Dear Former Lover,
I have to start this letter off with the truth. Because it will find its way back to you. Either I’ll email you the link out of common courtesy or perhaps after all these years you still follow my work and you’ll know based on this story that this is your letter because our story was very unique and specific. So let me start off with the truth.
I wasn’t ready for a committed, monogamous relationship at the same time that you were ready for one. We became friends and quickly transitioned to dating and therefore you were my lover. Our time together was one-of-a-kind. I have never known a relationship like that. What you exposed me to. What you included me in. The conversations we had. You’re a romantic lover in the truest form of the word. You express love in all the forms. Words of Affirmations. Physical Touch. Quality Time. Acts of Service. Gifts. Everyday you were cycling through many of those in how you interacted with me. You gave me your undivided attention, your open heart and your willingness to grow and I just didn’t want the same thing you wanted at the exact time you did.
I know this is where we differed. You felt I was saying I didn’t want it at all or not in the foreseeable future. That was never it for me. We had only been dating a few months. I needed more time to develop our friendship to determine if I wanted to ONLY commit to you. Especially since I was actively dating more than one man at the time and in being honest, one of those men was a higher priority in my life. I was invested in him too and as much of yourself that you gave to me, I wasn’t willing to say goodbye to my other lovers for a life with you alone.
I know that you felt you loved me. Your poetry, your quotes your touch expressed it. I get it. But I wasn’t there yet. And so after a triggering comment, a haphazard text and a series of emotional emails, we came to an end as quickly as we had started. It reminds me of the violent, sudden storms of summer. Out of seemingly nowhere we begin and it was intense and powerful and artistic and mindblowing and then, it was over.
Even still, I’m grateful and I’d like to tell you why.
First off, we started in the most unpresumptuous manner. Somehow through our network in the art world, we became facebook friends. I didn’t “know” who “you were” at the time. So much so that when I noticed you made a comment about purchasing some items I had in surplus because of my then corporate job, I messaged you saying I could just mail you a large supply. Before you even responded, something made me google you. Who was the strange man I had just offered to send a package too just because a facebook algorithm happened to put his latest status in my newsfeed. Your wikipedia page came up first. I read your profile and was like, “OH SHIT!” I had no idea “who you were.” That in your own right, you were a “celebrity” if by celebrity, I mean a world renown artist and intellectual and creative spirit. You weren’t famous for a sex tape. You were KNOWN because of what you actively contributed to society. And here I was offering to mail you something you could probably buy a million times. I told you as such, slightly embarrassed and I think that is one of the ways I first endeared myself to you.
After sending you your package, the following edited excerpt happened…
The Artist: Thank you sooooo much. I was wondering if you would care or a copy of my latest book…a spicy little poetry book….if so I’ll sign and send….where?
Sheena: . Mmmmmmm. yes please. that sounds delicious and right up my alley. Thank you very much.
The Artist: Done….you will be pleased….
Sheena: Oh the anticipation. I’m all about pleasure. I look forward to this unexpected treat!
And then the world wind began. You invited me to gallery openings, the launch of exhibits, some political event and even sent me the draft of your latest book of poetry.
The Artist: Hey ma’am …if you liked my poetry, then you will dig this…this isn’t quite as sensual but this is my newest book…
Sheena: Welp, there goes my plan of editing videos right now. I am a sucker for a good book! Thanks, downloading it now! Is this still being edited? I can’t tell if two words I see in the “######## ### #### ######” poem are intentional or in need of review. But I don’t want to overstep.
The Artist: Which two? But yes there are edits but some things that appear to need don’t..and visa versa
Sheena: These things just caught my eye. As mentioned I know you intentional use words in different ways so I don’t know. But I also edit one of my friend’s various scripts and by habit as I read, I just start editing. If I was way off base with these ones, tell me so I know to just stop doing it. It’s a habit.
To which I sent you a series of about 10 edits in your book of poetry yet to be published. Of which all were catches except for one. Looking back, I see how I draw people to me. First I offered to mail you a package for no reason except I saw you were about to buy something I had for free. And then I didn’t know your celebrity status. (Probably a relief for you.) As a thank you, you sent me an erotic book of poetry to which my responses were Siren like flirations. And when you sent me your next book of poetry, I followed up with edits that needed to be made. I have some kind of nerve in how I exist in this world. And I think you liked that about me.
Sheena: I don’t think so. I tried to figure out how we became facebook friends in the first place. It says we’ve been facebook friends for a couple years and honestly I’m not sure how that happened. We have a few mutual “friends” but I don’t know. I also seldom scour facebook and actually read the statuses of most people. I’m horribly notorious for not paying attention on facebook but then I saw you post about ******* that one time recently and I have so many I need to unload and I thought, I wonder if he’d want them then. I have a number of friends who like them but then I remembered that the rare times you’ve liked my comments its usually a sensual or rebellious one that you clicked “like” on and I thought, I want you to get them. But I don’t think we’ve ever met in the real world. If you want to hear the rest of the story and how silly I felt later, I can share that another time.
The Artist: Silly? About what? I’d love to hear a story….we seem somewhat kindred spirits that exist in the realm beyond the ordinary….read the title poem in the manuscript I sent you…..if this was a few back I think you would have been called a hippie or even further a beatnik…perhaps I’m wrong but I think not.
