top of page

A Letter to My Past Self

Dear Hannah,

You are in my past now, and I am in your future.

You are with a man who is dangerous. He tells you that to your face, with pride. A dangerous motherfucker.

His love is sweet and good. His providership is the best you have ever experienced. He wants to make sure you are spoiled with all the best things.

But he is impatient and demanding. He wants what he wants from you without delay. He wants it exactly how he demands it, and you will be met with coldness, dismay, or contempt if you don't give it how he demands it.

Slowly, over time, you will realize that he doesn't even truly have a standard for that demand. He isn't clear with you about what he expects or wants from you, but he will continually imply that he has been clear or that you already know and you are simply not delivering, not doing the thing, not showing up for him.

What he actually wants is a reason to be dissatisfied. That is why he is constantly asking you for more than it's possible for you to give. When he is dissatisfied, your energy and attention is all on him, on restoring his satisfaction with you.

He will promise he can give you the solution to your problem and then ask you later why you haven't implemented the solution he provided for you--you'll wonder too, why haven't I just done that? Why am I not showing up for myself that way? Until you realize he skipped the part where he told you the solution. He only ever promised the solution.

This man wants to own you, to possess you and control you, but he is not interested in YOU. He is not interested in your experience. He is not interested in what happens in your mind or your heart.

He wants your body and your energy. He wants your sexual body to be available to him. He wants your listening ears and watching eyes. He wants your touch. He wants to gobble up every scrap of your energy. He does not want to hear what you have to say.

He will have many seemingly valid reasons why he shouldn't have to listen. He will state a boundary and you will respect it. He will give you solid logic about why your experience does not need to be what it is and therefore he should not have to hear it. He will be victimized by your truth and the conversation will turn back to him.

He does want to tell you what he has to say. He will insist that he has a right to be listened to by you, be hurt and accuse you of not loving him well if you're not available to receive him.

He won't check to see if you want to hear him. He will tell you when he wants to tell you and how he wants to tell you, ready or not.

Just like he won't check to see if you wanna fuck him. He will try to fuck you when he wants to fuck you and how he wants to fuck you, ready or not, comfy or not, open or not, safe or not.

Your boundaries will not be respected. You will state them a thousand ways, and they will never be honored. You will assert them and reassert them, you will fall apart in front of his face when you are exhausted from asserting your boundaries, and you will believe that it is enough for you to simply feel your feelings and be witnessed feeling them.

This is also the only time he will receive you--when you are completely overwhelmed and totally dependent on him, when he can come in and save the day.

It will not be enough.

You will experience a safe space where your boundaries are effortlessly respected and then you will see.

You will see just in time, and far too late.

You will judge yourself for how long it took for you to see it.

You will wonder if you know anything about relationships after all.

You will wonder how you missed the signs, how you could have abandoned yourself again that way.

You will wonder if you have the strength to break away from him, but you will. You did see it, just in time.

You will be with a man who values the distance between you as well as the closeness--all the better to see you from a zoomed out perspective.

He will reflect what he is seeing in you, he will repeat back to you the words that you say, he will endorse the experience you are having.

You will be with a man who walks slowly toward you, checking if you are ready to be held and giving you time to get ready. When you are ready, he will hold you tenderly, gently, safely, for exactly the right amount of time and then he will let you go. He will plant you solidly back on your own feet, in your own power, in your own experience.

He will never hurt your body, not with a lack of awareness, not with too much too fast, not with impatience or disregard or dismissal.

He will respect your boundaries so exquisitely that you will rarely hear them pass your lips. The most they will amount to is you saying "just a moment, my love" perhaps once a day, when you're both absorbed in your phones and he wants to show you what is on his.

If you give him an adjustment to how you like to be touched, you will give it one time. If he touches you again the way you don't like, he will see the reaction in your body and repair it before you have a chance to remind him of what you prefer.

He will hold constant vigil for the sacredness of your body and your experience. He will follow the threads of each adjustment you give him and learn your body's preferences, always surprising you with new nuances of pleasure.

He will have no demands on you, his engagement with you will be about removing demands from you. He will continually remind you that you do not have to be the one to do that thing if you don't want to. He will help you see your opportunities to set boundaries with others, but he will not set them for you or judge you if you do not set them. He will hold you in your hurt, even if he told you so.

You will be safe. You will be loved. You will be grateful for the contrast that this relationship provides.

I promise.