Pause.

Two days ago, I felt both my breath and heart pause as I noticed the subject line of one of my emails. At first glance, I thought that the email, announcing a Facebook message, was simply spam and my mouse hovered over the delete button. But curiosity set in, and before I could stop myself, I opened this message that was sent at 2 AM and was completely thrown off balance.

I have been in love once before. It was hard, fast, and all-consuming. And whenever I told someone, they would shrug it off as a petty crush and nothing more. But I felt something – I knew something was there and the pull between us was indescribable. It wasn’t some big secret either, everyone and anyone could sense our chemistry. But we both came from strict households and therefore neither of us could ever dream of pursuing an interest. But the thing is, and it has been dawning on me more and more after reading this message, we may have been the best of friends, but I certainly wasn’t treated with due respect. And I think my love for him was what masked this unacceptable behavior.

He was intelligent, quirky, quick-witted, and had a thirst for knowledge that I found enthralling. I have always been clever, but in his presence, I pushed myself even further both academically and socially, tapping into potential I did not realize I had. He was the first person I spoke to when I woke up and the last person I said good night to before I went to bed. There was never a dull moment between us because there was always something to discuss, something to debate on. But with the wit, came the subtle insults. Crass speech that I didn’t particularly care for, but despite my protests, he would use regardless. Back then, I was the type of girl who didn’t utter a single term of profanity – so I understood that not everyone would abide by my moral standards. But it wasn’t just the speech, it was the words that were thrown at me. I had never cried over someone until he walked into my life. Words – hurtful, despicable language – cloaked in jargon so sesquipedalian, that I felt both insignificant and moronic simultaneously.

We were not in a relationship. We were not lovers, nor were we anything but close friends. But under that shield of “friendship”, I was in love with him, and so I took in what I could, without any reprimands and without walking away. All this time, all these years, I didn’t see it for what it was. I’m not sure – maybe because in my head, I associated it with solid relationships? Familial, martial – relationships of that sort. But in actuality, abuse – verbal, physical, emotional, mental – can happen between anyone and at any time. Certainly between friends, most certainly between close friends.

I fell in love with him, and for seven years of my life, I went through a roller coaster of emotions. As if I was looking through a window, I witnessed my demeanor shift and change and watched as my thoughts grew darker with every interaction.  I tried to move on from him as quickly as possibly. I tried to cut ties, and when that failed, I tried to become friends again. That chemistry between us, that never died, but now looking back, neither did his behavior toward me. My thoughts were discounted and my gender was used against me more often that not – I was patronized for the beliefs I held. Sure, there was some support – some words of encouragement, but just around the corner was another belittling statement.

Last year, with the end of school, I finally was able to let go. Gone were any feelings of love and respect. Gone were the feelings of pain and seeking revenge. I simply let go, and I’ve had such a happy year where I’ve grown so much.

Fast forward to Wednesday. His message was a six paragraph long apology detailing his sorrow for acting the way he did toward me. I’ve probably read this message over 50 times in the past 48 hours, agonizing over whether I should respond or not, and if so, how? My entire life, my “busy and exciting life that I am blessed with” as he so elegantly put it, was put on pause. My thoughts were naught by his words and figuring out what the underlying meaning was. Because you see, not only was this an apology to me – it was an apology to the entire female race. Someone he was familiar with had became a sexual predator and victimized mutual friends of theirs and he was suddenly hit with the realization that his misogynistic behavior contributed to this scenario. So this six paragraph long message is also a declaration of how he will stand up for women in this fight against sexual violence. And all of that, which, don’t get me wrong, is great and everything, had me utterly confused on why I was being associated with abuse given I have never been the recipient.

But it finally hit me. It hit me just moments ago. There is no ulterior motive to his actions. From what I can gather, there was no malice laced in his words. He just happened to arrive at a conclusion that I should have seen long ago. The friendship we had – as fated as it seem to be – was toxic. He never laid a hand on me, but his words were weapons enough to bring me down and force me into my own shell. Even his lack of communication, times when he would suddenly withdraw and leave me with cryptic sayings, was in a way, a form of abuse. He would leave and then come back, play with the strings that made up me and eventually, led to my unraveling.

As someone who believes in rehabilitation and second chances, I am content that he has seen the error of his ways and is trying to take steps towards becoming a better man. But I won’t be replying to his apology. There is no reason to – I’ve put the past behind me and his message only affirms my actions. I will never be the same person I was before I met him – that I know. But I will also never, ever put myself in a similar situation, and for that, I thank him.

– A.

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They Happen For A Reason

A detour from the usual to discuss a topic that often comes up when discussing the fragility of “meant-to-be” relationships. It is relevant once more as a close friend of mine decides whether she is as in love with her first and only boyfriend as she was in the beginning. For friends who are faced […]

Best Friends

But I tend to lie when I tell someone that I will talk to them soon. Or that I will see them soon or that we will keep in touch. It is one of my biggest flaws. Bigger than being a procrastinator or a chronic liar. I know I have a big heart. Shoot, I’ll go out of my way to do something for someone, even if that means hindering my own image. But when someone is out of the picture, I tend to lose myself in the present and let them go completely. I know it’s hard. And I know that should put more effort into keeping in touch. I mean, how many times have I said that a relationship goes both ways? But perhaps, like an infant, I have somehow not mastered object permanence. When an individual is out-of-sight, he or she is literally out-of-mind. It’s a cruel notion, but it’s the truth. You have no idea how many relationships I’ve simply let go due to this. I like to say that I still have “best friends” from 4th grade. But let’s be real, they don’t know half the things that have gone on during my life. But is that entirely on me? I used to think not. And then I accepted the blame. But now I wonder, if I had still facebook messaged and texted them every weekend and come back as often as I could from LA, would it still all be alright. Or would I have been feeling as miserable as I was back then. Maybe … it’s not even about keeping in touch. Maybe this entire post is about how I need to be honest. And perhaps I cannot sleep because rather than stepping up and being honest to that one person, I’ve decided to completely cut him out of my life/avoid him. And perhaps this is what’s taking a toll on my health.

