Dear Donna, an open letter to my old forgotten alter-ego


Dear Donna,

It’s been some time since I’ve had a chance to think about you, which is strange as you were such a big part of my life.

You and I were such polar opposites, yet somehow together we made such a great team. I always envied your freedom. You may have been rough around the edges but I fully understood you and what you were about, there were times when I felt so alone but knowing you were so close made me feel like I could get through the tough days.

The truth was I wished I could be you, I wished I was as brave and strong as you were. You didn’t let anyone hurt you and sometimes that wasn’t so good, you needed to learn how to let people in but you couldn’t so instead you kept your distance, this never made you feel alone though, you just kept going, never letting life’s struggles weigh you down or fear hold you back.

You see over the years I’ve changed, whilst I eventually learned to let just one person in, I also lost a big part of myself. See giving your whole entire life to another person can be great, but the down side is sometimes there are parts of yourself you’ve forgotten, either because that characteristic, personality or quirk just doesn’t fit into the new life you’ve created, or you simply just outgrew those things and forgot.

In my process of growing up, I gave up a lot of things that I used to enjoy and would make me happy, I figured they were immature and that now I was growing up, I would replace that happiness with grown up things. The nights out became staying at home and getting a good night sleep, the random shopping splurges became saving up for big adult things that would benefit me for years, the meeting random strangers and becoming best friends in seconds became trying to fix relationships over and over again even if it was broken long ago, the hardest part I had to learn was how to stay in a job even if I was extremely unhappy all because it was in management instead of those random jobs I used to get, the ones in retail or in something completely bizarre that whilst it didn’t pay so great it made me so happy, having peers, a group to belong to rather than a cold empty office filled with drones and blank faces.

Sometimes I hear your voice mock me for how I sold out. I know that wasn’t part of the agreement we had. We were meant for great things, we were going to travel the world, meet people from every culture and background, we were going to fill our heads with memories of being free, seeing, touching, feeling but instead I get to settle for a picture of my dream destination hung up on my office wall, trying to save for that much anticipated trip but for some reason each and everytime I get so close, I end up back at the beginning again, life happens, the money needs to go somewhere else, there isn’t any time to take a holiday, it’s just the wrong time at the moment and so on and so forth the list of excuses is just endless. But you, you never let excuses stop you. You always thought excuses were going to be the death of me, you’re probably going to be right.

Whilst I’m glad I was able to grow up, I do miss the old times, your wild spirit would occasionally rub off on me, sometimes I felt indestructible, I figured all the things we had dreamed about was going to happen in my 20’s. Maybe it still will but the thing is I’m 24 and I haven’t left the country in over 10 years. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given but I cant help but think about how different I could have been, how life could have turned out had I let you influence me.

Maybe we could have seen a little more than the city, maybe I could have met more people rather than trying to fix broken relationships, maybe I could have learned more about myself instead of spending my time off trying to figure out what to do with my life. The truth is I’m so lost right now. If ever I needed you to find me, it would be now. I’ve changed so much in the space of a few years that I forgot to keep track of who I was.

I forgot what makes me laugh, what makes me happy, what I think is important and where I want to go. It’s so scary to be this lost at such a precious stage in my life. I don’t know who I can trust anymore.

I guess I just needed a familiar friendly face to help me get through this.

Donna, you were so resilient, so strong, you didn’t need to be given good news in order to pick yourself up after a string of bad luck, heck, you went out and found the good yourself. You were so good at being able to pick up the pieces after something had knocked you down. You were tough and I envy you, for being able to keep going after the shit that has been thrown at you.

I used to think it was just the character you had, but it wasn’t was it? You created that barrier between yourself and the world because you knew you deserved to be happy, that’s something I need to learn too. I’m still a work in progress and whilst I was 18 that was okay to say, now I’m suppose to have it figured out a little more, I’m suppose to have some kind of plan but like the words of Phoebe Buffay, I don’t even have a ‘pla’.

