Saturday, September 26, 2009

Series of Unfortunate Ex's Pt. I

Right now, I am having a serious problem.  Why is this?

I have conflicts coming from all sides, and it's becoming a disaster.

In April, I had an ex-boyfriend contact me.  Wait, let me edit that- TWO ex-boyfriends.  :-/  It was a pretty stressful month, to say the least.  I don't have feelings for either of them, anymore, I will admit honestly.  However, it still made me think way too hard for my own good.

This blog is about R.

I dated R for a whole six months or so when I was in like, SIXTH or SEVENTH grade.  The only reason this even affected me at all was because 1) he contacted me out of nowhere and 2) in my 9th grade year he made changing schools a living hell.

I started 'going out' with him in 6th grade.  It was completely harmless.  Well, sort of.  He lived across the street from my cousin at the time, and I spent a lot of time at my cousin's.  Even though I had known him for most of my life, he suddenly became that "object of obsession" and I had a crush on him.  My cousin and I started talking on the phone constantly and we couldn't get enough of him.

I began "dating" him in February, 1998 (if you could even call it dating).  He gave me a necklace with a heart, lock, and key on it, as a token of his affection.  I lost said necklace in the lake that same summer (this makes me laugh currently because, really, this jewelry lasted as long as we did).  We broke up before my eighth grade year.  I didn't lose sleep over it. 

When my mom decided to move the summer before my ninth grade year, I was heartbroken.  NOT.  I was the nerd of my class and had no friends.  I was excited at the opportunity to meet new people and maybe be popular.  That never happened, by the way.  The summer before I moved I met D through R, and we became friends.  I spent all summer talking to him on the phone.  At one point, during the middle of our move, our phone got turned off, and I rode two miles to the nearest party store (aka gas and fishing store) to give him a call.  It was sweet.  D and I fell in love.  I think.  These things are always so complicated when you're fourteen.

Anyhow, I moved to a different school.  On my first day of freshman year, I walked through the doors, looking as fresh and skilled (otherwise seen as vulnerable and weak) as any other freshman.  There was R.  He looked at me, stared at me in amazement, and started laughing in disbelief.  Literally.  He laughed and it was a nervous laugh.  Here was the girl he had passed off to one of his best friends, because he didn't want her, but I was maturing, and he couldn't believe I wasn't his.  (I am LOL-ing to myself, because I remember this SO well.)

R and I didn't talk much our high school years, except to exchange the occasional, "I want you," look.  Yes, R was good-looking.  Even better than my boyfriend at the time, who had suddenly stopped being friends with him.  I don't blame him; his girlfriend had a past relationship with him and I would, too, if I were with him.

But, at the end of my tenth grade year, I had troubles with D.  It's kind of personal and a long story, but it wasn't working out, and I started to hang out with R and my brother in my spare time, instead of going to D's house.  It ended in disaster.  I was meeting up with R, just to talk, rather than hanging out with D.  I've never cheated, mind you. I was still deceiving D, though.  It caught up to me, eventually.  D knew I was hanging out with R, and things were rough for a minute.  Eventually, several months down the way, I came to the conclusion I had to end things with both, and that is what happened.

Until this past April.

I got a text.  "How are you?"

I wasn't sure what to say to this unknown number.  "Not much.  Who is this?"

At the time, I figured it was my first love and kiss, Chris B., whom I am still good friends with.  And when I asked this and they replied, "You're first crush," Chris B. was the only one that came to mind!  So I said, "Chris, did you change your number again?"  It was automatic.

Except, the response I expected wasn't.  I received a reply back.

"Who is Chris?  I am jealous!  This is R."

I suddenly felt my heart drop and wanted to die.  What was R doing contacting me, after eight years of no contact?  I ran into him ONCE in those eight years, at a gas station, and when he saw me, he said, "Oh shit," and got in his truck and drove away.  So, why was he contacting me now, after so many years?

