Unsolicited Pieces of Dating Advice.

1. Listen to your friends and/or watch their reactions to your SO.

When your friends are giving you signs and signals, maybe instead of being combative, you should listen to them. Your friends know you better than your SO does, at least in the early stages of dating. If they see something off-kilter, it’s unlikely that they’re being self-serving. Unless your friends are shitbags. In which case, ignore this and keep doing you.

2. Act your age.

At different stages of our dating lives, we act differently and we look for different things. Continuing to look for the same qualities in a partner at 30 than at 21, you might not be successful. Where are you at now? What do you want? Really think about that and try to find someone who wants the same things, or else try and at least date someone who acts their age too.

3. Give your time and energy to people who deserve it.

This was one of the most important pieces of advice I received during my stint as a teacher and it rings true in dating as well. Don’t do all the heavy lifting. Think moving to a new apartment: imagine it’s only you doing everything. Now think of a moving/pizza/beer party where your friends are giving you a hand. Which is preferable? Yeah. Big time. Happiness and joy and love too, are better and easier and more comfortable, when they’re shared.

4. Don’t take those who are kind to you for granted, even if it wasn’t meant to be.

I went on an online date with a guy who I had 0 romantic chemistry with. Like, I was practically begging the universe for him not to make a move because if he had, I would have felt completely confused and awkward and it would have been terrible. But still, we went bar-hopping, talked music, he gave me some really great festival-going life hacks and he paid for everything, including 2 am Chinese food at the end of the night. We hugged it out and never saw each other again,but I was sure to thank him then, via text, and to thank the universe for the good night anyway.

We all date into a corner; sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But what I’ve learned recently is, a good date is a good date, even if it doesn’t turn into anything. Think back onto every person you’ve dated and remember the good, not the bad. For every awful date we’ve ever had, there are good ones. Take them for what they are.

5. Don’t go on a mission when you date online.

What I mean by this, is every single person you date shouldn’t be auditioning to be your husband/wife. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to them. In my experiences, the best way to approach casual dating is with a spirit of fun, adventure and importantly, low expectations. On that note…

6. You shouldn’t feel like you’re trying really hard.

Let’s say you make it past the ‘what are we?’/’Is he going to keep hanging out with/texting me’ phase and you end up in some kind of relationship. Do you feel at peace with everything and does every single day bring you closer and closer together? Are you making this face every day when you wake up in the morning with them in your head immediately?

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If you have to try really really hard to feel these aforementioned things, you’re not in love. And you owe it to yourself to move forward. Because if you’re not in love, what’s the point, really?

7. Don’t be a dumb girl anymore.

We all do it; we hold onto hope that the dude who dumped us or stopped calling to come back suddenly and realize they made a mistake; we give someone ample amount of time and possible excuses as to why they’re being MIA; we argue with friends who point out all the 1001 ways our partner is treating us like shit. Then we come to terms with reality and promise we’ll never do that again. But then we do it again.

Nuh-uh. It’s time to stop that shit.

We are powerful people who are beautiful and smart and passionate and amazing and WE DESERVE THE BEST! You hear me? THE BEST! And we don’t have time to be dumb girls anymore who make excuses for assholes, give them all the chances in the world, continue to text them because we just can’t take not hearing from them anymore. It sucks. Guys who keep you on the hook like that suck. And by texting them, you’re letting them have power they don’t deserve. Cutting them off is basically making you the Lorena Bobbitt of the situation and I don’t endorse mutilation, but I endorse metaphorical feminist-analogy “mutilation”. Which is what all y’all should be doing if you’re being treated like this.

5 Things I Learned About Long Distance Relationships.

1. Physical distance and emotional distance are VERY different distances. 

In my previous dating life, I would get extremely anxious and upset about distance; but it was emotional distance. It was the guy who doesn’t text back, at least for hours, and it was the guy who refused to put labels on anything and who I knew was probably dating other people. It was the guy I had really lovely dates with but long, drawn-out waiting and wishing periods in between until it fizzled, and later I’d look back and realized I was just prolonging the fizzle.

Physical distance hurts sometimes, but it never feels like that. It feels like love, excitement, and the prolonging of that coveted honeymoon phase, that sexy and vivacious newness of everything in a new relationship. Physical distance is you walking around knowing for certain that someone across the miles loves you and will call you if you’re upset or call you if they’re upset. In that regard, long distance isn’t really distance at all.

