Love Letters

I write love letters to people.
A lot.
I also call them and leave messages on their voicemail to tell them that I care - I consider those to be love letters, too.
I don't keep a wide circle of people, so it's pretty crucial that I stay charming to those with whom I do talk, despite my actual tendencies for my over-zealous criticism of whatever it is they are doing or wearing and my running, sarcastic commentary about the sad state of their affairs.
Really, I'm kind of mean sometimes.
WAIT! Don't go!
Don't let my sometimes mean-spiritedness stop you from being my friend! What's a little mean streak in the grand scheme of things... come on!
Don't be like that!
Now I hardly call THAT fair.
I'm not BAD -bad. And a lot of times I don’t even say what I am thinking out loud...
And I do give good love letter.

Anyway, last week, I was having an extended session of, "I'm mean and ugly and I don't deserve anything or to meet someone or even my dog. I don't even deserve my dog and I should just go home to where there isn't anything anyway" and I sent a love letter to someone at what used to be home. This week... home means something totally different to me than it did last week - no lie.
The love letter was honest and maybe a little earnest but I meant every word that I wrote. It was a beautiful love letter, like from a gothic novel, beautiful. Love letters like the one I wrote last week only come through a life once in awhile and they should be treasured. Plus, I meant it only as a love letter and after three years of living in New Agey, Vortexy Arizona, I didn't even think of the fact that it could be misconstrued and poorly received. I wrote a love letter to someone who was everything to me for a long time and I wanted him to know how much that meant to me.

After I sent my love letter, I didn't really expect a reply. Since my love letters are an expression of what I'm feeling when I'm actually feeling something nice, I just share it and often don't expect a reply. Believe me. I am relentless when I want something answered. When I just want to share with you, I do. Many people find this quality to be one of the very few endearing qualities about me, along with my bawdy sense of humor and general bodaciousness. But as with all things bodacious, my ride is totally fun when you're on it but you might feel a little sick and guilty when it stops. Let's just say that I am probably not for the elderly or infirm.

A couple of days after innocuously pressing "send", I get this email that is the physical equivalent of lining your freshly manicured fingers up, perpendicular to a very heavy wooden door, and then slamming that door as hard as you can.
Excruciating is a great way to describe that email. It went something like, "I must take caution to be exquisitely formal when I tell you that you must never contact me again, due to my impending nuptials." Dude, congratulations. And by the way, I'll totally see you at my 20th high school reunion, dumbass. You're totally marrying someone from my graduating class.
But I digress.

I guess when I saw that reply email sitting there, I was hoping to open it and it would say something nicer… like, "Thanks. How's things in the desert?" or, "Hey, that was really sweet. I loved you a lot, too." I was hoping that the person to whom I sent it might behave in an adult manner and take my words and my message as being what it was - a simple love letter to show someone that he had a lot of value to me and that I regarded him with love.
But back then, love was scary and ugly for him. It was possessive and singular, and it made me feel suffocated.
Apparently, not a whole heck of a lot has changed.
A lot of people that I remember from back in the day are like that. They can't see a wish, a sentiment, or a feeling that someone has as being separate from themselves. They can't understand a pure expression and they can't allow any expression of love that doesn't come from the people who are on some kind of Approved List of Life Attendees.
Fuck that, man.
Any words or love letters or expressions of appreciation just ARE. They come from random people, they come from ex-husbands, and dead-beat dads and prodigal daughters, and women with whom you used to share a bed. There's no reason to make an expression of love into a bad thing, and there's especially no need to do so in a rude, pathetically uncapitalized and unpunctuated email reply.

Later, I got to thinking about Illinois and Tucson and how here, I can't think of anyone that I know who would react so violently to a love letter, even if they hated me on a daily basis and tolerated me when they had to. When I send love letters to people here, there's no feeling of having done something wrong. It's just understood that love letters are a good thing to get.

And seriously?
Who doesn't crave to be told that they're good people?
Who doesn't want to hear that they are loved?
We all crave that. We all want to be thanked, praised, loved, and told so. Is anyone so overwhelmed with adoration and with feelings of being loved that he or she can't accept anything more?

There's nobody who is so full of good vibes that he or she can't take anymore... it just doesn't work that way, you know?
I mean... whatevski.
A compliment is a compliment and if someone is so buried head-first in the black dirt of Illinois soil that he or she can't simply take some words and feel flattered than there's nothing I, therapy, God, or drinking can do for them.
I'm sure there are other people who think they have a more "down-to-Earth" perspective, or who are getting angrier and angrier as they read this and thinking, "Gawd, Sarah's still an arrogant, justifying bitch. She wanted something, she can't have it and now she's mad."
But, pretty simply, they are wrong.

I wanted something from him a lifetime ago. I tried to work with him so that he could give me what I needed without compromising himself and I tried it for three very long, very painful years. I LEFT THE STATE in order to get away from wanting something that was so damaging to me, namely, Steve. For anyone to believe that all I want is that flat, heavy, and darkest of loves to be proverbially mine again is… pretty stupid.
And it makes me seem stupid which is so not cool.
There are not a whole bunch of people who are smarter than I am, so good luck trying to keep up assholes.
Oh crap.
That was mean.
But don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's where I was going before I let that little snark out. People do change. Maybe not fundamentally... if you are born with something of a mean streak, you will probably dog on people for the rest of your life. But people do change - they expand and they collapse as they wind around their experiences. I believe in epiphanies, visions, dreams of visitations, major surgery, and minor interruptions and the right to change. Patterns might not vary too much. Weaknesses, gifts, and hair-dos might not change but I am pretty convinced that the only people who DON'T change are those who don’t consider anything outside of themselves and their own hopes. And fears, as is proven by the terrified little email sent last week to the Greatest Evil That Ever Lived in the Eyes of Steve, aka me.
Oh no she di'n't.
Oh yes.
I did.

The more experience I have with the dichotomy between the people I have met and loved in Arizona, and the people I knew and loved in Illinois, the more I understand that there is an incredible capacity that we all have intrinsically have. The people from Illinois, I loved them because they were so sturdy. Hearty Midwesterners, you know? The people here are not necessarily New Age hippies but the fact is that where I always thought that goal was to be absolutely still and strong, the people here have shown me how limitless we really are. Stillness and strength come from actually living a life, not from standing alongside 55 and watching the lives of soybeans. There are people here who have every right to never, ever speak to me again because I acted childishly and I was ugly and unfair toward them.
There are people in Illinois who literally owe their lives to me. Their physical lives. The breath, you know?
The very breath.

The people in Illinois can't leave well enough alone to receive a love letter and accept that expressions of love are pretty while the people here, who thus far have no real reason to give anything to me, have given me my own breath.
Hell, some of them breathed for me, you know?
They did.
They breathed for me.
And 5 years from now? When I have torched these bridges, they'll at least be decent enough to not reply to a love letter from me that they never really wanted.


I just thought of something!
If they do reply?
They'll totally capitalize and punctuate properly.

arizonasarah at 10:38 a.m.

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