18-23 Part One 

Soundtrack for blog: “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac 

At 17, when people still used MySpace, an old flame popped into my life in December 2007. (My first childhood love). We’ll call him Ben. I was working 2 part time jobs, going to school, I had just gotten a car and life was good. I was so scared to meet up with him! My 17 year old self, nervous as hell. I never really had serious boyfriends. I didn’t really trust men to be honest with you. But Ben was always a sweet talker.

We dated for 3.5 years. Ben at first, was wonderful. We had a lot of fun. Our families knew each other and we were just close. After my first year at college, I was so done with NJ. I was going crazy. I had to get out of this repeating record. At 19, I left. I came to Charlotte and moved in with my grandparents. Ben followed, though a part of me just didn’t want that. 

(Insert a lot of crap here. I was this. He was that. It was over. It has been over. But neither of us wanted to say it was over. You know, the families being so close, the high school sweetheart story. That will never be. We lived over an hour apart and I was 20 years old. Ben wasn’t what I wanted and I wasn’t what he wanted). 

Now, this next part, I’m not so proud of. I met someone while waiting for my night class to start. Let’s name him Travis. Travis was 20, he was cute, he had dickies pants on, a black t-shirt, a backwards hat, 6’0 ft tall and a cigarette in one hand. (Fast forward 6 years and if I saw someone like that, I’d call him a punk ass..but I’m 20 at this time.. don’t hate). He looked at me while talking with his friend and stopped mid sentence when he saw me. 

Ben and I broke up two days later. (Later, it was discovered Ben had some indescretions. I never cheated on him just to add. I always had self respect, but I always found it disrespectful to speak to another man who you know has some interest when your with someone. It’s almost the same thing to me, so I felt guilty). 

I love my grandparents so much. They are my two favorite people in the entire world. But at 20, I was so high strung on wanting to go out on my own, because “I’m an adult, I know everything at barley 20 years old!” 

…yeah fast forward 3 years. Travis couldn’t hold a job, he kept failing classes, he suffered from multiple mental disorders that required him to take medications. He was a recovering drug addict. I’m not a hater on people in recovery, but he always used it as an excuse as to why he didn’t do anything. We only made it so far because he came from a life I never knew growing up. It was easy for him to mess up and someone cleaned it up with “green.” I wanted nursing school, I wanted a life. I wanted a home. I wanted something to be proud of. I was the worst kind of person when I was with Travis. I hated who I was. I was nasty, I was lost. 

We tried to make it or I tried. We did live together for two years after all. We had two dogs. I was set back in school due to the stress. I was so angry, tired, sad. I loved Travis, even with all the bullshit. I gave up a lot of myself while I was with him. 

For my birthday 2013, he said he had to do something or another and we would go to dinner another night. I found out later he was….not alone…. on my birthday. 

I came home from work one morning. I was night shift at this time. I knew. I had known. But I covered the wool over my own eyes. Travis had been cheating on me. For about 3 months. I always thought “I would never do that. Act like that wasn’t happening to me. I’d drop him.” Love makes you blind sometimes friends, even when it’s right in your face waving a giant flag saying “wake up idiot!!” I built this life with someone and it was nothing. It was all for nothing. 

I moved out and went crawling back to my grandparents home. It was me in my shitty 1993 dodge spirit, my dog Strauss (who he tried to take as well but I would die before he took strauss away from me too), my clothes in trash bags. I left everything else. I didn’t want the reminder. I had just turned 23 one week earlier. I was broke. I started from zero. 

J.E 

This is my Strauss. He will be 5 this year. He is the reason I got through the next 7 months. 

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