Have you ever had that feeling – that gut-wrenching, hopelessly lost, “Man, I hate myself” feeling that, no matter what you do, won’t seem to leave? Personally, I know I’ve felt that way more than once, and am able to say it’s one of the worst feelings any human being can suffer. However, I now know, regardless of the seemingly never-ending nauseous feeling I may be experiencing, there is always a way to redeem myself and come out of the situation still breathing. One particular happening comes to mind…
It was the beginning of my second year in high school and one of the rare moments that I didn’t have a boyfriend. Without a male counterpart to walk me to class and drive my fourteen-year-old self around, I felt I was living a life of desolate boredom day after day. So, of course, I went out and found the ideal candidate – a friend of an ex-boyfriend, who had his own car and an unusual willingness to be my personal chauffeur. We were perfect for each other.
Within weeks my boyfriend and I had fallen madly into something similar to love, but I wouldn’t call it exactly that. We were inseparable from the time I got off work to my midnight curfew nearly every night for seven months, until it all came to a pathetic, shame-filled standstill. My boyfriend had committed the worst adolescent crime imaginable; he cheated on me.
Now, his infidelity was infuriating, but it was even more devastating for me to learn of the unspeakable rumors my ex had communicated to the entire teenage population of town. His stories were humiliating, X-rated and, worst of all, true. My angelic reputation was severely damaged, and quickly became non-existent when the horrendous stories spread like wildfire through school. My friends, peers, and even teachers were talking about me and I could feel it – I could feel their incessant stares judging me as I passed in the halls and the awkwardness my teachers felt when talking with me. I felt like an inconvenience, forcing those around me to ignore the discomfited situation and act like nothing was wrong.
Needless to say, I hated myself and everything I had done; the redemption of my reputation seemed unfathomable. Nevertheless, something gave me the motivation to forget my surroundings and the vengeful boyfriend from my past. I thank whatever it was that gave me the drive to turn myself around, but the more important thing is that I listened to it. In the route to self-redemption I overlooked my gossiping peers and went by these sensible words: “… if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.” Even though I’d put my social life on pause, I found myself smiling more than usual, laughing at things that weren’t that funny, and talking to people I normally wouldn’t. Since I made the decision to start over and forget about the past, everything started looking better. Today, I’m still breathing and loving every moment of it.
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