“I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I hurt people, but when I say I’m sorry, I actually mean it.” ~ Unknown
I can be the sweetest thing this side of the Georgia line, but that doesn’t mean I always give people my best—especially the men I have crossed paths with.
It seems that as I get older, I am accumulating a collection of men who I have done wrong.
These men all started off with good intentions; they started off hopeful and kind, but regardless of their actions I still never gave them the best that I have to offer. I never allowed the aspects of myself that I treasure most deeply or the qualities that I am most proud of to be expressed to them.
For some reason, these men always brought out the worst in me.
So to these men I say:
I’m sorry for pretending I could be what you needed.
I’m sorry for molding myself into something that I wasn’t.
I’m sorry that it took me so long to give up on you.
I get stubborn at times, and I want to be right—yet no matter how hard I tried, I was never right about you, or us.
I’m sorry that I turned your life upside down and made you think that you had found heaven in my arms. It’s not that I am uncaring or broken, but that I became so wrapped up in fixing you that I didn’t realize I was breaking myself.
I didn’t realize that I was only pretending to let you get close, when all the while there was a wall that no amount of effort would ever let you climb over. I only knew that I had never trusted you in your absence, and perhaps there is more to it than that, but in the end I knew we wouldn’t last forever—although I still pretended to believe otherwise.
I’m sorry to all of the men I ghosted. To the men whose messages I stopped returning, I’m sorry for disappearing from your lives as if I had never existed.
This is my favorite form of dealing with a situation that I don’t want to deal with. So instead of being honest and saying that I didn’t vibe with you or that you were immature, overbearing, or egotistical, I simply disappeared. I stopped responding, and I made you wonder what you had done, when all the while it wasn’t you—it was me.
I was never really interested in you, but you seemed like a fun distraction and so I smiled, giggled, and acted like I cared about what you were saying. In reality, I was thinking about being home in my pajamas where I didn’t have to pretend to be someone other than who I really am.
But perhaps worse than that, I’m sorry to all of the men who I kept at the end of my fishing line, dropping them in and out of my life at will, only for my enjoyment.
The thing that took me a long time to realize is that I liked having you there to make me feel good about myself when I was struggling to do so. I also don’t like to end things—I want to keep doors open, and I like options, so even though I knew you’d never be able to capture my heart, I played with yours in case one day I felt like being the woman you thought I was.
I kept you around in case of someday, even though deep down I knew your someday with me would never come.
I’m sorry to all the men who told me I broke their hearts.
I knew I was going to, but still I persisted on. I played my games and lead you on thinking that what we were doing actually meant something to me. But I knew I was going to break your heart, and it didn’t really matter to me because I figured maybe I was a lesson that you needed to learn.
At one point it stopped being about you, and became solely about me. So even though I don’t like to see people hurt, I still couldn’t help but hurt those who wanted to be close to me.
I’m sorry to all the men who I have hurt with my words even more than my actions.
The way that I can twist words to create a smile across even the most bitter of hearts is a beautiful gift, but it’s not one I always use for good. The thing about being able to see the soul behind someone’s eyes is that I also know exactly where to put the knife and twist deeply so that they hurt just as much as I do.
I don’t often know when to stop, or when enough is enough, and because I follow the beat of my heart more than anything else, I can rationalize even the most horrible truths to myself.
It doesn’t so much matter if you deserved the pain my words caused, because I am not your judge or anyone else’s, and so regardless of what I was thinking or feeling, I should have just kept my thoughts to myself.
The funny thing about all of this is that I didn’t truly realize that I wasn’t giving my best to all of you until my soul crossed paths with someone who inspired nothing but the best from me.
I never really realized how I appear to others, or how my actions have deeply affected them, until I saw what I was actually capable of giving someone when my heart was present.
And so I am sorry that I never gave you the best parts of me, and that to me you became only lessons that I needed to learn. I didn’t always intend to hurt you, but I know that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Even with the pain I have caused, each of you became important to me because without all of my experiences, I wouldn’t be the woman I am now.
It’s about being the kind of person who is in a place to offer the best parts of myself to someone because their soul inspires me to be better every day.
And maybe—just maybe—there’s only one person who will ever truly get the best part of us.
“She saved the best of her for the heart that understood the worst of her.” ~ Jm Storm
Author: Kate Rose
Image: Tareck Raffoul
Editor: Nicole Cameron