So ... It's Friday afternoon. I'm at work, and there are basically no calls coming in. So I figure ... blog about it. Except there's really nothing to blog about. But this morning while I was driving to work I had a stellar idea for a blog entry. So, here goes; I'm commencing...
When you were little, did you have some sort of grand idea about love? I know I did. I thought it was this magical, once-in-a-lifetime event, something that happened with the force of an earthquake scoring over 7 on the Richter scale.Yeah, it's totally not like that. You wanna know what I've learned in the past five years of dating? Love happens gradually, it happens fairly often, and the only resemblance to an earthquake is the shattered, broken feeling you get when it's over.
When I was little, my Mimi always called me "Princess for Real". From what I can gather, this title came from an incident when I was about four; I came in crying to my mama and told her that when I'd told the neighbor girls I was a princess (a belief my mother has fostered in me since I was born. It persists, and most of the time, it's a good thing) they'd laughed at me and said that I wasn't a princess for real. Mama told me I was indeed a Princess for Real and not to pay those rude little girls any mind.
This has been my mindset since that time. I am indeed a Princess for Real and I shouldn't pay those rude girls/boys/Canadians/customers any mind. That's how I got through Chris Virostko rejecting me in the middle of the hall when I asked him out. That's why I didn't care that much when I found out Nate Burgess only asked me out because of a bet. That's what helped me through that blowup in 8th grade when my best friend turned on me and cornered me at lunch with three of her new friends. Really, that's what gets me through my day-to-day rituals of working, sleeping, eating, flirting, complaining, ignoring, hoping, texting, calling ... I do it all with the knowledge that I am indeed a Princess. For Real.
How does this relate to love, you might ask? Well, I would like to present three case studies. These case studies will, for the most part, remain unnamed. The reasoning will soon become clear, because I only have a couple of readers, and I'm pretty sure they're well-connected with at least one of those cases.
My junior year in high school, I involved my heart in my dating life for the first time ever, and it got broken. It pretty much sucked. Chase VanOrden (real name, in case you're wondering) was the biggest crush I'd ever had. I didn't fall in love with him, but I fell for him. Literally. As in, we were dancing (onstage; he was my dance partner for the waltz when we were both in our high school production of Cinderella) and I slipped on absolutely nothing in the middle of the number. It was not subtle, it was not quiet, and I'm pretty sure the couple next to us had trouble keeping time because they were laughing so hard.
Chase was tall, dark and very handsome. He still is, in fact. However, he happened to be in love with a mutual friend, a girl who may have stabbed me in the back once or twice. After several romantic encounters (no kisses, though) I was informed indirectly that not only had Jen stolen Chase's first kiss but also that they were together. Not fair.
It's been four or five years since that 9-month interlude. My mother still hates him. I told her once it was a good thing I got out before Chase and I actually dated, or I might have gotten my heart broken. She asked what made me think my heart hadn't been broken? Of course, she was right. She knows me better than I know myself. Took me a while to realize that though.
Case study #1 has a happy ending. Chase and I are now really good friends. He probably knows more of my more private thoughts than most other people. I am his counselor on all ventures romantic, and we talk at least once a week. Three years after the culmination of our doomed relationship-that-never-really-was, we are confidants and pals. I value his advice and I'm lucky to call him my friend.
Case study #2 is named Jared. I'm not going to tell you his last name, but rest assured I still think he's a douche. We started dating October of my sophomore year in college. The whole thing lasted about a year, from first butterflies to the last encounter when he had any affect on me whatsoever. We officially dated for less than a month, but the relationship itself (or whatever resembled it) lasted for four months. After that, we just made out because he is a douche and I was stupid.
I thought I was going to marry Jared. I fell in love with him by Thanksgiving. And this was real love, or at least real love as I knew it. I thought it was a regular fairy tale. He told me he loved me the week before he left on his damn cruise to Mexico. That's a marker because it's when he cheated on me ... or at least, when I was made aware that he cheated on me. Who the hell knows how many other girls there were?
I confronted him about it when he got back. I still loved him but I was damaged irrevocably and plunged into depression. He attempted to and succeeded in convincing me it was all my fault. He told me the other girls were much more immodest than I but that it was okay because they had "smokin' bods". Peeps, I'm not making this shit up. He really did this. And you know what? I must have forgotten the lesson my mother taught me when I was four, because I put up with it for FOUR FETCHING MONTHS before I grew a backbone and told him I never wanted to see him again. I let him kiss me, I let him introduce me to the other women (there were indeed plural), I let him tell me I was crazy and too this, too that, my boobs were too small and my waist was too. I was too skinny, I was too smart, I was too emotional ... I wasn't ever right. That ass.
I learned a lot from him, though. I learned that if a boy is going to have a DTR with you every week, it's a red flag. If a boy tells you he hopes you don't have a problem that he's cuddling with other girls and kissing you, that's a red flag. If you do have a problem with something, it's okay to say something and is in fact preferable that you do so. If you think you might be in love, don't even hint at it until he tells you first. I learned a lot more than these few lessons from that relationship than I'm listing here. If you're curious, just ask me sometime, because it's a Friday afternoon and my brain's cutting out. Suffice it to say, even though dating Jared was one of the most painful experiences of my life, I wouldn't take it back. I learned too much and grew too much. It made me more like my mom. :)