This is a break up letter. I could probably end right here, but I’m not going to.
As I write this, I can smell your cologne, and I am wearing your socks. I find it hard to type this letter without missing you, but it’s insane to miss something that isn’t yours. After all, we were never ‘official.’
I know it’s messed up to end things on Valentine’s Day, but let’s be real; we both know you prefer it. Holidays make you nervous. Valentine’s Day feels forced, and so I do this for you as well as me. I’m saving you from another V-day where you show up empty-handed, or you throw a crumpled card on my bed before we…
I’m saving us both the embarrassment.
Just so we’re clear, this isn’t the kind of break up where I spit racial slurs and try to make you cry. If you could have been any different, you would’ve been. I’m not entirely convinced we’re born knowing how to love, and if we are, I think that shit gets forgotten before we’re two. The first time our cries go unanswered or someone forgets to change our diaper, we make a shift from love into survival. We learn how to stiffen our upper lip and how to coax love out of others. We learn who we have to be to get what we desire. We connect in certain ways — in safe ways, in small ways. We narrow ourselves to find and keep the affection of others.
And the f*cked up part is it works.
How can I expect you to love me in a way you haven’t learned? Can I require you be available when life shows you it’s unnecessary? Can I expect you to shift into love when surviving has served you well?
The answer is no. So we’re done.
Today I realize that
I hope you die you may survive, but you won’t be happy if you can’t embrace real love, and I’m not talking about bullshit love either. I’m talking about the kind of love that explodes all over you when when you touch it. The kind of love that might gut you — that requires you gut yourself. We have to let love gut us otherwise we’re just existing. You and I were just pretending. We never gutted ourselves. We may have gutted each other. Mostly, we were languishing, passing time, and playing small. We’re playing Call of Duty, taking bullets beside each other, without ever building intimacy or trust.
I won’t ask you why you couldn’t love me the way I needed. I’ll bite my lip instead asking why you couldn’t commit to me. I won’t ask you if it’s my hair or my uneven completion. I won’t ask because I already know the truth. The truth , like the absolute truth, is that I picked you so I wouldn’t have to really be in love. I picked you because I’m f*cked up and emotionally unavailable too.
I said it. Now you’re off the hook.
Yes. I cried in front of you, and I said “I love you” first. I begged you to be my boyfriend and sent frantic texts in the middle of the night, but that doesn’t mean I was available. It just means I can throw tantrums better than you. Truth be told, I was caught up in the chase, but I know I picked you because I wasn’t ready. Crying and emoting doesn’t make me “healthier” than you. There’s more to emotional maturity than sobbing into my iPhone. If I take the drama and longing out of every interaction, I’m left with the fact that I am very much alone.
Your abandonment just highlights what I already know: I’m alone with my insecurities and fears. That, my love, is scary as f*ck. Even when you were next to me, I was by myself; but with you there, at least I was distracted. In my mind, you were the cause of everything I fear. I’ve tethered myself to you in an effort to avoid my pain. As long as you can’t love me, I have proof that there are no good men, I am unworthy, and I’ll have to settle for less. You become the reason I feel “all black men are piles of shit.” You become the reason “I have to keep my guard up.” You become the reason I’ll be able to tell the next man “ I’ve been hurt before.” You become the latest in a long line of men to be “the reason I’m guarded and can’t really trust.” I said these things to you, and if we don’t break up, I’ll keep saying them until you leave me. And I’ll go looking for another you.
See, contrary to what I’ve said, you didn’t lead me on. You didn’t confuse me, or reject me; you weren’t even that convincing. I picked you to give my fear and doubt a home. I needed your neurosis to give my demons form. You were the boogie man and the monster in my closet. But you were never the love of my life.
I’m not saying you’re not an asshole — just irrelevant.
I break up with you and know that beyond you, there is me. And beyond me, there is love. And in the realm of real love, everything is possible. I release you from all responsibility for my emotions, and I apologize for putting them on you. They are my own, they are beautiful, and must be cherished. I apologize for trying to give you custody of my heart. The DNA results are in. My heart belongs to me. I am hereby responsible for my emotions and my
vagina heart. I cannot ask you to value what I devalue in myself.
assh*ole love. We’re done.