I was sitting at a Tri Delta event, messaging someone for information. When they responded with an absolute confirmation, I was rocked. I gasped out loud, which made the entire table look at me.
I guess they weren’t good at reading emotions because they thought I had received good news.
Far from it.
The guy I had spent the whole summer being friends with, the one who I thought there might be a chance of getting back together with, the one who I held up on a pedestal and praised for making me take a step back and re-evaluate my friendships- had cheated on me. Months ago.
When he broke up with me, he didn’t tell me that. He specifically told me, “I don’t like anyone else. I’m not dating anyone else.” At that time, that struck me as odd, because I hadn’t thought that at all. He told me he thought I was cheating on him.
So, here I am, feeling devastated about everything, as I think it’s all my fault. I think I was a terrible girlfriend, not to say I wasn’t. I blamed myself a lot for not making more time for this person. One of my friends from Underwings hated that when I told her after the break-up. She’s in a feminist oriented service org, and she was pissed that a man had a problem with me chasing my dreams. Which, I didn’t think was actually the problem.
I had an internship that I traveled to two days a week, which effectively took up both of those days.
I remember my friends praising how I balanced my relationship and my friends. I didn’t just say goodbye to them when I was in a relationship. And I thought I was balancing it well.
When we broke up though, I took the whole blame. I didn’t think I had done anything right. I thought I should have spoken to him more and spent more time with him, which was different from my initial attitude because I thought we were speaking enough.
But I saw this guy, and I just thought that I had hurt him so much. And to hurt someone who I thought was so beautiful- well, that hurt me. I couldn’t believe I had caused him so much pain. I would literally fall asleep crying thinking about how badly I handled the relationship. After the break-up and during the summer. Because this beautiful human being who I had met, I had caused him to go through two break-ups within the span of a year, and I knew how much his original one with his earlier girlfriend had hurt him. And I did it again. Two failed relationships. I was so sorry.
But then- the beginning of this year, I found out he had lied to me. And it hurt so much. I never would have found out if my friend hadn’t tried to look out for me and tell me. Beyond just finding out, it hurts that so many people- friends and acquaintances- of mine and his knew and didn’t bother to tell me. It’s not even so much the silence. It’s the being able to smile at me, have a conversation with me, and be friendly with all of that knowledge. It makes me feel stupid. Embarrassed. Like I was in the dark, and like everything has been fake and false. I guess that’s how it is with secrets.
I’ll continue this as it keeps going. It was nice to write again though.
—– That beginning part was 8 months ago. It’s May so that makes it September when I wrote that.
Although I have not returned to that particular post, I have been dealing with the aftermath of what I described. I have wanted to get my feelings out. I’ve wanted to write poems and entries and a film and posts. And I’ve done some of that.
The feelings I described are accurate. There are so many more though as well.
There’s how it turned into a really traumatic experience. For example, after not seeing this person for months, I ran into him unexpectedly. Afterwards, I couldn’t even talk. It affected me for the whole day.
There were other days, in the fall semester, when the wound was bleeding fresh, when I would lay on my bed and just cry. Not knowing how my life ended up like this. Having it feel all so surreal. And yeah- this sounds dramatic af. I know. But I’ve been trying to think of a pain to compare this whole experience too, and I have nothing.
However, I could look back on that girl who went to SPS each week, and the girl who cried bewildered tears and physically did not feel as if she could remove herself from her bed, and I know I’m much better.
I know that last semester, this occurrence took up my entire mind space. I let friendships go for various reasons but also because I didn’t know what to talk about anymore. I could only think about what had happened. How I didn’t know. Obsess over how it happened. Craft a timeline in my head. December 15th. A birthday. Talk about a celebration.
I could only look at the people who I had cherished so much and wonder how much they knew. I could only slit my eyes in suspicion. Mistrust. Why didn’t you tell me? How could you, how could you, how could you.
I thought about how I wanted to take him out for his birthday, and I didn’t because his roommate told me he was going home. Innocent enough. I wonder if he still has the Star Wars speakers that I got him.
