*Warning: F-bombs ahead.
I wish I could have written this decades ago. Back when we first met and when I knew you best.
Then, I met with you with wonder, excitement, amusement. You were a miraculous set of tools with which to experience the world, this life, my life. An awesome new toy. The perfect gift.
And you would continue to reveal new abilities, gifts, surprises, layers upon layers for me to gleefully unwrap and unravel. You had so many places to take me to, to show me. Places I didn’t know existed until you brought me there and those we still need to explore together.
But before I could get to know you, to grow into the magnanimous being that is you, we were interrupted. It felt sudden.
One day I loved you and the next I loathed you.
But it wasn’t as abrupt as it seemed. The poison seeped in slow and steady. It was quiet, insidious. I didn’t always notice. It came first in seemingly innocuous drops and harmless suggestions, “Maybe you should wear your hair like this,” and “Maybe you should dress like this.” Talking heads on TV that I’d always ignored now seemed to be aimed directly at me. Imploring me to pay attention. I though they were there to help me.
Drops, one by one, became a tsunami. I tried to fight my way out—I knew better, I knew it was bullshit flooding my senses but it was pervasive, tenacious, ubiquitous. Violent and personal. I was out-numbered, out-armed.
There was no safe harbor. Everyone I turned to was swimming in the same shit. A sea of drained and trained zombies. And the moment I got tired of struggling, it all soaked in—the doubt, the shame, the panic. And I drowned.
I was convinced that you were damaged, flawed, not up to par. Inferior.
Immediately I was offered, or rather sold, an infinite amount of arbitrary items to fix something that was never broken, to fill a void that didn’t exist, to heal an imaginary wound. Nothing would ever work. The game was rigged. That was the idea.
I bought the lie, again and again and again. And when the bill came due, you paid the highest price.
You became someone else’s to mould, to define, to squeeze dry. It felt like I lost you but the truth is, l simply gave you away.
And you rebelled. You were so stubborn. So many times you did precisely the opposite of what I wanted. You became bigger where I wanted you smaller and smaller where I wanted you bigger. You became little more than a pesky problem I could never solve. An adversary, my nemesis.
You must have been so confused. I was giving you so much conflicting information. Starving you one day, stuffing you to the brim the next.
But the one message you always heard loud and clear was that you were not good enough. Of this, there was no mistake. And you responded accordingly. You didn’t want to move. You became sad, scared, angry. You wanted to hide, retreat, escape. Who could blame you?
You were desperately trying to alert me that something was wrong. But I didn’t listen. You were so much wiser than I ever gave you credit for. And I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for all of the misinformation, the bullshit, the mixed messages, the psychic and physical pain I inflicted upon you. For not seeing and appreciating you. For falling into such an obvious trap. For letting anyone or anything else define you. For giving you away.
And now that I have removed, returned, declined those overused, oversold, overbought dime-a-dozen shit colored glasses, I can finally see you. And the many reasons to thank you.
Thank you for the taste of sweet juicy peaches, tart cherries, salty potatoes, for the delicious texture of warm fresh bread and the infinite magical combinations waiting to be seen, tasted, touched, inhaled, experienced.
Thank you for music that is not only heard with the ears but felt in the bones. The notes deliver a message that I can’t quite define but always receive. A message that can only find its way in through you.
Thank you for inappropriate-non-stop-full body-eye-tearing-belly-holding snorting laughter. This too is a message received loud and clear, a visceral reminder that life can be funny and ridiculous and so fucking great.
Thank you for the blissful resignation of melting into a deep sleep, especially after a long hard day. For the feeling of warm plush blankets on cold grateful skin.
Thank you for an arm to wrap around a shoulder and the strength to pull a wearied body into a safe welcoming space.
Thank you for eyelids for the certain connection that can only be relayed by a wink.
Thank you for lips and eyes to smile with. No words can more aptly or swiftly convey kindness.
Thank you for feet with which I have, many times, walked away. Even, if not especially, those times when they had to drag my stubborn foolish heart away.
And thank you for a heart that will eventually lead the feet towards something better and beautiful.
Thank you for the gift of touch, for giving and receiving. For the places on and in my skin that are locked, dormant, asleep, only to awaken, open, expand when ignited by a lovers key. Fingers, like instruments, learn to play the music of you and these fingers will search to find the locks and the keys to another body. They will learn to play the unique song of each new lover.
And as far as what-the-hells go:
I finally know enough to know that you have a unique way of communicating. Many of your messages have taken time for me to decode and I am still learning—not yet speaking your language fluently.
I get that you expand when I send you a message to make room for more food. And when I can’t fit into my jeans it’s certainly not your fault, you were just following orders. I’ve also learned that a crash diet isn’t a message to get smaller, it’s a message for you to panic. When I don’t utilize your capabilities, you assume it’s okay to just turn things off, like my metabolism.
And when you get sad or sick or fatigued I know that I’ve likely been working you too hard. That you’re overwhelmed. Maybe I haven’t been kind enough to you.
And whether I’m feeding you bad thoughts or bad foods, you will respond that way.
But for the life of me I can’t imagine a good bloody reason for the random hair that grows not only in the most inopportune places but several inches overnight only to be invariably discovered while on a first date. Or the times that I’ve pleaded for you to wait one more minute or just be a little quieter or just a little less sweaty or less obviously embarrassed by turning my face fire engine red.
In a few years I’m probably going to plead, and most likely in my grandmothers voice, “What’s with the macular degeneration? The arthritis? My boobs deflating? Peeing hundred times a night? I need all this like I need a hole in the head!”
I don’t know if I am ever going to have those answers or the answers to many other questions I have for you but I have learned, or rather, remembered to trust you.
And so, whether or not I understand you, I will simply love you, worship you, see you as no more and no less than the perfect set of tools that you are, like I did when we first met. When I knew you best.
Author: Jenny Spitzer
Editor: Katarina Tavčar