That was in April.  It was really weird, at first, but I let it go.  He seemed to be apologetic for everything he had done, and just wanted to be my friend.  I forgave him, but as soon as he did, it seemed the past came up to bite me in the ass, and he was asking me if I would give him another chance and move back to Michigan to be with him!

WE WERE TOGETHER WHEN I WAS 13!  Gimme a break...Some of you are laughing.  I know I was laughing (until I took a shot of Jack).  This is a 27 year old man we are talking about, though.  He really wanted me to move back.  He offered to buy me a car, pay for me to move back, AND support me when I moved there!  WTH was he thinking?!

This is just the first thing to confuse me.  Chris and I have lived happily so far.  These minor infractions have caused little to no damage, but I'm afraid they will, eventually.  R was only the first in the series of ex's to contact me.  Part II is coming up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bunny Post

Cooper: "Ahhh, this is the life."
Beauty:  "Speak for yourself, my arthritis kicks in when I lay like this."
Cooper: "That's because you're old."
Beauty:   "At least I'm not a camera whore."

Cooper:  "Who's callin' me a camera whore?"

Road Block of Cheese to Nowhere

Currently Listening To: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet Motion Picture Soundtrack

I need to express my gratitude to my new and old followers- thanks so much!  You guys have all left such awesome comments and it makes me want to write an outstanding blog everyday!  I wish I had commenters on every part of my life (Great job with that laundry!  Keep it up!  These glasses look SO sparkly, how do you DO it?).  Maybe it would make it a tad easier.  Then again, if I had commenters on every part of my life, it could lead to some uncomfortable situations (Uh, hmmm, what is that stain?  The bunny poop stuck to your foot is a, um, GREAT fashion statement).

SO, I started my workout this week, right?  I did it on Monday.  It did it's job and kicked my ass.  The next day I could barely walk.  Wednesday wasn't much better, and having to work didn't make the pain go away.  The muscles in the backs of my legs were so tight I was almost crying when I stretched.  But, no pain, no gain, right?  So I had Chris help me stretch my legs, and we did it for like fifteen minutes.  Finally I was able to walk without looking like I'd just been riding a horse for twelve hours.  It still hurt yesterday, but not as badly, so I took to doing the workout again. 

My original goal was four times a week.  I don't think that's going to happen until I can get used to some of the pain.  I mean, I'm not a whiner (haha, who am I kidding?), but seriously, every time I stood up from the floor or the couch I was limping.  It was no good.  So, three times a week will have to work.  I popped in the video yesterday and started, made it through 30 minutes, then suddenly felt like I was going to be sick.  Chris asked if I was drinking cold water (I had a bottle of water that had been out for an hour or so, but it wasn't that cold) and if I had eaten anything.  I'd eaten a few hours before that and I was taking breaks after after cycle to take a drink.  I was sweating up a storm and my mouth was dry. 

I didn't get sick, but I had to stop because I felt dizzy.  I don't know what it was from.  However, even doing only half an hour made the burning start.  This time it was my lower abs and calves.  Tomorrow I plan on doing my pilates video instead, because it works on stretching more than Jillian Michaels does, and maybe it will help the tightness in my body. 

Currently, I'm busy tapping away on the novel.  As I've admitted before, I've had a slight writer's block because of stress.  It's like, every time I go to sit down and think about an idea, all my worries come to the front of my mind and I can't get rid of them, so my creativity goes WHOOSH! out the window.  However, Chris texted me today from work and said, "I think we'll be fine."  That always makes me feel better, because he's the blatantly honest one, not dramatic, unlike me.  After all, I have breakdowns over the dishes piling up in the sink and having no laundry detergent.  So it's no wonder he avoids me sometimes.  I really don't blame him. 