2. You just want to give your partner everything, if only because you can’t.

When you don’t see someone very often, you have this longing for them at a constant, even if it doesn’t ‘hurt’. You see things that remind you of them and you think about all the large and small ways that you could surprise them and shower them with love the next time you see them. Every moment spent together is an event and you’re just constantly feeling like you want to cherish it to the nth degree.

3. The people in your life who understand it support you 100% of the way.

Sometimes when you tell people you don’t know very well that your partner lives in another city, they give you these quizzical looks or pull out the whole “I could NEVER do that!” thing. But those in your life – family, mutual friends, can see how happy you are and how there’s simply nobody in your current city that could ever make you happier than the person who currently lives in a different city. And their support does get you through the harder days. Understanding is everything.

4. Long distance relationships teach you what kind of dater you are. 

I was never sure before this relationship what I was truly ‘made of’ and what I could and couldn’t do for love. Having spent so much time alone while still in a relationship and committed to a partner, I have much more clarity regarding my own independence in relationships, what I need to feel happy and/or secure, and as a result, I’ve grown into the kind of person who is comfortable and confident being someone’s girlfriend.

5. If I can make it through this, I can make it.

My long-distance relationship is at this point in life, very very right for me. I’m happy, crazily and most importantly, healthily in love. I have someone I can count on who has allowed me to let my walls down in front of them so much that I can open up and be there for them in return. The miles are miles. They must be crossed and there must be always be a timeline of the next time they must be crossed so neither of us feel impatient and hopeless. But, the money and time and travel and everything is the most worthwhile thing I’ve done in my life. I feel at peace with it in a way I didn’t expect when I first learned I would be in a long-distance relationship way, way, way back in the day when I was lying in bed with my boyfriend when he told me he was moving back to our mutual home base. It felt like the end. Now, it feels like the beginning.

10 Songs That Will Cheer You Up.

I’m the kind of person who only recently learned to accept conversations from others as a means of cheering up (because the right people will be able to make you feel better and not worse, ever, about anything!). But instinctually, a bad day or a dark time has me gravitating to the wisdom and comfort of the music I love. Headphones, my iPod, and a long walk are also remedies when a good hug isn’t around.

Here are ten of my favourite ‘cheer up’ songs. They don’t take away the pain, but they ease it a little bit.

1. Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend.

I’ve always silently maintained that Carole King is one of the best ‘music bffs’. When your friends aren’t around in the flesh, there she is, reminding you that you can call her and she’ll come running, running… it’s not the same as a warm hug, but honestly, it’s close enough in a pinch!

Key line: “They’ll hurt you and desert you/And take your soul if you let them/Oh, but don’t you let them”

2. Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out.

Oasis isn’t really a ‘warm fuzzies’ type of band but in this case, they’ve created a strong that asks you to draw on your inner strength and dry up your tears. Melodically, there is something deeply uplifting here that is lovely to listen to and also empowering.

Key line: “Hold on/Don’t be scared/You’ll never change what’s been and gone”

3. Ryan Adams – Words.

Ryan Adams doles out life advice sometimes (see: Note to Self: Don’t Die and Life is Beautiful, just as a couple of very overt examples). With this song, he is offering you his protection, and a reminder to not pay attention to people whose words are beneath them, and you. Sometimes you just need to be reminded not to worry, not to pay any mind, and recall that ‘words’ aren’t that powerful.

Key line: “If everything you want is something you couldn’t have/Go outside a while, look up and count the clouds”

4. Beth Orton – Ooh Child.

Orton’s cover of The Five Stairsteps’ biggest hit adds something sombre and reflective to the original, much sunnier version of the song. Her voice breaks as if she herself is overcome with emotion but yet, she somehow knows it’s going to be okay and things will be brighter.

Key line: “Some day, we’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun/Some day, when the world is much brighter”

5. The Beatles – Let It Be.

When I find myself in times of trouble, this is one of the first songs I always, always put on. It’s like a prayer that McCartney is saying on your behalf, because you can’t quite find the words. When everything is the worst and you feel yourself entrenched in darkness, Mother Mary is here to help you see the light. Religious or not the message is as powerful as it is deeply comforting.

Key line: “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me/Shine on until tomorrow, let it be”

6. Wilco – War on War.

Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot  is one of the greatest albums of the last twenty-five years because it has everything; lyrically, production-wise and musically, Wilco created perfection with this record. Among the solid gems on this record is War on War, a song that lets you know in a world of conflict, there is only one option and it is to move forward and remember it’s darkest before the dawn. The melody itself is cheery but behind the distinctly Wilco -esque up-tempo alt-pop is something that has resonated with me since the day I heard it.

