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Because You Spoke The Truth, I Knew You Were A Liar

A little distance is a fine thing, is it not? Torch gone out. Fury all done. Need to blame no longer prevalent. Though I remain wary of the convenient airbrushing of hindsight, I can look at the dynamics of us from the measure of a year and know that without doubt I owe you a debt of gratitude. Not because you were kind or wonderful. Not because you tried to show me something. Rather, because you lied. Because your manipulation was so carefully constructed and wilfully cynical that it astonishes me now to realise that I allowed it into my life for as long as I did.

At the time I satisfied myself with the poetic idea that I was giving you a fair chance; even though my instincts were fairly screaming at me to withdraw. In retrospect, I can see that my hesitations were not so noble. Partly it was a sense of fairness – but it was also a kind of weakness. A hunger. The fear of being alone. Goddamit, even a dose of unrequited lust.

It was that commonly expressed but ultimately forlorn hope: maybe she’ll, perhaps he’ll … But they never do. Or least, they do so rarely enough that it’s not worth the grind and humiliation.

You certainly had no intention though, did you? Your game was sharper, more calculated than mine. You said just – and only just – what you needed to in order to keep me onside. I was a pawn in your Machiavellian politic, a means to a private end. Even your apologies were about personal advantage. You promised without ever intending to fulfil and your frequent sweetness was little more than a calculated sugar hit, doled out to the junkie on your string.

And who was the fool who swallowed it all down? (Oh yeah – that sucker.)

It was only when I could no longer effectively lie to myself that the truth about you could not be denied. And even then, it was only a slip of your tongue that let the cat out of the bag. Even habitual liars tell the truth eventually – usually by mistake.

So why am I thankful? Simple. Because, by your flawed approximation of intimacy, you inadvertently proved to me that it really is okay to draw a line in the sand. I don’t have to be an all forgiving Jesus figure anymore. I can have the guts to say no – this is not acceptable. I will not tolerate this. You can be damned in my estimation. Held to account.

The real beauty here though, is that I can say all this with without the hyperbole of impotent rage. I can simply assert it as a free choice. A decision I make about what I want in my short and tenuous life. (Certainly not you and your ilk.)

Whilst I readily concede that we all act out of self-interest – that we all lie, scheme and cheat to achieve our objectives – I am satisfied that I and most others learn at a relatively young age that the conscious manipulation of other people’s affections is cruel and cowardly. It singles out those people who employ these tactics as unworthy of my time and energy. For I am not here to heal or save them from their misdemeanours; that is a messianic delusion from which you have saved me.

So please, do not for a moment consider this missive a bridge back. It is the rubble by the riverside. It is the deconstructed act that I once chose to believe – now seen for what it was.

I seek, nor offer, the easy palliative of middle class forgiveness. I have no message or advice for you. Only profound thanks. For by your deceptions I have unearthed a truth about myself; and the next time I encounter somebody like you – which I surely will – I will know exactly what to do.

It will doubtless mean little to you to hear me say that this fact is nothing short of a beautiful liberation. From neediness. From fear. From lack.

From predators like you.

Love letter # 384

Realising how uncool it is these days to admit to something as old school as love, I do so anyway. How else to explain the way I feel about you? What other word to apply to the warmth that courses through me at your proximity?

I do not propose to sacrifice my self-respect or put on hold my life for you – but I do feel ready to make you first amongst my equals and to consider how the actions I take may impact upon you. I will take you into my deepest confidence and most sacred trust – give you all that is healthy to give to another. No door shall be automatically closed to you. No games played at your expense.

If you will only allow this river to flow, it will surely flood the plains – and there the most beautiful things shall grow.

You do not need to call it love – but I most certainly will – and if you shall receive it, I will offer it up for as long as I can foresee. I cannot say it plainer than this.

Love letter # 381

I keep looking at that photo – the one where your eyes loom out of the crowd, looking straight down the barrel, enigmatic smile on your kissable lips. I keep wondering what you were thinking and why you seem to be looking right through me. Or if I’m just a delusional fool who is being tricked by your beauty into dreaming something too wonderful to ever be true. And then I look again – and I am all sea once more. Swimming in this fantasy of you.

Love letter # 293

There are things beyond my explanation – or at least, my capacity to explain. It’s just that somewhere along the line I began to notice you in ways that were more intense and uncomfortable than I bargained for. Not my intention certainly; but I have to be honest.

I’m only saying this now so that you can have an answer to the obvious question waiting behind your eyes.