I spoke to my mom yesterday.  I don't mind speaking to her.  We have a better relationship now than we ever have, and I almost enjoy talking to her sometimes.  Lately, though, all she wants to talk about is my oldest younger brother.  His wife is about ready to pop their second (her third) kid out, and she keeps blabbing on about it.  I just get annoyed.  It's not because I'm jealous of the attention he gets over everything he does (it has always been like that- he's a mama's boy), I'm upset because I am not there.  I didn't get to see my nephew until he was six months old.  He is now a year and a half and I won't see him until December.  Now my niece is going to be born and I'll miss that, too.  It makes me very, very sad and she doesn't get that.  I'm not a fan of expressing emotion with my mother because when I was a teenager she always called me a cry baby and told me to stop.  Now I feel like I need to avoid showing any emotion with her because I feel weak. 

Actually, both of my parents were like this, and I just try to avoid being emotional in general because it reminds me of the things they used to say to me.  I'm off point.  So, while talking on the phone with my mom, I got a little bit upset and she was like, "What's wrong?"  I wasn't going to tell her, "Well, Mom, honestly I don't want to talk about Brian and the kids because it makes me feel like I'm missing out on everything there while I live here in Hell where I don't want to be but can't afford to move back yet."  That would just make me cry.  So I said, "Nothing, just finding a movie to watch."

The good news about this call is that I didn't cry, and my mom is sending Chris and I a box of food.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A box of food.  She knew we were having financial trouble, but didn't realize it was cutting into our healthy eating habits.  I don't like sharing this publicly, but I am currently enrolled in Arizona's Nutritional Aid program (aka food stamps).  Not something I'm proud of, but when I transferred stores they cut my wages and my hours.  I'm now barely making more than minimum wage and only getting ten hours a week.  I really don't have a choice.  The bad part is that they based the amount I get on what I was making at the other store, so they reduced it by a LOT.  No good.  So it's going to take until October 12th before they raise it.  My mom said if we needed food I should have said something because she has a ton of non-perishables that she can send.

I know how funny that sounds.  My mom is sending me food from across the country (Michigan to Arizona).  Why not save the money sending it and just send me money?  Well, food is cheaper in Michigan, to be blunt.  So she is sendng me a box of food and money.  That made me feel better.  Our cell phone service is getting suspended, once again, because we have to pay rent on the first and electric a few days later.  Sigh.  But, I'd rather have no phones than no electricity.  It's only for a few days, anyway.  I only work one of those days, so I don't need it, really.  It's just nice to have it, because we don't have a home phone.  We are forced to either borrow friends' phones or use the payphone downstairs.  Anyhow.  Despite all of this piling up on me, I'm still holding my head up because there's not much I can do about it.

Chris and I are celebrating our one year on Tuesday, and because we will be broke, I made a joke out of it on Facebook and posted a status message saying, "Oh yeah, and some one year anniversary this will be since we're broke.  I would make you steak and taters, babe, but you'll have to make do with mac 'n' welfare cheese."  LOL!  Sorry, I thought it was funny.  Seriously though, I've heard welfare cheese is the best, but I've never had it.  My dad once told me that (apparently, he used to have a friend when he was younger whose family was on welfare, and he loved going there because they had welfare dad is a strange man).  With that said, I'm off to finish up this chapter, then hopping in the shower.  I guess we're hanging out with some friends tonight, playing beer pong and swimming.  Such college kid antics, I tell you.

Happy End of the Week to everyone!

My Friday Fill-In

1. One week ago I was stressing about bills, and I still am.

2.  Things were so much easier when I was young.

3. Mama told me to hang in there and things would get better yesterday.

4. I think we make a good pair, you and me.

5. Take your time making big decisions- you don't want to make the wrong one!

6. I'm really hoping these hard times will pass!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing with Chris, tomorrow my plans include going to Chris's softball game and Sunday, I want to rent some movies and lounge!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I tried to get a shot of Beauty for once, but Cooper is always stealing the spotlight.

