To All of the Boys I’ve Ever Loved

I had the forced opportunity to reflect over my life. I say forced because one, I was left alone and I am an over-thinker, and two, because I’ve just been wanting more adventure in my life.

I’m not sure if I can blame my generation, the movies I’ve watched, the books I’ve read, or my genes, but I’ve always longed for a different and adventurous life. However, even though I had the most supportive and lovely parents with a stable marriage, I consistently found myself planning my life around other people. Specifically boys. I was also very interested in romance, and I’m the type of person to do whatever I can to keep that romance alive.

This post was inspired by an old, close friend. His writing fills my heart still, even though we don’t talk anymore. He and I could always share our love of literature and writing, and I came across a piece he wrote that began to make me reflect on the romantic part of my own life.

He is not included in this list, but I will dedicate a small paragraph to him here. He was one of my closest friends for a while, while living in Murfreesboro. For my sociology class Marriage and Family, we had to use any partner (not necessarily a classmate) to complete a pre-marital questionnaire. This questionnaire included everything a couple should think about and discuss before getting married. He was my best friend then, so I asked if he wouldn’t mind being my partner for this. I didn’t feel comfortable completing it with anyone else at the time. We had a lot of fun discussing these personal ideals and coming to compromises. We ended up having a long discussion of the future and I got to read some papers he had written for some of his English classes. They were wonderful and eloquent. Some time later in the year he had expressed his feelings, and out of fear of ruining the friendship and him eventually deeming me imperfect (he was very critical of females in different ways), I rejected him. Our friendship dwindled down from here though we would still see each other occasionally. He would get bouts of annoyance and almost anger at me sometimes, and he kept himself quite distant afterwards. I miss this friendship, but at least I had some time with it.

I

This is simply in chronological order, and you were my first and greatest love.

You are my fairy tale and you are the start of all of my regrets. I don’t hold these regrets close to me and essentially I don’t regret it in the sense that I would do it over to be with any particular person, but I wish I had made wiser decisions when I was younger. We are all a bit reckless when we’re young, and it’s always too late before we realize it.

You are my fairy tale because everything about us was so unorthodox and surreal. The way we met, the way we kept up our relationship, the way you were and how it fit perfectly with the way I was then…It was my junior year of high school and all of my friends spotted you at the regional competition. When I finally saw you, it was the first time I felt speechless and shy. I was always overly confident then, but not this time.

At the dance held in the ball room of the hotel, my best friend stole the girl you were dancing with and pushed me into you because I was too afraid to go speak with you. I just looked to the floor and incessantly apologized. You took your hand and gently pulled my face up, told me I was cute, then asked me to dance. My heart was stolen from there on.

We communicated often, but we never really got to spend quality time together until our first year of college. I went to visit you in secret, and I had the time of my life. For the first time in my life from a boy, everything we did was paid for. You had a V.I.P. card for every club we went to that night, and you took me to my favorite restaurant just for some lunch. I regret not kissing you while we stared into each others eyes for minutes, smiling. I regret tensing up when we laid in bed together and you put your hand around my waist. You took the queue, though, and removed your hand and just faced me while we slept. You respected me and my close-held chastity at the time, even in our drunken fervor. You never touched me or tried to cross the line. I loved you dearly, and yet I still broke your heart.

II

You were probably the best friend I’ll ever have in my entire life. I don’t know how dense I was back then; I can hardly remember. It was obvious to everyone around me how you felt or may have felt, but I never knew. All I knew was that you were there for me whenever I needed you. I didn’t even have to ask and that to me meant the most.

If I were ever down, you didn’t even have to ask where I was. I remember the one time you showed up at the docks and sat next to me. I didn’t know how you knew I was there, you just knew. I still hope to this day that I was as good a friend to you as you were to me. I feel like I cannot truly repay you for the warmth you showed me. For an entire summer you came over, a different rental movie in hand. Oftentimes it ended with you watching it my dad because I would fall asleep. You either carried or walked me to bed, said goodbye to my father, and left. You used to come to my tennis games, and in any relationship or boy I held interest in, you supported me.

When you confessed about how much you loved me in the anonymous box on my MySpace, I couldn’t even fathom that it was you. Then, you finally admitted that it was you, and I rejected you. I was too caught up in myself and my own problems, as I often was. I felt two things: flattered, yet scared. I was scared that if we got into a relationship, then our friendship would be ruined. Even after rejection, you continued being my best friend. I was caught off-guard because I was too used to men becoming friends with me with the hopes of more, but when they found that there would be nothing more, they would disappear.

