I think back often to my first morning of army training. My first sergeant pounding on my door screaming at me to wake the fuck up while “welcome to the jungle” blared on the loudspeaker. I was young, and more than a little bit scared. After all the new recruits had formed up outside we started our first pt session. I wasnt in bad shape, but not nearly where I needed to be. Over the next hour or so we did pushups, flutterkicks, cherrypickers, and a lot of other torturous exercises I don’t even remember the names for. By the end of that I was more than exhausted. Then we formed up and went on our first run. After 3 or 4 miles I lost track of how far we had gone. Many of my fellow recruits had dropped out. I was determined to finish. Finally we started running back to the barracks, and I knew I could make it. We ran around the quarter mile track towards where our troop was housed, and I could see it. I could see my room and I summoned all my strength to just keep going a little longer. We got closer and closer, and my eyes stayed focused on the finish line. But as we got there, our lieutenant kept going around the track. Immediately upon realizing that we weren’t done, I started puking and I fell out of formation. The few remaining in the troop ran one more time around the quarter mile track and then finished. I was so embarrassed that I had gotten so close and hadn’t finished. It would be the only time during my time there that I didn’t finish a run. But the reason this experience has stuck with me, 14 years later, is that I realized that I could have kept pushing myself as long as I knew where the finish line was. But in the second that I didn’t know anymore when we were going to stop, my body shut down. I have no doubt, all these years later, that if my lieutenant had rounded the curve and said ‘one more lap boys’, I could have finished. I had already run 5, 6, 7 miles, surely I could have gone another quarter of a mile.
Ill let you figure out why I’m telling you about this now. You’re a smart girl.
Right now I feel myself at the familiar fork in the road with you, emotionally. Should I feel angry? Depressed? Ambivalent? I’ve been here so many times I know that every route loops back around to the beginning, none of them move me or us forward. I’ve tried so many time to express my feelings to you, how shitty I feel when you reject me and ignore me. The truth is, what I feel the most right now is profound sadness. You are so stubborn and so prideful. I know you will never change. And so Im sad because I realize that the high hopes I had for our relationship will never come to pass. Even if we are together, you are so uncompromising, I just don’t think we will ever really enjoy sustained happiness together. Because you have made it so clear time and again that your happiness and your feelings are so much more important that mine, that I don’t even really matter as long as you get what you want.
I’m sorry dear, but its true, you’re a taker, not a giver. Don’t believe me? Well here’s a few examples. I can understand if my birthday isn’t that important to you, I mean, after all, its not your birthday. But it is important to me. And when you, year after year, forget my birthday it makes me really sad. I think you’d feel the same way if I forgot about yours. Its similar to how when Im upset, I don’t ever really feel like you listen to my concerns, like even now you’re probably thinking about how whiny I am or something like that. But when you’re upset I really try to figure out why, and what I can do or change about myself to make you happier because that’s important to me. Lastly, when we’re intimate, I go down on you all the time. And I enjoy it because I know you like it. But honestly, when was the last time you went down on me? I cant even remember. I would like it too, you know.
I cant help but feel that all your personal enlightenment is all bullshit. Because all the wise things you say, you don’t apply any of them to your own life, at least the small portion of your life that I occupy. You tell me not to let people take advantage of me, but you’re the one walking all over me. You don’t respect me, you don’t treat me the way you want to be treated. And its so frustrating for me because I’ve been trying to tell you all this for years and it really feels like nothing I say or do resonates with you at all.
It seems very clear to me that youre not interested in really communicating with me. Like two-way communication between two people looking to find common ground. You must be tired of all my texts since you never respond to them. Likewise, youre probably tired of all these letters I keep writing you here too. So Ill try leaving you alone for now. Its not what I want, but, you see, thats what happens in a successful relationship, people do things they don’t want to so that their partner will be happy. If you change your mind you know how to get my attention.