Dear Juj 2003,

It has been a long six and a half years.  Feels like you (we) were walking down the aisle to graduate just yesterday.  You had a skip in your (black Chuck Taylor) step that fine day, shine to the (pink) streaks in your hair, and an attitude that matched that (hideous) bright sunshiny-yellow gown.  Today, I tell you, nothing has changed- you (we) still wear black Chucks, still have pink in your (our) hair, and sometimes, your attitude still matches that gown that made your (our) skin look so disgustingly gaunt and sallow.  However, I'm here to tell you (us): shit has changed, my friend.  But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy life.

What exactly do I mean?  Well, let me get you up-to-date on what you are about to do with your life.  First off, you will get a job.  That's right.  The second job you will have in your life.  It will be at Famous Footwear, and you will hate it.  You work with your brother's ex-girlfriend, and you guys become BEST friends- inseparable, because, you both get dumped by little boys that share the same name.  It's unfortunate, but the shared experience makes you both stronger and closer, and carries you through several years of bull crap you still won't get six and a half years later.  You will end up tipping Mom's mini van into a ditch, on accident, while trying to tail said dumper, and it is just the start to the bad luck you have with vehicles (feel free to look up the blog you will later right about how cars seem to hate you) and guys.

You lose your job over that accident, and it sets a trend.  You will have a streak of jobs that last only six months because of vehicle-related problems, and it makes finding a good job hard, and your life is HELL while searching for one.  If I could tell you to not move into that house with your soon-to-be fiance, I would- but I won't.  You learn a valuable lesson in it that takes you to who you are now- a wannabe writer, working part-time in another retail store, wishing you could be someone else but always held back by the people surrounding you.  Sounds pretty pathetic, doesn't it?  It is, but you don't mind it.  Much.  After all, you have your kids and boyfriend to take care of, and you no longer have to worry about bad luck with vehicles because you don't have one, and you can't afford one.  Makes life much simpler, don't you think?

I would warn you not to put your foot up on the toilet somewhere around mid-September 2004, but I won't do that, either.  I will make for a good first house horror story later, when your friends are complaining about how terrible their living quarters are.  After all, you did sink an entire toilet into the floor while painting your toenails and talking on the phone.  Oops, I spilled the beans.

You get dumped again, by that same boyfriend, twice in 2004.  For once it's not because he cheated with a younger girl.  It still kills you, though, and leads you to make a decision that could compromise your future relationships- but you make the right choice.  You stay with said boyfriend, and you move into your second place together on New Year's Day, 2005, and you also lose your puppy in an accident.  You celebrate/mourn by decorating the place with white Christmas lights, while in the nude and watching Austin Powers: Goldmember.

2005 is a rough year, but you make it through it.  I will tell you this, though: be patient, and do not give in.  Also, on Superbowl Sunday, try not to eat that turkey so fast.  It's so dry you'll probably end up choking on it and then consume several Jell-O shots afterwards to get it down, therefore rendering you powerless to a dare that involves streaking through the complex parking lot.  On second thought, go ahead and do that.  The look on your neighbors' faces was priceless, not to mention the great story it, too, will make later at parties that become mundane.  The bad part is the boyfriend will try to match your daringness and strip down to nothing but black socks and run around the apartment; the image still haunts you (me) to this day.

Many more important things happen that year, but they happen for a reason, so let them.  Do not try to stop anything or anyone in your path, because I, your future self, have gained much from it, even though it felt like sliding down a ramp of a thousand razors only to land in a pool of rubbing alcohol.  Hope that doesn't scare you.  You do buy your very first car on your own though, and start to stand up for yourself.  Cheers, because your backbone never goes away after that.  You even manage to get into a bar fight years later with an old boss that took advantage of you.  Don't worry, no legal action is taken.

2006-2007 are years that will be filled with the most fun a single girl can have.  You meet and reunite with many great people, learn to let go of past friends and relationships, and learn that your first kiss is the best friend you will ever have- after he screws you over several hundred times.  And finally- FINALLY- you move away from Michigan, only after said great people also screw you over, several hundred times, and take you for everything that you are worth.