You were always there for me: to bring me warmth, to wipe my tears, to hear me yell, to hang up on me but call me back, to take me anywhere and everywhere, and to truly be my friend. We even went to college together. You specifically chose MTSU so that we could still be together and we grew even closer. I was going through such a hard time, and I finally realized how I felt. All of this time had passed. I was too late. Though we still stayed up all night together, you were also interested in another girl. I never told you how I felt. I didn’t want to ruin anything for you. Before I knew it, you chose to join the Army. On top of that, the next thing I know, you’re asking me if I approve of your plan to get married to that girl, and you sent me a picture of the ring. I didn’t, but you looked so happy. I told you that if you feel like it’s right, to do it, that the ring was beautiful, and that she was a very lucky girl.

III

This guy was the worst guy I’ve ever dated, but I was naive. I left the guy in Chapter I for you like an idiot. It was honestly all out of convenience and the small part of me that still looked up to you as an individual. When you first texted me, I could only think, “He’s interested in me?” I was extremely flattered. You knew exactly how to make me feel special, and you knew exactly how to take that away.

This was the most abusive relationship I have and ever will be in. I didn’t understand that at the time, really. Or rather, I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe that I was making myself stay, either. You expected me to not only be a doll, but to be your doll.

If I didn’t dress pretty enough, you told me once that you didn’t want to go out in public with me. This meant a dress, nice shoes, hair done, make-up done, everything. Which by the way, you asked me once if I even take care of my skin. You told me I was annoying and that my stories weren’t interesting to you, so I became quieter. You told me that I need to change my dream because there’s no way I could compete with others in the journalism field. You would call me to come over (and you lived way out of town) just to ignore me and tell me to go home. You incessantly broke up with me, and after I was done crying, you’d call me and want to be together again. It was like a sick game.

I had heard you cheated on me, but what was I to do? You had left for basic training…and I? I still faithfully waited. I did question you about it, but you furiously denied it. However, when you did get to come home, somehow I was no longer of importance. You asked me to get you from the airport, you asked me to stay with you, but when I asked if you wanted to go to dinner for your birthday the next day, you said no. You wanted to go to a party. I complied. I wanted you to have fun and be happy and I knew you had been away from your friends. I did not want to get in the way of that. However, the next day I called to see if we could spend time together before having to drive you to the airport, and you told me you had slept with another girl. I was so broken.

I questioned God, I questioned myself, and I began to not believe in anything anymore. I didn’t believe in love. I had developed serious anxiety (and got diagnosed with G.A.D), was prescribed Xanax, and I had fallen into depression. I was sure that nothing could save me. Some people may claim that you have changed, but I know that no matter what, you are not different. I know this.

IV

We were very on and off for a long time. I just couldn’t bring myself to commit. I still didn’t believe in love, and I just wanted to have fun. I just wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. However, I knew you were special to me. I think I just loved the type of attention you gave me. When I was going to move, I still cried so much. I knew I’d miss you because I began to spend a majority of my time with you and I could feel that you really did care.

After moving away, I grew even closer to you somehow. I think I probably depended on you for some sort of security while I was out in a city all alone. Again, we brought up dating. You asked me why I even spoke about it when I was so adamant before about not dating anyone. I didn’t have a real answer.

I hated my job because I had to lie to people daily, so I moved back home. Maybe this was a sign or an opportunity that you were seeking, but after spending some time together, we ended up dating. I hate that you never formally asked me out. One day you just started calling me your girlfriend. I just accepted it though. Life was complacent at the time. I was figuring out what exactly I wanted to do.

Our arguments were awful. I couldn’t express how I felt without you pulling at your hair, crying, or smashing something. I was already afraid of being hit because of my last relationship and past experiences, and your meltdowns used to bother me very much. I wanted to escape. I wanted to just run away. I didn’t know what I was willing to deal with anymore. After some time though, I realized that you weren’t going to ever hurt me. When I think about our relationship, it all seems like a dream.

