When I first came out, the people around me, for the most part, showed me so much love. But after a few months, my sexuality was old news. People no longer congratulated me on finally living a truth hidden by years of suppression, but instead, focus switched to who I was dating.
Tons of people, to this day, ask me if I have a boyfriend. The answer is always no, but over time, it’s become a shameful no, as if me still being single at age 24 is a problem.
I wish I could say that I was secure enough to know that my relationship status has nothing to do with who I am, but, unfortunately, I agree with the masses. I feel like a failure not because I am currently single, but because I have always been single. I’ve never had a serious relationship, and the longest I’ve “dated” someone was a month.
It’s not from a lack of trying. I’ve given my number to guys, tried online dating, and actually gone on some great and not-so-great dates. But these attempts never fail to re-establish self-deprecating tendencies, such as binge drinking, self-body shaming and unhealthy attempts at achieving the “perfect” body.
As I continue to battle depression, I’ve steered away from drinking alcohol because of the emotional hangover that comes with the physical one. And the less I’m able to drink, the more I think about my “failures.” My mind has become my biggest bully.
I’ve found over the past few weeks that some of my biggest moments of serenity come when I write out how I’m feeling. So in keeping with that form of self-treatment, I wrote a letter to the future love of my life, whoever he is.
Dear No One,
I’ve spent the last four years searching for you, thinking I found you just when I needed you most, but my search has been in vain. There are times when I find myself no longer searching for you because I’m stopped by a force. I’ve always thought of that force as you in hopes that a search I now deem impossible would end, but, instead, I’m stuck in place by some form of you.
I know it’s not you. I know that one day you’ll be here, and all of this will make sense, but I always find myself back here with this force even when I tell myself I can’t be. And I try to hold on to the hope that you’ll show up one day, especially when the alternative is that you don’t exist, but it’s progressively getting difficult to see you when I feel like I’m so close to you until I realize I’m not.
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a year. I don’t know if you’ll be here or if I’ll still long for someone to fill your place. I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know who I am without you. I don’t know a lot of things.
I don’t know what your name is, but there were days when I thought it was Zak, days when I desperately wanted it to be Scott, and days when I thought it was Tom. I don’t know if I’ll ever know your name, but I want to.
I don’t know what love is, but I know what I think it is. I think love is that person who makes you feel beautiful even when you don’t feel it yourself. I think love is that person your soul already knows, as if our souls travel aimlessly until they travel together. I think love is losing time because you’re unaware of it; you’re lost in a person’s embrace until you realize it’s been too long. I think love is when a person makes you laugh and smile at something that you find otherwise irritating. I think love is pairing; when someone can ask you how the other person is doing and you know because you are love and love is in you. I think love is knowing that no matter how much crazy you show, that person will never be afraid. I think love is when silence becomes so loud. But that doesn’t change that I don’t know what love is.
I’d like to think that you’re out there going through the same thing I am, and that one-day, when we’re finally united, we both will understand. We’ll understand that the pain was worth it. We’ll understand that the endless nights spent crying weren’t a waste, and the emptiness inside of us will be filled.
But I’d also like to think that you’re living your life, like there is this entire part of you thriving off happiness. I want you to be happy, and I don’t want you to know the person I am because I don’t know who I am without you.
I don’t feel like I deserve love, whatever that may be, because I don’t know how to be happy. I have no self-esteem. I have a false sense of confidence that others see as conceited, but I don’t feel beautiful. I carry Lysol wipes with me everywhere because the thought of germs terrifies me. I don’t know how to trust people fully because I feel unworthy of the people around me. So unworthy that when I don’t see or talk to them for a day, I’m convinced they’ve forgotten about me. Like to them, I don’t exist because I am not worthy of existing. I feel that way every day.
Parts of me hope that you’ll be here soon because I’m losing hope in myself. And I lose friendship and love and happiness because I’m clouded by irrational thoughts, thinking that you’re here, but you’re not. And yes, there are so many things that I don’t know, and the uncertainty terrifies me. But I do know some things.
I know that I’ll never be happy with you if I can’t be happy without you. I know that you can’t complete me. I have to do that on my own, and it may take time. So as much as I want you here, I know it’s not our time.
I need to stop searching for you and start searching for me.