Beauty in the Beast

Every word of this letter is true. I have a lot on my mind and needed to channel it into something creative so this is the only love letter I will ever write. I have recently fallen in love but it's not like in the movies or books or the fan fiction. Love is hard. Loving someone who suffers from anxiety and depression is hard, especially when you're suffering too. Love is romanticised without showing its ugly side; when you choose to love a person so unconditionally, you have to learn to accept them in their darkest moments and help them fight their inner demons when the world is against them. This is a letter I want to write to my boyfriend but will probably never show him.

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1. the only love letter I will ever write

Dear CC

I don't know if I'll ever show you this; I probably won't. But I need to write this letter anyway because I have a lot that's weighing heavy on my chest that I can't seem to say to you in person.
It took us a year and a half to get here, a year and a half of you being my best friend whilst being open to the world about your feelings for me and ignoring that I didn't reciprocate those feelings. You never gave up and eventually I fell for you. Everyone dreams of falling for their best friend and it is amazing, it's the best feeling. But it's also terrifying.

There are two sides to you, the boy and the beast. The boy is a bright eyed artist who searches for the answers to the secrets of the universe, who draws magical creatures and creates inventions that could truly change the world. You may be a man but you show no desire of growing up and just like Peter Pan, you create your own magic, the type of magic that allows children to see the world with wonder; something I had a long time ago that I thought I'd lost before I met you. 
You're a 
starry eyed seeker of truth trying to figure out how all the cogs turn to make the planet spin; you're like a child taking apart a toy just to reassemble it in your own way. When you're thinking, you have this look of concentration that takes you over and I can almost hear you talking to yourself in your head; I can see hundreds of thoughts simultaneously whizzing back and forth trying to fit all the pieces together to solve the puzzle. There's so much information in your brain I wonder how it doesn't explode. But then I guess it does.

The beast you struggle to control escapes when you think too much, when all the negative information bubbling in your head, the unsolvable answers, the dark thoughts, the pain and the provocation from people, parents and employers overwhelms you and the pressure builds up like a bottle rocket. It takes you over sometimes, this aching heaviness like an invisible demon sitting on your back, digging its claws into your soul and weighing anchor so you can't shake it off no matter how much you scream and punch and kick until your body is bruised and bloody and your heart just hurts. Sometimes you channel your darkness into art and science; you create to distract and forget about the sleeping beast but the fear of yourself sits in the back of your mind. You don't know what's caused it, what created it. You ask, is it just depression and anxiety or a mixture of mental health issues? Or maybe it's just built up frustration caused by people provoking you when you're already tired or unhappy, like poking a caged bear with a spear. Even though the night is quiet, the voices in your head are deafening and when one small thing after another builds and builds, the beast in the back of your brain grows bigger and bigger. You start to breathe heavier, your heart races and suddenly you exhale a roar from the pit of your stomach that pierces the silence and echoes into the emptiness, leaving you gasping for breath. The sound pulsates through my heart so hard, it stings with every heartbeat. 

To watch you lose control and seem so lost and then turn to me and say that I can leave if I want to, breaks my heart. Because I have my own beast that I carry on my back and it shares the same darkness as your own. You remind me so much of myself but I sometimes wonder if that will destroy us; if our beasts collided, would they rip each other apart? We would never intentionally hurt each other, but if we're both trapped in the eye of our own storms, together as one storm we could destroy everything and everyone we love including each other. 
And to give me permission to leave if I want to, an out if I need it, can only come from being left by people you loved who didn't understand you or the beast within and gave up. I know I can't tame the beast, but I can calm you down when you start to lose control. I can hold your hand as you look the beast in the eye and I will scream with you until our throats are raw and the beast is temporarily subdued. I don't want to look into your eyes one day and see the light gone out for good. We get high together to keep our beasts asleep and numb ourselves to the world. But we're becoming zombies walking around trying to keep our heads on straight, duct taping our broken patchwork bodies back together with more than a few screws loose. 

 

Every day you open my mind to a world outside this tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Everyone grows up too fast in this town just so they can escape it quicker. I swear you look to the stars because you're an alien who was dropped into this world and knows deep down you don't belong. God knows we don't belong in this town and I refuse to die here. We may be alive but we are barely living and when it comes down to it, either we escape this place or it becomes our prison and our beasts escape the cages we lock them in only to consume us until we become nothing.

Like I said, I have my own inner demons, everyone does. I look at my body in the mirror but the reflection I see is a lie constructed by the beast to manipulate and torment me. I fixate on my underweight, skeletal figure; my body dysmorphia warps my perception of myself and the beast inside grows bigger as my heart grows heavier.
You are like a werewolf, a boy who transforms into a beast, lashing out and howling at the moon to take you home. I am like a vampire, thin and pale and unable to see my reflection, wishing I could exist outside of the darkness. 

It all seems cheesy and overdramatic but I guess putting our unexplainable inner darkness into the form of a character makes it easier to deal with; if you can picture your problem as a monster, you can fight it or at least accept its existence.

The other night you told me you loved me for the first time. You were drunk, I was high and you were truly happy for the first time in a long time. In the last few days you've been struggling, the beast has surfaced a few times. You punched a bin a few months back and you've damaged your right hand, the hand you use to draw and create art that the world shouldn't be deprived of. If you could never draw again, I think it would break you. You keep punching things to release anger but all it causes you is pain, you chain smoke cigarettes until it feels like your lungs are collapsing and you want to stop but you're losing the will to care and as you rapidly lose control and frantically grab air for something to stop you falling, I do the only thing I can; I ask you a question about the building blocks of the universe, an attempt to soothe the beast by appealing to the side of you that seeks truth above all else. 
And then suddenly, out of the blue in a moment of clarity, the beast crawls back in its cage and you can breathe. You explain to me what I don't understand and I listen intently. We talk for hours about your theories and inventions, we create new unique solutions that could solve the world's problems and make future plans to travel across the globe in search of the answers to the oldest questions. Suddenly there is no trace of the beast and when I look in your eyes, I see you. 

You decided to take control and now you're finally doing a job you love, you're applying for an art course at university and you're on your way to becoming the person you want to be and I am so proud of you.

I love you. I love your mind and I love the beast that lives in your brain. I love every part of you and even though I'm not ready yet, one day I will let you love every part of me. You've caught the occasional glimpse of my beast; I find it easier to contain it when I'm around you but occasionally it slips through when I catch sight of my reflection or my brain starts overloading like a system malfunction. This depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and body dysmorphia suffocates me and I refuse to ask you for help because you're already weighed down by your demons and you don't need the weight of mine. Not that that stops you from trying to fight my demons for me. You know exactly how to make me smile even when I don't want to. 

True love isn't roses and chocolates and happy endings, it's seeing the ugly darkness and choosing to stay. I don't want you to change who you are and I expect nothing from you. Our minds share the same creative formula to escapism, you with your art and me with my music. You waited patiently for me to love you and I waited until I was ready to let myself love again and now that we are finally here together in this moment of uncertainty, I want you to know that I am yours for as long as you want me and when the beast shows his face, I will not run away and I will not leave you. This is a promise and a vow.

With love,
H.

 

 

 

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