Thank you for cheating on me.
I mean it.
Because ever since I found out that there had been another girl you had also been dating for two years my life has radically been different.
Since I woke up that morning excited to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art with you, only to find out that you guys had fucked that Monday, I have discovered doing things for myself and finding pure enjoyment.
I have never been miserable since you have left. I don’t mean that to hurt you. No, I really wish you the best in your life.
But I have found happiness now in the simplest things: in the pages of a good book, the pure bliss of taking up my whole bed for an afternoon nap, the smell of brownies or banana bread consuming the small apartment I live in, walking through Edgewater with Mary Cate and dancing on the sidewalk. I have found new appreciation and am grateful for each day I am given. I wake up and yell from my bed to Natalie’s “GOOD MORNING! IT’S A GOOD DAY!”
I have cleaned out the unnecessary items in my closet, the scars that have healed have also been tossed aside with shoes I haven’t worn in years. I have been able to hold a headstand and I pierced my ear because I wanted to and I don’t care what anyone thinks.
Because since that morning when you told me crying that you only loved me, that you could explain everything and begged me to stay I have realized I need a job where I can be moving and won’t be doing menial paperwork every single day. I have made plans to go to different places in the world. Not tourist spots—blazing hot, dirty African towns where water wells need to be built and medical services are needed.
I have realized I am no longer better than anyone. But rather, I hid behind my ego and self-obsession with my appearance because I was insecure with who I was. You said you were the “real you” when you were with me. That is what you said as I packed my bags and you watched me. Well, I have a confession. I was not the real me. I was materialistic and I was trying to please everyone around me, except for myself. I was not happy and I was desperately searching for happiness in every crevice of that past life.
Thank you for cheating on me. Because when I talked to her and realized you had told us both the same thing, I was like a tree stripped of its bark. Completely naked and vulnerable, no longer able to hide behind a relationship. I was finally able to be myself. I was able to go back to the root of all my problems and heal them. I have never been happier.
Thank you for cheating on me, because I was able to be honest with myself and realize that for me there was also someone else. Someone I found myself comparing you to—he made me laugh more than you ever did. I found during less-than-busy days my mind wandering to memories of the texture of his hands, calloused and rough from hard work. I compared them to your hands, which are soft and supple. I hate to admit I thought less of you because of your hands. They had never experienced hard work. I found happiness and comfort in his arms after you left. A silent comfort that I had never experienced with you. Ironically, I owe that all to you.
Because if you had not been so careless, and had your other girlfriend had not found out that a few thousand miles away you were with me in a hotel in downtown Chicago, I would probably would never have known and still continue to be a person I was not. I wouldn’t look at myself and finally be honest about the fact that the person who had been with you was not the person I wanted to be.
So from the bottom of my soles, dry and green from being outside barefoot to the top of my head bleached by the sun, knotted by the wind, I thank you, because now I have discarded my J.Crew cashmere sweaters and pearls for jean cut off shorts. I have finally allowed myself to be the person I always wanted to be, the person I always was. I have found internal happiness—something I always tried to buy. So thank you for giving me happiness and self-acceptance.
Thank you for cheating on me.