MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE WILL LOVE ME AND THAT WILL FIX EVERYTHING

 


MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE WILL LOVE ME AND THAT WILL FIX EVERYTHING

Love isn’t here, love isn’t here

But it’s somewhere.

— PATTY GRIFFIN, “I DON’T EVER GIVE UP”



There’s a specific sort of obsession with love that you’re bound to find yourself having once you’ve realized, on any level, that you don’t have a family the way you’re supposed to. There’s a need in there to be normal, to be wanted, to belong to anyone, anywhere, as soon as humanly possible, that really lends itself to loving super-romantic shit of all kinds. Because okay, sure, it’s clear the whole “having family like you’re supposed to have a family” thing is off the table for me, BUT oh my God, there’s this other thing called a “soul mate” AND THAT PERSON WILL FIX EVERYTHING!!! Phew, thank God. I thought I’d have to live in this abyss forever until I overdosed on pills like a sad movie star, but no! All I have to do is wait until I’m, like, I don’t know, eighteen years old max, probably, and I will meet my soul mate and I will be loved and I will belong and I will breathe deeply and feel beautiful and protected and at last I Will Be Fine.


I can honestly say I have spent my entire life searching for romantic love in a way that I thought for a very long time was adorable and that I now see as heartbreakingly sad. I’m sure it’s closer to the truth to say it’s in between the two, but maybe because I’ve lived it and know where it comes from, it seems mostly like the latter. That intense Anne of Green Gables romanticism, bursting from every cell in my body, came from a similar place in me as it did in Anne: a tragic backstory and a desperate need to belong to someone. Unlike Anne, I never met my magical adoptive family, though to this day I continue to long for it with every heartbeat, like an ancient shelter dog that knows it might not have much time left but maybe someone is coming, maybe they are.


I loved Anne Shirley for all the right reasons. She wasn’t the right kind of pretty or the right kind of girl; she was too loud, too messy, too romantic, wanted too much, felt too much, and needed too much.


That combination of excessive romanticism, a love of words and language, making anything sound like poetry and anything look like art, and turning all moments into unforgettable flashbulb movie scenes, coupled with my childhood, resulted in my spending a lot of time outside my house, scribbling in my notebook like Harriet the Spy, and occasionally definitely also pretending I was a spy, while splitting that time by trying to hit every Mariah Carey note it is possible for an eight-year-old to hit while she’s sliding down the stairs because I’ve always loved multitasking.


I know I loved all those fictional characters because I was a wild, inquisitive, messy-haired little creature who asked too many questions and loudly questioned her neglect and abuse, definitely not the agreeable living doll my parents seemingly had in mind when they decided to have a child.


I quickly gravitated toward Matilda, Anne of Green Gables, and Pippi Longstocking—all mouthy, whip-smart heroines too weird for their birth families, or simply on their own for reasons unknown. (Seriously, what the shit was with Pippi’s idiot dad? She was not old enough to sail the high seas by herself, how was that not clear to him??? What a dick.) I wrapped myself daily in the idea, subconscious as it was, that one day I’d be seen, understood, and loved. I’d belong somewhere. I had to. There had to be some small place in the world for me, and even if that wasn’t the case, I’d make one for myself, by myself, somehow.


But even before the obvious abandonment (which began as emotional, and then resulted in the total absence of my parents, with grocery money left on the table and my buying the groceries and getting obsessed with cooking because SURE, I CAN BE THE PARENT!!! I CAN! I CAN BE THE BEST PARENT!!!), or my subsequent coping strategy of “leave before anyone can leave me” relationship patterns, what I did know, and could articulate at length, was my obsession with the idea of soul mates, romantic love, and destiny.


That’s a sort of destructive drug on some level, I’m sure, but I was also born with these ideas in my blood and I know it, because I have a reporter’s notebook full of meet-cute stories from when I was a kid.


Just as with my persistent British accent of unknown origins (according to my mom, I had not been exposed to British TV and they seriously had no idea where that actually pretty fucking good accent came from), my belief in love came with me, like a specific kind of Barbie comes with a specific kind of accessories. My Barbie came with too much empathy, a heart as big as every ocean, and a mission to figure out how people find love and why, and how I could one day find it too.


I don’t by any means think my purpose on this earth is to simply find my soul mate, and I don’t think little-kid me did either, as both she and I know that’s reductive and, frankly, sexist, but damn if I didn’t come out ready to look as hard as I could anyway.


Before my parents openly split up (they were always separated as far as I was concerned), my dad lived in the basement, which is totally normal for a child to observe, yes, absolutely. So all I knew of relationships as a little kid was “everyone is terrified of Dad, and Mom is very, very quiet, and Dad lives in the basement, and everyone is sad.”


At the time, my coping mechanism to counteract the constant hiding from my dad like he was a serial killer who would find me any minute now, I can hear him breathing, etc., involved my grabbing several reporter’s notebooks and going door to door in my neighborhood, doing what any other little kid my age was definitely, definitely also doing.

