Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reading through the past

This is not me at age 16-19, but, close enough



This is a long post, long enough I am leaving it up all weekend. It's good though. Trust me.

Last weekend, we did a lot of sorting and tossing at our house. In the middle of our fury, I found two boxes.

The first box contained the following:

2 years of letters from my high school boyfriend (we had dated four years total)

3 sealed enveloped of my color treated hair (treated by first dying it jet black then applying bleach-the end result being a coppery orange)

1 specimen container housing six pieces of body jewelry (five rings and one post)

1 letter from my mom, basically kicking me out of the family (four angry pages long-I told ya'll she was nuts)

In this post, I want to discuss the letters from my high school boyfriend. His name was Brian. We wrote back and forth after he left for the Navy.Let me summarize the content of the letters here- from his point of view.

He had joined the navy after graduating high school. The goal was to help him develop self discipline and provide opportunity. He had a girlfriend at home, her name was Holly. He was 18, she was seventeen. They had been dating about a year or so when he left.

The letters were hard to write at first. Well, he had a hard time keeping up with Holly's letters. They came two or three times a week. Plus, she sent tapes of herself talking, magazines and all sorts of crazy stuff. She was a little demanding, asking for more mail from him.

There was a lot happening, on his side of things. Lots of tests and training. For the first time in his life he was trying to achieve something. He was studying for exams, going to bed early, and learning how to make hospital corners. Plus there was the PT tests. He was getting in shape for the first time. And his long hair, the mullet, it was all short now. Don't laugh he said.

He had a rough time expressing himself, at first. Putting his emotions out there, onto paper, was hard. He started writing more of a journal, then sending that to her. After that, it all seemed to flow.

He counted how many friends kept writing him, how many people kept in contact. He realized who his real friends were. He got lonely, bored, missed home and his girlfriend. Pride developed in his test scores, the best in his life. He met other people on the base, didn't really bond with anyone though.

Then his girlfriend when to college.

There was a shift in his thoughts. He began to think about moving in with Holly, maybe getting married and having children. Holly didn't have the same thoughts. She wrote about joining the peace corp. She didn't want to get married or have children, ever. He didn't feel she ever listened to him. When he asked what she thought of the latest letter he sent, she would say, I don't remember what you wrote.

This made Brian mad. Her letters were becoming less and less. And she kept writing about this Sam guy. He met Sam, while on a one month leave. He reminded Brian of himself. a younger Brian. A quiet guy who kept to himself, who struck out at anyone who might get near. And if that person was still around after the first strike, then that person might be allowed in.

During that same leave, he noticed Holly spending more time with her friends than him. This pissed Brian off. He took leave to be with her for the most part. But he ended up spending more time with his friends instead. And she spent more time with Sam. This pissed Brian off because he hadn't seen her in forever.

It was obvious that their relationship had changed after that. After that she started seeing other people. And she wrote to him about her new relationships. Which he thought he would be cool about, but really, it kept him up at night. He hated getting her letters now. Especially since she only wrote him after he wrote first. He hated that most of all.

He wrote hate a lot in the last few letters. He wrote hate like this:

HATE!!! HATE!!!! HATE!!!

Needless to say, there was not a lot of contact after that. After that, I moved to a big city for my year abroad.

I have been thinking about going back in time, about what I would say to both those kids, Holly and Brian.

To me, well, I wouldn't say much. Really, I would not say one word. I can't articulate why, but, I just wouldn't.

To him though, I would say a hell of a lot. The first thing I would say was, WHAT THE FUCK!!! ??? When we first started dating you, I asked you to stop doing drugs and drinking, and you said you did. But now I know that you didn't, you just stopped telling me. AND I KNOW YOU ARE THE ONE WHO GAVE ME CRABS!!! And you must have cheated on me, because
I NEVER ONCE CHEATED ON YOU!!!

And seriously Brian, grow a pair and stop letting your girlfriend push you around. I mean, you spell woman---womyn—in the letters. All because she is some crazy women's libber. Blah.

Epilogue:

Sometime, right before this blog, through the magic of the interweb, I found Brian again. He is married and has a little boy. He says that his wife, well, she saved his life.

He was shocked that I am married, and for eight years, with two kids, no less. And the job I have, psychiatric nurse practitioner, well, that's a shock too. We emailed a few times after that. But, the email eventually petered off.

We have almost nothing in common. I am not sure we ever did. In fact, I think I never saw him at all; I was so wrapped up in myself. Those letters he wrote paint a very unflattering picture of me. Which is good really. Those underlying traits are still there. I am ashamed of this, what I was in those letters. It's good to humbled though, good to know what my evil looks like.

And knowing that makes me a better person. After all, the better I recognize the former crazy self, the faster I can run the other way.

Either way, it is good to know he has a stable life. Good job. That he is Happy.

As for the second box, well, that is for another post.

5 Left a message at the beep:

dizzblnd said...

Whew... That must have been hard for you to write. I'm not sure if it were me, I would be able to write it. How amazing it is how people from our past help us to grow and learn and become the people we are today.

James said...

Oh, good post!! Always good to revisit those strangers we once were and see what we can learn from them.

You going to let Mr Hall look in the boxes?

Holly Hall said...

Dizzy Blonde: It wasn't that hard to write, I mean, it is what it is, which for now, is a teaching tool to help me be a better person ;)

James: Glad you liked it. And yes, Mr. Hall knows all about the box and when I was reading through the letters, I read a few aloud to him. He is well aware of every aspect of my life. :)

Mr. Hall said something very interesting about it all.

He said the remnants of that girl (the selfishness and demandingness) are still there and they reappear when I am weakened.

Glad you guys liked it :)!!!

Slyde said...

a great post.... i love how you let us see all sides of you, good, and maybe not so good.

i think we ALL have a letter buried somewhere that goes something like this....

Holly Hall said...

Slyde: Yay, I don't really feel the need to present myself as anything else but myself.

plus, I want my blog to show that it is possible to grow and change and become a better person.

I am glad you are a regular reader slyde :)

take care

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