The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Dear Matt

by Alana WexlerSurvivor, Hodgkin's LymphomaMay 7, 2024View more posts from Alana Wexler

Dear Matt,

If you are reading this, it means that I am not going to die anytime soon. Sorry.

If it were the other scenario, we would likely still be in our relationship.

It’s crazy to think I’ve given my health status that much power over me and my relationships, but it’s true.

To blame you for me wanting to leave this relationship is so much easier than owning my power and facing the fact that I am responsible for my life and my happiness.

When I reconnected with you a few months ago, I thought I was going to die. From cancer. Again.

But after a bunch of tests and doctor visits these past few months, I finally have my answer and it turns out that I am no longer headed down that path.

Instead, I have been blessed with a path toward a long healthy life. And so I choose to embrace this path and live like it.

To live a long, healthy life means to let go of the belief that I have a significantly shortened lifespan and to release the need to act from a place of fear and impulsiveness. It means acknowledging that my needs are changing and that it is okay.

It means to let go of you. Which has been the hardest paradox to face within myself. Because I will always want you. Not because of what you’ve taken, but because of what you’ve given me.

But I know that by letting you go, I am making room in my life for all the potential that awaits me on this journey.

The day before I ended things with you, I saw my oncologist who said that since I’ve stayed on a good course with my health these past four years, there’s a good chance that I will stay on track to meet the five-year goal marking five years of remission where I will finally be considered “cured” of cancer.

And if I am going to live a long healthy life, then I have a chance to try for something that once seemed impossible—an intimate relationship with someone who loves me and chooses me. I can finally slow down and soak everything in and not rush into something based purely on feelings.

When I met you, the most radical thing I could’ve done at the time was be in an intimate relationship with someone and have sex. All risks and unknowns be damned. I blindly dove into a relationship with you without any worries about the consequences because I just knew what I wanted and I was determined to get it. I had no idea what kind of journey I was about to embark on. During our time together, I went through so much pain and I also had the time of my life.

Even with all the ups and downs and heartbreak, I learned so much about myself because of our relationship, and I opened myself up to a whole new world of potential. I finally got a taste of what it felt like to experience being “human.” To experience all of my emotions, to open my heart to someone, to let someone in, to love someone, to be happy, to be sad, to be angry, to be scared, to feel everything. To feel alive.

You made me feel alive, Matt. And that is the greatest gift a person could ever give me.

That was the sole reason why I reconnected with you. To be reminded that I am alive.

Like I had done when I was first diagnosed, I made my bucket list of things I wanted to do in case my cancer returned. And reconnecting with you was on the list.

And now that I am considered “healthy” again, I realize that my story does not end with you. I no longer feel the desire to settle with you.

Settling for just sex used to be okay with me, back when I thought I was going to die and didn’t think I would ever have the capacity to build a long-term relationship with anybody.

Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve since learned that a relationship built on fear cannot be sustained because it does not allow for room to grow or change. There is no space for potential.

I really didn’t want to let you go. God, I miss you so much. But I know it’s the right thing for me to do if I ever want to have a chance to meet someone who loves me as much as I love them and wants to be in a serious, committed, long-term relationship with me.

Hell, I’m still not sure I want that. But I know now I want more from a relationship than just sex.

Hey, do you remember when you said that you had prayed that I would separate from that mindset where I submit to guys so easily for sex because I believed I was going to die in the next few years? Well, thanks for that. I think it worked. God must have listened.

I don’t think you know this, but you also represent a part of my sick person identity. The cancer-patient-who-gives-no-fucks-whatsoever persona. To suddenly let go of this identity and these last four years and grow into a new chapter in my life seems terrifying to say the least. I am jumping off the diving board into a new ocean of life. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do now.

One thing I do know is that I deserve the “full human experience.” I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I have a feeling it entails feeling the full spectrum of my emotions again, making more connections, collecting more evidence that good people exist in the world, finding more things that bring me joy, cultivating more love in my life, excavating more things I have yet to discover within myself, seeing how beautiful the world is in person, having amazing sex with someone who loves me as much I love them, and risking it all just to potentially get my heart broken again.

I think to be heartbroken means to be alive. Because it means we have lost something we have loved. It means we have opened our hearts and let people in, despite the fear of the unknown and the risk of getting hurt. What an amazing superpower that is.

While I was summoning up the courage to finally ask for more from our relationship, I started discovering that I had other needs that could be met too. Since I met you, I have made more friends than ever before in my life, I have rediscovered my passion for volleyball and dance, I have found that I carry the courage to try new things and travel by myself, and I have harnessed the hope of finding more good people and keeping my heart open despite heartache.

Despite all the tears and all the pain, I don’t regret meeting you and I don’t regret our relationship. I needed this experience to find myself and I did, so thank you.

Thank you for saying yes to our relationship. Even though we both didn’t exactly know where it would lead us.

I hope your journey brings you more courage, clarity, confidence, and, above all, authentic love.

Thank you. I love you.

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