Having to go through old boxes of high school memorabilia puts your life in perspective. I just moved from Florida to California recently and had to go through tons of old boxes—many of them from high school. The vast amount of crap that I had blew my mind. Everything from school assignments to notes passed in class to (gasp) emails that I had printed out and categorized by sender. If that doesn’t make you want to vomit office supplies, I don’t know what will.
One printed email that I came across actually made me awkwardly reminiscent: the first breakup letter I ever received from the first girl I dated. That relationship lasted for nine months (which, in 8th grade, is not unlike being engaged).
Nine years after receiving this letter, re-reading it made me think hard about what makes us adults. I think it’s about what we choose to get angry over. In kindergarten, it’s Sean stealing the crayons. In high school it’s Elizabeth not wanting to hang out anymore. In real life it’s, well, something about the stock market, I’m sure.
So take a trip down memory lane with me to a time when we got angry over someone not being enough of a teddy bear:
Well, here I go, even though it is so impersonal to do it through email. . .
Here are the reasons why I dumped you. If you have any questions, ask.
One of the main reasons I broke up with you is the problem you’ve been having for quite some time now. . . immaturity. You can’t contain yourself in public, and I can’t handle that type of obtrusive behavior. I’ve been able to step back, and observe you with your other friends, and I don’t want to be a part of that anymore. Because I was your girlfriend, when you made yourself look like a fool in public, I was also considered a fool. I don’t want to be known as a fool. Fine if you want to “entertain” people, Jesse, but I’m not going to be around. When you goof around in the hallways, you said that you never get in trouble by teachers. . . okay, so you don’t. But, is that worse that making yourself look 2 years old in front of your peers? Think about that. I don’t want someone who is known for his actions. I want someone who is known for being a big teddy bear, being caring, and trustworthy.
I don’t want to be your mother. I’m not spoon feeding you and telling you what is right and what is wrong in relationships and life. You should have known. If you don’t learn through body language, TOUGH. Learn how to interpret body language. I knew right from wrong. It’s common sense, Jesse, it’s all common sense. You should have known that acting goofing around in public would make me mad. YOU DID KNOWN BECAUSE I’VE TOLD YOU UMPTEEN TIMES.
Another thing is that your priorities are out of order. If we were still together and I was to invite you to my house for a Friday 2 months from now, and the week of that Friday, someone asked you to go to Disney, you known damn well you would go with them. Don’t deny it. I know you would, because Disney, to you, is better than going to a house.
DON’T CRITICIZE ME FOR NOT KEEPING PROMISES.
I can’t take the weight of everything anymore. When you made a mistake, I had this enormous weight on my shoulders. I got rid of that weight, and I feel so much better. Everyone has seen a dramatic change in me. You know how I really know that you and I are over? This dream I had…
My brother was standing in a room, next to a cradle. He was older. I went over to the cradle and read the name plate, “Jesse.” I went over to the baby inside, and kissed it’s head, and got everything the little baby fussed for. I don’t want that dream again.
Everything I stood for was for you. Everything I did from combing my hair to coughing was for you. I’m sick and tired of having to do everything. I’m sorry will never cut it anymore. So, don’t get pissed off at me anymore if I walk away from your entertainment. I won’t be there. I don’t stand for that stuff. Never ever have, never ever will.
Well, hope this helps you.
PS – The first way in solving any problem is to state it, and I want to help you. I think you’re a great friend, and I’m concerned, and want to help.
I was probably really upset when I first got that letter. Reading it now, I’m more concerned with the awkwardness of it all (“I coughed for you?”) To be fair, I’m sure I sent my fair share of awkward letters. What about you? Do you hold on to letters that you should have thrown out years ago? Do you blog about them? I do. Share your thoughts in the comments below.