Key line: “You have to learn how to die/if you want to want to be alive, okay?”

7. Elliott Smith – Happiness.

Elliott Smith isn’t exactly known for ‘cheery’ songs, but he mostly had a sardonic-but-cheery demeanor, and among his stellar catalogue is Happiness, which isn’t really an ‘optimistic’ song, but is still comforting. Things are going to be bad. Things are going to be finite. But what do you need to wish upon yourself and others in order to forgive and gain the closure you deserve?

Key line: “…[Her] memory worked in reverse/To keep her safe from herself”

8. Damien Rice – Trusty and True.

Another artist who isn’t exactly known for his sunny and uplifting songs, here is a song that is yes, far from sunny, but also extraordinarily uplifting. I very recently saw Damien Rice before singing this song he talked about how it’s a song about recognizing and understanding that sometimes we fuck up and we should forgive ourselves. And sometimes when we’re sad, it’s just that message that needs to be heard. We’re not mad at anyone except us.

Key line: “And we can’t take back/What is done, what is past/So fellas, lay down your fears/’Cause we can’t take back/What is done, what is past/So let us start from here”

9. Josh Rouse – Sad Eyes. 

Rouse has been making music for eons, and is one of the cheeriest artists on this list, despite his own struggles and his own ex-pat blues. He wrote one of the most incredibly beautiful cheering-up ballads ever with that powerful swell between the bridge and final chours that makes your heart soar up into your throat and gives you lyrically and melodically, just a few more ounces of strength that you can use to save the day.

Key line: “Sad eyes/You are the only one whose blue skies are grey/So don’t cry/You’ll be the only one to make them go away”

10. Conor Oberst – You Are Your Mother’s Child.

There’s something wistful about recalling simpler times and going back through the Rolodex of your life remembering each phase and good or bad, what it meant to your personal and vocational growth. Oberst does that so poignantly here it induces chills. I think this song is a ‘cheer up’ song for the same reasons it makes you very sad: lost innocence. Innocence and remembering what you had and how it became the foundation to being on your own now. It calls to action without making any calls at all. It’s also comforting to know that the universality of growing up is shared among so many people. You’re not alone, in feeling alone.

Key line: “Tears will dry if you give them time/Life’s a roller coaster, keep your arms inside/Fear, that’s a big emotion”

Ryan Adams Live at Carnegie Hall: A Review.

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The cliche is that ‘live albums’ are a way of fulfilling record contract obligations. But what if you had your own label and your only contract obligations you needed to fulfill were simply based on your own artistic ambitions? Chances are, you’d probably release something incredibly beautiful. You’d produce the heck out of one of your best live shows probably, and package it in such a way that it’s appealing to touch, smell even, in a gorgeous glossy box with a gatefold cover featuring stunning photographs of you and the set list and the stage. That’s what Ryan Adams has accomplished here, releasing yet another live box set on his own label, Pax-Am Records.

A few of the artists I love have released live recordings or live EPs and sometimes I find they somehow fail to capture what it feels like to see that artist in concert (for example, a good but not great live album is Wilco’s Kicking Television: Live in Chicago). Even Ryan Adams’ previous live box set, Live After Deaf was an absolutely lovely foray into a series of European solo acoustic shows but was not a glittering face-melt of live tracks that demanded repeated listenings as much as I would have hoped. What I love about Live at Carnegie Hall is, it does everything a live Ryan Adams show(s) should do: it made me laugh – a LOT; it shed new light on old tunes; it provided me with a diverse set list including some deep cuts and some big hits; it is crisp and clear yet warm and friendly in its sound production (partially due to minimal production but amped-up recording quality, and partially probably, due to the stunning acoustics of the legendary venue itself). Lastly, it reminded me of just how much I love this artist and it reminded me just how much an artist’s body of work has been there to comfort you, console you, make you feel good and loved and accepted and understood. When you listen to a favourite artist live, not only are you absorbing their energy (and the energy of people around you) but you are going to a kind of sermon, that is preaching the kind of solace and sanctuary you listened to countless times on your headphones, in your apartment, in your car. This collection of songs, spanning two nights, does all of this and evokes all of these feelings. I don’t know how it does that, but it does and it’s a real heart-filled, fulfilling treat to listen to.

Of particular note on the first concert are: the subtle and sprawling This is Where We Meet in My Mind (“this song is long, so if you need to go use the bathroom…” Adams warns before beginning), a solo acoustic version of Nobody Girl, a song Adams hasn’t played live in ages but with new low-key little twists and turns, and a slowed-down, virtually-transformed version of the 1984 punk rock Rats in the Wall. 

