My Secret Side

There’s a side to me that I was once very ashamed of.  Perhaps you cannot define it as a “side”, or a “personality”.  For me, it was the simple inability to let something go that dated way back, to my early childhood.

I still have bed time teddy bears.

There it is.  The cat’s out of the bag, for the whole world to see.  Actually, I’m not embarrassed at all anymore.  My friends and my husband helped me to make the most of it as a habit.  My kids have a great time with it.

Unicorn Stuffy 6He found the dog food bowls and was disappointed to learn they weren’t for him…

I have two bed time teddy bears.  Kitty (not seen in photos) from when I was four years old (I don’t take Kitty on long road trips out of the hyper paranoia of losing her or leaving her behind somewhere.) and my little unicorn, who I’ve never actually given a name to, now that I think of it.

They are tucked neatly under our covers every day while we are all away from home, and at night when we lay down to sleep, they are both snuggled in my arms before my husband puts his arms around me.  It’s one of the calmest, happiest feelings to sink into before I fall asleep.

DSC_0420Coming along on the hike in the canyon!

They are not my only teddy bears.  Our bedroom is nearly covered.  I have one large shelf that is dedicated entirely to my stuffy collection.

I tried not to let it show how much I adored (and still often played with, finding just as much amusement now as I did when I was a child) my stuffed animals.  I thought it had to mean there was something wrong with me.

Until one day I brought it up to my psychiatrist.  She burst out laughing, and I hung my head in shame almost immediately.

Unicorn Stuffy 1Can we have a bath now?

“No,” she said, “Don’t you dare be ashamed!  Don’t hide your joy from it, either!  Embrace that!  Let others in to see it – it’s beautiful, and it’s something to value.  It’s something that you know makes you happy.  Don’t hide it.  I laugh because I truly enjoy that – I am happy for you!  I still get joy from setting miniature furniture up in my old doll houses.  I’m not afraid to show it – I never will be!  My childhood is precious to me.  As yours should be to you.”

That conversation was already seven years ago now.  My friends, my family, my husband, everyone knows now.  No one has ever cast judgment on me for it.

Nowadays, we take my little unicorn everywhere.DSC_0811

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Last Dollar

It’s already been several years since we lost touch.  I haven’t a clue if you will ever bother reading this, nor do I have any idea how you would typically react.  I would feel skeptical and angered, I can imagine, and so it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s your feelings also.

Your pictures still sit vigil on my nightstand.  As well as two pictures of the two of us.  Not a day has passed me by that I haven’t wondered how you are.  I don’t think I will ever meet anyone quite like you again in this lifetime.

I have no hard feelings toward you.  I let go of you, so that you could decide if your friendship with me was worth your commitment.  And I didn’t blame you if you felt it wasn’t.  I still don’t.  It may have been and may very well still be the best choice you could ever make for yourself.

But I’ve never come to terms with the guilt for not clarifying any of this with you.  I’m not coming to you out of the blue seeking to reconcile a deceased friendship.  I just wanted to let you know that nothing I did in the end when I let you go was meant to harm you in any way.

I carry a weighted conscience full of regret.  So many things I did, so many things I said, and so many times I caused you pain in one way or another.  I will tell you for my own sake that I don’t think I was ever in my right mind during any point at which you were in my life.  And I don’t hold anyone accountable for it but myself.  I lacked maturity and common sense, and I am well aware that I still do.  I feel a constant worry these days for those who do call themselves my friends, that I will undoubtedly destroy my bond with them one way or another.  It’s just a fear.  I do my best now to treat them well, and acknowledge as well as apologize for my wrongdoings.

I don’t expect a “return” of any sort from this letter.  All I really wish, is that it may possibly ease your mind if you have found yourself in so much as a quarter of the mental struggles I have found myself in every time I think of you, and my decision to leave you be.

I understand now, that so much damage was done that it may be impossible for you to even read this letter the whole way through.  I have had to give up on one or two individuals along my path for just that reason – and I know I can never look back, just as you may never be able to with me.  I regret it immensely.  And I would take it all back.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have known better than to put you through any of what I did end up putting you through.  I was a textbook “horrible, self-centered, superficial know-it-all” best friend who wasn’t there for you far more often than I can will myself to admit.  I wasn’t a friend at all.  I pray that my damages to you haven’t caused you to lead any less of the life you deserve to live.  I hope you see everything, experience everything, and go everywhere that you have always wanted to go.

You and your family cared for me and got me started in life.  I handled my early adulthood with such disgrace that I feel shame any time I walk the streets of our home town.  But I am still thankful.  I will die knowing that if it wasn’t for you being a part of my life, I may never have had an adult life to begin with.

I will die thankful for every moment that you were a part of my life.  I’ll never forget all the great memories.  The songs I hear on the radio that make me smile because they bring back hilarious memories of us.  There isn’t a bone in my body that wishes you any ill.  If I could take back the damages I had done, I would in a heartbeat.  I wish you nothing less than the best in life.

Tear this letter up and burn it if it will help you at all.  Or keep it and reread it as many times as you like.  My heart is always open to you, as are the doors to any home I ever reside in.  I am still here, whether in light or darkness.  If you need me, you will find me.  And if you want nothing more than to see me, you may any time you like.

I can’t guarantee that I will never make a mistake that could cause you harm again – and therefore, I will reassure you that I don’t expect you to ever present yourself in my life again.  I won’t blame you for it.  But if you ever do reappear, I will make every effort possible to make sure I never hurt your feelings again.

Wishing you all the best that life has to give.

best-friend