It’s a bold move to make, to publicly air your dirty laundry, if that’s what you can even call it, but I’ve always been one for taking risks. You should know that about me by now. But, while the majority of the world has the action mastered with the help of Social Media influencing everyone to believe their world is more important than anyone else’s, I have the concept mastered in a different way.
Considering the nature of this particular piece comes from a personal place, I don’t believe what I have to say is important to most, but if you can pay attention as to why I tell this story and how I tell this story, that is what is important. I bet someone out there can relate.
I was speaking with a special friend just yesterday about our individual experiences at Oxford University studying creative writing and literature. Most of our fellow students seemed to goof off during the summer session while others attended without having purchased their way through. We were there as transfer students to earn the last bits of school credit to walk away with a degree – others simply considered it summer fun at the expense of, well, however much it likely cost.
In lieu of going over the curriculum, and blabbing about what I learned, let me tell you about one simple rule in regard to story writing taught at any university offering a creative writing program:
Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end.
Over the years, as someone who has been slighted one too many times, and gone purposely overlooked as a solid candidate for certain opportunities only snobbish, insecure people had the power to hand me, I have overcome a lot of scrutiny and powerful hate aimed solely in my direction. Anyone who is small, but brave (as I am) knows what I am talking about. People who find you a threat will do anything to prove how you could be unworthy of your dream. They don’t want you to succeed. They will go a long way out of their way to be sure you never get the recognition you deserve. But when you have what it takes, and you do the work involved, those people are forced to take a backseat and watch your successes like a caged lion might watch a free bird peck around for worms in the grass.
Alas, the driving force behind success involves the careful possession and protection of a vision, fearlessness, perseverance, sacrifice, and honesty. Simple enough.
Alas, this is an open letter to Jessie. Like I said, it’s a bold move to make, but I don’t believe in pretending to be the better person. I don’t believe in keeping quiet about the elephant sitting on the network line between our two computers, and I do believe in calling people out on their actions and intentions, as well as showcasing what mine are and have been.
I don’t understand why people are afraid to partake in the bravery, even if so many might tell them, “It’s not a good idea, you shouldn’t do that.” So? When I’ve been told not to do something, I’ve always done it! Yep, because I am that person. In doing so, I believe I prove that some of us really and actually don’t care what others think, and if any wrong comes from it, right can still be found.
And in this particularly bold move, perhaps I can encourage others to finally gain neutrality on their opinions of people who had once slighted them, too. Perhaps I can show them how to, at least, be creative about it. Like this…
HOW TO WRITE AN OPEN LETTER TO SOMEONE IN YOUR PAST
Ah, yes. Jessie, that quiet blonde from a cold grim town in upstate NY where nothing interesting exists and nothing news-worthy happens. Jessie, the sister of a boy named Jimmy who I once loved – the girl who called herself a friend, yet… something went wrong. And for nearly 7 years the breakup of both a lover and a friend have been tucked out of place in the back of my noggin’. Why?
Because it was one of those situations that didn’t need to happen the way in which it did.
Setting & Scenario
The summer Jimmy and I broke up, I was 22 and living in my sweet, sweet hometown in western Massachusetts waiting for him to finish school in New York. The long distance between us wasn’t easy, and I couldn’t wait to move to the Big Apple with him. I would have been anywhere else on my own if it weren’t for loving Jimmy. Instead of adventuring around the world like I should have been, I was waiting for him in the hopes of starting a life together. My mistake.
But, it was OK. I spent that summer reading novel after novel, painting, running around the graveyards at night, taking photographs by the river, working on my first book, scrapbooking, collecting leaves, looking for ghosts, sipping on strawberry milk as the sun went down, and writing songs. I was always alone, dreaming, and while I was surely lonely, I think in some way I always will be, for that truly is the way of the artist. I accept it.
Jimmy and Jessie had a relationship that made me feel lonely too often. It seemed I was always left out. Maybe they tried to include me sometimes, but I didn’t feel that way. It was as though they held the key to a little glass house I would sit outside of and peer through, knocking on the door to be let in while they partook in a gathering I wasn’t invited to.
But, there were times when it was the three of us… And it was perfect. Those memories cannot be taken away. The cannot be changed.
Then came the day I finally told Miss Jessie how I felt. I don’t think I voiced my thoughts the way I should have, and everything was taken out of context. And Jimmy, being her brother, sided with Jessie, which I will never rightly understand. I have three punk brothers I love dearly, but if I saw one of their girlfriends suffering through a frustration they perhaps were causing, I would try to help! Hark, brother dearest, here is a sensitive woman in need of some love! Alas, following suit was the break-up.
