Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On a Love Lost . . .

Jo is in a bit of a panic this morning worrying about the "what if's" in life because of a post on I Now Pronounce You. It has gotten me thinking about what happens when you lose someone, especially if that someone is THE One.

I'm going to lay bare the "Story of Helen" for you folks who don't know me. I come from a good home in a small town. I have wonderful (if overprotective) parents who are still married, and a brother who has always been my best friend, even if I don't get to see him that often. All in all, I have lived a charmed life. My biggest problems through the years have been my insecurity and poor decision-making skills.

When I was in college, I met and fell in love with a guy named Mark. (And no, this is one name that I haven't changed.) Mark was a transfer to JMU from New York, and was just what I needed in my life.

When I was at JMU, I spent my first year wanting to transfer because I was miserable and lonely. My sophomore year, I started making more friends, but I also started drinking a lot, and doing things that I am not particularly proud of. I did quite a lot of those things, got myself in some bad situations, and I'm pretty lucky that I came out of it all relatively unscathed. As my junior year started, I met Mark, and it didn't take me long to realize that this guy was something special. But, like so many of the good things in life, you can't really appreciate them until they are gone.

To say that I was an emotional mess in college (and the few years that followed) is pretty much the understatement of the century. I was so insecure about losing Mark to another girl that I was utterly psychotic about it. I went through some pretty dark times, and despite the fact that everyone else our age was out having a good time, he stayed with me while I cried for days on end. And when I wasn't crying, I was in a rage about one thing or another. Quite frankly, I made his life a living hell. In all fairness though, when things were good, they were really good. I guess that's why he put up with me for so long.

Mark, however, realized something that took me a long time to figure out: As long as I was with him, no matter what he did, I wasn't going to change. So he walked away. I was devastated, because when he left that last time I knew I wasn't going to see him again. And a little part of me died.

But don't worry kids . . . despite its rocky start, this isn't a tragedy I'm sharing with you. Because that little part of me that died was the weak part. Think of it as natural selection for the soul. For the first time in my life, I was truly alone. For the first time, I had to stand on my own two feet and make it. And I did. I wasn't necessarily tap dancing through my days, but I was getting up, going to work, hanging out with friends, and laughing from time to time.

Then I met Mikey. Yes, the famous "Tall Glass of Crazy" guy whose name has been changed to protect his identity. Do you know the best way to cure you of your past psychotic/ needy/ annoying/ cunty behavior? A little role reversal, my friend. This time around, I was filling the role played by Mark, and Mikey was playing me. All of the crap that I had put Mark through the first time around was suddenly painfully clear to me. But I tried to make it work. And I failed (well, "failed" isn't exactly the right word). I realized the same thing that Mark had: you can't change other people, they have to change themselves.

I'm 31 years old now. I'm single. There is no house with a white picket fence, no husband, no kids. (I do have a dog though, so there is that small victory!) But you know what? Despite the occasional bad day, I like my life. I'm happy. I laugh far more than I cry, I have great friends, and I'm independent. And when the Next One comes around, I'll be ready for him in a way that I was never ready for him when I was younger.

And to Mark, if you ever happen to stumble across this blog . . . Thank you. You saved my life. And although you have no place in my future, there will always be a place for you in my heart.


Jo said...

*Le Sigh* More importantly you have it all together. Berg and I have said that what makes you sexy is your amazing confidence. And if it wasn't for those fugged up relatioships, you wouldn't be the way you are now.

I'm not in a state of panic don't worry. I now pronounce you's post was just really powerful. I know I have something good and I'm doing my best to keep it that way and like I said, sometimes you need that "what if" moment to realize you have something really good.

Carrie M said...

great post, helen. i'm 30, no house, no husband, no kids. and while the last couple of days i've been dragging myself around like a wet mop, most of the time i really like my life as well. it's good for us to remember that instead of what we don't have. :-)

Helen Skor said...

Jo: You really know how to flatter a girl! And you're absolutely right, the effed up relationships have made me who I am! And I like the person I've become.

Carrie: We all have those down days. The trick is to make sure you don't let them keep you down. I find Xanax and booze generally do the trick for me. :-)