i was in london, freshly minted in a world post high school, when my dear friend anna first planted the notion in my head--this idea of writing letters to the man i'd one day marry.
anna herself is now married. she's become one hell of a woman from what i can tell--gorgeous, smart, committed to a very handsome fellow, and living, as fate would have it, in that very city we toured at the age of eighteen.
different paths. lives diverging.
i didn't write the first letter until five years later--a year past college and four years into an illness that saw me vacate my life.
it wasn't so much a letter as it was a disclaimer and it wasn't so much thought-out as it was me groping in the dark--cautiously finding my way back to myself, unaware i'd gone anywhere until that very moment i turned on my heels to head back.
it was a reintroduction of sorts. an oh-i-like-this and an oh-i-don't-like-that and an oh-i-do-this-and-i-don't-do-that sort of thing.
i could tell you that over the years that the letters have gotten harder to write. but that's not true. they're the easiest thing in the world. easy and simple and sometimes cavalier but mostly not. mostly they are true.
whether or not they are still a sort of groping-in-the-dark, well...sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. which is life. sometimes i'm groping, sometimes i'm not.
i've been reading a lot lately. books on shame and whole-heartedness and critical awareness and new-wave feminism and anorexia and women's role in media and what it means to want--to have an appetite for food and life and men and love.
there's this sense in my life right now that education is vitally important--and i'm determined to get the sort of academic college experience i never had. and so i'm reading. i want to know how the human body works and how the female mind differs from that of the male and i want to clarify my own voice. i want so much. to know more. more of the world, more of myself. not for you, but for me.
and certainly i want to know you. but i'm okay to wait.
there are moment of loneliness, of course. a great gaping hole middle of my chest--a mouth ravenous to feed--to feel affection and intimacy and trust. but they are only moments. and i suspect these are moments of enormous power--humanity unfurled and waving in the wind.
and at other times i am deeply sated. just by walking or riding the subway or reading a book.
i don't think i'm desperate so much as deeply fearful. if there is something i am ashamed of it is this: my fear.
and so i give voice to that shame, bring it out into the open in an attempt to diminish its power.
i am fearful i'll never meet you--not that i'm unworthy of you--just that we might miss each other. deeply afraid i'll never know your love. i recognize this as ridiculous, even as i write it, i recognize its ridiculousness. and this fear is not an overriding sense or ache so much as a passing one, but...
well, i know what it is to love a man who cannot or will not love you back and if there is a desperation, perhaps it stems from this--from this place so intimately acquainted with that soft and numbing thing called heartache.
but this desire to meet you, to run towards you, and to give voice to it--i think there is a power in it. because this, more than anything else, makes me human.
this need or want or insatiable hunger is in fact the crux of the human experience.
it is not lost on me that the way one overcomes an eating disorder is to identify all those things of importance--all the things more important than thin--all the things more important than losing those last ten pounds. and the one thing--the one thing that trumps it all--is love.
i always thought love would be the thing to save me, and it did. not in the way i expected, no. but love of self, love of family, love of the little stuff, and the promise of your love--those things most certainly did, in no uncertain terms, return me to myself. and those are the things that keep me going--groping, forging ahead. charting new territory and seeking out new adventure.
so, in a sense, i am already indebted to you--tethered to you--in love with you.
Posted by meg fee at 3:09 PM