Changed for the Better | Teen Ink

Changed for the Better

May 9, 2018
By afendley BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
afendley BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I still remember exactly what my heart breaking felt like. This was the type of pain that consumed you and was felt in every tendon in your body, every inhale and exhale; the kind that completely infiltrated you but at the same time left a gaping hole inside of you, completely empty. I spent months convincing myself that two people loved me, that they truly cared and would never intentionally hurt me. I let my own self-esteem deteriorate as I allowed myself to be used, lied to, and treated as though I was nothing. These two people that were the primary source of my happiness and my will to be were the ones to take everything from me. But let me start from the beginning.


The summer of 2016 was one that I will never forget. I was living a reckless and adventurous life with my best friend Heather at my side for every moment. She and I were inseparable and spent everyday together. She had her own drawer at my house filled with her things. Everything that was mine was hers and vice versa. However, it was not until the day that I met Carter that this changed. I still remember knocking on his front door and locking eyes with him for the first time. His crystal blue eyes, like the perfectly blue sky kissing the very edge of the ocean, drew me in from the beginning. It only took about five months for my him to take my heart and hold it in his hands; I had never felt that way about anyone before in my life, and still to this day I sometimes fear I never again will. Our relationship was complicated and messy, but we cared for each other in a way that was relentless and almost dangerous. Overtime, though, love turned into infatuation. I was not perfect, not even close. Due to past traumas in my life, I had a grievous problem with trusting people, and many times I let that burden get the best of me and stain our relationship. Carter also seemed to get easily jealous, and our mutual unease caused problems, problems that I believed could have been resolved.

In December of 2016, I took a family trip to Mexico and missed Carter more than I admit I should have. When I returned, something between us had changed. Those feelings of jealousy and distrust continued to resurface, and eventually we found ourselves at a breaking point. He told me he needed space, and I chose to believe that spending a healthy amount of time away from each other would help us realize how much we both truly care for each other and that this could have amended our relationship. But the “space” and “time” that I gave him turned into days, and days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I think he enjoyed playing these cruel games with me. We never truly and cleanly ended our relationship. He spent months toying with my emotions, taking me back then reiterating that he was just not ready to be back in a relationship. I look back now and see how pathetic I was. I was willing to do anything to not lose him. I was aberrantly and broodingly in love with him, and the most extraordinary measures were required for me to finally let him go.

All of the duration of time after we had broken up, Heather ensured that I numbed all of my pain. We did not talk about it and grieve together, but rather, we lived even more careless and audacious than before. I did everything in my power to not feel, and all the while I needed a supportive best friend, she was stabbing me in the back. Heather and Carter were friends before him and I were ever anything, but I always believed that when it came time for the relationship between him and I to end that she would be by my side. But oh, she pretended to. I would constantly see her texting him and blowing me off to do things that she would not share with me. I always had my suspicious, and there were few times that I confronted her about these thoughts, but everytime she aggressively denied these allegations, knots twisted and turned in my stomach, and my heart throbbed in my throat. Never again will I refused to trust my instincts.


Five months had passed since Carter and I’s relationship ended, and my spirits were beginning to lift. I was finally healing and reteaching myself how to put my well-being first and love myself. Heather and I took a trip to the beach towards the end of June, and this vacation was the escape from reality that I needed to further my inner peace, or so I had believed. One of the last nights of our trip while Heather was taking a shower, the Internet was down, so I had decided to look through the photos on her laptop. I will not enclose the explicit details of the photo I found, but never will I forget how I felt when I saw my best friend and the boy that I loved laying in a bed together. There was a hollow feeling in my stomach; I physically felt my heart breaking, the blood ceased to flow as my heart struggled to keep a steady beat. My head was on fire, and my mind fought itself, as it could cease to go back and forth from burning with fiery and disgust to completely shutting my body down and leaving me as a lifeless puddle of self-loathing and misery. After confronting her, she continued to lie, saying that the picture was taken a while before him and I were ever an item, and I naively chose to believe her.


On a scorching, humid day in early August, work was slow at my recently acquired job. I had been logged into one of Heather’s social media apps in order to keep her “streaks” because her phone had been taken, and once again I become overwhelmed with dire suspicion of Heather’s actions. I chose to look at messages on her account, and at last the sickening truth was revealed. Heather and Carter spent eight months deceiving me and having relations with each other while pretending to remain faithful to me. I have always understood that the end of any high school relationship was inevitable, but never in my life did I expect to be so betrayed as I was by these two people. This experience was one that devastated and broke me, but also changed me for the better. I now know that not everyone is worthy of trust. I now know how to put myself first and be unwilling to accept poor treatment and disrespect. The people that remain in my life now are people that I can depend fully on and people that are not toxic for my life, but rather bring out the best in me. In life, every single person will experience exceptionally arduous hardships, but never will we endure something that we cannot handle. We will heal, and we will always come out stronger.

The author's comments:

My English class was prompted to write about a recent past experience that caused a serious change in our lives and had a large effect on our lives, so I chose to write about this experience. 

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