On the second show records, we have a sparse version of Dirty Rain, one of my favourite later-day Adams tunes, and a very different re-working of the 80s alt-rock inspired Gimme Something Good. When these songs go acoustic, new feelings and subtleties are revealed.

I like how throughout the jams on the first set, Adams narrates, jokingly for the most part, what was going through his head when crafting some of these tunes. He’s rarely serious when he tells these stories and makes these bizarre Star Wars analogies to life events and so on. It makes for a very entertaining, well-rounded show where there is a schizophrenic mix of laugh-out-loud joke commentary and emotionally resonant, openhearted, straight-up playing. Adams is an amazing live performer (perhaps now, more than ever) due to his ability to take us within a few minutes or seconds, from one emotional place to the other, seamlessly, so we listen to beautiful alt-country acoustic tunes we deeply cherish, while having a ton of fun. Adams laughs with us, rarely at us, and it’s a blast. No two Ryan Adams shows are exactly the same, even if the set lists are similar. You’ll get improvised songs, raps, oddball stage banter and funny stories about fans tweeting him their thesis about Pink Floyd’s The Wall. What this indicates is how far he’s come since that fateful day when he allegedly kicked a fan out for requesting Summer of ’69 back in 2002. In fact, as recent as last night, Adams made peace with his connection with the Canadian pop-rocker and took back his live performance prowess by  owning the requested song that gave him his ‘petulant asshole’ reputation as a live performer.

Live at Carnegie Hall is the perfect live album because it gives us everything we’d either expect, or have seen from a recent Ryan Adams live show. We get many shades of charming from a performer who is among the most elite songwriters of his era, and we get songs we know well and songs we don’t know as well but have become a part of fan lexicon due to their diversity of influences and the memorable moments they create. As of today’s date, I have seen Ryan Adams live five times – with his new band the Shining Twice, with the Cardinals twice, and solo acoustic once . Each show provided me with something a little different and gave me a little more insight and appreciation into an artist I’ve loved for the last eleven years. Most of those sides of Ryan are depicted on this collection. It’s wonderful.

I needed to remind myself today how far I’ve come.

I hate 2008. I think out of the whole year so far, I’ve only been truly happy for a total of about 15 days. Every day I wake up and the first thing I think about (actually, the only thing I think about, all day) is prayers and 11:11 and **** motherfucking ****. Who was supposed to come over today but hasn’t contacted me at all. He forgot about me. Completely forgot. He wasn’t thinking about me. Not for one fucking second. Charlotte Gill once wrote, “She lived and died by what came out of his mouth”. That’s me. Pathetic me. VERY pathetic me. There’s no one out there for me. I need to realize this and stop longing for someone who doesn’t want to be with me. But… I miss him. Soooo much. It kills me. It doesn’t stop hurting. And I want to remind him he made a date with me. But… why bother? If he wants to forget me, fine. Forget me. WHY DOES HE HAVE THIS KIND OF POWER OVER ME?! WHY CAN’T I STOP CARING!? WHY!? Because I love him, that’s why. Because I LOVE him. I really, really, really do. And I mean that. But he doesn’t love me at all, or give two fucks about me. ‘Monday’. Right. Right. Thanks SO much. For remembering me. THANKS SO DAMN MUCH. God. Iv’e always maintained that love and hate are the same. They are. Both are powerful enough to move you emotionally and passionately. I love him. But right now, I passionately, deeply hate him too. HATE!!!! And because this make me look psychotic, I don’t wish to share it with anyone. I want to DIE right now with hatred. I wish it would rain – the day doesn’t seem appropriate for my mood. This goes back to my novel, I guess. Where do you get happiness from? The more you know yourself, the more you know where your happiness comes from. Mine apparently, comes from quality time. Which I was SUPPOSED to have tonight, but instead I’ll be watching TV ALONE. So thanks, you asshole. FOR FORGETTING ALL ABOUT ME. FOR TOSSING ME ASIDE AND THINKING I’D JUST BE COOL WITH IT. FOR CONSTANTLY HITTING ON MY BEST FRIEND! ‘Monday night’. I didn’t imagine that… I didn’t. God. Fuck him. FUCK HIM. I hope he remembers all of this someday and feels so bad. Words can’t express how mad I am. Words can’t express how anguished I feel.. I’m nobody. I’m being dramatic right now. And I don’t care. Why did someone up there decide to turn me into this person! It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m convinced. Yes. I AM still fostering hope. I am. Because I HAVE hope. I just can’t see things any way but hopeful and clearly haven’t given up on this pipe dream yet. I wish I could. I often say (and it’s time) that I only want to date when I have a crush. While right now, I’m in so much pain, I need someone, ANYONE. A crush, a date, a random makeout… SOMETHING to make me forget about him. I had hoped that immersing myself in my writing would help me forget. But – it makes me think of him more because a) writing workshop deadline is on his birthday and b) I want desperately to pour my heart out and have him see the real me… I want him back. And I feel like I’ll just harbour that forever and ever.

