An Open Letter to An Act Turned Friend
For the purposes of this open letter, the subject will be addressed as Meg. –Ty
I think you and I both know we were never going to sleep with one another. Yes, we talked about it and pretended it would happen for years, and naturally it’s fun to think about and discuss such things. Throw in a few exaggerated “turn ons” and the game is complete. But you being on a different part of the country, plus other issues made it basically impossible. Which was fine by me, because after years of that, even past the point of knowing how much of an act it was, our friendship was certainly no act to me.
I like to believe it wasn’t an act, at least. Ten years is a long time to carry on an act, even with a three year hiatus. After we lost touch, and gained it back, we seemed to pick up right where we left off. Goofy comments about our alleged liaison, but mostly just talking and emailing as always. And phone calls.
You remember the phone calls, right? Sometimes they would last for hours. Sometimes pointless, and sometimes with me trying to help you with your writing assignments. I wasn’t an especially good teacher, but I tried. Sorry for not being very helpful there. But then there were the times I we read entire Shakespeare plays to one another over the phone, switching off the roles. That was fun. Nobody else has ever done that before, and it was your own idea. I liked it.
I also always liked you for what you are, despite the fact we had some ridiculous argument like any two longtime friends are bound to have. Some were my fault, and some were yours, but to me it never changed fundamentally what I thought of you.
Until you started losing the weight.
I knew your body image was always something your struggled with. And I know that technically you were overweight. So I was happy for you when you lost the weight you wanted to. But then over the course of those two years, (during which we started writing less and less, and we never spoke on the phone anymore for whatever reason) your Facebook pictures displayed a continued weight loss that was at first impressive, than surprising, and then worrisome. I know you joined a gym, and started a juice diet and all other such things, but I remained concerned.
I could see the bones in your face, Meg. Maybe to a doctor that isn’t a big deal, but I thought that despite how much you loved your new look, you might have been going too far with it. So, despite my general belief that people ought to do with their body what they think is right, I expressed my concerns to you about it.
Your reaction was a bit hurtful to me. You told me I didn’t know a thing about it, and you also said you didn’t “have to justify” yourself to someone like me. You were mean about it, and all I had done was express a concern. You could have told me if a doctor said you were fine. You could have thanked me for my concern. You could have reassured me you were being careful. Instead, after years of confiding in one another about various things, you basically told me to butt out, because you weren’t going to justify yourself to me. (As though that is what I expected you to do.)
I still don’t know what you actual medical status is, but I have learned that such an angry reaction to someone’s concerns about your weight loss is typical for someone who knows they have gone overboard. That it’s often how people with eating disorders react at first. I am not suggesting you have a disorder, in fact I think you probably don’t. But I am suggesting that your reaction to my concern probably indicates that something about what I said struck too close to home with you. But instead of taking a few steps back and listening to me like you used to, you struck out at me, and paid more attention to all of the people who were telling you how hot you were becoming.
Obviously, things were different after that, though we still talked. Less, and you seemed uninterested in regular conversation with me. (Though I did get text pictures of you as everyone else did from time to time.)
I think my concerns are really the reason you stopped talking to me and blocked me on all social media. I realize the actual last conversation (or should I say confrontation) was about Paula Dean’s racist remarks. (About which I still think you are wholly incorrect, southern or not.) But could my thoughts on a crazy celebrity chef really have warranted an end to ten years of friendship? If it really did, than perhaps we weren’t friends like I thought we were. Perhaps being friends was as much of a fantasy as the known fantasy of us ever sleeping with one another. We originally met in a role playing game environment online. Perhaps out whole friendship was you playing a role for ten years.
Yet in the end, I think it was my concerns about your weight that pushed you away. If that’s the case, I regret that it hurt you, but I don’t regret saying it. i would say it again, if I thought someone’s health was at stake. Perhaps I was incorrect in my assessment of your weight, but you were wrong in your response to it.
Still, I hope you are in fact healthy. I hope I was wrong about your weight loss. And despite how completely unfair it is to have cut me off without warning over these things after so much time, I hope you really are at last happy with how you look.
And I hope you still read Shakespeare sometimes.
–This post is part of the Open Letter Continuum.