in college i dated a real winner. he was such a complete jerk and i was obsessed with him. i can't say i loved him because i didn't. i can say i was obsessed with attaining his approval...which i never did. i was completely codependent in the unhealthiest of fashions.
but this isn't about him. not really.
as i was lurking around facebook tonight, as our generation is wont to do, i saw that my friend matt was tagged in a great series of photos. as i looked at these i felt inherently guilty. here is this fantastic, funny, wonderful guy and we don't talk nearly at all anymore because back then i couldn't handle what he was telling me.
i distinctly remember after a particularly difficult day, matt and i were sitting in the hallway and he looked me right in the eye with an honesty, a vulnerability, a patriarchal sternness and said, "he's no good. how do you not see this? he's no good for you. he's shady. and he's into stuff you don't even understand. siovhan, leave. leave now. don't look back. promise me this."
"i'm serious. if you go back, if you give him another chance ... i, i, i can't, siovhan, i can't watch it anymore. i can't watch him hurt you. i can't sit by and just let it happen."
"i know, matty. i know."
and then in an uncharacteristic outburst he yelled. "no! no you don't know! how do you not see this?! how do you not see you're better than this?! you're amazing! you're fantastic! you're one of the [bleepin] best girls i know! respect yourself! do this for you, not for me, for you."
i stood there, stunned. not because he'd yelled. but because i knew he was right. in my soul i knew. i knew who i was, what i needed, and had fooled myself into believing it was something different.
i held on strong for a really long time. i won't get into the messy details, but i was stronger than strong. and matty was there by my side the whole time. through it all. he'd come hang out with me, tell me how beautiful i was, remind me of all the great things about me. anytime i went to their apartment (yes, they were roommates, that's how matt knew everything) he'd smile, hug me, and guard me against anything...any rebuke, any inquiry for plans, any need i had matt jumped for it.
and then one day matty went back to boston. he was gone for several weeks. and i was friendless, protectorless and vulnerable. and i slipped back into old habits.
and then matt came back. he saw my stupidity. and something changed. he wasn't my matty anymore. the worst part? the disappointment in his eyes. he knew i was stronger than that. i was just lying to myself, again.
we were still friends it was a just different.
time passed and i moved, he moved, and we grew apart. i eventually got the strength to say no, to walk away, to leave like he once implored. things improved between matty and i after that. we still chat every now and again. but it's never the way it once was.
and tonight, as i stared at those pictures, i kicked past me...because knowing what i know now i would trade a thousand moments with my ex for one more day of real, solid friendship with matt. i kicked past me because now me knows i'm worth more than the way i was treated and i should've seen what matt saw and walked away like he told me to. because he knew what i didn't and what i now do.
because what he said all the way back then became the now criteria for how i would make a boyfriend treat me. because matt's belief in me facilitated a belief in myself which led to pat. and that is something i won't give up for the world.
so, dear matty, i was wrong all along. i am sorry. please forgive me. i miss you. and i wish you all of the very best.
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