You'll be the first I write to, because out of everyone I may (or may not) write to; YOU are most likely to see this as some bizarre internet art, which I'm going to class it as. You told me many years ago that you were never worried about my work, I was an artist and I would create (wether it was good or not is another discussion I'm sure).
It's been almost three times as long as I knew you since I last had contact with you. Do you still think of me? I'm going to arrogantly assume that occasionally you do. I don't mean that you sit and daydream, but I think sometimes I cross your mind. Maybe there's another student (are you still teaching?) that says or does something and you think of me.
I count you as part of the before diagnosis. Pre-DX if you like, and I now look at what happened with a Post-DX brain. I am colder now, quieter. I am different. But not so different that I won't write a letter to you and post it online. I've always enjoyed writing, photography. I aim to play to my strengths, sometimes. I believe (now) that I do have strengths, and they lay within text and pictures. Or at least, today I have strengths. Today is a good day.
I digress, and I question wether you'd really care about my mental health and wellbeing these days. I am no longer a student and I am no longer a facet of your life. But on my Post-DX brain you left an impression. I think, now, that my behaviour and feelings towards you were not love, I don't think I had the acute ability to love back then. Not like I do now. Too much drink, too much hedonism which coloured everything and all my feelings - how could it not? I can appreciate why you once said you were worried about me, I worry about that young woman too. But she made it through, and I am protective over her in a way I never thought I would be.
The person I am is not the person I thought I would be. When I discuss you, like this, it is less about you and more about that period in my life. I feel lighter when I think of that period of time, probably because I left a piece of myself with you, there, in that corner. It beats and it breathes and there is still part of me living there, and I hope, if you're still there, you're keeping that part of me alive and well.
Because lets remember that for all her problems and issues, she was a fireball, wasn't she? With a tale to tell that shocked and delighted in equal measures, a way of living that was so un-abashed and brave. I don't live like that anymore, I don't think I could, I'd be dead if I had tried. (Would you attend my funeral? Morbid I know, but I can't help but wonder).
You taught me a lot and for that, I am thankful. I'm not just on about the art. I was so careless with my feelings at one point, I'm far more guarded now but I still leak all over the place. I also learnt, a few years after I last emailed you, that I do make the same mistakes time and time again. Another man who kept his girlfriend/partner a secret. I still blame myself at times for not asking the right questions, which is silly really.
Did I teach you anything? I hope I did, and I do hope I left a positive mark on your life. I always imagined that your life was had become quite sedate and calm (I won't say boring), and then this banshee rolls in disrupting so much with her hangovers and nicotine-stained fingers. Maybe I give myself too much credit. Maybe I don't give myself enough. (HA)
I want you to know that I am ok now. I have good days and I have bad times. Sometimes I end up in psychiatric wards but I rarely self harm. I think back on that time with fondness, and a little warmth, I smile, I laugh about it all with my partner who I love so much.
Look after you.