Self Expression Magazine


Posted on the 01 January 2015 by Gray Eyed Athena @grayeyedowl

Get ready for a mega post. I’ve got to move all of the Joseph archives into the blog so I’m not constantly stepping on land mines while navigating my computer. 2014 is the last year in which I will have known Joseph, so I think it’s fitting to write this post on NYE. It feels fitting.


Written by Joseph in 2010.

Geneva Mcleod,

I, Carl Joseph Henrikson Jr. at 26, am humbly asking whatever future Geneva Mcleod Wilgus happens to be reading this to marry him. I know wherever, whoever, whenever we are when you get this letter that I will not be able to be able to propose to you in a way fitting of your beauty, intelligence, character. That being said, within this letter I am putting all of my hope. Hope that someday I will actually give this to you; hope that in the future I will be lucky enough to still know you; hope that you say yes and become my wife.

Before meeting you I was a lost little boy meandering through life not knowing what he was looking for… if anything. It was meeting you that made me a man and gave me purpose. I am the person I was meant to be when I am with you. That is a person who wants to better himself and the world… all for you.

The inspiration for writing this letter started two Fridays ago (February 5, 2010). It was that day after work that I was in a mad dash in order to get a bank to start a savings account. I felt compelled at that moment to do so, it could not wait.

This new account had one sole objective… for me to be able to set aside money every month, including any extra I accrue through happenstance, to save up and someday buy you an engagement ring, a ring that you deserve. That same night I was happily talking to you on the phone and mentioned that I had a surprise, I had stolen a pair of your glasses that were broken and fixed them for you. Your response to my offering of a surprise was “Joe, it’s too early to propose.” I was dumbfounded. Speechless. How did you know? How could you know? It had only been a few hours previous that I had set in motion my intentions of marrying you by opening a savings account in order to buy you a ring. If there was the slightest possibility of doubt in my mind you extinguished it right then and there.

As I agonize over finding the words to write this I cannot help but try and picture the circumstance in which I give you this letter. Whether it be in ten years, in another country, at a graduation, family gathering, mountaintop, or tomorrow, know that I will be carrying this letter around searching for the right moment in time. My only hope it is not in the too distant future, because I don’t feel like I could wait that long. But, I find comfort in knowing that it is already done. That I in fact have already asked you to marry me, that it is my secret from now until the day I finally feel the need to let you in on it. While reading this try and think back and I’m sure you will be able to remember occasions were you noticed seeing a strange, sly smile on my face. Not knowing what it ever meant… it was probably me thinking of this moment, keeping that secret. That is until now.

Quite simply you are the girl I am to marry. The love of my life. I am truly the luckiest man in the world and I hope that I have the wisdom to be able to recognize that fact everyday.

As I have been working on this letter I have been able to see and talk to you. The night we went to dinner at back street bistro for valentines day you mentioned how the only time you get to experience past, present and future at the same time is by looking at the stars. You told me that when you look at the night sky you are seeing and experiencing the stars now, in the present, but at the same time how they looked decades/centuries ago because of how long the light has traveled to meet you. All I could think about as you were describing this was how I am going to be able to experience the past/present/future the day you read this letter. I am writing this letter to the future, but oddly enough you will be reading it in the present.




paris postcard where we started


June 17, 2014

Dearest Geneva,

I am writing this to apologize for how I have been acting. I too am fractured. I feel like I’m living minute to minute. So I want you to understand that I have not been conducting myself in a manner in which I am fully proud of. Even though my intentions have been to talk, listen, and be productive with you I have still lashed out. That is not productive or respectful and I am sorry. These past few days have been especially draining on me, I can imagine it’s been the same for you.

I do not need to reiterate my pain. It is mine. I understand that you are going through a very difficult time as well and I do not want to complicate or add to that. Geneva, I wish I could carry some of your pain for you. I know you have support and you are no longer going to look to me for any, but you are never alone in this world while I am here.

I apologize for the personal insults I directed at you. I know what said is said, but I hope you forgive me. That is not how I feel about you. And that is not how I would like you to see me.

I too am interested in preserving our “territory.” Our relationship was shared, but what we leave with is going to be unique onto ourselves. So here is the last of what I can offer to what was us. I know you have seen the pictures and I have a sneaking suspicion that you read this letter on my computer a long time ago. But, these three attachments are very special to me so read it, don’t read it, blog it, edit it (I know you will), save it for later, but please don’t delete it.

I am probably not safe to talk to right now because of how raw, empty, and unpredictable I feel. I’ve always felt that we process things differently but feel very much the same way. I respect your composure in opposition to my disorderliness/ But I am not advocating no communication. I loved your first few texts last night. I love that you feel that you can be honest with me. I am the one who needs to reel it in. But especially for now, if there is something you want or need to say to me… say it. Cosmic ocean, I am probably feeling the same way.

Last night you needed a hug. At that moment I was thinking of you walking in the room and laying down next to me without saying a word. Do what is right for you, but don’t hold back on any assumption that I won’t be responsive. You are still the one I most want to see, most want to talk to, share with, everything. This is complicated, so lets not overthink it. If it feels right in the moment, then text it/say it. Especially at night or when you feel most alone. I am here.

