To him, to you — mini essay

It is fucking intimate when someone leaves you feeling broken. 

It’s intimate when someone tells you that you have too many flaws — that you are a good person to hurt. When someone gives up on you so easily, I hope you discover that intimacy the way that I did. A lot of things were broken, but my heart wasn’t broken. It was working overtime, exhausted and heavy, trying to heal the rest of me. 

I felt sad, so I tried to heal through my pain: searching for my own faults, examining every word and memory to explain why the relationship failed. I felt hurt, so I tried to heal through my anger: searching for his shortcomings, setting fire to every memory. It was his fault, wasn’t it? But the blame game is a losing game. We both made mistakes. I’m not perfect. He isn’t perfect. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t him. It was us. 

The moment that I walked away and didn’t look back, I began to know what it truly meant to be intimate. I still need to heal — to fix the emotional damage that he left behind when he told me that I was flawed, but not how I was flawed. How do I prove that I am worth love? How do I prove that I am not as flawed as he said I was? I am learning, but it is so fucking painful sometimes. 

I have learned to tenderly hold my beautifully imperfect body the way that I tried to hold his. That is intimacy. I have learned to gently hold my heart the way my friend held me as I cried for the whole morning. That is intimacy. I have learned to be patient with myself — we don’t heal in one night, in one essay. A friend reminded me of this in a note that simply read, “time heals all wounds.” That is intimacy. I have learned to love myself when I don’t want to, the way my parents continuously loved me when I told them that I was gay. That is intimacy. I may never know exactly how I am flawed, but I will find healing in intimacy with myself, my friends and my family. I will be okay.

To him: forgive me, I know you meant well and you are kind.

To you, the reader: you are perfectly flawed. Find intimacy. Love yourself patiently. Healing takes time.

Joshua Shepherd is a queer second-year integrated science student, residence advisor, UBC Bike Rave organizer, and mediocre poet. He loves snow and loves talking about it in bed. He also enjoys well crafted beer… and puns.