“Love is Hard to Express” Fiction. Based on a True Heartfelt Letter Unspoken, Unwritten, and Unsent.

“Love is hard to express. It is just something you feel in your heart, in your inside that makes you be with someone, do something, create something, write something, paint something…when you give your all to something.”

“The Butterflies are free. They are delicate…”

-Marisabel Bazan


“Love is Hard to Express”

Fiction. Based on a True Heartfelt Letter Unspoken, Unwritten, and Unsent.

by Mingjie Zhai

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.


“Love is hard to express. It is just something you feel in your heart, in your inside that makes you be with someone, do something, create something, write something, paint something…when you give your all to something.”

Dear Angelie,

I know I don’t say much but in my heart I know you mean well with all the letters, books and long texts you send me, yet, in the end, you still push me away with all that. It’s all too much and too overwhelming.

I also know that you act crazy as a way to avoid loving me, even when you profess that you do and even when you have founded a project based on love. The way you show up is manic, impatient, and I constantly remind you to chill, relax, and take it easy. I know exactly what you’re missing–patience and faith.

Let me lead you as a Christian man.

You have to first trust me.

I know that takes a lot, especially what you have gone through, but I know that it’s easier said than done, but still I know you can do it.

Despite the push and pull, I know most of what took place between us did both of us more good than bad in the few months we’ve gotten to know each other. I said from the beginning that we could learn a lot from each other and I believe this is true, even though, the last time we had communicated, I had requested no contact. I even tried taking your advice to try and work things out between me and my ex, but it only makes me more resentful of you when I’m with her.

I don’t understand why I’m so attracted to you. But I know better than to give all of myself to you when you’re not ready to receive me. Right now, things are too crazy. In the end, there is only one type of crazy: The man-eating self-destructive kind. I know that you’re aware of it and you’re in the process of getting your monster under control. If I could express what’s truly in my heart, I would tell you that I’m proud of you for doing something about it, even if it means traveling halfway across the world to do it. I want to say that I respect and admire you for doing the inner work, for pursuing the better version of what you could, should and will be. Not many girls are self-aware of their problems and not many girls want to seek help to change for the better. But in you, I see a caterpillar at the tail end of the metamorphosis, almost breaking out of her cocoon, and I wanted to stay long enough to catch you in full bloom. I want to be the man you’ve always wanted and witness you while you’re a butterfly.

I see in you a woman beginning to take more responsibility of her life, a woman becoming more independent, so sure of herself, a think-outside-the-box type of woman, with both a boldness to life and a softness to love, a courage to pursue her dreams, a woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to declare it, a woman who sets the standards, with an aim so precise, it intimidates most men. But it does not intimidate me, well…sometimes it does, but it didn’t stop me from pursuing you. It only arouses me and causes unspeakable anguish knowing that you were almost mine, yet you insisted to a point of sabotaging what possibilities we both could have had so that you could avoid this so-called karma. Did you consider me and my will while you are declaring your love to me and insisting that I work it out with my ex?  You’re an exotic tease. It’s beyond blue balls, really. It’s just…cruel.

I can’t stand to see your instagram. I don’t want to know what adventures you are pursuing, what you’re up to, where you’re at, because I would start wondering and regretting something I don’t have with you. The pain will rush in and I’ll get my anxiety attacks when I think about what we could have been together. You know that I’m not ready to just leave everything I’ve worked hard for to go traveling all over Europe with you and make babies. That’s crazy talk. It’s fairy tale fantasy la la land, grounded on fairy dust. I’ve seen the way my cousin wrecked her life listening to a crazy man who calls himself an artist and seduced her into having a family with him only to become another burden for her. He’s a deadbeat artist, who puts his art before his family, who can’t even provide for his daughter so I have to step in. And I have to step into the responsibility of being that provider for her. It’s a burden that I must bear because the real world is founded upon hard work, hustle, and planning that starving artist like you will one day have to face.

Yet you’re doing it and you’ve gifted me a book that shows me how I can do it too while gifting me a book of your dreams made real. It’s inspiring that you are pursuing what you love doing. I would be lying if I said that I was not tempted by the idea of leaving everything behind to explore the world with you. You have shaken my aim. Before I met you, I was aiming for money and wealth, but now I also acknowledge that wealth means time, diversity of experiences and cultivating what we love to do and doing it with people we love. I remember the first time we sat next to each other at church. I thought, who is this strange attractive girl flying off to Europe? You were so timid, so reserved, but I knew from the first time I saw you that you had this inner crazy that would drive a man like me crazy. I could smell it on you. I wanted to hunt you, eat you alive, and tear you apart.

