Letters To You

Letters To You - Don't Shout

Dear You

You shouted “Green Day'“ at me, first I want to congratulate you, my hair is green. I’ll use this information to guess that you did quite well at Primary school and can identify colours. I realise that sometimes the light can trick our eyes, but you did a stellar job there. What you may not have realised, though, is that green is not actually a natural hair colour, which means I’m very aware that my hair is green. I did it all by myself, because (forgive me, but I’m guessing you might not know this) they sell green hair dye. I know! These modern times we live in, so bizarre.

I vaguely recognised you, you know? In that moment when we made eye contact as I was staring at the stall you were working on as I walked past. That means very little though, it’s Hastings and St Leonards, there is a possibility I’ve been at many events you have too. What you might not realise though, is that my lack of coming over meant I didn’t care if I recognised you. I had no desire to walk over and say “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”.

You are just another male face in the crowd.

And now I want to give you a lesson in respect. You may be able to identify colours correctly (well done), but you don’t shout after anyone in the street.

You definitely do not shout after a lone woman in the street.

I’m not sure what possessed you to shout after me. Maybe you were compelled to inform me of all your skills in identifying colours. You’ve had enough praise from me in that department, you won’t get any more. Maybe, just maybe you thought the green hair was a symptom of something, but then shouting ‘green day’ after me doesn’t really help if thats the case. Was the comment a mocking of me? Because just in case you weren’t aware, you’re looking a little bit like an arsehole now.

Part of me wishes I had turned round, come up to you and asked you to elaborate. Where you offering me tickets to see Green Day?! Sorry, but I’m not interested, Green Day stopped being good MANY years a go.

Shouting anything after a woman in the street is rude, and it is disrespectful. But beyond that, there is no need. This starts to be less about you and more about any man that shouts after any woman in the street. I have never known a woman to run to and then fawn over a man who randomly shouts at her in the street. I’ve never heard of any of my friends meeting their romantic partners this way either.

Are you, and men like you, do desperate to be noticed by women that you’ll shout anything after them? Because even a negative reaction is still a reaction, right? She might turn round to you and tell you where to go, but she realised you were there! She engaged with you! Oh look, everyones a winner! (That’s sarcasm by the way, I’m unsure of your level of education so I’ll leave handy tips).

Speaking for myself, I never care what strangers on the street think of me, and I’m pretty sure none of my female (or male) friends give two shits either. We should all be allowed to exist in public places without unwanted attention - and if you think me having green hair is anything other than for my own self-esteem then I’m gonna say that I definitely never want to see you again.

It’s not just you though, many men are forever giving me their unwanted opinion in the street, I’d like to think that the other men you were with might have asked you why you felt the need to shout at me, or what you were playing at? I think, really, that they might have made some joke about the green hair and then gone about their day.

How many other women did you shout at that day? Part of me hopes I’m the only one because I hate to think of a woman being made to feel insecure or anxious because of your rude tongue.

May I make a suggestion? If you, or any other man, feels the need to shout at woman in the street for some bizarre recognition, can you just where a giant sign above your head flashing ‘VALIDATE ME’, it’ll make you all much easier to avoid in future.

Letters To You: I'm Still Alive

Dear You,

I’m still alive, did you know that?

I’m still breathing and I’m still keeping on keeping on. I might be full of honey and lemon but that doesn’t mean I’m just as sweet. Today you’re playing on my brain and I don’t know why and part of me doesn’t want to know why.

The last time I saw you your head was on a spike, still screaming my name.

Are you still toxic?

I rarely look at my analytics these days, I don’t care who sees my instagram stories and I can’t be bothered to isolate an IP to see if you’ve ever read my blog or looked at my website. If you wanted to know what I’m up to you can look, you can judge me, you can hate me from afar. You can blame me for everything, despite that it wasn’t all my fault.

We were both to blame, at times, and we should never have been in a relationship, we should never have bothered to try. I have never been with someone who lied to me as much as you did, since.

For all my faults at least I never laid in bed next to you texting another man, for all my issues I never met up with another man while you were laying in a hospital bed. I have never emotionally invested in someone else while already being in a relationship, that shit hurts, and that shit hurts so much. Part of me used to wonder if I was just not good enough for you, that I wasn’t pretty enough or clever enough, sexy enough. But no, your want, need (?) to find another that was attracted to you outside of our relationship was pathological. Why didn’t you just leave me? Did you think me so weak that you couldn’t?

But it’s wrong to just blame you for the trainwreck that was that relationship. I didn’t trust you, I never did, and I think from day one I was looking for evidence of you lying to me, of cheating on me. It’s no surprise I found it, is it? I see now that maybe it was paradoxical, I looked for it so it happened.

I remember you crying because I’d discovered you’d lied to me, and I was so angry. In the end I felt guilty and comforted you. That’s not healthy, and maybe I should have walked away then but I didn’t and I have since lost count of the amount of times you lied to me, and I caught you out. When I left you the first time I should never of come back, but I did because, because I could? I know now that I didn’t take you back out of love or anything like that, I took you back because I knew I could and I knew that that was the easiest of ways to hurt her.

