To my ex,
I forgive you. Not because you deserve it (you don't) but because I do. I forgive you for breaking my heart over and over again, for making me cry more than I thought was humanly possible, for saying things you knew would hurt me in the name of false honesty. I forgive you for leading me to believe I was unworthy of love when I was depressed. I forgive you for coming and going from my life as you pleased. I forgive you for all the ways you hurt me, in ways I didn't know I could be hurt.
I forgive you for all of it.
I'm a stronger person for having loved you, and that's what matters. I know now what unconditional love is and what it isn't. I know that the people who truly love me will never try to "fix" me because they know I don't need to be fixed. I know what it's like to pour your heart and soul into someone and still end up heartbroken. I know that I'm not broken, never was and never will be, and that I am worthy of a love that makes me forget yours even existed.
Deep down, under all of your defensiveness and the things you said to make me cry, I know you're still the same guy I fell in love with. The same guy who blushed like crazy the first time I stood on my tippy toes and kissed him. The same guy whose hands fit perfectly in mine. The same guy who used to make me grand promises of camping trips and shitty apartments and us, together. The same guy who loved me in such a way that filled my heart to the brim, that spilled out in art and poetry.
I can't wait for someone else to see that side of you, whoever that may be, because it's a side that the whole world deserves to see. I can't wait for someone to love you as deeply as I did, and for you to love them back. I hope you find your person, I really do. I am so profoundly excited to find mine as well. I want to know what a healthy and flourishing love feels like. I want my heart to be so full I can't help but swing my arms a little when I walk again. I want to love again and I know I will.
And now, when I'm passed it all, I can see I would do it again in a heartbeat. All three times.
Because sometimes you have to learn a lesson multiple times for it to stick, and I think I've finally learned mine. No matter how hard either of us tries, you can't be the person I want, need, or deserve. No matter how hard I wish for you to change, I can't make you into something you're not. And that's OK.
For a long time, I had to look in the mirror every morning and say "you deserve better than the way he treated you." Sometimes I still have to. Because I thought I deserved the way you continued to hurt me, that it was my karma somehow. I thought the only love I had earned was the toxic version of love we had. I kept going back to you, knowing you didn't want me because it was the only way I could hold onto you and I couldn't bear the thoughts of letting go. I'm strong enough to bear it now.
I'm strong enough to realize I can't make you love me but, more importantly, that I wouldn't want to.
They say your first love always has a piece of your heart. Well, here. This letter is the piece of my heart that belongs to you. It's yours now, do with it what you will.
Thank you for teaching me the biggest lesson of my life so far, over and over again until it stuck. Thank you for loving me in your own way. Thank you for giving me your time and your effort and your tears and your heart. Thank you for letting me be firsts number two through seventeen. Hear me when I say this: I'm glad we tried.
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