’t love me back. I wish you the best with your new love. One day I will find someone who will understand and feel my pain with me… and ultimately relieve it. But that’s a lot to ask for in a person and I realize it. So I’m going to take my time and not rush. So don’t worry, you probably won’t see me with another man any time soon.
Well I guess that’s it for now…
Thank you if you read this. That alone means a lot.
Always, your Sophie