This I Believe

Vivian - Lilburn, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
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I Believe In New Beginnings

“I am focusing all of my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize.”

-Philippians 3:13-14

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed about love and how I would meet the perfect man someday and he’d be more than anything I ever dreamed of. I wasn’t sure what he’d look like, but I was sure I’d know it was him whenever he came. Anyone who knew me back then would say that I was a dreamer. But when I entered high school in the year 2000, it wasn’t like anything I thought it would be in my childhood dreams. Instead of having first kisses, kids were having their first babies. Instead of driving a car for the first time, kids were driving a car for the first time, drunk. Instead of making decisions with regards for your future, kids were just “living for the moment.”

I was caught up in this whole mess and when I was 17, I had lost the little dreamer in me for quite some time. So when I met him, I thought he was the one, even though he was literally everything my parents warned me about. He came from an eccentric family, where his dad had been in and out of prison throughout most of his life. I heard he had never had a serious relationship before because he was after girls for all the wrong reasons. He smoke, he drank, he even did drugs. Despite all of this, I was drawn to him. Perhaps from the way he showed peculiar interest in me and told me he’d never met anyone else quite like me before. Or perhaps because I did still have the little dreamer inside of me that wanted to “save” him somehow. From the very beginning, our relationship developed extremely fast. Today, looking back, I believed it did because of his need for me. He “needed” me in order to quit using; he “needed” me in order to get away from his family; he “needed” me in order to get his life back together. This kind of “need” overwhelmed me for three years before I realized how deep I had gotten into it. During the time that we were together, I did everything that I had always said I would never do. Towards the demise of our relationship, I began to see all that I had sacrificed just to save this guy that wasn’t really sure if he wanted to be saved. My friends and family had turned against me, my education had gone down the drain, and my future was looking opaque.

The day that I finally reached my limit, I decided it was time to move back in with my parents and get my life back on track. I enrolled into a community college and slowly, I began to dream again. The one thing that always held me back, though, is my past. I am ashamed of it, so in that sense, it is hard for people to get to know the “real” me.

A year and a half after I left him, I searched for a medical center that would remove my past: the tattoo I had gotten on my back of his initials. He has mine on him as well and he always said that we would never truly be able to leave each other because of the permanent ink. From time to time, whenever I spoke to him, I would inform him that I was saving up to get it removed, but he never believed me, saying that it was too costly and painful. The day that I went to my first session of laser tattoo removal, I felt a new sense of freedom. He thought I would never do it, but here I was sitting in this doctor’s office, face down, waiting for the laser to hit me. The pain is almost unbearable, but I grip the squeeze ball that they offered me at the beginning. With each session, the tattoo fades a little more, and my doctor says he can guarantee that the day will soon come when it will be completely removed. Today, I am able to look back on my mistakes and realize that they are mistakes. I realize that I’m human and that I can make bad choices too. Today, a year and half later, I am finally able to open up to new people and show them who I really am-the dreamer who wants nothing short of pursuing her goals. Today, I believe in new beginnings.