To All The Wrong Guys: You Da Real MVPs

(To those who will read this and think, “That bitch hella bitter,” check your systemic sexism at the door, please and thank you. Also, your fragility is showing.)

To all the Wrong Guys, thanks a million.

You’ve collectively molded yourself an interesting piece of clay, boys, I tell ya. People who look at me can’t quite seem to figure out my past influences. You’ve made some confusing art. Garage sale art.

You’re all like shitty life coaches, just collecting the fees. Instead of pointing fingers and saying who did what, I’ll be introspective. How much did I want to test myself in various scenarios? Apparently, a lot. Ultimately, no one was forcing me to stay except me. Were there outside influences making me feel paranoid about leaving (i.e., y’all motherfuckers)? Absolutely. Now I know that I will only test myself and not allow others to see how I measure up.

You’ve given me orgasms. You’ve given me depression. You’ve somehow given me both in a single night.

You all seem lifetimes behind me. Did I die, like, six times since high school and start over?

You’ve found me at the right place at the wrong time. Sometimes I was across the country; other times, across the street.

You know me drunk, angry, crying from happiness, anxious. It’s all the same to you. Just Casey being Casey. And no matter what that was, it was always too much or not enough (or so I was lead to believe).

All of this considered, you’ll be the ones I thank if the Right One(s) come along. With you, I was naive, gullible. Sucked into your atmosphere. Now I’m Teflon. The Right People will appreciate that.

You’ve given brilliant performances. I can say this with utmost certainty, as I grew up in the theatre. They’ve moved me to shrieks of joy, as well as uncontrollable sobbing. I’ve rooted for your characters, wished nothing but the best for them all, only to discover that you leave Act II sooner than you arrived. I would always tell myself, “You don’t like this playwright. Stop seeing their shows.” Inevitably, I’d buy tickets to the next one.

You’ve made me feel a lot of real shit, guys. Not just “love” and “hate”. I’m talking complex fucking feelings. Questioning every moment prior to that one, rethinking approaches, ignoring red flags in spite of you all being essentially draped in them. What level of “like” or “love” do I feel for this person? Is this even real?

Piggybacking on that last thought: when dating or in a relationship, “Is this real?” is one of the sickest questions someone can ask themselves. Are you kidding me? You have to double check your emotions because the other person can’t play fair? That makes me go crazy.

Look: the Right One(s) will have the love-swept, delirious-with-happiness, how-could-I-have-ever-accepted-anyone-else-but-you grandeur. I can’t say “I can’t wait for that moment to happen!” because, well, it might not. Or it won’t be as obvious as a rom-com plotline. It’ll hit me as hard as some of you boys have and leave aching pangs far more significant than those bruises you’d left.

Silver lining in this whole debacle: a lot of you have reformed and turned out to be okay dudes (to other women)! And I applaud this! I love growth! Tell me: Were you this way all along? Are you some sort of shape-shifter? I have so many questions. For someone who needed two years to pass geometry, I’m fascinated by 180 degrees.

Y’all are the true champions: for creating this love Frankenstein, a newly self-aware monster stitched together with the best of intentions, just figuring out my patterns as of the last few years. I’m not supposed to feel broken about men. I just don’t know any other way. It’s all about education.

So, from the bottom of my one-third dead heart, thank you.

Thank you for treating me like shit; allowing me to believe I was less I was worth; openly comparing and contrasting me to other women; using sex as a Band-Aid or bargaining tool; enjoying the fruits of my kitchen labor; manipulating my emotions; putting all the failure on me, and mostly; suppressing my sunshine.

To quote a lot of you, “It won’t ever happen again.”

Best, Just Some Girl From High School/College/The Bar/Through A Mutual Friend/Tinder/I Met On The Train/IDK Could Be Anywhere What’s Her Name Again?

P.S. If you think this piece is about you, tip your hat strategically below one eye and put on your apricot scarf.