Repentance. Webster's Unabriged Dictionary defines the word as "deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrong doing or the like..." I have done wrong by many women in my life. This is my act of contrition.
When I was in the twelve step program for my Sex addiction, one of the final steps to recovery was to contact everyone you had ever hurt because of your addiction and apologize. I never stayed in the program long enough to get to that point. I couldn't get behind all the religious overtones and the need to submit yourself to a higher power. Logic and the human will are the highest powers I acknowledge. Even if I had stayed in the program I would have found such a task monumental. My list is long. Now, as I approach my goal of absolute freedom from this addiction I am going back to steal a page from SLAA and apologize to everyone I have hurt. Perhaps some of them will even read this. I am embarrassed to say that my memory for names is not very good so I apologize if I leave out a name or two. In fact there are many that I have forgotten entirely therefore I am limiting this writing to those women that I was in an actual relationship with (meaning more than two weeks). For all the other women, the one night stands and weekend flings, I apologize to you as well, along with anyone else I have left out. This is my open apology to all women who have ever had the misfortune of dealing with a man like me. I promise, I will be a better man. You are all now my committed allies in keeping me on the straight and narrow. Remind me of this post if you ever see me stray.
Tuerrie, (I'm sure I just murdered your name, but I'm not sure I ever really knew how to spell it.) You were my first kiss. I remember us out on that canoe in the middle of the Lake at the family reunion. Your family was like family to us and so we invited you to come join us. We made out all afternoon and it was wonderful. Until then I had never thought that any girl could ever find me attractive. My life had been nothing but hell until that kiss. You and I set up a date a few weeks later and you stood me up. It hurt me and I never forgot it. I was only twelve then. I was still innocent. That was the last summer of my innocence. When I was sixteen your mother called me out of the blue to ask me to take you to the prom. I accepted and when I went to pick you up that night I sat listening to you tell me over and over how we were just going as friends and that this date didn't mean anything. I resolved right then and there to make you fall in love with me so that I could hurt you like you had hurt me. I did and I am sorry.
Jeanette, you were my first real girlfriend. I met you at Harding Junior High and you asked me out. I accepted and immediately started pressuring you to have sex with me and then left you a few weeks later when you declined. I was so wrong I'm embarrassed to even write this. I am sorry.
Here's one of the hard ones. Chrissy, you were my first love. I put you on a pedestal. I worshipped and adored you and you destroyed me. I have never hurt the way you made me hurt. I forgive you for that now. With all the obstacles we had to deal with at that young age I should have just left you alone. It was too much for you. I understand now why you tried to leave me that first time. I should have let you go. The pressures of racism are too much for many adults. It was wrong for me to expect a fourteen year old girl to handle it. I still don't understand why you cheated on me with my best friend while I was working everyday to support you, but I've let that go too. I still should not have cheated on you. I am sorry.
Michele, Candice, Crystal, Naomi, I used you all to deal with the pain I was going through with Chrissy. I was not in a good place then and you deserved much more than I gave you. Naomi, I did love you and I wish I had given you a chance. I'm sorry if I made you feel unappreciated. Candice, you were a good friend and I should have kept you as my friend instead of taking you as my lover. I've made that mistake more times than I can count. I'm sorry and I apologize to all of you.
I can't remember the name of the girl I dated before college. It disturbs me that I can't but it doesn't surprise me. I took you for granted. You were so good to me. We met at the Blue Horizon on Halloween night and immediately fell into a relationship that I was just barely committed to. There were other women and I was not in love. I just could not stand to be alone and you were there. You deserved so much more than that. I left for college without giving you hardly any notice that I was leaving and never stayed in touch. I should have treated you so much better than that. I am sorry.
Felicia, you were my rock in college. You were my bestfriend. The funny thing is that with the big crush I had on your roommate I cannot even remember her name now. It was you I stayed in touch with and it was you who were always there for me. It was nice when you came to visit me in Philly. I can't even regret the sex. It was honest and open and beautiful. I don't regret what happened with you and Renee' and I either. I cherish that memory even if it did get a little out of hand at the end. I'll admit it now that I got a little jealous. I was more than a little possessive back then. Even still, that first night was very special. We should have just left it at that. And what can I say about San Francisco? You walked into one hell of a screwed up situation with Toni and I and I'm sorry you got stuck in the middle of that. I was way out of control by then. I had no idea that you had feelings for me. You had been my friend for so long I still thought of you that way. I wish you had come to my wedding. I wish we were still friends now. I'm sorry if I ever hurt or disappointed you. I love you sister girl.
