Thank You for Breaking My Heart

During a long car drive from Santa Barbara, I remember staring out the window at the rolling hills of yellow wildflowers.  I was a few years shy of entering the realm of being a pre-teen.  While listening to some 90’s jam from a boy band (which may or may not have been Nsync or Backstreet Boys) I glanced back to my parents in the front seat.  For a brief moment, I watched as my dad held my mother’s hand. My dad would look at my mother with these loving eyes that said nothing more than, I’m glad you’re here with me in this moment even if we’re just in this car together.  My tiny girl brain began to wonder what that felt like–to have someone look at me the way my parents looked at one another.  There was this look that my dad got in his eyes whenever he looked at my mother–the love of his life.  Maybe this moment existed between them countless times and I just never paid attention or maybe it was the romantic lyrics flowing through my eardrums–but I saw an aura that existed between the two of them and I wanted to feel that way.

I won’t beat around the bush here– I met my first love on the internet.  It probably was one of the riskiest things I’ve ever done.  But when you’re young–you’re dumb and you’re blinded by hormones and naivety–sue me.  At this time (now that I reflect on it) I was very vulnerable.  Truth be told–I hadn’t ‘blossomed’.  I was an overweight, self-loathing 16 year old with acne and depression–I wasn’t exactly ‘lovable.’  While my peers enjoyed their teen years, I was just waiting till I could end it all. At this time when I was chatting with this person online, my mother was currently diagnosed with breast cancer.  I felt alone and absolutely terrified at the thought that I may not have a mother anymore. 

I would practically race home, log onto AOL Instant Messenger and wait for him to log on.  Derek** and I met on a social networking site and after talking for a bit we exchanged usernames.  We would talk about almost everything; school, video games, movies, anime (whatever, don’t judge me) music, etc.  Our conversations would last for hours.  Him and I would schedule when we would both be online.  I’d feel bummed when it was time for me to log off and I had to wait an entire day to talk to him.  When I was at school–I would think about him all day.  I found myself racing home just to hop online and see his username.

I knew the risk when it came to talking to ‘strangers’ online.  I’ve seen my fair share of Lifetime movies, but I did it anyway.  I was aware of the repercussions but nothing inappropriate occurred.  He wasn’t trying to get explicit pictures from me and if he was–I would have ceased all conversation with him anyway.  Things between him and I were different.  He seemed generally interested in what I had to say and at that time–I just needed someone to talk to.  And above all else–I just wanted to disappear for a moment out of the hell I had been going through. 

After several months of chit-chatting online, I took my risky behavior a step further–we exchanged photographs.  I’m always harsh on my outer appearance–I never truly received praise about my looks from my peers or at home.  I was always greeted with some cold, judgy response from my mother and passive aggressive comments in the locker room from other girls.  In this moment, I knew that my photo to this person, this guy that I had connected with before appearances, would see me–for me.  Derek thought I was beautiful no matter my appearance.  Beautiful.  I never truly associated myself with that word–it seemed like such a foreign concept to me.  But here it was–someone out there thought I was beautiful.

Soooooooo–I decided to meet him.  Derek and I had been talking about the ‘big day’ for quite a while.  But how would we pull this off?  Neither of us had a drivers license and he didn’t exactly live ‘nearby’.  And there was no way I was traveling there by train (by myself) that far from home.  Completely aware of the highly dangerous situation this could be for me on public transportation, he agreed to hop on a train early in the morning and endure the nearly 5-hour commute to meet me.  I was excited and extremely nervous.  This could actually work, but there was one small problem.  The train station was far from my house and I was still super uneasy going alone.  It’s not like I was completely blind to the possibilities.  I knew this was dangerous (for all I knew, he could have been a 40-year-old married man and cleverly used someone else’s photos).  But something deep down just told me–yo, just fucking do it.  So, what did I do?  I fucking did it.  I just had to somehow get my mom on board with this idea.  And then there came the lie.  During my teen years–I had excelled in the profession of lying to my mother.  I was a natural pathological liar.    I had to think of something believable and I had to really commit to the lie.  I had said that he used to attend our high school but had moved away in the middle of the yearand as I’d hoped–she bought it.  

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified in that car on the way to the train station.   My mom was hitting every single green light as we were on our way to pick up my ‘friend from high school’Really universe–you couldn’t spare at least one red light so I can have a second to breathe?  Figures.   My mind was racing.  Would this turn out to be okay?  Or are we on our way to pick up a 40-year-old axe murderer?  I was filled with uncertainty as we approached the metro station.

It wasn’t a 40-year-old ax murderer.  The guy who I had been talking to for months was right there.  Climbing into our car, Derek and I looked at one another–in the flesh–for the first time.  I worried that things would be awkward in person–but I was wrong.  It was just as fluid as it was online.  I couldn’t be happier.  We did it.  Every weekend, he would hop onto the metro and go through the long train ride to my house.  My mom still refused to drive me to his house.   Neither of us had a driver’s license or a car–we were at the mercy of public transportation–or at least–Derek was. 

