This I Believe

Hope Rencher - Montgomery, Alabama
Entered on October 5, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: forgiveness, love

I am a thirty-five year old single African American woman, who holds a doctorate in English. In reflecting on the last seven years of my life, I must admit that I have experienced several tragedies. The one man whom I dated for five years decided that we were from “two different worlds” and that I would be better suited to find someone else. After getting over the initial shock of rejection and the gut-wrenching heart ache, I literally called him around the clock begging him to reconsider his decision. It was not until he told me that I should “seek the help of a psychiatrist — because I was exhibiting the behavior of someone who was having tremendous difficulty letting go.” He assured me that it was good, while it lasted, but it was time to move on. At the time, I did not know that he had resumed a relationship with a woman whom he dated prior to my meeting him. In about three to five months after their reconciliation, I heard they were engaged. Of course, I called him weeping in great despair. The rejection had gotten the best of me. I begged him to tell me why I was not good enough to marry. I wanted to know why he had chosen her. Afterall, we had been dating for five long years. He told me in a quite plain and stern voice that “he was starting over with a clean state.” He continued saying, “there would be no comparisons and no regrets. He was happy.” Sitting on the other end of the phone, absolutely horrified, I realized that I could not move. I was planted in the chair like a cement block. Several minutes elapsed, and he declared that “he had to get back to work and that he had wasted enough time discussing this matter with me.” Being the “pschotic” woman that I was, I called back, and I called back, and I called back, until he stopped accepting my calls that day. Rumors began to spread among mutual friends that he had iced her with a diamond that cost around $35,000.00. Once, I heard this I could not sleep for days. So, I found the courage to call him — AGAIN. I had to hear it from him. He had to tell me himself that he actually spent $35,000.00 on an engagment ring for his betrothed, and all I ever got was a trip to New Orleans and dinner at Pat O’Brien’s, and I cherished that as really special. It was a symbol of his love for me. So, imagine the devastation I felt when I heard about this huge piece of a rock. When I finally reached him, he answered the phone with such smugness that it made me sick. I was driving at the time, and I became so upset that I pulled into a gas station. He told me that he was not going to discuss the price of the ring with me, because he feared that “my insanity may cause me to do a “drive-by” shooting and harm his beloved wife-to-be.” So, I sat there at that gas station for hours. The clerks inside probably assumed that I was about to rob the place, so I decided to attempt to go home. I needed to talk to someone who could help me get through this. I thought about calling my mother, for she always knew what to say, but my mother died the month before all of this happened. She was no longer here to help me get through these kinds of ordeals. I began sobbing so that I could not stop. My head began to hurt, because I was dehydrated from all of the crying. I had to get to the doctor because the headaches were so severe that I could not see. I was having a migraine. After getting two really intensive shots in my thighs, I drove myself home. I entered the lonely apartment, where my two loving cats greeted me at the door. They followed me to the bed. We slept for four days straight. A few months passed and they were married in the early spring of that year. The following spring, they welcomed their first child into the world. It has taken me three years to get to a place where I am not thinking about him and how he rejected me every minute of the day. I struggled with this as I accepted a tenure-track position at a major univeristy. I dealt with as I began to prepare my dissertation manuscript for publication. I even obsessed over it, as I was chosen to direct the university’s composition program. The pain was still as poignant as it was the first day that I heard the news. Then it hit me. I realized that I believed he was supposed to be my husband, because we had done the long and extended proverbial dating thing. The next step was marriage, right? The rejection was too much for me to bear. No one wants to be rejected. It was not until I accepted that the relationship was never intended to be any more than it was that I began to believe that it was not my fault that it did not end happily ever after. My first act in moving on was to forgive myself for allowing myself to be hurt by his rejection, and the final step, which is still ongoing is to forgive him. This I believe, once I forgive myself that I must forgive him. Then, the real healing can begin.