And that was it. I closed the book on two seperate relationships with two people I had once loved very much. And while Jimmy turned into an ex-boyfriend, Jessie was someone I could have seen hanging around until we were old. Yep, I still see now what I saw then, just two old bats in squeaky rocking chairs eating cupcakes in October watching Disney movies and talking ’bout the good ‘ol days. But it didn’t “go down” that way. I probably didn’t think things through, influenced by hurt and frustration and questions that would never be answered. Thank God I am no longer 22.
Segway Into Reason For Unresolved Conflict
Now, let’s throw the internet into the mix. From there, one can see everything. And, I’m not sure exactly how it came to be, but with the likes of all social media outlets ever, either one of us have been involved in an annoying (for lack of a better word) game of indirect statements posted here and there for the other to either respond to or try to ignore. Silly, but human.
I no longer wish for the games to continue. I don’t have the time or the energy to care anymore; and for someone who advertises themselves to be busy and focused, you seem to have time to care about what I do when you say you don’t. But, I get how it is. Our line of work involves a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, and down-time after long, seemingly pointless flights where we stay awake for hours parading the internet for something to amuse us when we should probably be sleeping.
But, why can’t you admit as I am that even after 7 years we seem to still have ways of checking up on each other? And, even though we seem to hate each other as we do, ARE we secretly fans of the other (even when we feel we are NOT) as we engage in this behavior?! Are we hoping the other fails? I don’t think so. I think you are interested in what I am doing, I think you don’t think I should be doing as well as I am, and I think you also find it a threat when you shouldn’t.
Interestingly enough, I do not find you a threat, even when I see how you could be. But I am interested in what you are doing. Maybe I actually care? It’s an interesting dynamic when I don’t seem to like you.
But, y’know what? We are two different people tackling a similar beast in our individually preferred ways. Go us.
I think we should have stayed friends, but my break-up with your brother and an unfortunate misunderstanding got in the way of what could have been.
I feel you tried too hard to be “different” and “creative” when you had no need to. While I have always had a wisdom beyond my years, I was too young then to express myself the way I know I do now, and now I would tell you, “It’s nicest when creative people go about their creative business in a nonchalant and effortless manor. Do that. It will be inspiring to others.”
In the end, I hope you are successful in your career. And, let’s face it, successful people have no fear in calling a spade a spade since they cannot lose what years and effort they have put into the craft that makes them who they are, so be that kind of successful person. You have a natural physical beauty I have always liked, and we are similar in our endeavors and love of nostalgia and general taste of all things to a frighteningly EXACT extent; however, I do not believe in your false I-paid-my-dues-but-you-aren’t-worthy-of-the-same-dream-and-even-though-I-have-done-wrong-too-I-remain-quiet-so-everyone-thinks-I-am-innocent-and-that-you-are-crazy attitude. If I am misinterpreting the person you used to be, my bad. We both have to be different by now, anyway.
While you may have worked for some things, and have always had your eye on the ball, you were privileged in ways I was not, and I found your need to be the esteemed underdog insulting, as I was someone who genuinely struggled on the road less traveled and fought through the brush. And, yep, I chose that adventure on my own, while you did not, but it doesn’t give you reason to take a snobbish stance toward what you’ve earned. And, our career paths are slightly different, so maybe you like to remain the silent mysterious actress who is prim and proper, while I am the musician/writer with a wild soul who has no fear in expressing themselves so as to inspire others to do the same. I mean, did you not just reference somewhere online that people need to deliver truth “with passion and heart?”
Other than that, you genuinely chase your own dream. I know so, because I still remember that part of who you are will never change; and I think it’s sad what became of us. But you will read this and laugh, and not move on, and find a way of making fun of it on social media still in all of those indirect ways meant for me to see, but, I think I myself will move on knowing I can truthfully say that the times we shared together before the storm were some of the best days of my life. I wish you could’ve tried to better understand how I felt. I wish I could have understood better how you felt. I even sometimes wish none of “all of that” happened.
But, we’re big kids now.
The war is over. I am no longer paying attention.
And, there we have it, folks. Is it a high road? Who cares, I’m no better than anyone else. At best, I’m coming from a stance of neutrality where I see an opportunity in turning my feelings and history into a creative piece of journalistic closure for my portfolio. Either way, I’ve said the things that no one ever seemed to be willing to say, and I meant every word.