Here’s an open letter I wrote for my ex.
Why share it publicly?
I refuse to live in a world where speaking your mind takes courage, where lovers are categorized and labeled, and where mature adults hide from discourse that others may call awkward.
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”
– Edward R. Murrow
I can’t believe it’s been three years since we broke up. Actually, yes, I do believe it. These three years don’t eclipse the five we spent together, but the sheer amount of fun and hellishness I’ve been able to stuff into them would surprise even you. You who used to know me best.
I know it might seem a little odd to write you a letter on my website, but, well, this whole place wouldn’t exist without you. YouMotorcycle started under a different name… OurLittleAdventures.com – a website who’s sole purpose was to broadcast the little rides and motorcycle (mis)adventures of two early twentysomething year olds. You altered the course of my life for the better.
You weren’t my first love, and you haven’t been my last, but you were special. You were the first woman I realistically saw the rest of my life with, and again, you aren’t the last.
We had the love of friends and the love of lovers. We play-wrestled in motorcycle helmets and when I needed you, you were my greatest asset, until you weren’t. But while you were there, I felt there wasn’t an important decision in my life I could’ve made without you. You knew me better than I knew myself, and your sensibilities, morals, and values gave me comfort and confidence.
You brought out the best in me at a time when I was at my worst. For most of our time together my family was falling apart. First my mother was unable to walk and required surgery. Then my father was diagnosed with cancer. Then my mother’s human rights tribunal saga began. Then we lost Dad.
The morning of Dad’s funeral, I was twenty three years old. It was the sound of the aftermarket exhaust pipe of your Kawasaki Ninja outside of my window that woke me up. That same exhaust I had bought you. To me it was a sign that if I made it through the day it would be thanks to you.
A few weeks later we broke up. While other young twenty-something year old couples had spent the past few years out having the time of their lives, we spent those years sitting by hospital beds. I’m sorry you came into the family at such an inopportune time and had me at my worst. It’s a fact you deserved better.
With Dad gone and the two of us no longer a couple, I was completely lost. A feeling I sometimes carry with me to this day. Patrick left for Australia for a year and a half shortly after. Mom was out of the country. Andrew was working double shifts. My support system collapsed all around me.
Rheana, the first woman I started dating after you said to me, in a thick Trini accent, “Adrian, you’re never going to find someone to replace your dad, so just be him.” I tried, and still try, and failed, and still fail. I failed her like I failed you. It didn’t sit right with me for a long time, and while I still have regrets, I’ve made peace with myself.
My next relationship, with “G”, would be a similar story. She was wonderful. You would agree. Different from you in so many ways, but a woman any man would fall in love with. You would get it instantly. Finally someone who made my heart burst out of its chest. Finally someone who could actually make me give up on a “what if…” of you. Finally someone new who could make me want to spend the rest of my life with her.
I honestly felt so blessed to have her care for me, the way you did, until I screwed that up to. It’s not often you meet someone who gives you those feelings, but you did, and I consider myself lucky to have spent so much time with you as well.
Thank you for being my lover, my psychiatrist, my advisor, and my riding buddy.
Thank you for being my passenger, my tailgunner, my human GPS, and my barbecuer of pork chops.
Thank you for painting, for caring for children and poor wretches like me, and for being an all around saint.
Thank you for never being a total pain in the ass when it wasn’t warranted.
Thank you for putting up with the ridiculous things I said, and making the ridiculous noises you made.
Thank you for trying to get your mom to like me, and always translating on the fly so she and I could speak.
Thank you for getting your hair straightened every once in a while, it was like getting a new girlfriend for the day.
Thank you for being Miley’s first mother, and for teaching me how to care for her.
Thank you for all of the things you did that helped me grow.
Thank you for holding me when I cried out loud.
Our opinions on our relationship are likely different, but I’m sure we can both agree it was far from perfect. It was a learning experience, a lot of fun, and a tremendous ride. We may never see eye to eye on what our relationship was, and what it means in the long term, but it helped shape me. I look for you every time I see a red motorcycle on the road.
The last two times we saw each other, we each rode our separate ways. I saw you on your motorcycle getting smaller and smaller in my mirrors. I’ll never know if you were watching me and my bike get smaller or not, nor does it matter. That final scene just seemed fitting.
Something happened after we went our separate ways… I unearthed myself and blossomed. I let go of things I had been repressing for half a decade and got to learn what it was to be me. I got to live all of the things I had wanted when we were together, and discovered who it was I wanted to be. Many of those things became very overplayed, very quickly. Don’t believe the hype.
The website is right here, keeping on keeping on. It gets 30,000 motorcyclists visiting it and makes several hundred dollars monthly. It has its own social media following in the thousands on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Miley is right here too, literally. She just walked in and plopped herself down next to me on my new couch. Yesterday, she walked into my bedroom and threw up on my white duvet cover. A Father’s Day present, she said. I can’t wait to see what she gets me tomorrow for my birthday.
That condo that you helped me decide to buy, “G” helped me turn it from a condo into a home. I really think you’d like if you got to know her. About a year and a half ago I sold it and bought a house with a two car garage and even bought a car (or three).
Thank you for loving me and leaving me.
Without you I don’t know where I would be, but I wouldn’t be the me that I am now. I’ve done a lot of discovering these past three years. I continue to learn far too many lessons the wrong way.
So, Dear Ex, (and, hell, all YouMotorcycle readers), thank you for being beside me in those awkward years. I continue to wish you well, wherever you’ve ended up. I like who I’ve become, I like what this site has become, and both just keep on getting better.
The best is yet to come. Hopefully for you as well. Ride safe, but have fun.