To All the People I’ve Loved Before

Hey guys! So after an unexpectedly long break from posting where we made a huge bulk order for our store and went on holiday, we’re (hopefully) back to our usual posting.

I was actually inspired by Grace’s post to write this, although mine ended up turning out quite different to hers. Trying to reminisce about my romantic encounters pulled up a story I didn’t realise I was ready to tell.


Content warning: emotional and sexual abuse, depression, self harm

to all the boys people i’ve loved before.

It was the year my life was simultaneously falling apart and being rebuilt, so of course it was the year I met you and believed you’d be the one to pull me out of the sharp-edged hole I’d dug myself into. We bonded over MCR – remember when I was Helena and you were Black Delilah? That was before we both knew what we were letting ourselves in for.

Summer days on the school field, that specific lynx deodorant, traditional horror films, Paramore, MSN messenger, our airy art classroom. The way you hated when I got another piercing, when I was friendly with men whilst you openly flirted with my female friends, when I didn’t adhere to your will. The way you ignored me to watch porn. The way you broke my things and criticised my work. The way you kissed my best friend so many times on that rooftop car park.

There’s a certain road in my hometown that reminds me of our summer – whether we ran through the fields in the day or strolled down it, £2 bottles of strongbow in our hands, after the sun had set. That summer was one of my longest, but it’s winter still came suddenly.

(I remember feeling satisfied when I knew you were hurting because of me. For once, it wasn’t the other way around.)

You were there that summer too, with your sparkling eyes and your potential, blasting Guns N Roses. Everyone saw it but us before we both moved past it.

Love is never a word I’d associate with you, but you always did have a habit of pushing in where you weren’t wanted. Know this: I will never forgive your actions. Know this: I am stronger despite you.

Know this: I am not defined by what you did.

Know this: you’ll hurt for what you did to so many girls. You’ll never forget it. We won’t let you.

College came and dragged us apart after those first few back and forth years. We made a deal. You weren’t to lie to me about what happened on your end of it, but I never made such promises.

I found you in the depths of winter; he was gone again and you intrigued me. You were two years older, and your breath always had that musty scent of just smoked cigarettes. All I remember of our short and sweet December is those cigarettes, your laugh, your slight accent from living abroad for a few years.

You pushed me out of my comfort zone for a brief time and left me wondering. We danced, and we fit together so well, didn’t you think?

I always was annoyed about that shirt of mine that you ruined, though.

“Could you imagine kissing him? Having sex with him?”

“…No. No, I honestly couldn’t.”

On the first day of our second year of college, we walked the few miles to the restaurant. You needed time, you’d said. I’d had so many loves since you and I hadn’t been enough, not yet. Not until you’d experienced more, experienced different to me, become “experienced”. But I still wasn’t enough. I didn’t understand, I said. I’d waited. I’d done everything you asked, given you everything you wanted and let you do as you like without consequence. It didn’t matter.

It had taken me five years of following the road to and from you to learn what an abusive relationship was.

We’d also met on that fateful day, two new students transferring to the college for our second years, both led there by loves now lost to us. How hopeful we’d both been. I’d been offhand with you, awaiting that walk, but we both know now it wouldn’t be our last interaction.

Every memory of you is tainted, and I’m not afraid to let your poison seep into this story like it did to mine. I only wish your suspicions had been true; maybe then the pain would’ve been worth something.

(I won’t let you lay any claim to it, but your behaviour certainly fuelled my feminism.)

Our art bought us together, and you were my best friend, my model and muse. Had you ever thought it could become something more?

I wasn’t supposed to talk to you, he’d said, but you’d encompassed my life for so many years. Somehow I started to find my way to forgiveness as you found your way to admittance, to guilt. Our story is over, but I’m glad I can bump into you in town and genuinely be happy to see you and know you’re doing well.

We’ve come a long way from being the two new students at college, from being sat together in that office to standing together and saying our vows.





One thought on “To All the People I’ve Loved Before

  1. I know this is a personal post. But, it hit home for me, especially the parts about all the people who mistreated you or did not know your worth (or chose to ignore it). The cool thing is this: we grow and form our identity, our preferences, through time, and we get the courage to refuse being treated poorly because we also learn to see the signs. I hope the aches are dulled by time, and by some loving.


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