From the beginning all I wanted to do is to help you, serve you, and even take care of you if it got to that point…I was hoping that it would. I wanted to lead you as a Christian man. I knew exactly what you were missing in life–protection, provision, and love and I was willing to give you all that, had you just accepted me for who I am and my process growing as a man, and had you just been more patient with my process, growing into the big shoes that is my destiny to grow into, but you did not.

I see a woman so afraid to love yet yearns for it the most. I see a woman with so much talent, beauty, and glow, that all I wanted to do was to put you in a position where you can fulfill that and that would also fulfill my purpose as a man to serve you in the best capacity I knew how–to grow your money, to advise you on your finances, and to make sure that you are taken care of materially so you can continue pursuing your dreams.

All I wanted from you was your recognition of the good in me to do that for you. Instead, you made me out to look like some scammer trying to charm an older lady out of her money. You know this is not true. You know that since the first time I laid my eyes upon you, I just wanted to show up as a lover, a friend, an equal with you. I wanted you to see the prince rather than the frog in me. You talk about sobriety and recovery. You talk about having more faith than fear, yet it was you who could not take the actions of love and faith towards our friendship that was just beginning to grow. I asked you to trust me yet you could not. You rejected me three times. I had enough…It hurts too much to be with you…I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I want to be with you. One minute you love me, next minute you reject me. I knew you were going to leave for Europe, but I wanted every possible moment with you while you were still here.

Perhaps, It is easier to just dismiss you as a crazy girl so I can forget how beautiful, deep, and wise you truly are.

In the four page letter you wrote to me, you had called me a “frog-prince.” I am a work in progress. I know what I need to work on. I am painfully aware of it. I don’t need a second mom to remind me of what I need to do to be worthy of such attention and validation. I just wanted a partner in you, a friend, an ear to listen to my deepest secrets, a body where I can sink my battered and broken body into, a woman I could show off to my friends, my family, my colleagues–a beautiful, ambitious, exotic, and smart woman like you.

The time we had together, though brief, is a time I don’t think I will forget–The way we connected felt so at home. You fit right into my body when you hug me. I miss how soft your body is when you snuggle up next to me, the scent of your hair, the thick lips when you kiss me, the way your bright eyes light up under the candlelight of my bedroom. You are beautiful. You truly are.

I know that your past haunts you. I know it hurts. And I know that I have hurt you. I am truly sorry, even though I don’t know how to show it or say it. I can only sing it.  I was taught to get over these wounds because that’s the only way you can be stronger. That’s what a man does. That’s the way I was raised. To toughen up, to strengthen my character through adversity. I know that what I’m missing is compassion. Most of the time, I am numb. I wear a mask and I play a character, and I’m good at playing this character. In another lifetime, I would have been an actor. I’m constantly alone. I feel this emptiness most of the time –like something unfulfilled, some version of me I’m forgoing, and the thought of it haunts me so I am tempted to numb it or chase it with mind altering substances.

The few times I’ve felt alive was when I’m in the zone with God, when I’m singing and riffing on my guitar, and when I’m inside you. In those moments I am naked, vulnerable, and I am safe inside of it all.

I started off as a hero and wound up being a zero in your eyes. I’m sorry my ex contacted you and called you these names–the very names you told me you don’t want to become. I put you in this position. I’m sorry but not sorry. I truly wanted to move forward with you, but you would not allow it. Now, I’m dealing with an ex that reminds me of how I’m not good enough, how nobody else but her would want someone like me, and she reminds me of how much she’s been there for me, but something is off between us. She treats me more like a pet than a partner–a pet project perhaps. You don’t know the times I’ve felt so manipulated by her and I had just tolerated it or turned a willful blind eye to it because that was what was familiar and comfortable. She is eating away at my soul and I feel as if you know all that and still refuse to save me from this insidious slow and painful spiritual death. I feel abandoned by you. You don’t know how much you’ve hurt me when you made that comment that I had somehow abandoned a woman who was there for me during a time when I had nothing. I told you I had given her enough of me…any more and I would have lost my soul and my life.

You’ve shown me another way to live and be with a new kind of person. I’ve outgrown her and I want to learn from you. You’ve given me a glimpse of what life could be like to be with a woman who is not overly concerned with looking good and who could care less about material wealth, a woman who doesn’t pressure me to make money first, but instead, asks me to put God first, and my sobriety first, and is happy when she hears that I am helping others.

Do you know how inspiring that is to me?

Now, I’m dealing with a past that reminds me of how I’m no good. She tells me I’m a liar, a cheater, a no good trifling man. She reminds me that I’m useless and you seem to agree with her. You’ve hurt my heart so many times in the brief months I’ve met you. I’m more terrified of you than of any girl I’ve ever been with. I don’t believe you when you say you love me, because if you did, you would have stayed. Granted that when we first met, you had already told me that you’re moving to Europe for the year. Then, you offer me this crazy idea of giving up everything I worked so hard for here to follow you into the unknown.