But in light of new details, memories change. His roommate telling me that he’s going home morphs into something more sinister because of my lack of trust and my suspicions. did he know? did he help him plan it? did he encourage it? Or did my person lie to him about what he was planning to do?
And I have gone over what happened so so many times. Couch make-out session? Sleep over in the bed? Watching a show? Making the first move. Even though, even though – “it’s not like I went for it.” And why.
These are things that aren’t going to have answers. They exist of course. But I know that I don’t need to ask them.
There are other things that I should probably stop going over, but they pop up in my mind anyway. Wonderings about how that person I considered a friend could know that something had happened, could suspect that it was cheating because something happened, she’s gonna hate me and still manage to give me a lecture on how I needed to make more time for him. should have talked to him more upon breaking up. how she really made it seem like it was all my fault, and how I believed that. How I felt bad for spending time with one of my best friends because he told me he thought I was cheating on him with said person. How I was careful about inviting that friend to my sorority’s formal so that he would not be offended. how he responded weirdly to me telling him my twin was hella drunk at formal, and me wondering why. But that’s a tangent. Going back to the friend. I thought it was all my fault, with random spasms of knowing that it took two to talk to each other. What hurt about this one friend is how she did know or suspected it because he directly told her in vague language and with that knowledge, she managed to convince me that I should have stepped up, how I believed that. When I found out she knew as well, I was immediately in disbelief again. No way. Not you. Not another person. Did literally everyone know and just manage to think we were still friends by not telling me? I got over her involvement in this whole thing. Or maybe I really just suppressed it. Because as the semester went on, I came to resent her more and more. I still can’t understand, regardless of how we were all friends with each other, how she could know that he cheated on me but still act like there was something to save when he broke up with me and act like I was the one who needed to do the saving. What’s gone is gone.
I took her chastisement to heart. Over that summer, referring back to those paragraphs from eight months ago, I felt like I messed up a part of someone’s life. Two failed relationships, I thought. Hurting someone who seemed so beautiful to me, who taught me that you didn’t need to be religious to see the world with beauty. I had nights where I cried myself to sleep, thinking about all the harm I thought I caused and all of the things I did wrong and could have done right.
And when I found out that there was nothing to be done? Damn. I felt like I really wasted a whole summer. Crying. But also talking to him nearly every day.
On June 2nd, I don’t know what brought this on. But on June 2nd, I had the thought “wait, why am I still upset?” and just asking myself that question brought me clarity. If I get lost in the details, I’m sure that I can find myself agonizing over things again. But just having that question pop into my head has brought so much relief. I don’t need to be upset anymore. It really isn’t worth my time.
These past few days have been great. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends (Yi Ning, Darlin) and met random people when I ventured outside (John, Luke). It’s a nice reminder that there’s more to life that what I’ve spent the past few months preoccupied with.
I also got to be proud of myself. This has been a really long, really frustrating journey. It’s been full of blaming myself, trying to forgive people, deciding that forgiveness is not something they’ll get from me, distancing myself from people, and just being really shocked. Yeah, I guess shocked sums up everything.
But if I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be enjoying these few weeks I have here in Los Angeles for the summer. I wouldn’t have gotten to realize what being present feel likes again.
I think being surrounded by my friends, loving my internship, and experiencing new things helped. It’s so easy to be distracted by the negatives, the losses. It’s hard to make decisions that’ll be good for you and that will let you grow. But my friends, yoo. I’m so glad I have them. Because yeah, I might sometimes make the mistake of thinking some people are my friends and then they turn out not to be. But when I get it right- when someone who I think is my friend is so so so my friend. Then man, is that the best thing ever.
The question of “why am I still upset” just so randomly popped into my head that I think God, or whoever, got tired of seeing me upset and was like ya know, she’s in a good place, I think she’ll get it this time. I do.
I’m also proud of myself. It didn’t take me a whole year to get over it. Just 10 months haha.