Unfortunately, that lands you where I am now.  I won't say why I use the word unfortunately.  There is nothing particularly terrible about where you are- except the heat, the stank city, a bus system, and a high cost of living- however, it seems you finally learn to appreciate all that you have been through.  You will just look back, and realize, "Wow, I've lead one hell of an interesting and outrageous yet terribly dramatic and heartbreaking post-graduation life so far."  It's been a rough and adventurous ride.  I guess the unfortunate part is that now, you are not even a quarter of a century old yet you feel 55 and sometimes the face in the mirror looks it, too.  You believe your happily ever ever is still there, though, and that is a GREAT thing.

Just remember:
If you step on a pile of rabbit poop, think about the furry butts that left it, and how cute they are when they give you attention and love.
If your boyfriend leaves his grungy undies in the hallway, he supports you and loves you for who you are.
When your mom starts talking about how great your brothers are but never mentions how great you are, you can always push the 'end' button and you don't have to listen.
The ex is just that- the ex.  Leave it at that.
And last, but definitely not the least, try not to take anything for granted.  I know you will, because I am you, and I know what you have done to make you me, and although that is confusing as all hell, I know that you (we) are a better being in the long run for having tried your (our) best and not giving up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For some reason, I think Cooper is leading a double life. I caught him gambling online. Maybe it's time for bunny rehab!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Good Ol' Single Days

Blogging: better single, or taken?

I'll admit, my blogs have steadily decreased in hilarity since I've been in a relationship.  I remember while I was on the manhunt, my sense of humor was crazy and even a little rated R (code: perverted) at times.  It was fun, though, blogging about all the bad dates I went on, the guys with weird habits, the mom's that still insisted to meet the girl before he went on a real date with her.  Those were good times.

I recently logged onto an old account that I used in secret to bitch about a guy I was seeing last spring.  I read it, and was intrigued, even though I was the author and had obviously already read this.

Boy, was it dramatic.  But funny.  I got locked inside a mall after a movie, and all of the escalators and elevators were shut down for the night, so we had to walk up several flights of stairs to find an exit.  We kept going out the wrong doors to find the right parking lot.  We were laughing the entire time, but still, this wouldn't have happened on a normal date with my Chris.  Usually we go on dates in early afternoon, when everything is still very much open.  We don't do late night escapades, and we stopped be spontaneous around six months ago.  The most spontaneous thing we've done in a month was running out to get steaks at 8 PM because we saw them on a show and they looked good.  MAN was that an adventure. 

One time I decided to go out bar hopping with my friends and the guy I was seeing, and planned on having a great time.  My old best friend showed up with her new man, but my former fling.  He was wearing the same exact t-shirt as my then current love interest and they both had mohawks.  AWKWARD...but it makes for a good story.  It was an adventure.  Trying explaining why both guys looked almost identical to each other to your friends.  It wasn't my doing, I swear (insert evil laugh here).

I had something to say all the time.  Some nutso story to report.  I had nights out (and in) with my girl friends that will forever go down in history.  I used to be known as the Running Drunk, because every time I was out drinking, I'd get the urge to just run away from wherever I was.  It seems immature and stupid now, but back then, it was hilarious to my friends and I, and I liked writing about it.  It was fun.  I just never knew what would happen next.

Nowadays, it takes a little more than my daily experiences to blog about something interesting.  Some days I can't think of a damn thing to write.  I get tired of blogging about work, I don't like relaying every personal thing about my relationship to a website, and really, that's all my life is.  It was so much easier when I was single to come up with ideas to write about.

But, I've become more creative and a better writer being taken.  This last year while living in domestic bliss I've found I have to research farther out of my comfort zone to come up with interesting things to blog about, or even talk about.  I think this is a natural process for writers.  Eventually, we have to dig deeper to come up with ideas that match the outstanding ones before it. 