But how did you do it? How did you overcome the struggles? Were you so jaded that you didn’t even acknowledge the problems, or did you silently pray they would go away. Whilst you never let it affect you, you never let it stop you from having a good time, you also carried a lot of it, my god our years together was so hard because of everything you were trying to carry.

Your sadness from your childhood, the heartbreaks you went through, and the rejection you felt on a daily basis. No, that never showed through your face, that smile stayed on your face, but surely that façade couldn’t go on forever right? I know your heart and there were times that I was just afraid you would explode with every emotion you tried to bottle up.

I guess that’s what made things work between us. Whilst you bottled things up and kept the party going, I was comfortable with crying in the safety of my room, I accepted that I had problems and that I needed to face them. You ran away from everything that could hold you down but what you never realized was that baggage you were struggling to hold on to, was the weight that stopped you from ever really getting very far.

Whilst I envied your freedom, I also despised the prison you were living in. You couldn’t see that by not letting anyone in, you were stopping yourself from developing any real meaningful relationships. But maybe that was the plan all along, you always thought that friendships weakened you, you were so afraid of being weak, probably because you were taught to be tough. The thing is despite your fear of close contact you craved it more than anything, so afraid to fall in love like you’d done in the past you refused to form a close bond with anyone. But then you wanted the physical closeness so you just filled your bed with any one willing to fill that empty space for the night. Heaven forbid they wanted to see you again after, well that was like a death sentence for you. You were so closed off from emotions that you never believed anyone actually wanted to stay, so you left before you could be left, before anything real could actually happen, because emotions got involved.

But I was there; I was there to remind you that no matter what happened in life, I would be there for you, that you would never be alone as long as you had me. Together we fought through obstacles and learned, laughed and made memories that would go down in our diary, so we could remember how fun life used to be, how crazy we were, how happy we actually once were.

If I could I would have a balance of you and I, I would life a carefree existence but also understand that sometimes life is also about responsibilities and that we all need to grow up in order to continue to feel fulfilled.

Sometimes I’m sitting on my own, looking through old photos and I see ones of you, your dyed ginger hair, that big smile and eyes open so wide, trying to contain how happy you are and it makes me feel so many emotions. I feel like its been so long since you were around that I almost feel nostalgic seeing your pictures. Those are the only memories I have of yours, well those and the crazy clothes you used to wear…in fact I still have the last dress you wore, the one I wouldn’t be caught dead in now. Short, revealing…that’s just not my life anymore, and anyway where would I wear it? I just don’t live the kind of life we used to. My main source of confidence came from you.

I never figured that you would ever go, I never thought I’d outgrow our friendship Donna. But maybe it was for the best that it ended when it did. Party girls have to grow up at some point, otherwise they’ll end up being the only people at the party when everyone else is at home with their families, their children, their home and their careers.

I know that my life has changed and somewhat improved since you left, I do miss how you added craziness and mayhem to my life. With you I felt like I could do anything, but now, I feel content with just being able to be the best person I can be…so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts.

But I do appreciate the love you showed me when no one else did, the way you supported and took care of me when I felt like I didn’t deserve it. For keeping me alive when all I ever wanted was to give up. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, and for being the home I could always feel safe in.

I hope someday we will see each other again, and you’ll be proud of how I finally made something of my life. I hope when that happens you can be part of it, I hope that my happy healthy balance of grown up and free spirit can make bring together our bond again, and that someday I’ll be able to fix both of our problems and flaws so that when I look in the mirror, I won’t be seeing ‘Donna’ or ‘Jessy’ I’ll see me, a combination of both, the good, the bad, the confident, strong, but also loving person who for so many years had to be two different people in order to survive the battle of life, but is now a whole fully functioning human being.

I hope wherever you end up, wherever you go, whatever you do and whoever you do it with, that you’ll be happy and content in the existence you call life.

Always yours,

Your old friend Jessy.


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