I know I loved you because I spent every moment of my life then trying to figure out a way to spend time with you. You were unable to come and see me. I think things started going down hill as soon as you moved into that house. I was astonished that someone who didn’t have to pay rent still had no money to support themselves. Even more so, you refused to get a job. You were 22 with no work experience whatsoever. I believed in your dream, so questioning you about what you would do if you never made it seemed wrong. Still, the thought crossed my mind. I was worried about my future as well. If there’s anything I know I won’t be able to do, it’s to live in poverty. I had not grown up like that, and I desire success as most people do. However, I am the type that needs plans. As I progressed and made more money, I was having to support you also.

For the first time in my young adult life, I had to now think about the money my significant other makes. I never really thought about how my significant other impacts me financially as well.

Your outbursts became worse and my inner turmoil showed in ugly ways sometimes. I felt like I couldn’t talk to you anymore. Any time I did, it was not met with open ears and an open heart. At least not to me. I thought I was becoming heartless. The thought of losing you didn’t bother me one bit. It was like this for a year and I felt like the worst person walking on this planet because all you did was love me.

Perhaps this is why when I finally broke it off, it didn’t phase me as much. What hurt most was knowing that I hurt you. I made sure to never spend any time alone; I always surrounded myself with friends. I never told anyone, but when I did spend time alone, I would just sit and cry in my room. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. I didn’t know why I fell out of love when I was supposed to not believe in love in the first place. I started questioning again if love was really what I thought it was; if it existed on the same level I had always imagined it to. I know I felt it a long time ago with the boys from Chapter I and II, but I started to blame my youth on it. Thankfully, I had a group that kept my heart sweltering through the cold.

V

You came into my life like a hurricane and I stood outside with my arms wide open, welcoming the rain.

I honestly can’t remember when I started noticing you. I don’t say that as a bad thing; my life during that time was a whizzing blur and I didn’t really know what I was doing.

However, I do know that your quietness intrigued me. I love quiet. So, I bugged you. And you were intrigued because I called you quiet, and you smiled and said you’re actually really loud. I argued saying that you’re actually pretty quiet about the things that matter. You told me I was right.

It wasn’t out of secrecy or with a devilish motive that I didn’t tell you I had a boyfriend at the time. As stated much earlier in this post, I was used to guys disappearing from my life as soon as they found out that they didn’t have a chance with me. And I wanted to be your friend. I can’t really peg why, I just knew I wanted to be your friend. You were also part of my community. My old friends love you, and I was drawn to you.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day we sat together at Dairy Queen. You were feeling awful and all my friend and I wanted to do was cheer you up. I could feel that you were slightly annoyed, but at the same time, I think you did appreciate being dragged out. We were talking about flaws and I clearly pointed mine out. I didn’t want to be put onto a pedestal as others have done. I know my flaws and I wanted you to know my flaws.

We spent nearly every single day together. I guess Dairy Queen is just going to be near and dear to me because there was one time I needed to go to the mall and you were the only person available. You came with me and after the mall we sat together. We talked for what felt like forever; then we went to Books A Million and I talked for what felt like forever. I was relaxed and really being myself. I loved talking to you.

Then there was the time we got into our first argument. I was so confused on why you were arguing with me at first, but I had learned to hold my own. I make a point to always hold my own because for so long I had been silenced. We sat and talked it out in my car in front of your apartment. The argument dissipated into calmness. And I thought to myself, ‘Did we just have a disagreement but work it out?’ This hadn’t happened in so long. I felt like you listened to me, and nothing feels better than when someone is listening to you.

After you told me how you felt, I didn’t have an answer for you. I knew this was all so wrong. I had a boyfriend. I am a natural flirt, but I felt like I hadn’t shown you or given you any reason to feel more deeply about me than just a friend. Still, my God, I loved talking to you and your presence filled something. I just didn’t know what to say even though I knew what I should’ve done and said. We continued hanging out and finally I broke it off with my boyfriend.

You wanted me to say ‘I love you’ because you knew that I knew what you were getting at while talking and laying on the floor of your room. However, I was selfishly done putting my love out there first. It had been five long years since someone had put their foot forward and led the way. So, you led the way.

I am still in love with you. I’m sorry if I’m not everything you thought I’d be. It’s not like you’ve ever indicated that I’m not; even though I can read you and I know you so well, I’m still learning about you. I am so glad you are in my life. We’ve changed each other in the best ways, but also in the best way, we’ve preserved a friendship and who we are as individuals. You push me to be strong and I push you to be gentle; there is little else I can ask from someone who gives me what I didn’t think was possible.

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