Life writing: Lessons learned from seven men

Colour photograph of a person's hands in front of their chest with silver chain draped across them to form a heart shape

Full title: Lessons Learned from Seven Men Through Love, Hate, Sex and Friendship (in no particular order)

– I –
I hate that you issued instructions like Don’t put on any weight. You’re small so it would really show, at a time when food was already the enemy and starvation felt like feeding the parts of me that were anchorless.

But I love that you showed me You’re so different from anyone I’ve ever been with actually means We are way too different for this to work and saved me a lot of future heartache.

– II –
I hate that you misunderstood yourself so much that it made you suspicious of everyone around you.

But I love that certain places will always hold magic for me because of the journeys we took together.

– III –
I hate that you walked away from something potentially lovely, if only ever destined to be temporary, because the people who were actually important in your life wouldn’t have approved.

But I love that you reminded me that strength of character is a tragic thing to be lacking and I made it the first thing I looked for in everyone after you.

– IV –
I hate that you hurt me so much at a time when I was already so broken.

But I love that you taught me how much courage it takes to walk away, and that courage has carried me through so much since.

– V –
I hate that you said I will always be on your side and then showed in such a profound way how little you actually meant it.

But I love that I found a mirror for the worst parts of myself in you and that made me realise how much I needed to change and how many doors opened for me when I did.

– VI –
I hate that you were twice my age, or slightly less than twice the age I told you I was.

But I love that you made Pink Floyd and sandalwood incense beautiful forever, even though I never saw you again.

– VII –
I hate that we only kept in touch sporadically and eventually became lost to one another.

But I love that you never wanted more from me than I did from you, and we had this simple connection when everything else in my life felt too complicated.

Originally written April 2014.

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