Yes, this is why I have withdrawn. Why I look down at the floor. Why I make lame excuses and leave early. Say no to the drinks. Because I cannot bear the thought that this wave building up in my blood might burst through my skin and spill its crimson tide everywhere.

Also, desire (or love if you like) has turned me into an idiot on so many previous occasions that I am afraid that at the mere sight of this much stupider, needier version of me you will turn on your heels. Or worse, turn to scorn.

The poets and dreamers may extol love to the heavens – but for us flawed and fragile mortals it is often the destroyer.

So maybe if you give me time and space it will pass and I will be able to act normal around you again. Until then, forgive me my gut wrenching fear of rejection. It is a folly, I know, but from my vantage point it is a lesser sin than those almost certain to be committed by the amorous and thwarted suitor I would become if this passion gets out of its cage.

Love letter # 407

I hereby acknowledge the downside to my capacity for and desire to give and receive love. It has led me into serious misjudgement and involved me in psychologically damaging relationships. Furthermore, it has allowed poisonous opportunists to manipulate and abuse me. My affections have been toyed with and my openness and availability have made me vulnerable to users and liars.

For most of my adult life I have been repeating a relationship pattern that has been unfulfilling and ruinous. This is entirely my doing. My fault, my issue, my addiction. Indeed, much of what I have called love has in fact been neediness and approval seeking. A band aid for a pain lodged deep in my history and enshrined in my self-talk.

So now the time has come for me to write a love letter to myself. To take back the love I have offered to so many undeserving others and return it to the core. Not in a vain or protective way – not as armour or self-serving bias – but as nurture. As recognition. As a form of dignity.

There is no bitterness or reproach in this gesture – simply an honest appraisal. It is time to flip the dynamic. Instead of making myself struggle uphill to earn a little self-honouring and giving my heart away too easily to others, I’m moving the goal posts. From this day forth I shall make it my goal to love myself more easily – more compassionately – and to make others prove their worth.

If my love has been a cheap trinket until today, from now it shall be a jewel. Precious and of inestimable value – and not lightly or reflexively given away.

Love letter # 317

To you – finally – I can speak. Show. Become. And all the lies – so many fucking lies – they are no longer required. Like the frontier undefended. Ramparts abandoned. For in you, all the reason I ever needed to destroy the masks. Because you alone have seen me without the need for the shallow acclamation of pretty. Or the lurid glitter of victory. As I see you. Even in the thrall of darkness I can find you with this compass – as you shall come to me. For tonight every single star shall be ours to behold.

Love letter # 380

Have you ever felt that someone really gets you? Sees you, hears you? I used to answer no to all these questions. Then I met you.

It wasn’t just that our eyes met and liked what they saw. Yes, it was a kind of chemistry but it went much deeper than the obvious allure.

I think I saw the person inside you peering out at me from behind the bars – as I looked out at you.

Is it truly a hopeless folly to believe that we can reach out across the space in between? Set off a spark in the thin air? Help find the keys for one another?

Though we live in a world that dreams chiefly of itself are we not also free to believe in the idea that with our loving we may change the world? That we may paint the night with stars.

Then again, perhaps all I know is that my vision was filled with you last night and that this morning I am about to send you this.

Love letter # 252

Quite possibly, you are too beautiful for me. As I stand on the brink of your kiss, I feel like someone about to drown. The sheer power of you is frightening and I wonder if the hunger that will be unleashed in me will ever be sated. Will I forever be left wanting and wondering? Chasing something you cannot give?

So yes, this is why I have dwelt on the edge of your nearness. I am not sure that I will survive my desire with even the merest shred of self respect or perspective. We both know that touch explodes reserve. That once naked, there is no hiding. No retreat into the safety of not knowing.

It is not so much that you will see the scars on me but that the force of my loving you will ruin the very flower it seeks to treasure. I will want you more madly than is tolerable – because in your splendid, sparkling eyes I see all the intoxicating glory of promise. For you are like the birth of stars – the beginning of time and possibility. A spark that might just make a life.

And then what?

Love letter # 313

When from the glittering sea you first emerged, body bedizened in salt and sand, I thought that you were the angel of summer. Of all my summers. And wrapped up in your fine form every dream I ever had. All the promises ever made by every lover who passed me by. For yours was the beauty I would have conjured. Yours the eyes that longed for me. The hand that led me into the softness of the night. I have already kissed you in my imagining – your lips like heaven. And you have sighed the song of my surrender; so that now I will follow you out into the waves and we will have the ocean to ourselves.