If you hadn't broken me, I wouldn't be who I am today. I wouldn't be stronger, more secure in myself and my surroundings, more confident and finally feeling like I have worth again--that I have a personal worth, not a worth built around you. I wouldn't be more independent and be able to think and speak for myself.

I wouldn't have learned that I don't need a boy to revolve my world around; that I am an amazing, strong, powerful woman on my own. So, thank you for breaking me so I could understand these things and even more important ones.

To my ex, who absolutely and utterly broke me, thank you...

1. For broadening my music and movie horizons.

If it weren't for you helping uncover my younger passions for movies especially, I wouldn't be in the major I am now. Let's face it, too, even though I totally had better music taste, you showed me some amazing tunes/artists that I still love to listen to to this day. Plus, I can rap song dope songs I didn't know about before, so thanks.

2. For showing me what love was.

Love ended poorly for us not long after I--and you--finally felt it between us...but I'm thankful I experienced it for the first and so far only time. Who knows who I'll love next? Hopefully, though, it's more reciprocated than how it was between us. But wow, is love magical. Thank you for being the person I felt love with for the first time.

3. For showing me great beers, wines, and mixed drinks.

White Russians? Some delicious IPAs? Decent piss beers when we absolutely needed something quick and cheap to drink? Great red wine? Good food pairings with some beers or mixed drinks? You definitely broadened my horizons, and now friends come to me for drink recommendations more than ever before.

4. For helping me learn to be confident and secure in myself.

Which I wasn't before I met you and initially after we broke up. But during our time together, you helped me through so many of my body image struggles and insecurities. You uplifted me and showed me that my body is nothing to be ashamed of, that I should be proud of what I have. After you broke me, I felt more insecure than I had in ages, but now that I've realized my body really is something to be proud of again, I still have you to thank for helping me realize it from the start.

5. For teaching me new skills and lessons.

You helped me think outside of the box on some things, to get around a problem better. And a lot of that had to deal with what lead up to, sparked, and occurred right after our break up. I know and understand more now that I ever did before I met you. Even if that meant that I had to go through hell momentarily sometimes--both with you and after our breakup--to learn these skills and lessons, it was worth what I've learned. No pain, no gain, amiright?

6. For uplifting my self confidence.

You didn't just uplift my body confidence, but self confidence, too. All the things I was insecure in mentally or about who I was and my personality, you were proud of who I was when I wasn't. You helped teach me to have faith in myself and my abilities, to love who I am, to embrace what makes me me. And I still hold on to these things today and remind myself of my own personal worth. You encouraged me to pursue what I love, and I still make sure to do that, even more so now.

7. For showing me that I have to stick to what I believe in.

We would butt heads a lot when we dated, mostly as time gradually went on and things got shakier, but after we broke up, everything felt like hell. Even when you wouldn't believe what I said, what I did, thought that what I enjoyed or thought of things was often times dumb, it showed me to stick to my guns, to not falter on what I believe. Healing from the break up taught me that even more so; now, I don't stand down for what I think, believe, and know.

8. For letting me be independent.

The times I'd get clingy when we dated, you'd push me away to help me gain back my independence. I always felt weird when I started to depend on you, and so did you, so often times that would help me re-ground myself. Breaking up was a huge wake-up call in becoming independent again. And that was harder than I ever would've imagined. But here I am, more independent than ever; even more so than before we met.

9. For letting me think for myself.

I thought for myself when we first met, but the closer we became, the more I lost that. But you'd always challenge me to continue to think for myself, to do what I loved and what interested me, to form my own hobbies, political opinions, to make my own decisions even when I wanted to make them based on you.

Our break-up forced me to think for myself completely again, without you, and it was incredibly difficult. But now I think completely for myself again, and it feels freeing.

10. For helping me find myself.

I lost myself in you, completely. I took so much of you into me in the time we knew each other, and it was exhausting. When we broke up, I didn't have much of an idea of who I was anymore, and it was stressful, painstaking, and so much work trying to find and re-discover myself again.

And I had to learn to accept the things that were pieces of you that are now pieces of me, and to get rid of those parts of you that no longer are truly a part of me. So, thank you for hurting me, for breaking and crushing me, so I could find myself again.

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Overall, thank you for being you and for the good and bad times we went through together and after we fell apart. I wouldn't be the strong, open, loving person I am today without you coming into my life. I can only hope I've helped you grow and become better, too.

If we never see or speak again, please know how grateful I am that our lives crossed paths, and maybe one day they will again, but either way, I wouldn't trade what I've experienced with and from you for the world. It'd be silly of me not to acknowledge that you have helped me grow into someone better than I was when we met and were together.