Part II: An Open Letter to All the Boys and Men I've Loved Before
It’s that time of week again Foxies. Have you been waiting with baited breath for this Part II of the Open Letter series? I’m sure you haven’t haha, I bet you’ve been out in the world enjoying good coffee, sunshine and being romanced by amazing men. Or if you’re in lockdown, cuddled up watching Netflix or busy doing up your homes.
Please note that this blog entry comes with a TRIGGER WARNING. If you are impacted or effected by topics of depression or suicide this blog contains notions of both elements, so please only proceed to read this blog if these topics do not negatively impact or trigger you.
I can’t lie, I had to pick up and then keep putting the notepad down to write this one.
I am sharing topics and stories close to my heart as I want to take opportunities to be transparent with you all.
We are all human, we all only have one life, and sharing is important. Sharing reality reminds us of what we all have in common. Just like last week, all boys/men's names have been changed.*
So here go, without further ado:
Where do I start?
When I thought I could not be more hurt.
He told me he fell in love with me as soon as he laid eyes on me. How beautiful.
This man made me feel again. He made me feel pretty, desired and loveable. Something I always felt I was lacking. I was still very hurt from the abrupt end of a previous profound relationship. Only a few short years had passed (yes, years) but I was so heart broken and shocked that the thought of dating another man had no even crossed my mind.
I was more focused on 1) trying to recover from my world being turned upside down, 2) trying to financially survive 3) trying to piece my heart bac, together and 4) trying to be the best possible mummy I could be and 5) run a business that I was still learning the ropes of.
So I guess I could safely say I had a lot going on haha.
Steve had fixed something for me at my house and asked me out on a date while he was there.
My response was, “a date?” I had to ask myself what this was again. I felt so out of touch with the dating world and the prospect of dating another man.
So many thoughts raced through my mind. Awkward!
First was, of course, what the shit do I wear?
I rang my late grandad and confided in him about Steve. When we spoke I was really honest. The issue was that I didn’t feel ready to date again. My late grandfather’s response was that I should tell Steve that and also tell him you just need a friend at the moment. Then, ask Steve if this is something that he could accept.
I spoke to Steve and told him that I did in fact needed some fun and laughter in my life and that going on a date sounded lovely. But what I really wanted and needed was time and, truthfully, a friend.
Steve accepted without hesitation.
We became wonderful friends and I always looked forward to seeing him. I can say with absolute confidence we were great friends.
He settled for a genuine friendship with me, he dated other women (well I’m not sure he saw them for too long if you know what I mean).
Time passed and I met somebody who I actually did date but then just always kept on thinking about Steve.
Why was I going on dates with this man and not with Steve?
One day I just felt trust and faith in Steve. It’s like I woke up and decided to open my heart and be open minded and date him properly. It was on. We had been friends for a few years now and had some really lovely times. I admired him, I could see a future with him. I wanted to have more children and I wanted them to be with him. I could see us so in love with our very own family. Him and I, all of him forever. He use to give me the best hugs and I’d feel so safe. He had the most amazing piercing blue eyes I’d ever seen. I had never experienced so much passion.
Then he started acting aloof, hot then cold, and would just disappear sometimes. For days.
I knew something was not right.
Then out of nowhere, he dumped me. Just like that.
He had waited years to be with me and I had really grown to trust him. I then found out that Steve had, in fact, begun a relationship with someone else. I just laid on my bathroom floor in tears for hours. The pain I had felt, the betrayal. But in a strange way, I didn’t have any ill feelings toward him and his new partner. I know this seems weird but I just had to let him go. I had so much work to do, I’d look at my little boy and just remember that we needed a bright future. That was enough for me, despite the pain and shock. The lack of closure, the lack of respect for our friendship and the broken trust. He would always mention that he was scared I would break up with him and leave one day. So there you have it, I have been one heart broken fashion fox. I can attest that fashion saved me from having an emotional break down. I guess you could say I am cursed in love. Perhaps like the Minogue sisters? Haha. I have all of you foxies, my son, family and friends that I am so forever grateful for oh and especially Soul Sister Skye and the one and only Amy Chow.
Joe* This man pursued me so much. I was at the races and he would beeline for me. Originally, a gorgeous man who is an ex boyfriend of mine (let’s call him John), said he wanted to introduce me to somebody. I laughed and said, “who?” Oh dear, my ex boyfriend was going to set me up with someone he knows. This was strange. He was serving me up on a silver platter. Holy shit balls! Enter: the hottest man. John said to me, this is the man I see you with. He looked like trouble and my tummy was telling me “no”. He had the same vibe as my son’s father, so I was feeling cautious. BUT he was extremely persistent.