I know I’ve been inappropriate, so I am sorry. I don’t want that to be the lasting impression.

You are not gross. If you respect me as a person, then you know that I would not have been madly in love with someone for 4-1/2 years who was gross.



i love you!

May 26, 2014

Dear Geneva,

My heart is broken. It is completely and utterly ripped apart.

I reacted they way I would react. I  reacted they way I have been reacting for 4-1/2 years… I was told there was someone else. This was about me. Again this was about me. How could you do this to me? Make me understand.

My heart is broken. It is completely and utterly ripped apart.

I feel this way not for the pain and loss and emptiness I feel now and have felt for only a few days. I feel this way because the pain and loss and emptiness you felt for years. I ignored you for all that time. You were alone for all that time. I pretended for all that time.

If you saw this you would say that it’s not true. That you hid it from me, kept it secret from me… but you know that is not the case. I should have known… I needed to have known. You asked me to know, to care.

Even two days after we broke up you still were trying to tell. Asking me to read your blog. Asking me to know you.

I had told you I read your blog before. Which is true. Which is not true. I had glanced at it briefly a few times. I Was scared by it. I would rather live in denial or hopefulness then address anything real. That is what I do.

I apologize Geneva. I apologize for writing this. This is selfish. I am again making it about me. This is manipulative. This is “the worst in me.” I get it. I do. I am sorry you are reading this. I am weak. “I’m no good at this.”

Let this strengthen your resolve. You made the right choice. I’m hearing you now. Trust yourself. You sound great. Follow that.

December 13, 2014 Dear Joseph, . If there is any chance, anywhere, for you to be okay with hearing from or seeing me, I need to risk it. . If there is any chance in your mind that I am not entirely bad, and if you find yourself with any amount of grace for me, please risk it. . For my own sake, (with the hope beyond hope that maybe it’s for yours too) I need to tell you what I know now, since May. . I need to tell you before 2014 ends and then I start a year with you wholly not in it. . I cannot tell you that “I understand” if your response is No, or worse, if you don’t respond. . I won’t understand. . Please respond. Geneva
Here is the last photo taken of us during early summer at my family’s house. I loved him then, confused and wrong though I might have been. I will always love him. My Joseph. :: :: 20140603-164712-60432271.jpg :: ::

written by Joseph, left on my computer the day I moved out of our home in May 2014.

Dearest Geneva,

I’m sitting here in your bed with a complete lack of sleep both hopeless and helpless. I have been rereading our old correspondence coming to the realization that my heart is completely broken… you have done this. I cannot fault you for that. It is only a simple truth.

You are right. I have become complacent. I have neglected you. I am reading these letters I wrote to you from two or three years ago and I am painfully saddened. I have lost the need to express to you how I feel. I do not know what has brought that change about. I will try my best not to make excuses, because they would not matter anyway. Everything I have ever wrote is truer now than it was when it was originally said. That is because I felt eternity with you. There was no finite amount of time… it was as true at the beginning of time as it would have been when this universe finally collapses on itself. Geneva, angel, I could have written those letters 3 years ago, 3 weeks ago, or 3 days ago… the words will always be the same.

But I now realize I was a fool for believing that.

I am sorry that my faults in character have kept us in a place where you feel now you need to be with someone else. I am sorry how I internalize and shut off and agonize over simple things. I realized that the person I was describing in my letters was you… totally you. I also realized the person who you were describing was no longer me… I am sorry.

I am sorry that you feel trapped by our roles.

I am sorry that you feel like you have outgrown me or that we can no longer grow together.

I am truly sorry that you didn’t give me chance to be human, to make mistakes and trust that I would realize it and change them… to improve.

For me to watch you grow and improve over the last four and a half years was a gift.

But you would not or could not reciprocate. You are not going to be there to help me and watch me grow and improve. To me that is a betrayal.

Reading those letters reminded me of us at the beginning (but also how much I felt like we have grown since). Our first kiss… Do you still remember it? I do. Clearly. Pure magic. A gift from the heavens to let us know for a split second that maybe there is something bigger. Something with meaning.

Was your first kiss with Matt as good? Or do you think it will be? Or how about the next guy?

I find myself dumbfounded at the quickness with which this happened. The lack of compassion you had for doing this all on your own. I really do not understand what has transpired here, and I probably never will. I will move on and learn and grow and say, “everything happens for a reason,” because that is what people say to themselves to justify their life and choices.

I am left with an infinite amount of questions that mostly do not mater. But the one I find rattling around in my head coming back again and again is… What has she done?

Love Always,

Your Joseph




Text from Joe as I drove away from our home:  “This doesn’t feel right. You will always be my kiddo, my baby bird, my angel. I love you.”

Joseph, if you’re reading this, please know I love you. And my love is not hampered or diminished by the horrific way I ended our relationship. Happy New Year to my NYE partner, whether in bed or at dinner. Entering 2015 without knowing you is painful, but all I can do is continue to send you positive thoughts and hope that you are well and happy and surrounded by your family.

Love always and always and forevermore after that, Geneva :: ::

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