July 11, 2001
A Letter To My Ex(es)


To My Ex(es):

I know. I'm probably the last person in the world you expected to hear from today.

I'm a little surprised myself, frankly.

Whenever I've toyed with the thought of writing you this letter, over the past several weeks, it has gone from seeming like a good idea ... to seeming like a phenomenally BAD idea ... back to being a good idea again ... to, ultimately, what it is today: a good/bad/mostly-unavoidable idea. In other words: it's one of those things I've got to do before I get on that plane to TicTac next week ... like cleaning out my purse, or deciding between *taupe* or *ivory* pantyhose, or calling everybody with the directions to my sister's house ... if I want to get any sleep at all between now and the wedding.

(I'm writing to you here on the website, of course, because it seems like the *safest* place to dump the contents of my heart/my brain/my conscience. I get all of the psychic release of writing, with very little danger of you ever actually reading it.)

But anyway. The purpose of this letter.

As you've heard by now, I'm getting married again next week. The grapevine informs me that you took the news stoically, without comment or curiousity or visible emotion ... that you offered up a limp and mostly-insincere "Wow that's great" (or was that a limp and completely sincere "Who the hell cares?"), and that you've not spoken a word about it to anyone since.

(Actually: I'm lying. The "grapevine" didn't tell me this at all. My feminine intuition -- combined with my knowledge of you -- told me that this is how you reacted. It is the same combination of intuition and knowledge that tells me that although a part of you has never stopped hoping I'll get run over by that bus tomorrow, another part of you still smiles when you remember our first morning together.)

The fact is, I've been thinking about you a lot lately. Are you surprised to hear that? You shouldn't be. If you remember anything at all about me, you surely must remember that I am a compulsive "emotional archivist" ... a collector of people, places, experiences, emotions, impressions, life lessons ...

... and memories, both good and bad.

And in spite of the way we ended, a lot of my "us" memories are good memories.

I think about you when I see vapor trails in the sky ... and it's a good memory. I think about you when I smell woodsmoke in the morning. I think about you when I drive by a bowling alley, or when I order a small #9 at Togo's, or when I'm standing on a street corner watching a big noisy parade passing by. I think about you when I hear Black Sabbath or cool jazz or The Buzzcocks or The Corrs or Was Not Was or Everything But The Girl. 

I think about you when I see couples feeding ducks in the park, especially if *she* is pregnant and *he* has a moustache and both of them are young and neither one of them is wearing shoes. 

I think about you when I watch "The Wizard of Oz" ... especially when Aunt Maggie is onscreen. I think about you when I see Janeane Garafolo on TV. I think about you when I hear someone call in a song dedication on the radio, or when I'm standing in the kitchen making blueberry pancakes, or when my shoes come untied as I'm walking down the street. 

I think about you when I remember the little souls we created together ... or the souls we talked about creating together ... or the souls we might have created together, if we had gotten our act together in time.

I can't imagine ever not thinking about you, frankly. The thread that was *us* is so tightly woven into the fabric of my life and my history that it probably can't be unravelled. I wouldn't even want to try.

If you remember anything else about me, you must also remember how annoyingly anal I am about beginnings and endings. I am the original *Queen of Closure* ... a lover of the neat and tidy ending.  And the truth is that I never felt our story had a properly definitive conclusion. Things got messed-up towards the end, and neither one of us was getting what we needed, and other people were being hurt, and eventually the whole thing collapsed under the weight of all that unhappiness.

I'm sorry about that.

I'm sorry I lied to you. I'm sorry you felt betrayed. I'm sorry you hurt me. I'm sorry we ripped each others' guts out. I'm sorry that I saw fit, in moments of despair and dysfunction, to trash you here on the website occasionally. I'm sorry that there are still moments when I can't think of you without rancor and sorrow.

I'm sorry, now, that I didn't dance with you that last night.

But this letter isn't about apologies. It's about closing one door before I open another ... and about celebrating the good, fine, worthwhile things that came out of our time together ... and about the lessons we bring from one relationship to the next.

And the truth is that I learned a lot during our time together.

I learned that I am capable of doing some pretty big and brave and amazing stuff, even when I'm scared to death. You taught me that, whether you're aware of it or not. I learned that I like to travel. I learned that I like sex. I learned that I like portabello mushrooms. I learned how to fix a leaky toilet, make an airline reservation for myself, light a barbecue grill and grow a crop of wheatgrass on top of my refrigerator. I learned the foreign exchange rate of a guilder. I learned about "generational recordings." I learned about advertising and electrical contracting and internal medicine and video editing and paperboard manufacturing. I learned that I enjoy walking down the street holding hands with the person I love ... and I learned that a woman who is confident in her abilities/her potential/her self-image is sexy, regardless of her age ... and I learned that falling down occasionally is OK, just so long as you get right back on that *hoarse* and lead him to water, dammit.

(I learned what not to do in a committed relationship: namely, you don't get on an airplane and fly across the world to be with someone else for a weekend.)

And I learned this: I learned that although I adore being in a loving, caring, fully-connected relationship  --  that being in that kind of relationship is the fulfillment of a lifetime's worth of *happily-ever-after* Little Secra dreams  --  that I am also pretty much OK by myself, when I need to be. That kind of self-awareness is a good thing to take into a new marriage.

I have you to thank for a lot of this ... and the wonderfully-wise, emotionally-generous man I am marrying next week thanks you, too. He is going to reap the rewards of all these lessons I learned from you.

We both wish you a lifetime of the same kind of happiness we have.


one year ago today: the 10 worst songs of all time!

throw a rock