To: The Love of My Life

To: The Love of My Life

I’ve already written an open letter to you earlier this year and I called you my university boyfriend but we both know that’s not fair. You always have been much more than that to me. You are The Love of My Life. You were my first love and the biggest love I’ve ever had. We were young when we first started dating. In fact, I met you during Frosh Week and we were inseparable ever since until our relationship finally ended just before our fourth year.

Even though it was “over” I still saw you a lot. We had a lot of the same friends, and our school wasn’t very big. It was hard. Not to mention, you would always find a way to pull me back in. We would talk, try to work things out, and then in public or in front of our friends you would act like I didn’t even exist. It was during that time that my love for you turned to hate. It was the only way I could protect myself from you. Our relationship was toxic. It always was, but it never changed the fact that I loved you and you loved me. I loved you with all my heart, I guess that’s why I could hate you so much too. I hated you for a very long time. I thought if I hated you, you would just go away… But you never did. In fact, you never left. I just kept dating versions of you over and over again.

I even went as far as dating someone who looked, and even acted so much like you. I overheard my sister and mom talk about how much this guy reminded them of you, then I proceeded to meet up with him and call him by your name… But let me be clear, it’s not like I called him by your name once. I called him by your name THREE TIMES IN ONE CONVERSATION!!! I called him by your name, tried to apologize to him and called him by your name twice in my apology. I mean who the fuck was I kidding?! This guy was trying to tell me that I still had feelings for you, but all I kept saying was that I didn’t, and that I hated you. Hate is still a very strong feeling that I had towards you, so yes, in fact I did still have feelings for you. I was most definitely not over you. We eventually broke up, but I still chose to live in denial. Pretending that I wasn’t hurt, and just relived our toxic relationship over and over again. Each time I would feel more and more depleted. So much so, I made a conscious effort to not date at all for the past 9 months. I just knew that there was a lot of pain and hurt that I needed to finally acknowledge and let go of. Not all of it was caused by you.

When we started dating, I was going through a lot of shit with my family back home in Mississauga. Things were really hard with my Dad’s side of the family, and you were always there for me during that time. Even after we broke up, there was a huge fight that happened on Christmas Eve between myself and my sister, against my father’s side of the family. I called you that Christmas Eve because I didn’t know who else to call. You picked up. Thank you. I was so scared and alone that night.

I’m writing you this second letter because I learned a lot about love this year by loving myself really and truly. I’ve also been listening to a lot of beautiful music by Frank Ocean, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Alanis Morissette, and so on. I realized that I hated you so much because I loved you so much. I also learned that my love for you will always be there no matter how much I try to deny it and hate you instead. The difference now is that I’m finally ready to accept my love for you and let it go. When it was good it was beautiful what we had, and so I will forever cherish the good times. But I need to say my final goodbyes to you. You will always have a place in my heart, but I’m willing to let go of the pain so I can finally move on. Goodbye to the Love of My Life. I’m making more room in my heart for myself and for the Man of My Dreams. I know he exists. I just know now that I would never be able to meet him until I forgive you (check) and let go of our past (check). Our love wasn’t perfect but it was very real. I’m done pretending that nothing can hurt me, that you didn’t hurt me, and that I didn’t love you. It has only kept me stuck on you, and no matter how many times I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many, many times) I will never be able to move on properly until I let go. I love you, but I love me more. So goodbye finally, I wish you well.

Love,

Alexandra Rinaldo ‚̧


A love letter to Myself

Dear: Alexandra,

It’s been over a month since your last letter to yourself and a lot has changed since then. I’m so proud of you for being able to pour your heart out like that for the world to see. Ever since then, your awareness of yourself has only grown. You have learned so much from yourself, and from other people over the past two months.¬†Recently, you have made a new friend through your volunteer work at Moksha Yoga who said to you, “Imagine the things you could do if you gave yourself half the love that you give to others.” It still makes you feel emotional when you think about it because it’s true. Alex, you’re in this unhappy place right now because you don’t value yourself the way you should. You have given so much of yourself away over the past few years, that now it seems like you don’t even know who you are anymore. You have lost yourself in other people. You have allowed too many people to take your energy away from you. Because of this, you’ve constantly been questioning yourself, and your value. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. You are not the problem. The problem is that you have put yourself on the side line. You have put the needs of others before your own needs. This teaches other people that it is okay to walk all over you. If you don’t show enough respect for yourself, how is someone else supposed to respect you? You know this. You’ve just wasted too much of your energy trying to take care of others instead of taking care of yourself. So here we are.

You used to tell people, “you are the most important person in your life.” It seems like you haven’t taken your own advice. For some reason that rule applied to everyone else but you. Well no more. We know that this cannot go on, you have no other choice now but to put yourself first. This is your life Alex, you need to take charge of it. I see you doing it and I’m so proud! Don’t give up. Every obstacle that life gives you is just that, an obstacle. An obstacle that is meant to be overcome. The universe is testing you, God is testing you, to see if you really want this. To see if you’re ready for the new challenges ahead. You are ready, you’ve been ready. I know it. You know it. That is the whole point of this letter. I love you Alexandra Michelle Rinaldo, and I refuse to see you fall. I’m picking you back up because no one else can. You are a warrior. You are one of the strongest people I know. You are generous, kind, and compassionate. You have so much love to give, and now it’s time to give that all to yourself. You know that if your passion in life is to serve others, then you must serve yourself first. You are of no use to other people if you can’t walk the talk yourself. The best way you can help anyone else is to help yourself first. Lead by example. This is the greatest gift that you could give yourself or anyone else. As Michael Jackson says, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” As corny as that is, I don’t care. It’s true. The story of your life, your happiness begins and ends with you. Just you, that’s it.

A week or so ago, you were listening to a beautiful podcast with Alanis Morisette and Oprah, and Alanis said that “art is cathartic but it’s not healing.” I thought that was very interesting. She said that it “could be a catalyst for investigation.” In some ways, I agree. I think that these letters or short stories, whatever you want to call them are my own creative expression, and therefore my own form of art. I do find them to be very cathartic, but I don’t know if I would say they are healing. They have healing properties, and I find them to be very helpful to the healing process. But just because we’ve written these letters, does not mean that we don’t need to still do the loving work of always taking care of ourself first Alex. These letters are a symbol of us ridding ourselves of the things that no longer serve us in our life. They are a symbol of us choosing to move forward with our life, but we still need to be active in moving forward.

You’re doing all the right things. I know you’re doing your best. Keep it up. The more you invest in yourself, the better you will be. Your life, your happiness is what you put into it. No one else can do it for you. You have to do the work. It’s a labour of love. You work hard in the gym because you deserve to feel good, look good, and you deserve to have the strength and the power to take care of your damn self! You eat healthy and vegetarian because it makes sense for you. Because you value your body, and your health. You write because you love it. It gives you energy and you have something to say. What you write has value. You plan and cook your own meals because you care about what you feed yourself. Because for you, food is love. Food has always been a focal point in your life. You are a talented cook, you know that. For a long time you would work hard in the kitchen for the benefit of others. Now you are learning new ways of cooking completely for yourself. Good for you! You deserve only the best! Remember that. Work hard everyday so that you can provide yourself with only the best in life. You have done a great job of creating and maintaining relationships with amazing friends and family who love and support you no matter what. Keep finding positive people who give you energy, who teach you new things. The better you treat yourself, the higher your vibrations will be, and you will be able to attract others who are on the same wavelength as you. Good things are coming Alex! I can feel it. Keep loving yourself, keep working on yourself everyday. Everyday is a challenge but you got this!

I believe in you and I love you.

Alexandra Rinaldo