I’ve started this story probably one hundred times. Each time, I always delete it … for one reason or another. I often talk myself out of it. People won’t want to read it. It’s too personal. It’s too close, too much, too hard. All of those reasons are very true, but this is my space, and this story has been gurgling at the back of my throat for far too long.
In college, I was in a tumultuous relationship (weren’t we all?) with a man that was very much my senior and very much more experienced with the ways of the world. He was not a man I would ever have thought to bring home to my daddy, or even my much-more-understanding-about-bringing-boys-home mother. He was like too much sunshine in my eyes, or music too loud in my ears. He was just too much for my naïve nineteen-year-old self, but I, of course, was in too deep. Too fast. Much too fast.
As with most relationships, there were ups (a few) and downs (much, much more prevalent). And throughout the entire sordid affair, I didn't realize what was right in front of my face. I didn't see the glaringly obvious: It was never going to work. And, while I was very aware that I was never going to introduce him to my dad ... they would never golf together, watch football together, or drink beer together (this boy drank Long Island Ice Tea) ... I still didn't give myself up to the idea that it wasn't going to work. I fought for that man, for the whatever-it-was that we had. It took me a very long time to realize that he didn't fight for me.
He manipulated me into thinking it was going to be great. That the whatever-it-was that we had was going to be spectacular. The kind of move-mountains love this was not, but it was so blinding, so much, so in my face that I couldn't even see it. In the year (these things are never slow) that we were together, he paraded his ex-girlfriend around campus for a week like they were still together. He only wanted to hang out one day a week - never more than that. And there was more (there is always more). He thought differently than I did. He processed faster. He infiltrated every part of me, but closed every part of himself off. He knew my mom and he smiled that charming smile at her more than once. He worked right below my on-campus job, and often came through and flirted with every single woman around. He invaded my cheerleading practices. He dated other women and never asked about my day.
When it was over, and by over, I do mean the very messy conclusion that came at me like a freight train, I was left lost. My hands felt useless. In a very unguarded moment, I whispered that I loved him - probably in an effort to get him to stay. Even those words were manipulated from my lips. He spun me around - I was dizzy from him, confused about what was real and what was the costume of his life. I packed up my things after Easter and left school broken wide open ... lost to the overwhelming thought of cruelty. He continued to string me along through that summer, and like a wave in a storm - I kept crashing back into him.
It was my brother, my soul-healing brother, that came home from college and answered the phone one day. The Brother very simply told him to stop calling. He picked up the phone, and as I watched from my perch at the dining room table, told the man that showed me what real, true, heartbreak really was that he didn't deserve my time.
It was a revelation.
Because it was so true. And I had lived in such lies for an entire school year. So many lies. I was swimming through the lies - searching for any morsel of true and honest and real. And there it was. On a warm July afternoon, my brother delivered it straight to me with a stark finality that rang in my beleaguered ears. I deserved better.
It was like a deep breath. A cleanse that healed a chasm.
I left for school in the fall and met Aaron. Aaron had watched the destruction from afar and, with wide eyes, took on my special kind of broken heart and pieced it back together. It wasn't until I was helping BFF Suzy with her own heartbreak that all of the smoke and mirrors finally fell away, and I realized the extent of my own. And let me tell you something really shitty: it made me feel dumb. So dumb. It made me feel like I really was that idiot blonde girl in all of the movies that doesn't see something come at her until it literally smacks her in the face. It took me a very long time to work through that.
But here's the truth: We don't get to feel dumb for heartbreak. Because for heartbreak to happen, there must have been a feeling that was real. And feelings are never, ever dumb.
And that's the truth I've got for you today, my loves.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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