Go back to high school, sweetheart

I probably shouldn’t roll my eyes at relationships that extended original roots whilst in high school, but I just can’t help it. I’ve seen so many young women with short leashes too often to sit back and shut up. Especially since I too once had a useless, constraining leash.

Christian and me at 15 and 14
Christian and me at 15 and 14

I talked to my friend Christian on the phone for over an hour the other night. He was my first boyfriend, first kiss; now we’re just very good friends. We talked about our self-diagnosed psychological problems and I, of course, blame a lot of mine on the controlling relationship I’d been in after Christian and I broke up. I couldn’t hang out with anyone but the boyfriend, forcing other friendships to fade and often igniting arguments.

“I remember you saying that you couldn’t tell him I was there when you hung out with Kevin,” Christian said, referring to our other good friend. “Shouldn’t that have been a red flag?”

Yeah. I definitely should have realized that was wrong.

When my two best girlfriends stopped contacting me to hang out, I should have realized something was up. Everyone else did. Nobody told me.

When my friend died last October, I really didn’t want to see everyone from high school again. My boyfriend-shrouded brain thought nobody from high school liked me.

Quite the contrary, actually.

We sat around the fire exchanging stories about our friend. My former classmates laughed at things I said and several of them told me sincerely they’d missed me and wanted to see me around more. I don’t think they realized how much those comments truly meant to me.

My high school-rooted relationship made me hate college my freshman year. I had fun when he visited me, but I also lost out on plenty of potential friendships because he always wanted it to be just the two of us.

Here are five things for you high school sweethearts to keep in mind:

1.) Can you really see the relationship going anywhere?
I don’t care how long you’ve been dating or how easy everything is, if the two of you are going in completely different directions, it’s probably not worth it.

2.) Will your significant other hold you back?
Maybe he or she isn’t as motivated as you are. If that person doesn’t support you in reaching your full potential, better think twice.

3.) How far away are you from each other? 
It’s one thing to go to the same school, it’s another to be left at home, or vice versa. If you’ve answered “no” and “yes” so far respectively, driving two hours to see him/her every weekend isn’t worth it. Maybe you can work things out if you go to the same school, but read on to number four.

4.) Does he/she support your friendships/trust you?
If your only friend is him or her because you’re not allowed to spend time with anyone else, see ya. If you do end up attending the same school, you still need to branch out. What happens if it really doesn’t work out and you had invested all of your time and energy for friendships into him/her? That sucks.

5.) Are you happy?
The most important one. If the person who is supposed to make you happy is failing, you need to really think about your relationship. The constant Snap Chatting and texting is obnoxious if he/she doesn’t even satisfy your happiness. You should be happy to see him/her, not dreading the sight of him/her. You should enjoy one another’s company. Once that excitement stops, your relationship probably should, too.

 

I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’ve been there. Two years ago, I would have answered each of those questions negatively. Clearly something was wrong, it just took me a while to realize it.

Because “buoyant” is a cool word

I wrote this post on my friend’s and my shared blog after my first day as a single lady.

I was worried. Scared. Lonely.

It’s been nearly a month.

Uh… it’s been awesome.

No joke. Yes, this is Emily typing. No, I’m not on something right now. I’m serious.

I am finally –– finally –– living the college life. I haven’t left campus to see a boyfriend, I haven’t been home since midterm break. I’m here. I’m going to live.

I flirt with whomever I want. Sometimes it’s reciprocated. Sometimes I get rejected. But I don’t even care. For the first time in five years, I don’t have a crush running my life.

“I’m all out of pick-up lines,” I said bluntly to a guy two weekends ago. So I grabbed his hand and led him to the dance floor. Two other girls intercepted him.

But I didn’t even care. 

I danced with my girlfriends, instead.

I’m happy. Buoyant, even.

I’m doing things for me instead of worrying about someone else.

It’s about damn time.

Summer lovin’, happened so fast

He reached into his black backpack and pulled out a plain hemp bracelet. I wore it from that day on for several months. It was a reminder that, like the song in An American Tail, someone was thinking of me.

I'm the yellow one.
Professional. Plus the bracelet. : )

I wore it on my right wrist and never took it off. It went with me in the pool, in the shower. It switched wrists when, at my very corporate summer internship, I shook hands with a colleague and could feel the damp hemp against my wrist, meaning he probably could feel it on his, too. Whoops.

I wore it for the times he played guitar and sang to me, played soccer with me, went for walks with me and ran down the hill near his house with me. We had a wonderful summer together.