Renee', you remain the standard by which I judge all women. You were the most incredible woman I'd ever met. You taught me so much. I would not be half the man I am today were it not for you. The best thing you ever did for me was to get me out of Philly. For that alone I am grateful. Both of us being artists was a lot harder than I thought it would be. In the end it turned into some kind of competition and that took a toll on our relationship. We were also both sex-addicts which almost sounds like it should have been perfect but we both know that we abused each other because of it. I still laugh when I think about calling you up and begging you not to have any other women in my bed when I got home from work because I was tired. That would have been most men's dream and it was mine for a while until it got out of control. That night with Pinay is still in my top ten. If I never told you how beautiful you were to me I hope you know that now. I'm sorry for how things ended.
Toni, I don't think I ever had a better friend than you. I was way too honest with you about everything while at the same time giving you all kinds of mixed signals. We should have never been more than friends. I loved you so much and back then I didn't know any other way to express my love except through sex. I miss you a lot. I'm sorry for hurting you.
Jennifer, damn you were beautiful. I don't think I'd ever seen anything as beautiful as you when I walked into that store on Haight Street. I never expected you to call me. I loved being with you, but I can't honestly say I ever really loved you. I was already damaged goods by that point. I had more issues than I could enumerate and no one at that time could have kept me satisfied for long. What we had wasn't love though I liked you a lot. I think we both knew that. I treated you like a trophy and I'm sorry. You deserved better. The way things ended was terrible too. I should have been honest with you instead of letting you walk in on me like that. I can't even remember the name of the girl I was with though I apologize to her too. She became a regular booty call for me and that wasn't fair to her either. Sorry to both of you.
Natasha, I loved you so much. You put up with a lot of shit with me. I wish we had met at another time and place. I was far gone when my broken pieces fell into your lap. You tied so hard to hold me together, to hold us together. I wasn't worthy of you.
Christina, I can still see your beautiful smile. I always felt so safe and loved in your arms. I wish I had moved in with you after I came back from Philly. I really did love you. I was going through some racial identity issues at the time and I am embarrassed to say that the only reason I didn't move in with you is because you were white. I wouldn't have admitted it to myself at the time, but I was starting to think about settling down and I was surprised to find those issues coming up. I wish you had given me a chance though. Our child would have been beautiful. Still, I understand your decision. I wouldn't have made a very good father at that time. I wasn't ready yet. I forgive you and I hope you forgive me. I'm sorry for ever hurting you.
Kelly, my beautiful brown poetess. I remember watching you read your sultry love poems while the Brown Fellinis played jazz in the background and being absolutely mesmerized. I knew I had to have you. I went back the next week just to see you. The first time I called you and heard your answering machine message I knew it wouldn't work between us. You were very religious and I was the biggest sinner around. But you were just so beautiful and so sexy. Every time we made love there was such a powerful connection. I loved introducing you to new experiences. We never really dated though we were always intimate. I guess that's what I'm really sorry for. I never gave you a chance. I used you for sex and that was as close as I allowed you to get. I never thought we could be more and perhaps we never would have, still, I wish we had tried. When you got engaged and moved to Atlanta, even though I was already married myself by then, it hurt more than I ever admitted.
Mona, I don't even know where to begin. I watched you dance every night for months just in awe of you. I had never seen a body like yours before. And the way you moved! I was blown away when I found out that you liked me too. I think every lesbian in the club wanted you. You were like some mighty Amazon warrior. You were the woman I thought I was supposed to be with. A powerful, beautiful, Black Queen. But you were just so damned muscular. It started to freak me out after a while and I wasn't man enough to tell you what was going on. I just became less and less intimate with you and then finally left. I was so wrong. I rushed into my relationship with you and then rushed back out just as quickly. I led you on, however unintentionally, talked to you about marriage before I was sure that you were what I wanted. I'm so sorry.
