Thursday, May 26, 2011

Get It Right


I don’t really know how to start this one. It will probably be the most intimate blog post I will ever write simply because it’s my story. Some people may argue that this is a story between two people, but honestly I think this is my story to tell. The other character in this tale has chosen to remain silent, so I became the storyteller, and the story came to mean more to me than I expected. It isn’t until you look back on the path you have made that you really begin to understand why life moved you the way it did. But I guess I should probably tell you my story. I know…the suspense must be killing you inside.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Matt, and I loved him. I loved Matt more than I had loved anyone else. I trusted him in ways I hadn’t trusted others. He was my best friend, my “boyfriend”, and at times I considered him to be the love of my life. I could say how silly that is now, but you always have 20/20 hindsight right? Anyways, I was in love. I was crazy about him and for a while it was amazing. I felt like I could be myself around him. We would talk until 2 in the morning about everything. We’d laugh until our sides hurt. I could tell him anything and everything and the world seemed at peace.

It didn’t really matter to me that I was balancing a difficult workload, going 7am-9pm (7:00-21:00) days at school and then coming home and working harder until midnight, and sometimes not getting sleep at all. I wasn’t eating healthily, I was stressed to my highest capacity. It was not the right time to have a boyfriend, but I didn’t care. He made me happy; he made me feel worthwhile and for me that was enough. Our relationship was uneventful until the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. With nothing to do, he became the focus of my life. After all, we were talking about getting married. I was going to go to college near by and we were going to live happily ever after…but then things started changing. He started to pull away. I don’t know if it was my fault or not but it happened, and like most girls I clung tighter to him because I was so scared of losing him, losing that connection. 

I don’t quite remember where everything started to go sour…If I honestly think about it, it probably started the day school ended for me. Things were already stretched thin. With him playing lacrosse and studying for finals, and me doing Academic Team and preparing for AP tests we hardly had enough time to communicate. I started spending weekends with him in an effort to have enough time together. 

So back to summer: June rolled around and we spent a week together. Day and night and to me it was wonderful, but I began to notice a change. He would look at other girls while we kissed, he was reluctant to do anything aside from lock ourselves in his house and lay around.  I think that’s where my anxiety really began to boil up, when I started to cling to him.

You see, over that span of time my relationship with Matt became all that I had. I converted to Christianity for him, I swallowed my liberal political beliefs, I stopped hanging out with friends and virtually cut out my closest and dearest friend. I was making sacrifices for that relationship to keep working, sacrifices that were not and never will be worth it. I became a complete shell of myself. I began to feel terribly about my body, even about my academic career. I was ashamed that I wasn’t heavier, that I didn’t look like other girls. I began to obsess over my body, over how I acted, what I said, what Matt said in return.

I had known for a long time that Matt had friends who were girls, so I never really started to worry about it until that summer. It was silly, but I was insecure. I asked him to stop texting a girl in his class who wasn’t a part of his “immediate group”. He didn’t. They talked everyday, even though he wouldn’t text or call me that day. I know it’s stupid and ridiculous, but that made me feel even more insecure in our relationship. I began to wonder if he was really as all in to this relationship as I was. I began to panic.

I had already been rather thin due to stress during the school year, but I dropped even more weight. I wouldn’t eat because when Matt and I would fight (which was often) I would get so anxious that I would throw up. It got a point where I was either in a fit of hysterics or barfing my guts up everyday. There wasn’t a day where I just felt level or myself. It was the most terrifying time of my life. My parents began wondering if they could send me to college, and in all honesty, in the state I wasn’t in, I certainly wasn’t ready for it. However, my parents believed that my relationship was my business and they let me alone. Though they were worried for my health, the figured you don’t learn if you don’t hurt, and I agree with them on that.

The weekend of July 23rd I spent with him and his family. At first it seemed like every other weekend, but it wasn’t. I’m not going to bore you with the details of how he told me he loved me and that we would be together forever blah blah blah. Fast forward to the night of July 25th. We had just finished dinner, my mom was over, and the table had grown silent. I felt my instincts tingling, I knew something wasn’t okay or it wasn’t going to be rather quickly.

I’m going to skip the speech and get straight to the point: his father broke up with me. Matt didn’t say a word, he just stared at the floor and held my hand. I felt sick. I had been completely ambushed and Matt had known. He had known the entire weekend (since June actually) that this was going to be the end result. I grabbed my bags and ran out of the house, my mom followed after me. I don’t remember much of what happened after, just a lot of yelling, glass breaking, and the cold cement. I curled up on the sidewalk and cried. I had no idea what had just happened, just that it hurt and that I had never hurt this badly. Matt tried to touch me to “explain”, but no explaining could be done. What happened had already happened and there was no taking it back. My mom and I got in the car and left. I haven’t been back to that city since. Even now, a year later, it makes me feel sick to even think about looking him in the eye.

I could say that it was one of the worst times of my life, but that night was easily the best. It was horrible and it hurt but it freed me. The next day we picked up my best friend in the entire world and I ate. For the first time in months I ate a whole meal. I didn’t throw up. I didn’t feel anxious. A huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. It was as though that night was water to a parched garden.

Of course, it wasn’t a miracle transition either. I didn’t suddenly return to the person I had been. I don’t think that is even possible. I will never be the girl I was when I met and fell in love with Matt and I won’t be the girl that needed him either. I learned so much from that relationship, but only in retrospect. I was angry for a long time and crushingly depressed, but I refused to let that lead my life. I got up every morning and lived my life. I refused to let what had happened control my life and still keep me prisoner.

Eventually days started to fly by again. Minutes didn’t drag on. I could breathe without it hurting. I could think about him without breaking down into tears. My heart was healing, so it was time that my soul started to too. I went to a therapist, probably the best choice I have ever made. I began to look at why I had become who I had become when I was with Matt and began to wonder what lay before me. I realized that what lies before me is all I want it to be. Life became something full of choices rather than a confinement.

I learned that you can never sacrifice who you are for someone. If you have to become someone else to receive love, then you shouldn’t be in that relationship. I learned that it is never too late to recover who you are, that you can always pick up the pieces and become a better person because of the hurt.  But most importantly, I learned that who I am is good enough. I deserve the best. We all do. We all deserve someone who is going to love us without question, someone we feel more than comfortable around, and someone we can love without sacrificing who we are. It’s easier said than done, but if someone reads this and can avoid the pain that I did, then my purpose is served.

I regret nothing. Life has been kind to me and I feel blessed to have had that experience. I wouldn’t be the same person without it. So thank you, Matt. Thank you for showing me how beautiful love can be, yet also how destructive and painful it can be when you stop looking at the world around you.

Life is too short to spend it in regret, but it is much too short to spend planning for a life that you don’t even want.

A year later I am going to college, I am single, and I have never been happier. I take care of my body, I laugh everyday. Life is so much more vibrant and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. And to think, I could have never seen such great beauty if I had not experienced such pain.

Until Tomorrow,

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