I think about Stephen King, and all of his novels, and it amazes me.  How did he keep putting out book after book without running out of ideas?  The truth is, even he admits he was having trouble coming up with new storyline ideas for a bit.  Danielle Steele is another author that seems to have a neverending list of ideas in her head that she just keeps pumping out.

We can't expect our "next great novel" to come from nowhere.  It comes from somewhere.  We are inspired by everything that surrounds us, but how do we reel that in, to create a piece of written work that other people will enjoy, and maybe also be inspired by?  When we live in a monotonous life (not that I don't enjoy it, sometimes I like how not exciting my life is), where the hell are we supposed to get these grand ideas from?

I'm happy to be where I am.  It is really tough sometimes, being in a relationship and keeping things easy-going and stable while all of hell is breaking loose on the outside.  Bills need to be paid.  Work needs to be done.  The bunnies need to be fed (or kids, in most couple's situations).  But sometimes I miss being the single girl blogger, getting a laugh and good story out of horror movie dates and adventures with my girls.  Now, I have to use my brain a little more, though, and that's probably a good thing.

Before, I would get headaches if I had to think too much.  Now, my right eye just twitches.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Little Life Changing

Today is Monday.  Today is the day most people go back to work.  Today is the day some people complain how it's going to be a long week.

Today is the day I start over.  I've decided I'm going to start doing several things to change my life, one by one.

Namely, I'm going to start exercising.  This weekend, Chris and I went to the Sports Authority in the mall to get his baseball cleats for softball.  I'm jealous, because no one asked me to be on a team, and I like playing softball.  Every Saturday they play for an hour against other teams in their church and it's a lot of fun.  I watched two weeks ago and had fun, but it reminded me that I do NOTHING to get real exercise, except maybe walk to the bus stops and get groceries.

So, while we were there, I picked up a new workout DVD.  I've needed one.  I have a pilates floorwork video, but I need cardio.  I had a video by Crunch called Fat-Burning Pilates that was AMAZING.  But it was VHS, and I also left it back in Michigan, along with my Carmen Electra's Fit to Strip (also awesome).  It was the first step to getting into good shape, again.  Mind you, I'm a curvy person by nature.  I will always have hips and thighs, nothing I can do about that.  However, the gut?  No.  The flabby arms?  No.  The almost-noticeable double chin?  NO WAY.  I'm at the greatest weight I've ever been.  It stops here.

The second thing most people would say to do is eat healthier, but I don't think I can get much healthier without cutting out all indulgent food completely.  I'm a big fan of salads and vegetables and fruit, so no protesting there.  I'll just have to quit the midnight snacking (which is easy because we're too poor to afford junk food anyhow).  My second thing is working on healthy sleeping habits.  It's hard to do so when I'm half-manic at the moment, but it's possible.  Because I don't have a full-time job, I don't have much to wear me out during the day.  I clean and chase after rabbits, but other than that, it's lazy days for me.  I'm hoping adding exercise to my weekday regime will wear me out so I'm tired enough to go to bed before 1 AM. 

I guess the healthy way to exercise is not to overdo it.  Four times a week is a good start.  That's what I'll work on, then.  It's way too hot still to even think about taking up jogging again, but once it cools off, I may do four days on my workout, two days speed walking, one day off.  I remember last spring when I was just running roughly two miles every other day I lost ten pounds easily.  I'm working on gaining some muscle back though, so I don't expect to lose a lot of pounds but actually build muscle. 

