I was always the chronically single friend throughout my adolescence. I watched many boys come and go throughout my friend's lives—often ruining them for a short while. I liked to constantly remind myself that I was the "smart" friend, the friend who would never ruin her life over some stupid, teenage boy who would ultimately mean nothing to me in ten years. I think that was my way of making myself feel better while everyone around me had someone to be excited about, and I was… well, alone.
I had been a self proclaimed Feminist since I was 14 and I never made it a secret to my classmates. So, it's not entirely crazy to assume no one was exactly breaking down my door to ask me out on a date. But, I was always unapologetically myself and I knew that someone would appreciate who I was someday.
It's a bit of a cliche, but sometimes things really do happen when you least expect them to.
I met a boy in the middle of my senior year, and we talked everyday for months. We talked about everything and anything—from our families to weird hidden talents we have. I loved hearing about his life and learning more and more about who he was as a person. I got the feeling that he felt the same way. I found someone that I connected with like I hadn't with anyone else. Naturally, we entered into a relationship and as cheesy as it may sound, I felt like the loneliness I had felt throughout high school was worth it. He surprised me with flowers occasionally, he would send me cute text messages, and he was just a very attentive boyfriend who made me feel like the most special girl in the whole world. He not only accepted my weird quirks and unusual interests, but he embraced them. Even after the initial "honeymoon phase" he was still very good to me and I felt so lucky to have him. I felt like there wasn't a single bit of myself that I had to hide, and I liked to think that he felt the same way as I did.
Unfortunately, things don't always go the way we want them to. Even if we try with all of our might.
The very first boy that I had fallen in love with broke my heart.
My first relationship taught me that falling in love is one of the easiest, and most simple things in the world, but staying in love is one of the hardest. Gradually, I began putting in the work while he seemed to slowly stop trying. My heart was not ready to accept what the rest of me had already realized. I was spending so much time trying to keep my relationship afloat that it became the only thing I was holding onto for dear life. The very thing that I thought would help me swim, was drowning me to the whole time. I was unhappy being away at school, unsure of where I saw myself in the future, and missing my friends back home. I kept feeling my boyfriend pull away and give me less and less love, and I began to give more and more to make up for what he was lacking in the relationship. It was emotionally draining, but I desperately wanted something to be going right in my life and I did not understand why he kept putting distance between us. I thought that he would wake up one day and realize how much he was taking me for granted, then everything would go back to how it used to be. I spent so much time sacrificing my own needs and happiness wondering why my best still was not cutting it, to the point where I slowly began stripping away parts of myself in order to keep the boy that I loved. It was silently eating me alive inside. I was scared to confront him. I knew I was in a toxic situation that was only going to hurt me in the end... but nobody wants to lose someone they have worked so hard to keep.
I was trying to use a relationship to fill a void that it just did not fit in. I was not allowing anything else to make me happy, or attempting to fix my struggling connection with my significant other in a healthy way. The thing is, when someone continues to show you that they don't care about you, believe them the first time. Do not sacrifice who you are as a human being in an attempt to make them love you. People are allowed to leave you, and you need to let them.
The night he broke up with me, I laid in my bed feeling empty. It felt like I was watching my entire world be set on fire, and he had been holding the gasoline the entire time. I gave every last bit of myself to a person who just did not want it in the end. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I could barely get out of bed—I didn't feel like me. I didn't even know who I was anymore. I didn't know what made me happy. I had given away the best parts of myself to a person who didn't deserve them. The worst thing I ever did was love someone else more than I love myself.
I cannot place all of the blame on my ex, as I feel that I need to take full responsibility for the way I buried myself in our relationship. A person does not replace happiness, or ambition. A relationship is meant to be two separate individuals who are growing as people and as a unit. I gave my love and energy to the wrong person and now I need to spend time fixating it on the right person (hint: it's myself).
I am nowhere near feeling "healed" or over the situation, but I feel myself getting stronger everyday. I am beginning to relearn things that I had long forgotten about myself. I will come out of this as a stronger and better version of myself. I know my fire will come back someday, I just have to continue to light it. There are nights I have gone to bed clenching my fists in anger, wondering why I was taken for granted so easily. There are nights I go to bed sad and sorry for myself. But, I have nights where I go to bed knowing I will wake up the next day feeling happier than I was the day before. I know the universe needs me to focus on the most important component of my life: myself. For whatever reason, I needed this person to break my heart in order to grow as a human being. I needed that last straw to snap. Someday I'll know exactly why everything needed to fall apart, and I will meet a guy who treats me the way I deserve to be treated. Most importantly, I will put myself back together. I often remind myself that I merely lost someone who didn't love me enough to try and save the relationship we had spent so long building. He lost someone who loved him unconditionally, and would have done absolutely anything for him. In the end, he is suffering a greater loss than me.
To anyone reading this who is going through a similar situation, or maybe you too feel as if you are beginning to lose yourself trying to hold onto your significant other: how someone treats you, is how they feel about you. Do not lose who you are and all you have to offer over someone who does not value it. Take it from someone who spent so much time trying to look for "signs" and "clues" that their significant other loved them that they deemed their own self less important. Take care of yourself first and foremost because you are worthy of self love. When you collapse in your shower crying your eyes out, feeling as if your whole word is crashing down onto your shoulders, you are the person who picks yourself back up again. Remember those nights you spend crying yourself to sleep, wondering if you will ever feel whole again. Remember the mornings directly after where you still wake up and the sun is still shining. You are stronger than you think you are. Fall in love with yourself before you begin to fall in love with someone else again.
Your heart beats for you and nobody else.