Sheena: Here’s the full story. I saw your comment about ******, which just seemed to be “right time, right place” that I happened to be on facebook and actually reading what other people write. (Its sort of like being on the phone with all your friends at once and they all are talking at once and it just makes my head hurt.) So I see your status and that’s when I asked, “What kind of ****** do you like?” You didn’t answer right away so I went to your profile page to see if maybe there was a clue.
On your page, I saw you were an artist. So I had this moment of thinking, “Shit, what if by artist and him collecting *****, he’s actually a person who creates them. And I’m the silly person asking which ones he likes as if he doesn’t actually create them himself.” (I have this thing where I start building an entire story on a person. So now I’ve deemed you a ***** artist and who was I to think I could send you a box of them when you create them.)
But your profile didn’t really tell me much, so I thought, well if I google, your name, plus artist plus ******, the internet will tell me which you’re responsible for making. That’s when I found your wikipedia page, found out NO, you don’t make ******, you paint and write and do all this other stuff and have thousands of ******* as part of your personal collection. And that just made me feel even sillier. You have a foundation. You are featured in galleries. And I’m all, hmmm does he create *******?
.I felt silly for not knowing anything about you which means we’ve been “facebook” friends for years and I never took the time to read most of your updates which make it clear what your life is like and I felt silly because I made up this whole story in my head and none of it was true. Even still, you told me what you liked, I gave it to you and all is well in the world. Reading your book now. You speak my language.
Just read the title poem. At first I was reading them in order, which I’ll get back to in a second, but I skipped down to read the title poem as advise. You and I are kindred spirits. As I’m reading your poems, its like I’m remembering…if that makes sense. I was never much into poetry, although I love reading everything but once in awhile I happen upon a poet that speaks right to my core. You are one of them. As I read your words, I feel that vibrate throughout me. They soothe, they excite, they entice and they make me wonder. I’m pretty sure depending on the time and place I’d be called a hippie, a beatnik, a witch… many many many things. I’m okay with it all.
The Artist: I’m glad they touched you ….made you pause and tingle a bit …..you probably been all of those incarnations…probably are all of them …..thank you for reconstructing me ..I hope you weren’t terribly disappointed with the real me…it’s nice you have taken the time to read my words and thoughts…..I’m appreciative.
Our dates included sooo many fancy dinners, casual dinners…just lots of food at every restaurant you could think of, private movie premiers in bougie theaters that I didn’t even know existed in NYC and even that one night where you let me view and touch your rare book collection.
You gifted me with lots of things. I was uncomfortable for quite some time but you told me to just receive. Even to this day, I don’t feel worthy of some of those things. Some of what I have is priceless, including one of your paintings. I can’t question your heart but that was quite a lot. Still, I’m grateful. I remember all the cards and letters and the beautiful purple orchid. I love orchids. You assumed so without even knowing or asking. You were right. And there was that night at Eric’s house.
I knew you had done something to me because there were nights when I read my poetry to you. You always noted the sadness in my poetry but still, you created a space where I read my poetry to you. No one has heard me read poetry since college. But with you I felt free. I even sat and listened to you read me a 20 page poem of yours. I remember that night it was magic.
I remember all the things. I remember your words though. I remember how they further provoked and encouraged me. We were dating during the time I was forming Wild Magical Woman in my mind and you helped me remember. Ha! Even as I write this, I recall that I even had you come to several of my pole dance events. We have a very active dating life. There was never a dull moment. Here’s another poem I love.
U are moody like spring but come blooming the free bulbs reaching in tangles but to heavens harps hipsters in the throes of flight…u are wonder woman in a superman tee..straining the confidence of daring to …and u have a sexy way that shimmers and shakes no matter what u do what u say ur humanity is in those tangles that strain and love….are we memory for futures in deep water raging for a caress and a treat…a tender treat that explains it all…not like this poem that is bread crumbs to think and stroke….I am here chanting chanting chanting into the well of night..
I can’t apologize about the fact that I wasn’t ready to commit when you were ready to commit. But I can apologize that I didn’t have the grace to hold space for your desires with empathy and kindess and sweeter words. My words were biting in the end and all you wanted was to love me and not be hurt. And I think I hurt you. And I think while you’ll always have a universal love for me, that romantic love faded away. I can’t tell you how to feel but I can say you made a different to me. You were giving, inclusive, considerate, open, tender, kind, sensual, romantic, honest, vulnerable, provocative, profound, intellectual and always willing to share yourself with me. I was a Siren before I met you, but you taught me more about wisdom and chanting and our ancestors. You put the spirit of the past into the soul of my innovation and I’m grateful. While our time together did not culminate into a relationship, it mattered to me and it affected me. I wrote you the following once…
I let people in very slowly.
But when I do, my heart remains open.
Tender to the touch.
But still open.
You opened my heart further by loving me in all the ways you did and that has made me not only a Wild Magical Woman but also, as you affectionately called me, an Intellectual Sensual Shaman. Thank you for loving me even when I could not love you in the same way.
“This feels very much like love as I remember it….” – The Artist to Sheena LaShay
#32LoveLetters is a 32 day blog post challenge leading up to my 32nd birthday, I am writing letters to the people in my life who contributed to me becoming fully myself as a Wild Magical Woman. If someone were to write a biography about me…which they will, it’s imperative that chapters are focused on these 32 people. They have had a profound, lasting and influential effect on my life. I can not tell my own story without telling you of theirs.