My one problem is that I am a calorie-counter.  Some people can't do this very well.  They usually end up cheating and it doesn't do anything for them in the long run, except make them feel worse.  I am good at calorie-counting because if I set goals, I can keep them.  It's getting myself to actually set goals that is the problem.  Sometimes my calorie-counting can get out of hand, though, which is the problem.  On my last diet I set myself at 1500 a day, to start with, just so I could lose some weight quickly for when I visited Michigan.  After that, it went down to 1200, to 1000.  That's not healthy, plus I was walking/running three times a week.  I got pretty thin but I also got pretty sick.  I started getting really bad headaches everyday and I felt worn out, started sleeping way too much, and had a constant cold for like a month.  I cannot do that again.  But, in order to make sure I'm not over-eating or under-eating, I HAVE to calorie count.

I'm sticking to 1500 a day.  That gives me leeway for five small meals like I do now, but I'll be watching the size and snacking between meals. 

Because I get overwhelmed pretty easily, I'm going to start with just this for the week.  Next week I'll add one more healthy change to the list (like, doing laundry once a night so that I'm not falling over it in the middle of the night).  I think this could change my life around.  Usually when I start making these small changes it leads to one large change and suddenly, I have a full-time job that I love.  I'll cross my fingers that happens.

Now, I'm off to change into my workout clothes and put my trainers on.  We'll see how this workout goes!!

I did the workout.  It says 40 minutes on the back- it's closer to an hour.  I did my best.  I didn't have to use my inhaler at all, but I did have to take SEVERAL short breaks because Jillian Michaels means business.  I guess she was one of the trainers on the show "The Biggest Loser".  I'm going to bet I made the right choice choosing this video because I won't be able to do it all the way through after a few times.  It's going to take at least a month to do all 56 minutes straight through.  Note to self: need better sports bra because there is a LOT of jumping.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BOO! I'm Back!

(This is a REALLY long blog, and I apologize, but there was so much going on when I thought about it I had to get it all out.)

I read a blog by Alexis that was about her ex coming back into her life after so long over something kind of silly, and it reminded me of something that happened to me when I was 21.

My ex fiance was really a great guy when we first started dating, despite being a little immature. He was just a year and a half older than me, and you know guys mature slower than women, so I didn't really take it into consideration. We started dating when I was 17, and it came to a hault right before my 21st birthday. For the next year or so, we went on and off, with him coming and going from my life whenever he wanted to because I let him. If I had just been able to say no, it wouldn't have taken me so long to recover from what happened between us.

He moved to be with another girl about six months after we broke up. I knew her pretty well, because he worked with her, and we used to hang out with her a lot. There's a whole back story to that, but I'll save it. When they moved in together, it baffled me. Completely. We stopped talking for a while after that, because obviously with them living together, it wasn't going to work out.

I got a text the weekend before Halloween, 2006, from him. It was late, and a little weird. I hadn't talked to him since earlier in the year, and it threw me off. I can't quite remember what it was about, but I know he said he missed me and wanted me to hear his band play again. I was always a huge part of his music career. He was in so many different bands while we were together, and he finally found one that was worth sticking with when he moved, and they were really good. I'd seen them play several times before that spring. I was a little nervous and skeptical about going down there to see him, but I decided to do it, if only because it would prove we could still be friends.

I drove the three hours downstate to see him. I knew a lot of things had changed since we'd last seen each other.  I had changed.  I was no longer the simple-minded girl he had dated.  He was exactly the same.  I found that out the hard way.  I had grown up in a big way, and even though I wasn't aware of it, he became aware of it as soon as we met up.  He was at one of his bandmate's houses, waiting for me to get there to leave.  The last time he had seen me I'd been the plain Jane girl with short blonde hair, always in jeans, band t-shirts, and my Converse.  I wasn't trying to impress him at the time, but now that I look back, I looked damn good when I showed up to meet him.  My hair had grown to my shoulders and I had put big, dark brown chunks in it.  I had lost quite a bit of weight, but I was curvy.  I wore a gray Bon Jovi t-shirt (the band t-shirts didn't change, I'm a music lover), with some tight jeans that I never would have worn when we were together, and my suede high heeled boots. 