Joe would drive to my shop with cakes and flowers. So finally, I went out with him. Joe would do odd things like hide me from him friends. His Facebook profile made him look very single indeed. I use to ask him if he’d prefer to just be friends instead. He would always say “no”. His overall behaviour was very anti-social but then he would call me constantly.
One day he introduced me to his family and I fell in love with all of them. I am still in touch with this beautiful group of people until this day.
It all started to unravel. My friend owned a cafe and told me that Joe was bringing multiple women to this place to have dates, very frequently. After this, I caught Joe texting a lot of other girls back with sneaky guilty body language.
How could this be happening to me again?!
Why did Joe say “no” to being friends when he was dating Disney’s entire repertoire of princesses? This always confused me. By this time I have hung up my dating shoes and my confidence is shot to hell. I approached John, who set us up, and told him “you have set me up with the worst man ever”. John was mortified.
Jake* Jake was my childhood friend. He was the boy next door and he was two years older than me (my sister’s age). Jake was a teen model and was the world bodyboarding champion ten times over.
He was on the Milo ad (if you’re reading this and not from Australia, Milo is a popular chocolate drinking powder), when we were growing up and every single girl loved him. I never liked him in a romantic way because when we were young, liking a boy who is two years old feels like liking a guy who is ten years older. Do you know what I mean? The age gap just always felt too big. Jake’s mum and my mum are still best friends till this day. He live in Manly, Sydney, and the water was his life. We spent so many summers together with our families and I was good friends with Jake’s younger brother.
I flew back to Sydney for the weekend and there he was.
Something seemed so different about Jake. We looked at each other now with fresh eyes.
I thought to myself, “Omg Nicole, do you have a crush on your childhood friend? Snap out of it!” I could not take anymore hurt and this was just silly.
Next thing I know, Jake and I are on a dinner date. He leans across the table and kisses me. I suddenly feel fuzzy all over.
What is happening to me?
Why do I feel like this toward my friend?
We could not get enough of each other. I fly back to Sydney frequently when my Bman was with his dad (so every second weekend). I feel like I’m living a double life.
When I’m in Brisbane I’m a responsible, loving mother and businesswoman and every second weekend I become a carefree, fun loving teenager.
Something had to give. I would not let Jake move to Brisbane for me as I knew he needed the water in Manly. It had saved him so many times, the same way that fashion saved me.
I couldn’t move to the Gold Coast to be near the water, because my son and I had our routine in Brisbane and Bman’s school and my business were Brisbane based. On top of this Bman’s father would not let him move home to Sydney. The geography and logistics of it all were not in our favour.
Jake had suffered from bouts of depression in his life and I knew Brisbane life would kill him with no water. I played it out, hypothetically in my mind and knew that he would end up resenting me for having moved.
Jake’s depression arose from being a child star. Travelling the world, earning so much money and life being a holiday for fifteen years then having to face normality and go from this life to adult life.
I wasn’t sure I could see a workable future and had to let Jake go. One day, with a heavy heart, I ended it. Something I would regret for the rest of my life.
Jake would call my mum, and just cry to her and say please tell Nicole I love her.
One rainy night my mum phone me at 9:30pm. This was very very strange as she goes to bed early.
I picked up the phone to most terrible news.
Jake had killed himself.
I just collapsed to the floor and cried for weeks. I still can’t look at a photo of himas I will just break down. I always felt responsible for his death. Everybody explained to me that he had a sickness and even if he had gotten married and started a family he would still have done the same thing. The reality and what if’s and guilt were all too much for me.
Jake, I miss you and I’m sorry.
So there you go, a raw but truthful insight into my past relationships. All the hurt, the lessons and the unforgettable heartache.
I don’t date anymore. I love to just work, share my knowledge with you, style incredible fashion outfits and raise my gorgeous boy into an incredible young man.
I’m not interested in one night stands and having a hook up buddy. I will get my guy and it will all happen one day when the heart has fully healed and I’m ready.
The Fashion Fox Checklist What I’ve learned from love and love lost:
Make sure you love someone for their heart (make sure they have the same heart as you)
Disregard their job/career and appearance and look only at how they treat you in times of conflict
Make sure the person adds something, brings something of value to your life
Timing is everything
Trust your gut
Own who you are without apology
Always be with somebody who is your friend first and always
Smile and know that happiness is definitely an inside job