Even though apart of me regrets falling too easily, I gained so much from this relationship that I could not imagine. Throughout my first years of high school, I was unsure of who I was and was in the process of trying to uncover and form my identity. Coming from a small school of three-hundred students to a school filled with more than a thousand girls, I felt so isolated and intimidated by the other students. At my old school, I was always known for being that smart girl in math class, the best basketball player on the team, and that kid that would take P.E. games too seriously. But as I began high school, my self-confidence began to fall as I encountered other students who were equally and exceptionally better than I was. Realizing I was just average, I had a hard time feeling acknowledged and appreciated until I met this guy.
I met him at this computer science program. We were both in the hallway, learning how to fly drones, and I accidentally flew my drone straight into his leg. I apologized laughingly, but he did not mind. Attempting to break the awkward silence, I tried to start up a conversation, but the noisy hallway made it difficult to hear him.
“Hi, my name’s Sara. What’s yours?”
“Oh, Willian, that’s a cool name.”
Embarrassed by making him repeat his name a third time, I smiled and nodded even though I still did not know his name. Towards the end of the program, we became good friends, exchanged numbers, and eventually started dating. He treated me well and was always understanding of my priorities on school and my boundaries. Almost every night, we would stay up for endless hours, talking about our deepest thoughts and passions or simply laughing about a funny meme we saw on Twitter. Having someone who was genuinely interested in what I had to say and was accepting of who I was gave me the self-confidence I could not get from myself ever since I started high school. Because of my lack of self-confidence I had for myself, I relied on Willie’s words of admiration for me, losing more of myself in the valuation of others without realizing what was happening. Eventually, as all high school relationships do, our relationship came to an end as feelings fade, and I was left feeling empty without him.
Adjusting back to my life without him was difficult. I no longer had that person to share my experiences and have deep conversations with at one o’clock in the morning. As I reflected on my feelings after the breakup, I learned that I should not depend on the opinions of others to validate myself. Instead of focusing on others and their accomplishments, I focused on improving and finding myself. I started working out, trying new hobbies, such as playing the ukulele and doing art, and reconnecting with my old friends. Through time I learned to stay true myself and that no one else should influence who I am. Looking back at this time, I realized without my relationship with Willie I would have never been able to realize how dependent I was on the validation of others and to find love deeply within myself.