A Letter to Myself, Part Two. - Lessons Learnt -

Dear Ellie of September 2015,

Sorry about that warning in my previous letter … but as promised, you are also going to learn some things which make this mostly OK.

If you’d like to know how you feel about this mess, three months later, I’d say the overwhelming feeling is one of tiredness, but the can’t-stop-crying-and-everything-is-hopeless phase is over, pretty much. This is mostly because your stomped-on, battered heart has been forced to take a nap in the back seat and your brain has taken the wheel. In all fairness your brain is still following a rather sketchy map but we’re moving forwards in fits and starts nonetheless, instead of driving in circles blinded by tears and edging closer to a cliff. Go you!

So, from a slightly wiser and jaded Ellie to a younger, wide-eyed and hopeful soul, all I can say is that this is part of your story now, your book, and you have to learn from it. If you don’t then someday a man will like you and you will use him in the exact way you have been, you’ll end up passing on your pain to someone else and you'll hate yourself for it. So, this is what you have learnt thus far, these are your hopes now:

1.  It could have been worse, you could have given up more of your dignity than you did. You could be at his feet still now, thankful for scraps of affection. *Vomits into mouth a little* You will never find yourself there again with him or any other man. Say it with me “Show me you want me, or leave me alone”. Repeat x10 and stay vigilant for your hopeless heart lowering your defences and letting any charming, time waster in.
2.  You didn’t think you could ever anticipate another man in the same way. You definitely can.
3.  In the words of Defiance Ohio “hearts aren’t made of glass … and they don’t so much as break as bend and tear”. Your heart just needs a bit of tending and it’s your responsibility to fix it. Nobody wants to be bitter and lonely when they’re old, get thee to heart rehab!
4.  You will start talking to men who know what they want, and act on it. They will want you, and it will not be in question. They will leave no room for doubt. It’ll be really hot. Accept nothing less.
5.  The maze of pain will feel endless, but occasionally you get a bird’s eye view for a moment and can see that it’s really just an annoying but short detour after someone gave you shitty directions.
6.  Sometimes, surprise surprise, people will be incapable of doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. Life is short and your time is worth more than their dithering, make the decision for them, they have lost that right.  
7.  Trust your gut. Find yourself doing something you’re not comfortable with, because you think it might win you what you need? Stop. Find yourself unable to trust that they won’t hurt you? Stop.
8.  Finally, feel the fear and do it anyway. Talk to guys, go on those dates, and begin to accept that you’re not worthless and that it might be ok to invest in people a little once more. You will question, alone as you are and as painful as this was, whether there is any point in doing these things that scare you. However, as Philip Larkin expresses in “To Put One Brick Upon Another”, you can just get on with building yourself up again so you’re prepared, or you can dither and wallow and be unable to accept it when something real comes along:
To put one brick upon another,
Add a third and then a forth,
Leaves no time to wonder whether
What you do has any worth
But to sit with bricks around you
While the winds of heaven bawl
Weighing what you should or can do
Leaves no doubt of it at all.
Overall chuck, just generally believe people when they show you who they are.  You have this stubborn propensity to believe people can be better just because you want them to be, generally they just can’t. Find someone who’s less rubbish, don't be afraid to say you care again, but try not to invest too much in them before they have proven themselves.

See, you’re sort of sad but stronger now … it feels super bad some days but it’s better, trust me!

Stay strong hun, see you in a year’s time. There's yoga, a new series of Walking Dead and a cute Kiwi guy keeping you up til late here, it's not so bad!


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