I read a letter onstage in front of an amazing, supportive crowd full of people I love and strangers who cared enough to listen. It was a nerve-wracking but amazing feeling that left my heart feeling lighter & I’m very grateful to With/out Pretend for letting me speak & be heard.
I had so many friends attend that it made my heart warm, and I’m very glad that Ben was there and filmed so I could share it.
I have had ideas of what you would look like to me since I was young enough to know what you are, even though I wasn’t old enough to understand.
It’s hard to recognize something you’ve never felt before. Hard to decide between what the truth is and what you want the truth to be.
I was, no, I am so intent on moulding you to fit what I think you should be. Held together by my Hollywood born expectations and a head that resides in the clouds while my mind tries to drag my feet back down to the ground.
Gravity and reality are two things my heart has yet to learn.
Sometimes I’m not even sure if you’ll be interested in a person like me.
With my missing bits, jiggly bits, mentally not the best bits. I know I am a lot to handle. I am exhausted from trying to prove myself to those who are already looking past me. From being overlooked again and again because I am not “something” enough.
But if you don’t mind me saying, I know I deserve you.
In high school, I thought we’d meet. I’d have my books carried between classes and have slow dances in the gym mean more than just a washroom break. You hear of high school sweethearts and I feel like I’ve missed out. I’ve missed out on that giddy feeling of not seeing an end in sight.
But you were nowhere to be seen when my crush rejected me on speaker phone amidst hushed giggles of disbelief.
In university, I thought I was ready for you.
I got caught up in thinking tequila was a good idea and that deadlines didn’t matter. I had everything figured out because that’s what university does to a person, I thought.
I had my first kiss with Batman while I was spider-girl and everything tasted like stale beer. There were no fireworks. No leg popping. No eye contact just before because, well, he was Batman. Just chapped lips and trying to block out thudding music that all vaguely sounded the same.
I was asked on my first date by a guy who was a friend. Dark unruly hair with green, green eyes and dimples I can still see perfectly. He knew I preferred white hot chocolate over anything else and kept saying my sweater looked soft. He rolled down all the windows even though it was October and played an album so loud his face is now engraved into it. Drove for hours in and around the city until direction didn’t mean much to me but then again, it never really does.
Yet instead of that date ending in a kiss on my doorstep, it was on a dark side road in the parking lot of an abandoned greenhouse with a locked car door and keys out of ignition until I conceded.
In college I was finished with my picture perfect idea of you, I lied to myself.
I realized that waiting wasn’t worth my worrying and a string of broken beds and unanswered texts was something I didn’t mind. If I was the one leaving, it was better than being left. I realized that I could hold power if I wanted to, but that my will power was a different story. That I was trying to care less but I was being careless.
Nothing was going anywhere but it felt better, just for a few hours, to trick myself that it might. I don’t think I truly believed that but for a few hours, I was with someone. I wasn’t alone. I was able to switch off my yet to be returned feelings until I broke my rule of not getting caught up in what could be.
Until I made banana pancakes and fell asleep to off-tune Pink Floyd that I wrote off as romantic. Until I entertained every idea he had because I wanted to be wanted.
And I should have known when it was Valentine’s Day and he slept without stirring and I paced around the apartment like I was locked in and wasn’t the one holding the key.
Until I begged for him to stay when he had already left.
But that wasn’t you.
I know what you don’t look like.
I know you don’t look like tears over a cold tea in a 24-hour dinner because he told me I was thinking too much about him not wanting to hold hands. My hand.
Not like forehead kisses outside a snowy subway station followed by weeks of silence, but, he said, it has nothing to do with me.
Like bed sheets tangled and body parts melding into one over and over so that I forgot I could be whole on my own. Because he wanted parts of me but never looked at me as a whole.
You don’t look like fall nights of bathroom graffiti turned into mornings fuelled by beers and missed streetcars. A night full of firsts completely forgotten by him, unfortunately, memorized by me.
And I apologize for ever thinking that’s how you would appear to me.
For mistaking you for lust. Lust dripping in my thoughts romanticized into what I wanted things to be like and torn away from the reality of what was happening. Overthinking can be a dangerous thing. And overthinking while lowering exceptions to be met by twisting perceptions can be lethal.
No, none of this was you.
This is not what you look like.
You do, however, look like my grandfather reading John Grisham’s latest mystery quietly in his blue chair while my grandma talks just as loud as I do as we catch up on too much time passing. Like her not being able to move like she once could, and them leaving the home they built but leaving together. The blue chair is gone, but you are still there.
You look like long car rides of the same winding route up north for several hours during summer and my parents’ hands still touching while Gordon Lightfoot plays on the CD that mom protests to. And he might miss an exit, and she might think the music is too loud, but the hands still come together.
Dear you. Love.
I am wrapped up in the idea of you, my brain constantly tossing through the motion of what you will feel like unconditionally one day.
And that blinds me. Distracts me. Has me pouring over words in books and scenes in movies that I’m aching to relate to. Has me building up the idea of whoever holds my interest until they are painted gold in my mind while they are just human.
But I will wait, I am waiting.
Sincerely yours, when you’re ready,