I remember the look on his face, too.  Like, "Wow."  But I just said hey, and went inside to meet up with everyone else.  I did not want to make it about "us".  It was strictly about his band.  I was there to see them play the battle of the bands, and that was it.  I was going to be staying the night at his friend's and driving right back up north the next morning.  I shouldn't have been so naive.  That's not what he wanted.  He wanted to see if he could still control my emotions. 

I watched the bands play at a bar downtown.  It was a small joint, but pretty packed.  I bought a pitcher for us to share, and we sat there and talked and had a great time.  His friends really were fun, I'd always thought that.  I remember one of them always used to just say my name because he liked it.  "Nicolette."  I would say his name right back, and he would laugh.  Flirting, right?  Probably.  But my ex and I had been broken up for almost a year, and his friend didn't have a girlfriend so I thought that was okay.  It wasn't okay, though.  Not at all.

Post-show, my ex asked me to come outside and talk to him.  He gave me a hug and said I looked really great, and I just said thanks.  And suddenly, he was asking me if we would ever get back together again.  It was unbearable.  How could he do this to me?  How could he ask me this after everything we'd been through, after everything he had put me through?

I sat in his car with him, and I started crying.  He was almost crying.  I told him that I still loved him, and always would, but that it wasn't going to work out for us.  He almost left the bar right then.  He wanted to just leave, drop me off at my car, and have it end like that.  He was still technically living with his new girlfriend, even if they were taking a break.  There was no way I was getting involved in all of it, but I didn't want him to hate me.  I just wanted him to see where I was coming from.

Unfortunately, like I said, he hadn't changed, and he couldn't understand my point.  He was leaving her, because he loved me, and I wasn't giving him a chance.  That's all he saw.  What I saw was, he was bored with her, wanted to move out, but didn't want to do it alone.  He hadn't been single for more than a month since he was a junior in high school, and now here he was, 22, and unable to act like an adult because he had never been made to.

It became a night of tears.  I locked myself in the bar bathroom for most of the night, because he kept badgering me and trying to start fights.  At one point he actually busted into the bathroom to talk to me, even though it was the ladies' room.  I just wanted to go home.  I didn't even get to do that, though, because my alternator went out the next morning, and I didn't have the money to fix it right away.  I stayed there three days, with my ex, until he had a day off to drive me up north.  It was miserable.  I'd never felt so terrible in my life, including the time while I was with him.  He made it known that he was not happy with me, because I didn't fall into his trap again.

That doesn't mean it wasn't hard on me.  This was a guy that I had had in my life since I was a sophomore in high school.  I had been one of his first friends when he moved to my town, and we had basically been inseparable throughout high school.  We wrote songs together.  I went to every band practice I could.  We shared everything together.  It was really, really hard for me.  It was harder not because I did still love him, but because I loved him as the girl I used to be, not for the woman I was.  I wanted to have our old times back, but it wasn't possible.  I changed.  He hadn't. 

I was thankful that months before that we had finally traded back all of our things.  After the battle of the bands we no longer had any connection to each other.  I was able to get my car fixed, and when I called to tell him I'd be down there to pick it up, he didn't want to have anything to do with me, and that was that.  I drove back up north, to my new friends and my new life, and that was that.

Not saying we haven't spoken since then, because we have, just a little.  For a while we would write on MySpace, if only just to check on each other's rabbit (we decided to split custody with our old pets, Foofers and Futter, and he got Futter).  It ceased entirely last winter, though.  Finally, he had let go completely and no longer wanted to speak to me at all.  And I don't blame him.  We finally completed our journey together and now we are on our own paths.  I still think about him, though.  Even though he did some pretty awful things to me, I can't help but find it in my heart to care about him. 

It's all a part of growing up, right?  Letting go, giving in, forgiving, but not forgetting.  Just because someone is out of your life, doesn't mean we have to think badly about them, or hold grudges.  I'm just thankful for the things I learned, and for the person I became afterwards.  It was a lesson that changed my life, and I have only him to thank for it.