Rosie, I made so many mistakes with you. I hate giving excuses, but I was young and ignorant of so many things. I didn't know shit when I met you. The longest relationship I'd been in prior to meeting you was two years. I had no conflict resolution skills. In my past relationships, when arguments started I started looking for other women and then started looking for the exit door. I was a raging sex-addict at the height of my addiction when we moved in together. I promised you that I would get rid of all the other women and then I blamed you for not being able to satisfy the sexual needs that the other women had fulfilled. And I have to admit that there was still one that I held on to long after we got married. After you got pregnant and your sex drive dwindled to nothing I would lay in bed at night in a silent rage thinking that you were rejecting me and regretting my decision to marry you. I didn't know anything about the hormonal and emotional changes women go through during pregnancy. I took it as some type of slight against me and I went outside our marriage more times than I could ever confess to. When your sex drive never recovered the way I thought it should I continued my affairs, even taking a mistress for the last four years of our marriage. There were a lot of things wrong with our marriage, you were sort of cold, you had intimacy issues going back to your childhood, you never gave me compliments, rarely hugged or kissed me, and seemed to take the constant compliments and fawning affection I lavished on you for granted. And I was so extremely needy then. All the affection you withheld from me were the very things I was addicted to. I hurt more often than not in our marriage and rather than deal with those issues I ran from them into the arms of other women. I am sorry.
Zondria, you were there for me through so much. I owe you more than I could ever repay. You say that I helped you grow as a person, but I took a lot from you as well. I put you through hell in the more than half a decade we were together. I loved you so desperately. For so long you were the only thing that made me happy. I wish I had not been married when our relationship began. I wish I had given us more of a fair chance when my marriage ended. I don't know how you managed to still love me through all of that. I wish I had let you go and not contacted you again once I had started a new relationship with someone else. You had gotten everything good I had to give at that point. You didn't need me or my issues any more. All I had left to give was pain. But there was always something magical between us, the way we made love, the way we loved and nurtured each other, the way we always seemed to be able to anticipate each other's needs and give each other exactly what we needed. We seemed like such a perfect fit, but there were always obstacles and most of them came from me. I think I was just afraid. You were so perfect. If I married you and things didn't work out than I would have known that the problem was me. You loved me so much I just couldn't stand the thought of us one day yelling and screaming at each other. I couldn't stand the thought of us not loving each other one day. I never wanted to look in your eyes and not see that love there. The thought terrified me. In the end, it happened anyway. I wish you all the happiness in the world. You deserve it. You are beautiful. Never forget that. I am sorry for everything.
Glenda, I have known you for more than a decade. You were my comfort and my joy on many occasions. I was barely more than a boy when we first met. I know that I abused the power you allowed me to hold over you. I did love you in some way that even I struggled to understand. That mad passionate thing we had between us was always a hair trigger away from a major explosion. I am sorry that we were never officially a couple. I'm sorry I never let you all the way in. I'm sorry for how you came back into my life so many years after we said our goodbyes and I'm sorry about how we finally had to say goodbye again. I'm glad that you were able to find your peace and clean up your life. I truly hope you are able to hold onto this newfound strength. Have a good life.
Christie, we have survived so much. I have said many times that we make no sense together. We don't. You are the most argumentative, emotionally dependent, frustrating, infuriating woman I have ever met. Frankly, you scare the hell out of me. It scares me that I could have fallen in love with a woman so obviously wrong for me, a woman with the potential to ruin my life, yet I have. I guess it is true that opposites attract. We have clashed far too often. We have hurt each other far too much. It seems we have never been completely committed to each other at the same time. When I run away you try to hold on. When I try to hold on to you you push me away. I apologize for my part and I will make a deal with you. If you hold onto me I will hold on to you. Not just for Isis, but for us, for our future. We could spend the rest of our lives making each other miserable or we could make paradise, we could make a family, one we could both be proud of. I have made my choice and I believe you have made yours. No more hurting each other. No more hurting anyone. No more apologies. I want this to be the last apology letter I ever have to write.