We started so perfect. We met at the most holiest of places. I just wish that you would offer me more patience and time to change, to mature, to build and meet your dreams at a point where I can also meet mine. It’s called a compromise. I know I can change, but I can’t change overnight and it seems with you that it had to be now or never. You had to have it your way just like the way you needed to boil your water for tea instead of microwaving it.

The truth is, I don’t think I’m good enough for you. I don’t feel ready. I still have so much to prove to become the man that could meet the kind of needs that a woman like you needs. I’m painfully aware that as I am right now, I’m not good enough for you.

Most of the time, I think you’re just toying with me, but then, there are these emails and letters that I get from you that has me thinking from a heart center: What if she does mean what she says? What if you are helping me refocus my life on the missing pieces–the areas in my life that I know I have to deal with on my own? I know you told me time and again that I can’t save you. But I can help you. I can illustrate the parts of you that I know you could work on. Yes, it sounds harsh, but it’s what you need to hear. That’s what you told me before remember? You had once told me that there are two types of people: Those who tell what people what they want to hear and those who tell people what they need to hear.

I’ve told you the parts of yourself that you needed to hear. You are a line-stepper. You have a tough time respecting other’s boundaries and it reflects on how you cross your own boundaries. You need to take better care of yourself and start focusing on the longview. It’s good to dream, but you need a plan, a financial plan to start. You can get a real job while working on your startup so you can stop pretending that you’re some kind of handicapped, helpless girl, and elevate yourself to the status of a true entrepreneur. You need to take off your crutches. You lack hustle, discipline, and structure. And yet, that is exactly what I can provide for you…or at least inspire you to be that through my example.

And in return, I need a girl like you to inspire me to dream again. I need a Christ-centered girl who would soften my back muscles, my heart, and appreciate my worth. I need a woman who could be responsible for our children, a woman who can show unconditional love to me and our children. A teacher, a nurturer, and woman who can smile for the family and laugh, sing songs with me, and dance with me. I’m a simple man. If I can make her happy, then I’m happy. I’m highly sensitive to her disposition, so when she is in turmoil so am I, and when she is happy, so am I.

You made me out to be this manipulative scammer out to get you, or that I’m somehow treating you as a mistress, a woman that I’m just toying with. It’s not true, yet you made it seem as if I was cheating on you. That’s not fair. You’re not playing a fair game. You tell me you love me yet somehow I feel as if you are just saying that as a way to control me, to do what you want me to do rather than listen, follow, and learn and let me lead us. We could at least discuss what we both want to do–a compromise, a conversation, a commitment. You need a Christian man who can lead you yet you are stubborn and entitled. It’s frustrating to try and tame you and I know I can’t change you unless you’re willing. I’ve tried with so many crazy girls like you, and it never works. I know that the best thing to do is to leave it to God and let go.

I know that what you need now is time alone to recover. You have made that request a few times while we were dating. I think the best thing I can do for you as a man is to let you go so you can fulfill that. I think the only thing I can give to you is to take your advice. I will try and work things out with my ex. I will give it my best shot. And if ever we come around together again, you’ll know that I did give it my best shot with her, so if I say I choose you, then I choose you and only you. I hope one day you can actually believe that. Perhaps, by that time, you’ll believe me when I say, “We’re not working things out anymore.”

You are not just some “other woman” or mistress that you kept thinking I was placing you in. I had never put you in that position. I told you multiple times that I was taking you seriously. I told you that I respected you…My only request with you was that you would respect me in return. I told you that it was just the two of us dating but you did not believe me. You lashed out at me, you rejected me, as if still wounded from your past. I can’t do anything about this. You must deal with your past. So I’m letting you go. I’m requesting no contact.

I just wish that you would have given me more time, more patience and faith for us to build together and meet each other’s expectations. I know I can change but I can’t change overnight and it seemed as if it had to be now or never. So now I pretend as if you were just some crazy, disabled girl that needed my help for her non profit project so I don’t have to deal with the reality that you were everything I’ve been praying for.

The reality is that I wanted you at a time when you were pushing me away–you would not allow me to show up for you and help you. It hurts beyond words. The wounds you’ve inflicted upon me. I hate you for hurting me so, but I also understand why you hurt me.

Hurt people hurt people.

You said it best. At least you’re aware of it. I really pray that you do recover so I can see the real you. I respect your choice to recover while I do my best to pick up the pieces again–business as usual: Hustle. Make money. Lead a team.

The one thing I know I’m good at doing–working and making money.

All this other love stuff is too complicated and too overwhelming for me.

So in the meantime, I’ll just pretend as if you were just a fling. I’ll downplay it as if it wasn’t anything.

It’s the only way I can get over you.

I love you too.




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