Sunday, July 11, 2010

I can't like someone who thought they're the only one that mattered

I grew up as the oldest kid in my family. Looking back, I now realize that I was a guinea pig of sorts. My parents, as wonderful as I know them to be now, never really gave me a road map for life. Not that it was really their responsibility to do so. They worked hard to provide for us, and gave us freedom to make our own choices. Not that we didn't have rules to follow. I was pretty much scared shitless to do any of the following: smoke, drink, take drugs, have sex, or miss church.

The things I learned about myself and life are few, yet true. I always thought that if I was a mostly good person and I did what I was supposed to do, that good things would happen to me. Good things such as ending up with a decent job, great friends, and a wonderful family of my own (with a terrific husband and kids). Also, I thought I would be happy.

With everything in the past, I now know I must make things happen for myself. Sadly, doing what your parents teach you does nothing to guarantee ultimate happiness. It does, however, ensure that you will know what it means to be driven, and to be happy with your life in the current moment.

Where I am in this current moment is driving towards a future. Which future is uncertain. If I take one exit off this highway, I'm heading towards a man who loves me and will love me forever, possibly children, and definitive domesticity. Otherwise, driving past this exit lays the entire world. No one knows what's out there, but we all dream. I envision extremes. One is certain loneliness. But the other is an existence I have envisioned in my heart from four years old.

Trying to figure out where it all went wrong seems viable. I dated, but no one worth mentioning. One took my love freely, because I gave it in the same way. It ended badly, as it always does with first loves. This, in turn, prepared me for my other high school boyfriend. Recklessly, we pretended to love, experimented with sex, and regretted it all in the end.

When I met Heath, I had already decided several things about him. First, that he was going to be my boyfriend. Next, that he would be the reason I forgot all the pain I was still in from Seth. And last, that is would all be on my terms, but I'd make sure he thought this was all his idea...

June 3, 1998

"Are you sure you're ok with this?" my mom asked.

Before turning, I answered, "yes, I suppose so." I had to fight the tears by keeping my eyes closed longer than usual, and grinding my teeth to the point of pain. I love my family, but moving at 16 to a new town for my last year of high school was almost too much to bear. My little sister Bailey, 14, was completely rebelling. Mom and Dad were so desperate to soothe her about the move that they allowed her to spend the summer traveling with friends and our old church youth group. There wasn't a whole lot of patience left for me. As the oldest I knew I had to set the best example. And really, it was a lot easier to say I was fine with everything, push down the tears and sadness, and move away from my friends that reminded me of Seth, than it was to say I was hurt, devastated, and deal with the pain.