A couple of days before I was to leave for school, I noticed it wasn’t on my left wrist anymore. And I couldn’t find it anywhere. At that point, things in our relationship hadn’t been going the greatest. I took it as an omen.

While packing for school the next day, I found it in my laundry basket and breathed a sigh of relief. I eagerly put it back on my wrist and went on packing.

…he broke up with me on Labor Day. I sobbed and sobbed and he held me. But then we kissed and went our separate ways and I figured I’d never see him again.

But –– surprise! –– just like the bracelet situation where I found it the next day, he called me the next night and wanted to give it another go. So we did.

But, again, things didn’t go so well. So when he called me last week after I got home from Los Angeles (which I should probably write about on here at some point) and said he couldn’t let our relationship go any further, I let out a sigh, smiled and agreed with him. I knew it was only a matter of time before we broke up again.

We both hung up and I went to the bathroom to do my nightly routine.

After I had brushed my teeth and washed my face, I noticed that I didn’t feel a damp bracelet against my left wrist. The bracelet was already gone. I paused for a moment and tried to think. Where could it be? 

I looked at pictures from our L.A. trip and realized that, not only was it gone, it hadn’t been on my wrist for almost the entirety of our trip.

I never even noticed. And I’ll never find it.

I’m taking it as an omen.

For those significant ripples…

Every person who crosses your path ends up making a difference in your life, no matter what.

It could be something minuscule, but there are no meaningless encounters, acquaintances or relationships.

You could model your behavior after someone else’s, or you could decide you want to be nothing like someone in particular. But, despite what you may think, that person you dislike made an impact on you in some way, shape or form.

Because of this, there is absolutely no point in regretting things. Failed relationships provide you with a way to go. You discover what you like and what you don’t like in a friend or romantic interest. And as soon as that unlikeable attribute appears in someone you’re interested in, you know you can either nip it in the bud or ride it out, hoping it goes away.

But enough of my preaching. Let’s make this a little more personal.

I think about Robby sometimes and wonder how he’s doing. I feel like I’m stocking up on life experiences and relationships and taking notes so I’m ready when the time comes to fill him in. I imagine we’ll be friends again someday and genuinely look forward to it. Pretending someone doesn’t exist is stupid; he exists and we existed together. And we loved each other. And we helped build each other. Regretting my relationship with him would be pointless because he made me who I am.

And I love who I am. I love who I’ve become. I found things I love in a man and things I despise. And I’ve carried those preferences into other relationships. He was an essential building block and the mere first step into the world of adulthood (I once thought he would be the entire staircase).

I’m Emily. Independent, focused and constantly trying to improve myself and the way I think.

And now I’ve found another man who keeps making me into a better person.

Some people will make tiny, insignificant ripples in your pond. For the larger ones, make sure you come out with a positive attitude. The people you associate yourself with make you/have made you into who you are, like it or not.

Catastrophically minute

I am so self-absorbed.

I think that I’ve had a tough life recently because went through a break up and lost a best friend. But, the thing is, I chose my way. I made my decision and had to deal with the consequences. It makes me sad that I lost my best friend, but I had to have seen this coming. Only an idiot would believe that, despite a break up, a friendship can pick right back up where it left off before the dating began. So when I noticed tonight that he removed me from his Facebook friends, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I shouldn’t have called it immature. I ended it. I made the decision. It’s done. Move on.

And oh, I have.

I have recently been made more aware of the people I’m surrounded by. We live in unison. I’m writing this right now, but someone in the world is brushing his/her teeth in preparation for bedtime, someone else is gardening and this other person is up and on his/her way to work.

Maybe this person’s mom just died. Or maybe, just maybe, that man over there is battling a disease that will eventually claim his body in its entirety.

You just never know.

So I need to stop being so self-absorbed. Because, yeah, Emily went through a break up and yeah, Emily left the cross country team and might not be able to pay for college, but these catastrophic details in my life are minute to someone else. The kid who gets picked on for being gay would rather be in my shoes, as would the man who just got jumped on the streets of New York City.

My problems don’t mean anything. I should stop acting like they do.

The post you’ve been waiting for…

It’s been tough, to say the least. 

It would have been three years on the 21st… I was a wreck. I needed distractions that day; my friends delivered.

But when one of our songs came on in the dining hall, I couldn’t breathe. 

A staple I had in my life before is now gone. And I’m at the point where all I can remember is the good. Not the bad. But there were bad times.

There were bad times.

There were bad times.

There were arguments and “we need to talk”s. 

It wasn’t easy anymore. It became a challenge… one I wasn’t up to fighting for anymore.

Maybe –– maybe –– it’ll pick up again. 

For now I just need to be me.