Monday, April 23, 2012

the spill your guts letter: yay or nay?

It was eighth grade. 1993-1994. My best friend and I both liked the same guy. Back then, all was fair in love and pre-algebra and when he declared that he liked me back, I got to be the one that dated him. I'm really not sure what he was thinking. She looked like a thirteen year old Goldilocks and I looked like a thirteen year old Frida Kahlo with braces, but whatever. The boy and I eventually broke up over the phone. I can't remember why, but like all of my break ups, I regretted it about two hours later. So, I decided to spill my guts in a note. I slipped it to him at our eighth grade graduation dance after we slow-danced to November Rain by Guns & Roses. Or it could have been I Swear by All 4 One. Eighth grade was a blur.

I'm not sure what the note said. Something about how I still had feelings for him and that I missed him and that I wish things worked out differently. And that if only we were going to the same high school than we could get back together. And I think I wrote down a couple lyrics from November Rain. Or I Swear. Or Bram Stoker's Dracula (remember, Love Never Dies?) Like I said, eighth grade was a blur. If memory serves me correctly, I don't think he ever responded or acknowledged the note. We are Facebook friends, so maybe I'll see if he has a better recollection of any of this.

I felt sort of embarrassed that I poured my heart out to him and he didn't stop me before getting into my mom's car after the dance to tell me he loved me.

I also had a habit of spilling my guts when signing yearbooks of guys I loved in high school. I liked to leave things vague and write lines like "i guess i'll leave the rest unsaid." This guy I was massively in love with sophomore year (Justin Guinn. What ever happened to you?) came up to me in geometry at the end of the year, wordlessly grabbed my yearbook and took it to his desk to sign it. I almost fainted. I was positive he was spilling his guts about how much he loved me. I walked home, determined not to read what he wrote until I was in my bedroom. I flipped the yearbook pages to where he signed it and all it said was some shit like "stay sweet. see you next year." Okay, I just looked him up on Facebook and he looks a little douchey now, so I guess it was for the best.

And then when email was invented, even though I was in my twenties and much more mature, I was still known to send a few gut-wrenching emails to old boyfriends. I kind of miss those days. Where I literally felt like I was going to throw up every time I checked my email to see if I'd gotten a response.

Whenever my friends ask me if they should write a guy a letter, I always say yes. I'm totally the girl that loves to tell people to write someone a letter they have no intention of sending just to get everything off their chest-- and then once they write it, I talk them into sending it. A few years ago, I convinced one of my bestest friends (and a contributor of this blog) to send her ex one of those letters. She still had feelings for him and their break up was super abrupt. She dropped the letter off at the post office after I gave her a million reasons why she should send it and then she called me frantically. She had just checked his myspace page and it said "in a relationship." She had to get the letter back! But she couldn't. To this day, we're not sure if he read it. They eventually met for drinks months later and the letter was never mentioned by either one of them. I still feel guilty for convincing her to send it.

My other bestie broke up with her boyfriend a couple years ago and she sent him the letter of all letters. This girl could win a pulitzer prize in letter-writing to ex-boyfriends. If I had a million dollars, I would pay her to print the letter in full on this blog, but that would be exploitative. Basically, she called him out on his shit in the most straight-forward awesome way. I think the letter ended with: "P.S. You're not as smart or funny as you think you are. Ask anyone."


Anyway. Where do you guys stand on the whole spill your guts letter? We know Film Girl has sent one. Anyone else have a story they want to share? Comment below.

*photo credit: Erica Lea


  1. Oh, my God. Yes. I am a gut-spilling letter (e-mail, text, what have you) writer at times. And I am, ummmm...a bit older than 20-something. I have written the spill-your-guts letter to both exes and friends (when there is a rift in the air). As I write, I feel that it is absolutely the right thing to do. I feel that everyone should be as open and free with words as I am. I feel that the person on the receiving end would be insane to not answer this high-minded and very important communication, the kind of communication I would love to receive. Once I send it? I tend to almost instantly regret it and think, "What the F did you say that for?????????" Again, I am long past the 8th grade and heading straight toward...being 20 years past my 20s. And yet I still do this, only to regret it. If it weren't so tragic, it would be utterly hilarious. If you asked me right now, I would say forget the drama and don't write the letter/email/text. I've regretted being the "free and open" one too many times -- and suffered too many silences in return. But maybe I should embrace that part of myself instead of rejecting it? If the peeps on the other end can't appreciate it, then F 'em, right? Errr...right?

  2. So, I already admitted that I'm an advocate of the spill your guts letter, but I vote keep doing it! At the very least, it's closure for you and even if you get a non-response, you can never look back at the situation and wonder if things would have played out differently if you just told the other person how you feel. It's cathartic. And if they don't even have the guts to respond, then definitely f'em.