No, self. He won’t remember this day. He’ll never remember this day, or any other day like it. But I can remember sitting on the floor of my then-bedroom, pen in hand, writing this very entry. I remember my open windows. I remember how warm and heavy the air was. I remember what time it was. I remember every detailed thought that ran through my mind when I faced this kind of rejection from someone I thought I loved, giving me reason to believe that this kind of unhealthy thinking came part in parcel with what it meant to be in love. I remember it all and he never will. And I said in the aforementioned diary entry that I’d never share this with anyone.  And I am now, so that anyone who actually reads my blog (if there is indeed anyone who does) that it does get better. And it does become clearer as time goes on. And sometimes when we re-examine past incarnations of ourselves we realize fully that we were in a mindset then that thankfully cannot and will not be repeated. We don’t love like this as responsible adults. And those who truly care about us would never, ever treat us like this.

I have to remind myself on this evening of self-pity, that I have come so far since I was this empty, self-conscious, servant of a vessel who loved and loved and loved to the point where it made her feel awful about herself. This person and everyone and everything associated with them is far, far beneath me now and I don’t care who knows now that I ever felt this way. If this is the only way I can take my own power back in this very powerless moment I have right now, then that’s what must be done.

Goodnight and rest peacefully, remembering that you are who you are because of difficult times and difficult days.

10 Things I Learned from Dating on Tinder.

10. Countless casual dates feel meaningless after a while.

They always say that sex is best with the ‘right person’ rather than all the time with any old person. I used to question what the difference was (in this case, I’m equating casual sex to casual dating). It’s a strain to constantly build your dating life around meeting strangers for the first time. You end up telling the same stories and having the same conversations again and again. You tend to keep it pretty casual. After a while, it feels empty. You feel empty. But….

9. Casual dating is actually a lot of fun, despite its shortcomings.

When people ask me what I think about online dating, I have a pretty strong anti-online dating standpoint. But it’s not necessarily because it’s not enjoyable (and sometimes even a little addictive); it’s because of that eventual frustration and aforementioned emptiness. I think if you’re on a mission to marriage, it will feel discouraging to constantly date online. But if you’re looking to meet people, have something interesting to do on a Friday night, and you don’t mind guys dropping off the face of the planet once in a while (or 90% of the time), it’s actually pretty fun.

8. Casual dating teaches you more about yourself than about other people.

I hear all the time from girls I know that Tinder has taught them that “all men are assholes” and “all guys just want sex.” But what Tinder taught me was, what I wanted and needed to feel secure; what kind of relationship dynamic I was comfortable with; how comfortable I was saying both ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and importantly, to really reflect on what I was doing and what I was looking for by casual dating in the first place.

7. Tinder really is just as much about hooking up as people say it is.

I learned about Tinder by watching a daytime talk show with a ‘lifestyle expert’ touting its good qualities: you don’t have to talk to anyone you’re not matched with, you can meet other people outside your social circle, and you can just quickly meet up for a drink via your mobile device without all the back-and-forth messaging that other sites demand. But all those ‘good’ ‘quick and dirty’ qualities of the app are the same reasons why the app is really just about hooking up. I’d like to say I came to some amazing conclusion about the wonders of Tinder or that I was pleasantly surprised about people’s intentions on the app, but no… I wasn’t. Whether guys were super open about their intentions or not, at the end of the day it was about sex. Anyone who finds anything more than that is an anomaly.

6. I am the kind of person who ‘casually dates’. 

I used to maintain that I was only interested in dating someone when there was potential for a relationship. But then I moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t have any single friends to ‘go out’ with anymore and I realized just how limiting a viewpoint that is, to consider one’s self “above” casual dating. While the act of dating casually gets a bad rap (especially, unfairly, for women) it leads to an understanding of dating and relationships, one’s own self-exploration and a more thorough understanding of human relationships. Plus it makes for some good stories. I don’t know that I ever would have known what I wanted and didn’t want out of life and love had I not become a casual dater.

