This Is Why We Write About You (Even After We Promise Not To)

I promised you that I would never write about you.

It’s a running joke among us writers; one I’m sure you’ve heard if you’ve ever so much as spent ten minutes browsing Thought Catalog. Regardless of how it may seem, we don’t make these promises for the sole purpose of breaking them a while down the line. Though in the back of our minds we’re certain that we’ll eventually give in and plaster the metaphors we’ve converted your smile into all over a sheet of paper, we’re determined to hold out for as long as we possibly can.

We may even go so far as to convince ourselves that it’s different this time- that what’s done is done, and that writing an essay on the matter won’t change things. If anything, we’re trying to protect ourselves. Because of the inability that we all possess to rise against the temptation to pick up a pen (or in my case, open a Microsoft Word document) it’s often said that when you’ve secured the love of a writer, you can never really die. You live on forever; your memory adorned by tales of remembrances and your silhouette consisting of poetic metaphors that are somehow still unable to do you, so you’re never really over. Your presence lingers on in what seems like another world altogether, one built upon fantasy and euphemisms. The thing is though, when it’s over, we don’t want to immortalize you. We wish we could forget. We wish that somehow, we could erase the images of what once was and what could’ve been from our minds so we could move on. But believe it when we tell you that it’s not you… it’s us.

We don’t write about you because we want to flatter you, though the rare but beautiful moments of satisfaction we get when we watch someone’s eyes glisten while they read something we’ve written about them can be rewarding. We write about you because we want to soothe our own souls. This is who we are, and this is how we heal. We write about you in the hopes that you’ll slowly transcend from what once was a very real, incredible, all-around life changing aspect of our lives and of who we’ve become as people into none other than a fictitious mess of words; one detailing someone else’s experiences rather than our own. Maybe, just maybe, we can take Sylvia Plath’s suggestion a bit too literally and somehow convince ourselves that we made you up inside our own head. Let someone else weep with sorrow as they grieve your existence that we pass it on to them as they near the end of the pages we’ve written, because we sure as hell aren’t equipped to feel this all on our anymore. After all, she does have a point. Thunderbirds come roaring back again each spring. You, however, will not.

We write about you in anticipation that maybe if we’re lucky the scrambled blend of jagged, bittersweet thoughts that race through our minds at an astonishing speed of one thousand miles a minute will finally lay to rest peacefully in the hands of the paper in which we place them- as long as we do so with care. “Perhaps after this,” a wishfully-thinking inner voice of mine echoes each time I repeat the cycle, “my brain will finally rest, right beside the memory of you, and grant me the ability to think about something other than how right it felt waking up next to you.”. If it were a perfect world, even thoughts as seemingly trivial as how sexy you looked while sipping your beer would be unable to coexist inside my head and on paper at the same time, granting me peace of mind, strengthening writing as a form of vice altogether, and most importantly, mortalizing your memory- because I don’t want to be overwhelmed by it all anymore.

I’ve written about every single person I’ve loved, and each person that I’ve almost loved. A lucky few of them know for a fact that they’ve been the subject of a poem or three or something-or-other as they’ve heard it from me directly, and I’m sure that the ones I’ve never allowed to read the works they’ve inspired have known me well enough to assume I’d somehow managed to preserve select details of our relationships safely inside the “My Documents” folder in my laptop.

This is the only way most of us are capable of showing any emotion at all; the only place in which we’re comfortable. However, exposure that intense makes us feel that much more vulnerable. If we could help it, we really wouldn’t write about you. It’d be easier on all of us. We’re sorry that we can’t keep promises sometimes, but it’s like a sickness. It really is an itch that we’re going to need to scratch- all we can do is delay the inevitable.

So, after all this, I’m sorry that I still write about you.

Oh yeah, and I’m sorry that I sometimes post it on the Internet. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I wrote my own deliverance.

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