My senior year of high-school became a little bit more bearable.  Derek, no matter the distance, gave me this unbelievable amount of strength to get through the dark moments of my life at the time.  I shared with him what was happening at home and he would offer his own advice or just–listen.  I knew that whatever I was dealing with–I could talk to him about it.  He was like this indestructible safety blanket that understood me.  I would stay up late on a Friday night because I knew that Saturday–he would be here.

Eventually, this presented a multitude of problems (and I should have seen it sooner).  There were constant arguments between the both of us and it all had to do with distance.  He would argue with me about never making the effort to see him and as a result–I felt guilty.  In an effort to salvage what I could and prove that I was making an ‘effort’,  I constantly got in ridiculous arguments with my mother.  No matter how much I pleaded with her–I was stuck.  No lie was going to allow me to hop on a metro train to see him nor convince either of my parents to drive me there.  As our relationship was hanging onto a tiny thread, I found out (through mutual friends) that Derek was striking up flirtatious conversations with someone he met at work.  This whole relationship was slipping through the cracks and I could feel it.  I was terrified.  Was my relationship in trouble?

During one of his weekend visits, we decided to venture out to a local Japanese Garden.  But it wasn’t like the typical day that we usually spent together.  For the first time in our relationship, I immediately sensed that something was wrong.  Derek was extremely quiet and incredibly distant.  As a result–my gut was freaking out the entire time.   Something just didn’t sit right.  And based on my freakish intuition and what I had heard from our friends, I kept asking if everything was alright and he assured me that we were fine.  But even though he reassured me–I couldn’t help but think his response was bullshit.  When he hopped back on the train and we said our goodbyes, I felt a slight ping of uncertainty and I had this feeling that I was never going to see him again.

Shortly after he arrived home, I quickly gave him a call.  I couldn’t shake this unrelenting sense of doom that seemed to overpower me.  My gut was shouting at me to resolve it.  And if your gut is ANYTHING like mine–it is very demanding and if you don’t address what it’s trying to tell you–your gut will keep you awake for the rest of your life until you’re dead.   Something was wrong.  We weren’t fine.  He was incredibly distant all day.  I had to know.  And then it happened…

 He broke up with me over the phone.

For a moment–I heard nothing but white noise.  My gut was right.  And here I was–dealing with something I didn’t know how to handle.  I know it seems strange, but it felt like the whole world had gone completely silent.  I sat on my bed feeling like I had lost everything in a fire and I only had myself and nothing else.  This giant curveball that I saw coming but didn’t want to believe had hit me square in the face.  It was over.  I could feel myself slowly unraveling.  An entire year and everything we went through together meant virtually nothing.  I wasn’t even given the simple courtesy of having it done to my face.  He hid behind the phone like a coward and within two minutes shattered my heart completely.

This break-up had happened at the worst possible time–a week before I started college.  And I was a fucking mess.  I couldn’t focus worth shit.  The early days of ones’ college career are the most important.  First impressions are everything.  And believe me–I certainly wasn’t looking my best.  I showed up to classes with my hair in a sloppy, unbrushed bun, sweatpants, a large baggy shirt, and sandals.  I was a total beauty queen. And to add some extra sex appeal–I wasn’t wearing any makeup.  So—I was terrifying to anyone and everyone who saw me.   As the professor started lecturing noteworthy information, I would completely zone out.  I just didn’t care. 

I’ve lost track on how many times I cried over him.  Sometimes I would run to the bathroom and hide the ugliest cry fests.  Girls who wandered in would get quiet and wonder who was sobbing in the bathroom.  I was a wreck–an absolute disaster.  I had never gotten my heart broken before.  To make matters worse–I felt guilty.  The break-up was somehow my fault.  He ended things because I wasn’t making an effort.  I was the reason things fell apart.  I brought this shit upon myself.  I was the reason why my heart was broken

I truly believe I could have been a detective.  It’s almost disturbing at how proficient I am when it comes to digging up things that I want to find out online.  Usually when I comb through the internet, I become pleased with the information I find–but not this time.  I dug up a piece that I wasn’t ready to absorb.  I found a piece of information that seemed insignificant before, but now played a pivotal role in this whole ordeal.  Remember when I mentioned that Derek was flirting with someone at his work?  Well–the two became official shortly after our break-up.  My blood was boiling. 

How fitting.  How convenient for you!

When I get angry–I tend to think of some dark shit.  I often draft up horrible hypotheticals about the people who betray me.  I’d be lying if I didn’t envision the two of them getting into a massive car wreck while suffering from some flesh eating virus.  I wasn’t just mad at him–I was also furious at her.  She knew we were together.  She was just as guilty.  It felt like a punch to the gut–I had never had someone cheat on me before.  The whole thing made me reflect on when I had this strong inkling that something was going on.  And when I confronted him about it at the time–he lied to me.  He said nothing was going on.  And now he was in a relationship with this person.  In that moment, I could see the clouds parting as a ray of glorious sunshine cast itself on my awe stricken face.  And then it dawned on me–this shit was never my fault.  There were many nights where I would lay awake at night while the waves of guilt consistently crushed me to sleep.  I’d put on some song with some heavy lyrics to add to the sad ambiance that was my life.  It all made so much sense as I sat there on my bed–the wheels in my mind spinning at full speed.  I was coping with something that was thrust on my shoulders for no reason at all.  He must have felt so god damn guilty about what he was doing during our time together that he had cooked up some bullshit reason to make the whole break-up appear as if it were my fault so he could justify being with someone else