5. It’s okay to ‘want’ a relationship.

Once again, my perception of “wanting” to be in a relationship changed with this process. I used to look down on people who admitted fully that they were specifically looking for a life partner. The reality is, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a partner in life. Maybe at 18, being on a quest for permanent love is a little soon but in your mid-late twenties, I get it and I understand. People get lonely; people are re-evaluating their life goals; people want children and they want a confidante. I completely understand it in a way I never did before.

4. Everyone ‘first dates’ a little differently.

Some people handle their nerves by name-dropping and bolstering themselves. Some people handle their nerves by drinking a whole lot. And some people are just really great conversationalists that immediately make the person they’re with feel comfortable and excited. What I was grateful for, is to never encounter someone who was too awkward to handle the awkwardness of a first date. On Tinder, anyways.

3. If it doesn’t work… it doesn’t work.

When you online date, sometimes you don’t feel any chemistry with people whatsoever. They may feel that same lack, and they may not. But there’s no point continually seeing people when you feel no spark or fire behind your time spent with them. It ends up just being a bit of a burden. It’s important to remember that you don’t owe anyone anything.

2. The most unlikely people (I mean the most unlikely people you could ever even imagine) could end up being among the best people you’ve ever dated.

I gave someone a chance that was against what could have been against my “better judgment” (I can’t really elaborate on the details here) and I’m so glad I did. I met not just this person, but many people who I feel were unlikely matches for me and very different from me but that I learned so much from about acceptance, second chances and what it means to be a ‘good person’. I’m incredibly lucky and blessed to have met these people and to have learned what I learned from them.

1. NEVER – and I mean NEVER – have dinner on a first date.

Dinner is long. And you’re obligated to stay and eat at that point which is potentially (and in the case I’m thinking of specifically), actually awful. 0 chemistry, but 2+ hours of dating listening to weird and boring stories about someone’s friend who wears a cape around is/was pretty horrendous. Drinks only. At MOST, an appetizer. Lesson learned.

An Open Letter to All the People Who Have Wronged Me.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The other day I was sitting across from the person I love. I was noting as he was talking, the care he takes in what he says to me and how he told me to stop apologizing for being the person who does not believe in her own capabilities and her own success because “that’s who you are, and I love who you are”. I saw the way he looked at me as he was speaking – with this look that was so full of respect, love, concern, protection, and I thought, “Why would I waste my time on people who don’t treat me this way?”

I don’t just mean in terms of romantic love. I mean in terms of any kind of interaction I’ve ever had with anyone, especially all of you. I mean people who take advantage of the qualities that people who care about me tell me they love. I mean people who compete with me and try to be better than me at things I’ve worked so hard to accomplish. I mean people who stab me in the back as they’re sending me supportive, caring text messages that are pretending to do all the things that people who actually love me actually do without having to try.

I have wasted so much time catering to people and feeling sorry for what’s happened between me and all of you, that I’ve forgotten sometimes to look out for number one. I have effectively looked at how other people see me as more important than how I see myself. But this time, I’m not going to apologize for that.

The thing is, yes, the best people – those who truly care about you – will not let you settle in your viewpoints about yourself and the world. They will not let you because they want you to be successful and they want you to feel loved and they want to celebrate your achievements (and vice versa). If this isn’t a thing that can happen, then what are/were either of us doing there? Why did we waste each other’s time being jealous and hurtful and angry at each other constantly? In my mind, there was always something broken… not just on my end, not just on your end. And we need to accept that to move forward and forgive one another while still understanding that it will always be this way…

It makes me sad to write this letter. It makes me sad to have been so hurt by people I loved and trusted. It makes me sad to have to burn bridges and be the kind of hard-headed person who does that. But I’ve learned a lot from all of you. I’ve learned about what it means to be in a poisonous union with someone and conversely, what it means to be around people who bring out the best in you and who allow you to be even somewhat of your full potential and let you see that.

There is no sort of ‘beginning and end’ to poisonous relationships. There is no timeline of exactly when they started to go ‘wrong’, really. And there’s certainly no formula to them. They are what they are. I resent and resent but remind myself now that it’s none of your faults I feel this way, really. But that I simply cannot/could not put up with the stress of a relationship like ours anymore. At some point, it has to stop. I’m glad it has stopped. Not just for me, but for us both.

With that, I leave with a clearer head (somewhat) but an understanding of where I fit into this puzzle and how I understand it to be. It’s all I can do.

Sincerely.