Love Letters to my Sort of Ex's Ex's.

There's a quote from one of my favorite childhood movies, Labyrinth - the first I remember when the female protagonist being the hero - that always stuck with me. It didn't become a real valuable quote until the last few years when I fought and screamed and became the hero in my own story.

"Through dangers untold & hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great....YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME." 

Within the context of the story, Sarah uses this quote to empower herself - a holdover from a fairy tale she once read. She defeated the Goblin King, rescued her baby brother & found herself a hero. The Goblin King - who had enacted terrible things in what he thought in her name, to win her, or something. The Goblin King that he was special. He wasn't. And he didn't hold power over anyone who chose to be more powerful.

I realized this week that my own personal Goblin King - all flash, and makeup, and facade - no longer has any power over me. How, you ask?  I recently was following a popular (and important) hashtag on twitter & retweeted a gal who spoke of something relevant to me without looking too closely, but when I saw it again, I realized the girl was the first girl my Goblin King abandoned my broken heart for. He lied to her, told her I was a stalker (when she found texts from me, I presume?) & I'm sure other unkind things. He did this not just with her over the course of 5 years but several other women. He'd be dating them, talking to me, telling me he cared about me, etc but playing with the others too. Or he'd carry on with "friends" and use them for emotional support when the girlfriend canyon ran dry. When each girlfriend would go away, he'd come back with some 'she was boring,' or some equally condescending negative excuse. Meanwhile he'd never date me because "My Dad thinks we are incompatible." (read that, "you have too many strong personality traits or too outspoken or too feminist" or....something. who knows. Maybe I was too fat, too ethnic for their family. I honestly can't tell you.)

But when I encountered this young lady - who is (it appears) happily married now - on twitter, I just laughed. Not at her because, she's running a brilliant podcast with a feminist bend (kudos!) and running her career like a boss, but at how ridiculous it was to ever fall victim to this goblin king's manipulative devices. It turns out that he was all paper tiger. But to the women who fell into his path - I have some things to say - kind ones, not hateful.

to A -
you are a brilliant mind & man I wish I could know you. As a woman who loves and admires women who fight hard for feminist ideals in beautifully God-honoring ways, I respect and admire you. I'm happy you are married and found your way out from under GK's thumb. You cannot know the scourge you escaped. I don't know, maybe you do. You're better for it & clearly happily married (isn't it great to be with a man who can and does love you properly and not just for show?) His actions were hurtful me, but you couldn't have known. You probably joined in his mocking of me, I can't fault you for that because I can't see you really being anything but kind. I've listened to the podcast & have to say I'm in awe. It's a needed thing and you and your friend who host it are amazing. I hope you don't mind that I listen and read along because books are awesome. 

to K -
I didn't know much about you. I'm sure he told you plenty of ugly lies about me, if at all. He had to tell you something, I'm going to guess - he had to keep is image clean. He told me things about you too. I don't think they were true though - now. I'm sorry for listening to him. My guess is you are a creative, wonderfully passionate woman. You were the 'rebellion' he had, or so he said. And I know that at some point you probably spoke truth to him or about him and he fell to pieces. Honestly, you were more woman than he could ever have handled & it's a good thing he isn't in your life anymore. It is for me, anyway. I just wanted to say - I admire your bold, brilliant personality and hope he didn't do so much damage as he did to me. 

to C -
No, you're not technically an ex but then again, neither am I. There is a lot of water under the bridge between you and I. And a lot of weird competitive, hatefulness's, accusations and a world of issues.  A short paragraph doesn't begin to cover over it or make it better. But I'm sorry for diminishing you as a woman, as a mother. You are an amazing mother and I know still are - I pray you have found happiness in your new life & that there was some freedom away from your past and the GK too. Maybe you're still close to him - but he strikes me more as the 'out of sight, out of mind' kind of human. Either way, that's not mine to care about. What I do want to say is I have utmost respect for you and I know you cared for him - probably more than you were willing to admit to anyone, and probably most of all to yourself. But you were right that he is immature and not good for a grown woman. I wish I had listened to you, honestly. For a brief moment when we were friends, I was blessed to know you and respect and admire you still. You are an inspiration in so many ways. Thank you for that short season - for helping make really awful memories better. 

to the A after the final me -
My goodness, you are beautiful and talented. And I wish I could have warned you of what his "friendship" would cost you. That it would use you up, take advantage of your gifts, your talent and drain you dry and leave you. I know you loved him - there's no explanation for what you did for him, helped him heal (?) through. As you came after I closed the book on my relationship with him, I'm certain he told you the lies about me - how I lied to him, or what a monster I was to him. I wish I could tell you the truth - I wish I could tell you my side of the story to help you understand your own hurt in the aftermath. Maybe I am wrong to think you loved him and he hurt you - but seeing you are no longer his friend anymore, I am going to guess my gut is right & his track record has not improved. I know you're beautiful and your heart has to be empathetic, giving and kind beyond reason. How? Because that's who he looked for to use. You weren't the first and neither was I. But I know you love Jesus and that HE will heal your heart & one day - a man who is a MAN will love you properly. I just want you to know I respect how you respected yourself enough to walk away  - that is more than I could ever do until I was a hollowed out human. I had to let him break me into pieces. So for that, you have my greatest admiration and affection. I hope your author career takes off and you are crazy successful. You deserve it. 

to the current one -
Maybe you're his one and only. I hope so. I hope and pray he's grown, matured and has somehow miraculously turned into a man. If not, I hope you tuck tail and run from his immaturity.  I hope you love him with your eyes open, though because he's spent time with you still tormenting me. That's probably not the best thing for your relationship with him.  You deserve better - you're a boss woman, running your own business being awesome and such. Don't get sucked into a fantasy and Goblin King world that won't end in anything but heartache. Either way, I wish you happiness, joy, peace and love. And him too, be that with you or anyone else. Maybe you can help him heal the damage that runs deep enough to leave a wake up devastation behind him. That would be lovely for your sake. But He told me once that He wasn't capable of love anymore. That's scary. I'm with a man who loves me better than anything the GK ever could have dreamed up. You deserve that. I hope he's giving you that because we all know he couldn't offer it to any of us. I'm sure I speak for all of us, we wish the best of luck and joy.

To all of you:
You have my deepest love and respect in every sense of the word. Because of each of you, I was able to find freedom from the power of the Goblin King. It hurt in the moment, but I would never have been able to become the hero in my own story and own my own heart. I wish I could meet each of you, hug you, cry tears of joy with you over the achievements in your life, the joys, the sorrows and overcoming you accomplish. In fact, know that right now, I'm sharing those tears with you. And you, beautiful, beautiful women - may your journey be as wonderful, beautiful and kind as you are. 


Sarah Williams inside her dream, dressed up for Jareth's ball. #labyrinth #sarahwilliams:


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