The reality hit while I was staring at my chewed up nails and running my tongue over the hole I’d worried through my lower lip. I wasn’t proud of my mental breakdown, but not exactly surprised by it either. Over the past few weeks I’d lost a little bit of a lot of things. I’d lost a little bit of my heart; a little bit of my dignity; a little bit of nails, hair, and skin tissue; but most of all I had lost my mind.
I’ll back up, because I’m sure you’re confused. A few weeks ago I told you about how I reconnected with my first love who I dated throughout high school. I didn’t get into specifics but we weren’t your typical high school couple. We weren’t on again off again. We were together for years, inseparable and very much in love. But please understand that I do recognize this was 20 years ago. However for me, the relationship lives inside my heart, and I could play it out as if it were yesterday.
When I reconnected with High School Ex (HSX), and found out he didn’t share the same emotions or have many memories of our relationship, I didn’t deal well. He responded with comments such as, “living in the moment,” “not having many emotions from 18 years ago,” and “not having many memories from that time due to being wired differently”. We talked about meeting up for lunch to reminisce, or as he suggested, possibly a drink after work.
A drink after work. This is what my high school love story had become. Excuse me while I pawn my promise ring. He wanted a quick drink and I wanted a few hours to recall countless experiences we had as teenagers. It was obvious we were on different pages and I should have taken the hint. No woman wants to feel unimportant in any situation, and this situation was particularly touchy. I’ve been known to tell men, “All women are crazy, pick your favorite one and move forward,” and at this point, I was starting to show my crazy.
I knew he hadn’t forgotten me as a person obviously, but to act as if you’ve forgotten nearly 4 years of your first relationship? I was his first girlfriend. Yes. Look at me over here folks, waving the freak flag, first girlfriend! How do you forget that?
As you can see, it all started spiraling out of control from there. I’ve never been shy in telling my readers that I suffer from bi-polar disorder. Since I am medicated, I enjoy a pretty stable lifestyle. But let’s be honest, no medication can withstand staring into the eyes of your first love, and feeling that type of rejection.
After some choice words were shared on a Facebook chat that may or may not have ended in tears and an unfriending, I sat down and got busy. I typed out a 12 page letter of memories from our years together – some good, some bad – and sent them overnight to his office. I know he received them, because I had a tracking number.
Then I waited. And I waited. I started feeling like Rachel in Friends when she wrote the letter to Ross that was 18 pages front and back! And then I waited some more, and my nails and cuticles suffered. Nothing. Not a word. Not even a thank you.
At this point I was desperate for people to be on my side in a game that existed nowhere other than my head. I started asking friends from high school if they remembered how close HSX and I were, just in case perhaps I was imagining it. However everyone I asked did concur that, yes, we were the best couple, inseparable for many years and more in love than any two people they had ever seen. But even that didn’t relieve the itch underneath my skin. It seemed to only make it worse.
Finally when I began angry texting HSX for no reason other than to fight, my husband became horrified. Not out of jealousy mind you. He knew this was all a matter from the past. It was out of concern for my mental health and, even more so, concern for HSX. Yes, you heard right, he had started to feel sorry for the poor guy.
So Tim, being the ever loving husband he always is, looked at me and said, “Stop. You need to stop and leave this poor man alone. Focus for a minute, take a deep breath, and figure out why this is so important to you.”
The answer was staring me in the face. I needed him to acknowledge our relationship and the love that went along with it. I needed him to be equally as excited to catch up with me as I was with him. I needed him to do this, because it was my identity for so many years. I was HSX’s girlfriend and he was Lee’s boyfriend, and in high school we belonged to one another. Those are fragile and formative years to have shared so intimately with another person. The truth of the matter was that only one person in the world could take that away from me, and it was him. He tried to do exactly that, but I wasn’t ready to let go quite so easily, and I put up a fight.
However, as my husband pointed out, it was time to stop. Time to stop fighting with someone to remember me, to remember they cared for me, and to remember how and why. It isn’t fair to HSX, and it certainly wasn’t fair to me. At the end of the day I’m the lucky one. I’m the one who gets to remember how much I was loved and how much love I gave. And since I know I won’t have the opportunity to reminisce with him, I’ll preserve the memories of our youth in my own way – through journalism. I may never get the acknowledgment I’m looking for, but the memories speak for themselves.