That crafty no-good son of a bitch…

Several months later, I had moved on from Derek.  I was meeting new friends in college.  My grades were improving (sorta).  And I even joined a sorority.  I actually made an effort to put myself together and pay attention in class.  I was completely involved in my college experience.  And I was finally out of the hole of used tissues that I was laying in.  I went from having Derek on my mind to not really thinking about him at all.  At first it was hard.  I was definitely angry.  And I was filled with incredible sadness and guilt.  But with time–I had finally picked myself up off the ground.  Things were finally starting to feel better… 

As the months progressed, I had received a phone call.  It was Derek.  He had pleaded with me that he wanted to make things work.  I couldn’t believe that he was crawling back to me 6 months later.  He told me he regretted everything and he just wanted us to be together again.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sort of smug look on my face during that phone call.  There I was sitting on top of this elegant throne glaring down at Derek–this peasant who didn’t deserve a second more of my time or energy.  I took it all in–and the groveling was most pleasant (since I am evil as fuck).  But as he waited for my reply, I had this weird inner conversation.  Usually my heart and my mind are on two different wave lengths, but this time my heart and my mind finally agreed on one thing…

“You don’t need him.”

Throughout the course of our relationship, I was emotionally dependent on Derek.  I felt lost without him when he broke up with me.  I was always empty when he would go home.  I was an emotional wreck after our break-up.  But now, here I was–a brand new Meg.  I felt completely transformed.  I was no longer emotionally dependent on this person.  My ship had sailed and I finally knew how to steer it through choppy waters.

Out of curiousity– I had to know what happened to the girl he was seeing.  There was this small part of me that needed that unnecessary bit of info.  He told me that not too long ago, she was going into surgery and died on the operating table due to complications from the anesthesia.

  I had mentioned before that I was evil and filled with dark thoughts about these two individuals at one time in my life.  But I never hoped or wished that these two would die tragically.  But the second I found out about her death, I couldn’t help but think that I was either some sort of wizard or this was the most epic form of karma in karmic history.  Derek was emotionally dependent and couldn’t be without someone hence why he crawled his way back to me.  Either way–I found it to be rather pathetic that he was only crawling back to me because his new girlfriend had died.  Derek would have to just live with the fact that he fucked up.  And more importantly– he needed to be alone to grow up and work on himself.  Although, she died tragically–I didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy over her death.  I was finally able close the chapter between Derek and I by letting him know that him and I were never getting back together.

 I never thought I was going to come to a point in my life where I would look back at this very moment in my life and feel—thankful.  It’s a moment of coming full circle.  Thinking of that moment where I would ever allow myself to fall in love again after that.  I’ve revisited this moment in my life and analyzed it to death (because that’s my hobby–overanalyzing).  And through that I’ve stumbled upon a valuable piece of wisdom.  I don’t believe I have truly grown from any other experience as much as I have from when my heart was practically broken in half.  In that moment, I was able to get back on my feet and with time, lots of crying and introspection–I realized something very important;

I was going to be okay.

Whatever stressful situation has thrown itself my way, I’m able to counter it with that phrase alone.  Everything was going to be fine.  I may not have believed it right away since I thought at the time that my world was practically ending–but I realized that I was going to be okay in the end no matter how much this was going to hurt.

I experienced a lot of self-loathing and guilt over this.  I always thought I was the reason for why things ended between Derek and I.  But once time had passed and I had come to realize that Derek had transferred his guilt to me, I stopped feeling upset.  And I was angry for a long time.  But I had stopped taking the blame for something that was never my fault.

What happened with Derek?  I’m not sure.  And that’s okay too.  I’m not friends with any of my exes (and you can read all about that here).  But out of everyone that I’ve ever dated–out of everyone that I’ve wished ill-will on–Derek is the only person that isn’t lumped in that category.  He came into my life when I needed him.  I was battling depression and feeling extremely helpless when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer–he brought me happiness during that dark time.  And maybe it was because he was my first love–or maybe he unknowingly helped me realize I was a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for.  For whatever reason–I just want him to be happy.

Today, I’m engaged to the love of my life.  Whenever we take a drive somewhere, he laces his fingers with mine and looks at me the way that I never thought anyone could.  Not the way Derek ever did.  He looks at me like how my dad looked at my mom during that drive from Santa Barbara when I was young and full of hope for my future love life.  He looks at me with a look that says;

I’m glad you’re here with me in this moment even if we’re just in this car together.

Names have been changed.

1 comments so far.

One response to “Thank You for Breaking My Heart”

  1. Salina Coria says:

    Derek was a dumb shit! You’re life is so insane! I’m glad you got out of that relationship and I hope you find your true happiness with Joe. You are a goddess and deserve to be treated as one!

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