The most awkward thing happened yesterday that I bet a lot of people have dealt with: an ex texting you randomly. The one word message of “Hi” was enough to send chills up my spine and twist my stomach into a knot. All the baggage that I cut from my past was peeking it’s ugly head into my present. Even when you try to repress this relationship from your memories, a tiny relapse can set off a tidal wave of deja vu.
It was my junior year in high school. After a really tough semester of low self-esteem and awkwardness, my face finally cleared up and my body filled out the pale string beam fame I previously donned. The weekend nights of hiding in my room were finally over and I was ready to sprout my wings and fly into the social world. I was looking forward to just being comfortable around my friends and going out to new places. But the moment when you aren’t looking for it, a relationship hits you right in the face.
Instead of dipping my feet and seeing how things felt, I jumped into the deep waters of romance. Without a care in the world, I was free falling at a hundred miles per with a naive smile on my face. I was safe inside that bubble of being a couple and forgetting about everything else outside of a relationship. However, that bubble popped and that deep water I was soaring into turned out to be a shallow, kiddy pool. I crashed quicker than it took me to leap off the cliff.
It took me awhile to recover from everything that happened. After a school year of feeling like a reject, I was now facing real rejection. The person didn’t even have the decency of doing it to my face, she had to text me obscure messages until I begged her to just spit out “We’re Over”. Left in the aftermath of what I thought was so pure and good, I was isolated in my own world. But this is what I needed. At this point in my journey, what I needed most wasn’t a relationship but time alone to get to know who I am. I finally started piecing myself back together and realized something along the way.
We live in a society where love is thrown around so casually. It has lost it’s meaning and just become an empty shell of the word it used to be. You can spell it out or abbreviate it to “ILY”, but when you say it do you really feel it. I looked back to every time I texted that person those words. I wasn’t saying how I felt, I was merely responding how society taught me to. I was really conveying that I’m happy I don’t have to be afraid of being alone and being judged as an outcast. This isn’t what a relationship should be.
You shouldn’t be in fear of being alone. This is the time to find out who you are, pursue your dreams and goals, and have nothing holding you back from happiness. Once you have finally loved yourself, you will know when that right person comes along.
You don’t want to be wasting hours of your life with the wrong person, when that one you truly could care about is waiting for you. That person that you would do anything for if it meant seeing them smile just for a second because it’s the only thing that brightens up your day. The one where you want their face to be the first thing you see in morning and the last thing you see at night. It will be the one who will push you to be better because your happiness only adds to their enjoyment in life.
So now, I’m staring back at this text from a stranger that made me feel none of those emotions. It could be a “Hi” or “I Love You”, but it is an empty phrase that has no meaning. And as I isolated myself for months away from other people, I finally realized what one word that people and scholars spend their whole deciphering means. And when I say it that person who makes me feel all of these ways, I really mean I Love You.