All about the Cheater, but with more details. I managed to get full points for my revision. Yay!
Better Things Will Come Your Way
I remember vividly what it was like to be a young girl and in love. Life was a series of waiting. Waiting to see his face, hear his voice, and be in his arms. Most of my smiles were for him; he was the one thing that could make or break my day. The world of my sixteen-year-old self revolved around him; unfortunately, he would one day become my biggest rejection.
Although in Bob Green’s essay “Cut,” he asserts that youthful public rejection leads to becoming an overachiever in life, I think that how people will react to a rejection is as unique as people themselves. When you are young everything feels hugely momentous, being caught between wanting to be an adult, and not quite being there. I was very idealistic at that age, but probably most of us were. That seems to be a great age for idealism, before the realities of the world interfere.
When I was in high school I kept a sketchbook that included drawings, paintings, collages, journals, and pictures. What follows is an excerpt from my sketchbook about my high school sweetheart, Danny, which gives some insight into what I felt about him during our relationship.
The Story of Us: There once was a girl, who met a boy, and they became friends. Two years passed before they came back together, and reunited as friends. This girl, outcast to the world, pushed away all love for fear of it; including, the love of the boy who had always loved her. Until, one day she woke up, looked into the boy’s eyes, saw the love there, and she felt no fear. She loved him back. His arms slid around her, and she felt safe. He saved her, and she saved him. They were happy forever.
This is a clipping from my high school sketchbook.
I really did believe we would be happily together forever. After high school we would get married. I wanted children, the only serious goal I had was becoming a mother, and I believed he would be the father of my children. Two girls, that was my ideal, and since I wanted it so badly, I believed I would get it. I could see it clearly in my head, and it felt more real than anything else in my normal life.
Fast-forward two years from when we first began dating, and our relationship seemed to be in a vastly different place. Not quite so happy and carefree, but I still believed that he was “it” for me. It had been two days since we had spoken. Two days since we fought, just one of many recent fights, but this one had been particularly nasty. Two days of crying, thinking about the future, and whether or not he should be in mine.
I drove over to his house determined that I would tell him we needed a break; it was time for us to evaluate our relationship, and decide if this was what we really wanted. I had his promise ring in my hand, placed carefully back in it’s original jewelry box, because I wanted him to take it as a symbol of how serious I was about our break.
Even so, deep down I still hoped that he would convince me that a break was unnecessary. He would tell me that he loved me, and that the thought of a break from us was something he couldn’t even fathom trying to go through. Though, even deeper down, was the understanding that my hope wouldn’t be coming to pass, but I didn’t want to acknowledge that niggling voice in the back of my mind.
I walked into his house unannounced, just like I would on any other day, and that is where I found them. They were snuggled up together, half dressed on the couch. I froze, completely in shock. I felt almost nothing other than a vague feeling of unreality, as if I were stuck in the middle of a bad dream. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl; I stood there for what felt like a very long time, but what was only seconds, just taking in the whole scene in front of me.
I noticed his lack of reaction, as if he didn’t care at all that I was seeing them together. Then, her small smile, letting me know that she was happy that I had seen them. I never said anything, and neither did they. I just walked forward, dropped his promise ring on top of them, turned around, and left. Only once I was away from the house did I let the emotion take hold of me; hysterical, painful sobs racked my body as I drove away. I felt betrayed, crushed, and humiliated.
I mourned the loss of him. Worse than that, I questioned myself. Why would he do that? Was I not pretty enough? Smart enough? Funny enough? What did she have that made her better than me, that he would take what we had together, and throw it away on her? Had he ever loved me? Had I wasted two years of my life on someone who never really cared about me? How long had he been cheating with her? Did he cheat with others that I didn’t know about? How many of our friends knew? How many people had been lying to me?
Danny’s rejection did have the short-term effect of causing me to “overachieve”. I mean this more in the sense that I felt like I needed to prove the fact that I was a desirable, amazing person. I wanted so much for him to regret his choices, that I spent a great deal of my energy trying to be more physically appealing, more pleasant in personality, and made sure that he knew how interesting other boys found me. I tried to embrace qualities that I felt would make me more appealing as a woman, being sexy, witty, and fun. I wish that our relationship had been easier for me to move past, as I look back now at my actions during those times directly after our break up, I take no pride in them.
I eventually did find closure in his regret. I was so determined for him to feel remorseful, all I wanted was for him to want me back, but once he did I realized something very important. We would never be that girl and that boy, so in love. That idealism had been shattered, despite the part of me that clung to hope of a future with him; I finally acknowledged that we couldn’t get it back, and not just that we couldn’t, but that we shouldn’t.
My closure of our relationship was healing for me, and I had a moment of revelation; that I am a strong, unique individual, with my own abilities, quirks, flaws, and amazing beauty. Ultimately, I am “me,” and I don’t want to be anyone else. I can use rejection to motivate me, I can learn something from it, but I will never let it define me. There is nothing easy about rejection, no matter the size, but everything in life happens for a reason. You just have to keep moving forward, and know that eventually better things will come your way.