Dear everyone I hooked up with during Freshers,
You might think that this is a letter of regret
It certainly would have been if it was written this time last year, during a period of time where I regretted every one of you. It’s not. In an unexpected turn of fate, I’ve come to thank you all – even if I know you don’t necessarily deserve it – because you taught me lessons that took almost a year to unfold.
This time last year, I saw every person I hooked up with as a ‘black mark’ on the clean slate that was my reputation; I placed a lot of my worth in my ‘number’, which is something both the media and the world teaches us to do. And it has definitely taken time – and a very open-minded set of friends who, thankfully, do not place the same weight on such a silly little number – to see myself as so much more.
I won’t lie, I didn’t truly enjoy hooking up with every one of you
Especially those in a freshers-fuelled haze. But I did enjoy your company, and I did like spending time with you, and as much as it’s hard to believe I did learn something new about myself each time.
You taught me how to feel confident in myself without needing the eyes of a boy to look me up and down. Yes, it was nice to hook up with someone, but it was nicer to learn that I wasn’t doing it for self-justification but rather because I wanted to. I remember a few periods of my life as slightly cloudier, where I can’t tell you why I wanted the person in the corner to catch my eye.
I used to see myself only as pretty if somebody else thought I was pretty enough to hook up with.
Following freshers, this is what I thought of you; a series of self-worth tools that happened to be in the club at the same time as me. But I’ve learned, from those experiences, that I am pretty because I choose to be – it doesn’t matter in the slightest what I look like on the outside. And it matters even less what someone else decides I look like.
You taught me how to love myself, when I sat on my bed wondering why hook ups were so easy but ‘real’ connection was so difficult. It took time, and it took self-growth and self-awareness, but I came to value myself not on the people who left and then, later, not on other people at all. Even more importantly, you taught me that every form of connection is ‘real’ connection, whether it lasts a few hours, a few days, or a few years.
And lastly, you taught me that hooking up with someone is not a bad thing in the slightest.
Despite what the world tries to tell us. Life is too short. If I enjoy someone’s company just for a few hours then I have lost nothing – not even my time – to that person. And definitely not some part of my ‘worth’ as a person.
So yes, if I were to do it all again then I won’t lie, I wouldn’t do it all the same. That doesn’t mean, however, that I regret a single one of you that I hooked up with. I’m thankful for the lessons you taught me, and I’m thankful for the lessons I taught myself as a result.
I only hope that you don’t regret me either and that you’ve learned to love yourself too, if you didn’t already.