In my life, I have only had three significant and long-term relationships. Ironically I realize now, each one was at a different stage of my life. Ha, wow. So, short recap of all of them–why name them? Those who know me, know who they are:
- (JEB) – my first love. 8th grade. We grew up knowing one another since the age of 5. It was a secret relationship and the purest kind of love there was. November 2, 2005-August 22, 2006.
- (JEO) – my first boyfriend in high school that I crushed hard on in my Algebra class. He was super quirky. He liked me too, but was too shy to even talk to me at first. He was one year younger than me. We finally met because we both joined track and my best friend at the time, forced us to talk. Awesome start, but super dysfunction throughout. He was quite manipulative and of course, I did not see it. May 23, 2009-January 13,2011.
- (MJS) – my first college boyfriend. He was a senior and I a freshman. We worked together in the student union and he was my student supervisor. We were both in a relationship when we met and when we then confessed we had liked one another from then. He stayed another two years for graduate school so that’s why we started our relationship. This boy… March 1, 2011-March 23, 2015.
And so ultimately, I have learned vast lessons from all of them whether that be directly applying something they told or showed me into my own life or if years later, I had that “aha” moment (so that’s what “that” meant…).
With the time having flown by and being months from celebrating my “10 year anniversary” since being with JEB, I guess I’ll start with the things I have learned from him that I still remember and/or acknowledge. Being 14 is weird and everything then is so emotional…so, yea.
- I probably loved my hardest back in 2005. I now know that I am capable of loving someone very deeply. Without him knowing, he taught me to see people for who they are and to love them for that–not their looks, or their assets, or anything else that is pointless. With a gentle soul back then, he taught me to fall in love with the hopeless romanticism of two people, that love itself does not know age, and that the written word is a priceless gift compared to other materialistic, redundant gifts for Valentine’s Day. Plus, Valentine’s Day is a lame excuse for a holiday.
- He taught me that being a little berserk/hyper is okay from time to time–it’s always good to get some energy out.
- My primary love for note writing is because he wrote love notes to me and would stick them in my locker. One of my favorites referenced a passage from The Notebook: “the reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be.” [side note: We secretly read that book together in 8th grade–it was like an internal book club so that is probably where a lot of my hopeless romantic comes from]
- For as young as we were, we “got one another.” There was a sense of independence and understanding that we could remain ourselves, but every time we could be together, we would talk about anything and everything at such a depth and maturity level that honestly astounds me today.
- As strange as it may sound, he gave me a little bit of hope for humanity. Talking to him 9 years later, he settled down from being super pompous unlike his high school persona, but of course he changed and luckily, to a better version of himself. Recent advice from him: “I’m glad that you are no longer in a destructive relationship, truly I am. You do not need that shit. Now all you have to do is to constantly work on yourself and honestly learn to love yourself.”
- This just made me bust out laughing, and it is kind of sad that it is my first thought, but it was with him that I discovered how much I love Caesar salads. I had never had a Caesar salad until I was with him.
- ‘Shindigs’ was his word for hangouts and it rubbed off on me immediately. As well as my love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, apocalyptic movies/books and other dark cult shit, Castle Crashers, the movie “Garden State” and other things I cannot remember.
- He taught me that being a supporter of people’s quirks was the best act of kindness you could offer someone. As a fellow quirkster himself, he had undergone a lot of bullying growing up so his self-confidence was lacking sometimes and yet, he was one of the best supporters and hi-fivers for our high school track/XC team. Being a pretty good runner (for his legs, I presume–he is 6.4″), he would always cheer you on no matter how far you still had left in your race.
- Because of him, I forever stopped using the words “scrawny” and “skinny.” I realized that these words can be triggering and traumatic to some people who have experienced a lot of self-body issues. So, to always be careful with my words that could accidentally hurt others.
- His creativity for making up games and activities was awesome–we would go to his Grandpa’s pool out in the country during the summer and we would hit old rotten apples with a baseball bat into the cow fields. He was a lot of fun actually. He taught me the simplicity of having fun did not require fancy things.
- Down the line, with JEO I learned the importance of having similar ethical/moral values as well as some interests. Him and I were on the far ends of the spectrum with everything, so eventually things would crumble. (Example: If I were to ever get pregnant, he thought I should get an abortion…Uh, no.)
- And probably my most important lesson I learned was not until the very end. I am not an object for anyone’s sexual gratification and fantasy. I can do what I want with my body because it is mine and if I want to chop my hair off, for example, get the fuck over it (oh no, you won’t resemble Zooey Deschanel anymore!–And yes, he said that). I am not just a pretty face, I am so much more than that. I am not here to serve you for your sexual desires before I go home. He used me, but without that experience, I would not have learned as much as I did about myself.
- I feel like he was the first person to actually “see” me for the honest, blunt, freshman, frolicker, quirky, happy girl I was then. He did not let my age stand in the way of him forming feelings towards me. Instead, he focused on what my values, dreams, and thoughts were about the world and he just smiled as if he had finally found a kindred spirit who understood him.
- With him, I felt “found.” I am positive that I can feel that again in my life with someone else.
- With him, I learned how to trust someone with my entire being. I believe we shared most, if not all, of our secrets and insecurities with one another. Though he broke my trust two major times throughout our time together, I found that with him I could always find a way to bring out the better person in myself by forgiving and doing my best to let go of the pain.
- But yet apparently, towards the end, he told me that our relationship brought out the worst in him. This is another learning point for the future. NOTE: A relationship is meant to enable growth for both, not be an unsteady, shaky pedestal that “sorta” keeps you afloat of the water
- Because of him, I think I am forever scarred of red, Wisconsin, football, Badgers, and Bucky–If you cannot tell, he was a DIE-HARD Michigan fan! (He would kill me if he ever read this–ha, and yet I am doubtful). However, I have come to really appreciate how red looks on me. Besides, my grandmother always said red was my color 🙂
- I learned that to fear the future is so detrimental. It makes us doubtful and unsure with ourselves over things we have no control over. MJS showed me a little too much of where his fears could take him and I have seen the harm it caused him. He might call all that thinking being realistic, but how can it be realistic to think the WORST about life and have those thoughts on repeat in your head like a fucking playlist? No, no more fearing the future for me.
- On a much happier note, he taught me to always embrace a happy song and do a “happy dance.” No matter where I may be. I think that use to be one of “our things,” especially on our random outings to Walmart at 1AM.