I know. You want me to write something about the Top 10 Ways To Survive This Thanksgiving or How To Impress His Mom At Thanksgiving Dinner. I can assure you there are numerous blog posts out there today about that. This just is not one of them.
But, to remain in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would thank all the men I’ve ever dated.
It has been said that hindsight is 20/20, so I would pass the eye exams of relationships-gone-wrong with flying colors. No problem. It takes a certain level of clarity to look back on the men you’ve dated with an understanding of why things didn’t work out. It takes a level of detachment to see things for what they really were. And, it takes a level of respect to appreciate those people for who they were, and perhaps for who they were not. I’d like to believe I’m equipped with all of those things today to write this blog post. Or, I’ll fake it till I make it. Whatever works.
If I were to list out my relationship curriculum vitae, it would date back to elementary school when I kissed Lars while his eyes were closed during a rousing game of “Hospital” in kindergarten. He was the patient in the game, lying atop a stretcher constructed by building blocks. Lesson one: trap them while they’re not looking.
I kid, I kid.
So from Lars all the way to my most recent beau, I want to take a moment and thank the men I’ve dated. The ones I’ve kind-of-sort-of dated and the ones with whom I’ve written disjointed but epic life novels. The ones who etched their signatures on my heart and the ones who didn’t even stay around long enough for me to know their middle names. The ones who kept me up thinking until the wee hours of the morning and the ones I didn’t think about enough. The ones who still make my heart race and the ones who I almost forget when I recall the people I’ve dated. Here’s to the men I’ve dated.
Thank you for coming into my life. Whatever channel got you into that life, whether it was a “secret” from a good friend about your crush on me, a night of poetry or the hall we shared in our dorm, I am grateful. Thank you for coming in and getting to know me, trying to comb through the never-ending layers that comprise who I am. Thank you for the calls until 4 a.m. Thank you for the streams of text messages, even back when my plan wasn’t unlimited and each text costs my parents a whopping 10 cents. Thanks for the letters, the poems, the emails. But, mostly, thank you for the conversations. The talks that I wanted to last a lifetime, at least at that time. Thank you for letting me talk, confess, vent, shout and speak. You’ve taught me that I value words. Taught me how much words can mean and how much they can sting. And you’ve taught me that those same words, the ones that uplift and the ones that burn, can come from the exact same tongue. My own included.
Thank you for the dates, the dinners, the trips–all the time spent together. I’ve learned from all of you how crucial time is. How important it is not to look at your phone and to soak up the hours with the people you truly love. Thank you for making me laugh, making me blush and reminding me that it’s OK to do all the girly bullshit that women do when they are smitten (in moderation, of course.)
Thank you for the adult shenanigans. Yep. Those.
Thank you for the times you made me feel beautiful, even when I was sobbing or swallowed up by a sweatshirt. Thank you for forcing me to shed my hard ass layer and reminding me it’s OK to be human, to be fragile and to be wrecked.
Thank you for the heartbreak. For showing me that sometimes good times become bad times and it all happens in one lifetime. Thank you for the no holds barred independence I had to learn when my heart shattered at a moment’s notice. For the self-reliance I picked up when I realized love either conquers all or it just conquers you. You taught me how to fight. How to claw my way through. How to paddle in the middle of the ocean without a life raft or a ship’s crew to rescue me. You taught me survival in the most unrelenting way.
Thank you for forcing me to learn how to not only to survive, but how to also sculpt happiness with my own hands. How not to attach my livelihood or well-being to the whims of another person. Thank you for teaching me that I do not have to put up with bullshit or belittling. That those things never provide the proper equation for love, even though the defunct mathematics of romance want you to believe otherwise.Thank you for showing me the unparalleled peace of mind that comes with walking away from a situation simply because I decided it ran its course. Not because I was pushed out or voted off the island. But, simply because it was not working for me. Because I wanted more. Thank you for showing me what it means to be proactive in love. How it feels to use the good sense God gave me to make decisions about my own damn life.
So, thank you for everything. The memories. The lessons. The tides that rolled high, the waters than ran deep and the ripples you left that are still kissing my toes. Thank you for helping to write some memorable chapters of my life so far, and hopefully some entertaining chapters of my book. Thank you for being the catalyst behind some of my most infamous blog posts, but thank you more for being the impetus behind me writing more and writing often. It was me trying to sort through the memories of you that has made me fall in love with writing in such a reckless and unconditional way. Thank you for bringing yourself, your goodness, your beauty and sometimes your bullshit. Your presence in my life has taught me just as much as your subsequent absence. So, thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.