My Box

December 2, 2007
By shannon walsh, Glendale, AZ

It is crazy how in every relationship I have pursued to this point, I have failed in some way. I failed enough that the guy I have come to care about leaves me with no explanation. The beginning is always the same. He makes me feel special his actions display his thoughtfulness. Then I get these feelings – fear and hope and joy. In the end the happiness destroys the scared emotions enough that I tell myself, “ This one will be different,” or “Maybe this one actually likes me.” But each one is the same. Each one leaves me in the end feeling miserable about myself and wondering what I could have done differently so that it would not have ended in a shattered heart.
After my tears are shed and all the chocolate ice cream in the fridge is consumed I am still left with one of the most perplexing questions: What did I do wrong? We always had so much fun! It was never awkward! Maybe he just does not think I am pretty anymore. The emotions seem to linger filling my stomach so that I am not hungry. Then I look over and my eyes catch it, the item that he gave me for my birthday or prom or maybe no significant reason at all: the trinket I have kept displayed in my bedroom for all eyes to envy when they step in. It has been almost a symbol for our relationship but what am I to do with it now? I cannot just throw it away because it has too much of an emotional sentiment; I cannot just keep it sitting there or I may never get over it. That is what the “box” is for.
It has quite the collection in it now, but that is nothing to brag about. I remember when I had received the first one; it was for my birthday. We went shopping together because he felt inclined to buy me something special. It was a knitted, little, pink sweater. I came home blissful as could be squealing with a feeling of warmth because someone cared about me. I would hug it in my arms and when I wore it he told me it looked good on me. My face was flushed a matching pink for the rest of the day and a smile was plastered on me from ear to ear. Then a couple of weeks later it was over. He had left me for another girl who made him happier.
I think since it was the, first it was the worst. I was confused and lonely. I felt like no one understood how miserable I was and for some reason it seemed like no one cared. Not even him. How come it was so effortless for him to get over me but I was trying everything to not think about him and I could not do it? Then I went to my dresser drawer to get a shirt and there laid my favorite pink sweater. I did not know what to do with it, so I threw it in this box not knowing in a couple years it would actually become the symbol of my relationship failure.
In the next two and a half years I went through this exact process four times. Each time it hurt but for some reason it felt like it was getting easier, like I was becoming immune to getting crushed. After the second time of getting rejected, because he found another girlfriend, I realized I was getting too emotionally attached too quickly and that is why I was the one always left on the curb in depression. I decided that I would never like a guy that much again and if I caught myself falling faster for him than he was for me I would have to slam on the brakes and detach just a little bit as to save myself from anymore “high school heart break.” That worked for the next guy, I did not fall too fast so when the next best girl came along I was prepared to let go with little harm.
Then came in crush number four. He was completely unlike all the others. I did not like him for the same reasons as I had liked previous “perfects” and he did not make me feel naïve. We moved slowly and we got to know each other by hanging out in groups. He felt like a best friend. I was satisfied emotionally because I thought he liked me more than I liked him and his family loved me. Then I started thinking about him a lot and getting nervous when he would laugh with other girls. Since all the others had left me for someone else I figured he would too. That is when I found myself detaching. I put up walls and would not tell him what was going on. Pretty soon it was awkward and he did not know why. I knew I was pushing him away and I did not want to but if I got hurt again I did not want it to be my fault. The next week he dumped me. It hurt so badly! What I was trying to avoid ended up kicking me in the face and left me bruised once again. I tried to explain but it was too late.
For boy number four I added three things to the box: a blanket, a pile of pictures, and a dress – all things that reminded me of him that I could not throw away. These have all been learning experiences for life even though they do not feel good. I keep the box for one reason, I know one day I will look back and be thankful for these relationship failures because there is someone special for me and if any of these selfish guys had worked out I might have missed out on the perfect one for me.

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