I said earlier that we were both to blame, didn’t I? I’d never liked her, you knew that, and I knew she didn’t like me. She told you she had feelings for you because “you deserved to know”, despite knowing full well that we were living together. A disgusting passive-aggressive move if ever I’ve known one. Except you didn’t tell her to move on, you told her if you were single you’d be with her. You arsehole. That still hurts, and I’m still afraid of any man I’m with saying that to another woman.

But when I left you, you went straight to her. And I knew I could capture you back and so I did and I felt vindicated. Not the wisest of my actions, I know, and although I am shamed by my behaviour I’m not ashamed enough to not divulge. I’m trying not to present you as the ‘bad’ one in the relationship, I’m trying to present both sides fairly.

God knows why when I know you describe me as one of the worst decisions in your life, and thats fine, I’ll be the bad person in your version of the story, you are not part of my life anymore, not physically at all, and rarely mentally. Of course I carry the scars of our relationship, I can’t not. I have never felt as impotent as a girlfriend as I did with you.

I do credit you though, I learnt some cold hard truths being with you, or, living without you and looking back at my pre-diagnosis self. Of course my behaviours can be explained away now as not having the right support or medication for my mental health problems. Maybe with talking therapies I could have been a better girlfriend, maybe with talking therapies you could have been a better boyfriend.

Maybe, if you hadn’t of been in a failing relationship when I met you then I wouldn’t of had such trust issues. Maybe if they’d been a gap between S and I things would have been smother. I still fell bad towards S though, you left her and you left her for me, at least you’re honest about that. I wish I could of opened the channels of communication and apologised to S. I never got the chance to apologise to S, but I’m out here telling the world, now, that for a week, I was, emotionally at least, the other woman and I am so very sorry.

I can only leave you with the hope that you’ve grown, got better, that you can have a healthy relationship.


Letters to You: Pieces of Me

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Hey, You

You'll be the first I write to, because out of everyone I may (or may not) write to; YOU are most likely to see this as some bizarre internet art, which I'm going to class it as. You told me many years ago that you were never worried about my work, I was an artist and I would create (wether it was good or not is another discussion I'm sure).

It's been almost three times as long as I knew you since I last had contact with you. Do you still think of me? I'm going to arrogantly assume that occasionally you do. I don't mean that you sit and daydream, but I think sometimes I cross your mind. Maybe there's another student (are you still teaching?) that says or does something and you think of me.

I count you as part of the before diagnosis. Pre-DX if you like, and I now look at what happened with a Post-DX brain. I am colder now, quieter. I am different. But not so different that I won't write a letter to you and post it online. I've always enjoyed writing, photography. I aim to play to my strengths, sometimes. I believe (now) that I do have strengths, and they lay within text and pictures. Or at least, today I have strengths. Today is a good day.

I digress, and I question wether you'd really care about my mental health and wellbeing these days. I am no longer a student and I am no longer a facet of your life. But on my Post-DX brain you left an impression. I think, now, that my behaviour and feelings towards you were not love, I don't think I had the acute ability to love back then. Not like I do now. Too much drink, too much hedonism which coloured everything and all my feelings - how could it not? I can appreciate why you once said you were worried about me, I worry about that young woman too. But she made it through, and I am protective over her in a way I never thought I would be.

The person I am is not the person I thought I would be. When I discuss you, like this, it is less about you and more about that period in my life. I feel lighter when I think of that period of time, probably because I left a piece of myself with you, there, in that corner. It beats and it breathes and there is still part of me living there, and I hope, if you're still there, you're keeping that part of me alive and well.

Because lets remember that for all her problems and issues, she was a fireball, wasn't she? With a tale to tell that shocked and delighted in equal measures, a way of living that was so un-abashed and brave. I don't live like that anymore, I don't think I could, I'd be dead if I had tried. (Would you attend my funeral? Morbid I know, but I can't help but wonder). 

You taught me a lot and for that, I am thankful. I'm not just on about the art. I was so careless with my feelings at one point, I'm far more guarded now but I still leak all over the place. I also learnt, a few years after I last emailed you, that I do make the same mistakes time and time again. Another man who kept his girlfriend/partner a secret. I still blame myself at times for not asking the right questions, which is silly really. 

Did I teach you anything? I hope I did, and I do hope I left a positive mark on your life. I always imagined that your life was had become quite sedate and calm (I won't say boring), and then this banshee rolls in disrupting so much with her hangovers and nicotine-stained fingers. Maybe I give myself too much credit. Maybe I don't give myself enough. (HA)

I want you to know that I am ok now. I have good days and I have bad times. Sometimes I end up in psychiatric wards but I rarely self harm. I think back on that time with fondness, and a little warmth, I smile, I laugh about it all with my partner who I love so much. 

Look after you.
Erin x

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