I also just saw this on Facebook:
“Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you were the one who carried you through the heartache. You are the one who sits with the cold body on the shower floor, and picks it up. You are the one who feeds it, who clothes it, who tucks it into bed, and you should be proud of that…”
I’m good right now. Sure, sometimes, during the semesters, I took Tiffany’s secret shower tips and skipped a day. I mostly ate out because I only bought groceries twice over the course of the whole school year. I came and went and hardly talked to my roommates, though they seemed to like me anyway. I managed to skip enough classes that I got dropped a full letter grade (tbh I still think this is mistake and that I only missed two but my teacher accidentally counted me absent 4 times but aye it’s alright, Life Goes On s/o Tupac). I stopped caring about a lot of things.
But yooo. I picked myself up (with the help of my friends but also with my own help). Now, I buy groceries. Now, I cook for myself. I have a routine for my face everyday. I’m still lazy af with my hair, but baby steps, baby steps. I’m doing my best at my internship, and I’m actually interested in it. I get to places mostly on time. I’m able to hold conversations with people and remember what they say.
There were a lot of things I had to question about myself during the year.
Hair. Face. Body. Personality.
But now, I sing in the car. Very loudly to Whitney Houston tunes. While in traffic. While people can see me- which isn’t totally okay with me. It’s kind of enough to make me stop singing, but I’m telling myself to sing anyway.
I sit in parks by myself and meet cool people along the way. I look content enough that cashiers tell me, “you look happy.”
Last year, I had my hair straightened for Tri Delta formal. It was weird. Straight hair didn’t look like me anymore.
Today, I got it straightened. I wanted to see how long it was, and I also missed the ponytail that I wore for so many years. Whoa. It looked like me. Yet, I also missed my curls and the bun I had been wearing on my head all summer (though I don’t miss how matted it was oh geez). Both are me. Both are Paige. I love having something to flip off my shoulder, something to tie up and shake. And I also love fixing all of my curls to sit upright on my head or having an afro full of them. I like that it’s on my terms.
I like that I don’t feel like I need permission from anyone to be myself anymore, and I love that I have friends that encourage that (even when they sometimes enable it hahaha, much love).
Sure- If I bother to worry myself about trying to figure out all the details again, then I might get saddened once more. But these past few days of not caring about the details, about wondering why I did care so much, ahh they’ve been so good. So much more alive. So, forget the details. I’ve done enough wondering about each little thing I can wonder about. Time to get back to actuality. Time to see my smile look like my smile.
Last year, my grandma had to tell me to “be strong”.
Today, I called her and she told me, “you sound good.”
** This is not meant to a calling out post. I don’t mention names of people involved. This is because words are my thing. Writing helps me think, and this is an experience I’ve thought about over and over again but had trouble writing about. There has been so much to say that I just let myself not say anything. I didn’t know what to say. I have entries in my personal journal that explore some of my feelings in more depth. I have other posts on this blog that touch upon what was in my mind.
Other Posts (after and before finding out- yo some of these I forgot about) –
https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/stop-romanticizing-the-past/ – September 2016
https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/soccer-game/ – November 2016
https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/trust-after-sps/ – December 2016
https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/2016-when-it-becomes-hard-for-an-optimist-to-be-positive/ – January 2017
https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/on-instincts/ – February 2017
https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/dealing-with-a-break-up-when-you-still-care/ – April 2016 (last year)
It’d be really hard to say how I felt about all of this in this one post, so it’s kind of jumpy. It begins after I found out because I immediately turned to writing (September). I didn’t pick up this particular post again for the aforementioned reasons until May because I now had to time to write again, and I wanted to get this whole saga finished. I was planning to carry this out through the summer, taking my time to write out different instances that brought about different emotions. I figured I would publish it at the end of the summer because writing about all of it would probably help me finally close this chapter. However, closing it came about earlier than I thought, and I don’t feel the need to continue this anymore. Which is a great thing. So, for your clarity, this post moves in terms of September, May, and June. June 2nd was a glorious day. Thanks for reading. <3**