Edit: This post on Tumblr that I reblogged sums it up beautifully. To quote:

Being best friends with someone means that even when you’re apart for months, or sometimes even years, and you don’t keep up constant contact, and you both get other friends, and interests, and your personalities change, you still come back together at some point and you act like nothing has changed.

<3 A.

Urges

Once we stop giggling at the word “urges”, let’s talk about how I am fighting a constant battle. I’ve made a pact to move on. I’ll admit, I’m taking the easy way out on this one and not confronting the issue head-on, but that doesn’t mean life has been a piece of cake. Every time I’m on, all I want to do is make one ‘click’ and see what’s gone down during this timespan. But I know that if I give in, just once, then I’m back to square 1. Yes, I might still think about it every time I’m on, but if I stay strong and keep moving forward, perhaps one day, I’ll let go of it completely. Until then . . .

Who knows you best?

So in Education 150 today (RA class), we were talking about self-discovery and being able to better understand ourselves in order to understand others. We ran out of time to actually do this activity, but there were a bunch of questions on a slide that geared towards describing yourself to someone else. One of the questions was “Who knows you best?” Now while my instructors were giving us an example by doing the activity between themselves, I was pondering on who I would say knows me the best. Would I say my mom? Probably not, because she only hears what she wants to hear and therefore only knows a part of me. My sister? Ha – up until this year, my sister and I were at each other’s throats constantly because of my parents’ ostentatiously display of favoritism towards her. My friends? Probably not – which makes me go into those best friend groups. D’FAT? To be honest, they could have POTENTIALLY been the people who knew me the best, but this year we have grown too far apart. PAACKS? I would say definitely, and you know, it might get there – but because of high school and all of its demands, I couldn’t really hang out with them as much and therefore, they weren’t part of my life during some of the hard times I went through. What about some of those other individuals? Maybe, but I feel like I still have to change myself in some way.

So it’s led me to the conclusion that there isn’t that one person out there who knows me best. Not even inside and out, but just, knows/gets me. And this thought makes me very sad.

<3 A.

Time is Nothing

In some cases, time is really nothing. For example, in the novel “Time Traveler’s Wife”, the main character Henry DeTamble explains how compared to his love for Clare, time is insignificant. While this may stand true in this one situation, I believe that time often reveals the best and worst of people. Summers are usually periods of time when one can recharge for the upcoming year. While they can determine how close you become to your friends, no summer is quite as important as the summer after high school.

Sure, summertime is when you are away from your friends in general. However, if these are summers caught within school years, there is no doubt that you will have some sort of contact with your classmates. Whether it is extracurricular activity-related, or SAT class, or even calling up one of those smarties for questions on summer work. However, the summer after senior year is devoid of all of this, and unless you keep in touch with your friends, there is a large chance that you’ll lose complete contact with them.

This summer has really shown me the true sides of certain people. There are people who I considered horrible before who continued to talk throughout the summer and have proven themselves to be genuinely caring people who just might be annoying at times. There are others who I have casually spoken to at school, who randomly comment on facebook, mostly to wish me a ‘Happy Birthday’. And then there are those select few who I thought would be there through thick and thin, but instead, ended up bailing on me as soon as the final bell has rung. It is those people I feel sorry for, because they have cut out some of the most important relationships in their lives and will continue to do so until they realize their mistakes.

So until then, all I can say is, you may come back during troubled times to find solace in those you pushed away. Let me warn you know that along with time, tolerance begins to wane, and before you know it, those relationships have disappeared for good. Time can be nothing . . but time can be everything as well.

<3 A.

Random Epiphany

Hello kids,

So it’s currently 11 pm, Friday night, and while talking to Young, I came upon this huge conclusion. Well maybe I secretly knew about it all along, but it wasn’t until I typed the words to Young that I discovered I had come across something big. Anyway, we were talking about all those lovely couples that are currently strong in our Senior class right now. Now some of those couples are absolutely cute where it is as if it is a match made in heaven. However, there are other couples where you just wonder . . . Haha, so we were talking about the schools these couples were going to and how a lot of them were going to separate schools. Now, most people would think that this is the end for these couples. But really, is this just one of those big tests that the couples are put through? Distance if often beneficial, because it is when you’re far away that you realize how much the other person means to you. Or not. Through this distance, one can find out how faithful the other is, or, one can find out how much it really wasn’t “meant to be”. So maybe, instead of striving to maintain the relationship by meeting up with your beloved every day after their classes end, give them some S – P – A – C – E. Or, if your situation is the other way, where you wait and see what happens instead of brutally cutting it off before you give the relationship a chance.

I understand, you can’t expect your high school sweetheart to be your future husband or wife. But I think many of us suddenly become afraid at the thought of leaving and going away. So afraid of the pain it will cause and the tears it will bring to our eyes, we decide to just make a clean cut. Now. Without a warning. Without a proper goodbye. And what good does that do, I ask you? Wouldn’t it be better to fight your hardest to maintain a relationship that really means a lot to you rather than destroy it way before? I know a few cases that have already occurred this year and it saddens me to know that those friendships are completely gone. Humans are naturally afraid of the unknown, but that’s no excuse. We are also predisposed to love. So why make it harder and cut every person who makes us happy out of our lives? Good question.

<3 A.