Crushed, or Growing Into Who You Are

January 27, 2009
By Anonymous

The main character in any story is the one who changes over the course of the telling. The slightly overweight best friend who can't get a date will probably be dateless for eternity, and that annoying older sibling will always look down on his little sister no matter how tall she gets. A classic tale of growing up is one in which the main character ends up exactly where they were, with one essential difference: they're happy where they've always been. And so, for you delight, deriding, and red-penning, I give you the story of how Bryce grew content with the view she's always held.

I think it's time to warn you that this will be a story of a girl liking a boy. 'Like,' in this case, refers to that exquisite state of lusting after (his, ahem, mind) combined with finding it absolutely impossible to speak around the object of said lusting. That special time that I greatly look forward to wiping from my memory banks in twenty years, because this is the kind of special that I bring up in conversations with my friends when we need some comic relief and there are no Shakespearean fools to take the heat for us. In fact, this particular liking is so special that he knows about it, which is a long and unfortunate story that occurred last year (best when used to make others feel better about their crushes).

But I digress.

After two solid and painful school years of full out crushing on this particular boy, I finally got over him by the start of my junior year. Oh, yes, for a full three and a half weeks I was just fine. And then disaster, in the form of hormones and habit, struck: I was once again enamored. This, however, was an entirely new crush (I told myself). New beginnings (hurrah!). Fresh start. Also, he had a girlfriend at the time (boo!).

It was during this time that I formulated the state of being that I later recaptured: if he was happy, then I was happy for him. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have been the girl making him happy, but I didn't want to take that other girls took about their unrequited crushes, namely complaining and whining and making myself utterly unhappy. So for a while, a long while, at least twice those three and a half weeks of freedom, I was truly happy with him and myself.

Then he and his girlfriend broke up.

I, a girl of Hamlet's cloth (I think far too much), did the unthinkable: I initiated contact with my newly heartbroken beau. And it didn't go badly, which was nice but weird. This was over instant messaging, a form of computer magic that allows an awkward girl to talk to the far-too-realistic boy of her daydreams. The conversations were as scintillating as:

Me: Hey.

Translated: I LOVE YOU Hello.

Him: sup

Translated: What's new?

Me: Not much, you? Translated: I like to watch you sleep. Not much, you?

Him: nm

Translated: Not much.

Oh, yes, things were definitely looking up.

Despite the stilted and useless quality of these conversations, this boy and I somehow found enough common ground to try out the 'talking in person' thing. This also ended up being stilted and useless, but another step up. The pinnacle of this courtship took place at the Homecoming Game, wherein we talked in front of his friends and later I attacked him (in other circles known as 'hugging') and he didn't cry.

But, hey, a couple months went by. I stopped initiating instant messaging conversations, became completely neurotic, and gave up. He found a girl to flirt with who could hold entire conversations with him without blushing or self destructing. In early December, I showed off my newfound freedom (ahem) by getting a girlfriend (who, for the record, I have loved and still hold great affection for, but is tragically heterosexual). The next day, he got one too.

Fast forward to mid-January. I broke up with my girlfriend because I knew there was a guy she truly liked and didn't want to screw that up for her. He found himself suddenly single. February 14th was in the air, and I could taste it. Somewhere along these lines, I lost sight of myself. I became just another girl with a crush. I wanted more than he could possibly be expected to give. And I wanted it then, and I didn't care how unhappy I was, because I deserved it. Things fell apart.

There are no big events to relate in this period. (Other than my second girlfriend getting me a gorgeous bouquet of roses, and me telling every single teacher that asked exactly who got them for me and what her gender was.) From his second break up until prom, things simply were.

And then, in a fit of hopefulness and hopeless romanticism, I bought a prom ticket, a prom dress, and a license to dream. I may not be great at much, but I've yet to meet another matched in my level of sheer imagination. I dreamed of he and dancing, laughing, enjoying ourselves, making fun of the music.

Reality stepped in on May 17th. My shoes, my darling shoes that looked so amazing at the store, hurt my feet on the dance floor, and my dress was see-through (I didn't know this at the time) and he was at a table between a group of friends and I. He took his ex-girlfriend, and I saw how happy he was with her. Don't get me wrong, I was happy myself. I danced, alone and with a girl or two. Even as I occupied myself with finding the beat of the song and not looking too pained or dorky, I couldn't help but notice the way he sang the lyrics to the slow songs in her ear, and the smile on his face. He was so blindingly happy, and it occurred to me to ask why I wasn't feeling the same way myself. Why could I no longer be happy for him? (And, more importantly, why did his happiness have to impede my own?)

It was a question I pondered over many days, and many tubs of ice cream. It took a long time to get back to content, much biting and fighting with my brand new average teenage girl outlook. But eventually I saw that I had been happier back at the start of the year, even though I was without him. I saw that I was more mature back then, and slowly, ever so slowly, I became who I'd always been.

And so, things come full circle. Doubtlessly over the summer I'll regain my hard won apathy and then fall back in like all over again. I'm not too worried though; I'm pretty sure I've got a happy ending waiting for me no matter what happens.

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