[Knock, knock.]

Neighbor: Oh, hello.

Me: Hi! How is your day today?

Neighbor: It’s fine, thank you.

Me: Wonderful! Ooh, are you making dinner? What is it you’re making?

Neighbor: Well, I’m making steak and some potatoes.

Me: Oh my! [Scribbles on pad.] And what recipe do you use? Is that a family recipe?

Neighbor: No recipe, really. Just kind of make this.

Me: YOU MADE IT UP??? That’s so cool!

Neighbor: Thank you.

Me: Is your wife home? I see her in the garden a lot.

Neighbor: Yeah, she’s out back right now.

Me: How did you meet each other? How did you know she was the one? Was it one thing or a lot of little things? How long have you been together? Take as much time as you need. I have two pens.

The recipe questions were just my gateway into the real shit, the good shit, I was after. And then they’d tell me.


My imagination, which was primarily reserved for writing, directing, and starring in my own plays, or shooting my weird short films, or singing for hours in my room, became part-time fixated on communicating with my soul mate in my head, because why not? That just sounds fun.


It became a never-failing nighttime activity. I would talk to my soul mate like we were in the same room. I would imagine us having adorable conversations just before falling asleep, and my soul mate helping me through whatever was going on at that time, which was often way too much for one person anyway. And I would imagine the hilarious, stupidly romantic things my soul mate would say to me that would stop me dead in my tracks, overwhelmed and unable to reply with anything but a lump in my throat and a relief that we’d found each other, finally.


That’s what everyone was doing at eleven, right? Cool. I thought so.


For me, it was less about imagining a romantic ideal and more about having a receptacle for my thoughts and feelings, and a caretaker who saw me for who I was. My soul mate didn’t look like Mark-Paul Gosselaar (though I wrote Mark a fan letter when I was, like, six that was basically just “Hi, Mark. I am a fellow teen. Yes, it’s true. I am a teen who is your age as well. As we are both definitely teens, we should date).


My imaginary soul mate didn’t look like anyone. He was more of a feeling than anything else. (But if I had to describe him, he was a cute boy with Miss Honey vibes who loved me without sexualizing me.)


I didn’t even really date around that time. I was horribly bullied back then for three classic reasons: (1) I had glasses. (2) I’d gained weight, due to my well-meaning but checked-out mom giving me four-hundred-calorie Ensure-type drinks as “snacks” to somewhat address my stress ulcer making me too nervous to ever eat anything. (3) I didn’t have the “right” anything. And if one time I finally had a shirt everyone else had, please God let this be what gets them off my back, SURPRISE! That was even more of a reason to treat me like shit, because I wasn’t cool enough to have it, so I needed to be punished . . . because I had glasses? I don’t know. Conversely, if I had a shirt no one else had—and if no one else has it, it’s clearly lame because fuck individuality, you’re in sixth grade, this is fuckin’ Thunder dome, BITCH—that too was a great reason to treat me like shit. I am thoroughly convinced most children from eleven to fifteen are garbage monsters from hell because they’re all just miserable. I’m able to look back now at my bullies and sigh and go, “Well, I’m sure things weren’t great at home and their parents were hateful elitist assholes, but I was already getting treated like shit at home, so, um, if they could’ve, like, not been abusive to me at school on top of that, that would’ve been so chill. But you know, love and light and forgiveness and stuff. Except for . . .” (lists forty-five people who will never escape my wrath).


It was around this time that I began online dating because, yes, I was the most underage I could possibly be, but also, I had no adult supervision, I was super romantic, and I just wanted to get the fuck out of my house to somewhere safer, somewhere better. You’ll be shocked to know that is not what online dating leads to for thirteen-year-olds.


I don’t even want to go into what it led to, but let’s just say there are a tremendous number of creeps and predators in their early twenties who are actively trying to hook up with thirteen-year-olds, and they did not tell you that shit on Nightline. (I don’t remember ever telling anyone I was eighteen, though I do remember having to be eighteen to set up a profile, but then, in the interest of transparency, telling guys in the messages that I was not eighteen at all, and literally no one minding.)


Boys at school weren’t really an option, as I’d been made to feel that I was so ugly you wouldn’t even want to look at me, and I definitely remember spending most of my childhood praying no one would, so I wouldn’t get hurt. This is something I never understand when I look at old photos of me, but I guess people get assigned roles at the time and mine was “make fun of her for being hideous and gross,” and I bought it. But I still, on some level, felt like maybe, just maybe, someone in some city somewhere would think I was kind of pretty. Like in a different market, maybe? So I met a lot of boys online who were my age who went to neighboring schools and were crazy hot.


My first non-creep boyfriend, Wes, had a six-pack and looked like he would be the lead in any Hollywood movie about hot teens and was unrelentingly sweet and kind and worked with the elderly because he wanted to. But I broke up with him. And I would bet that it was because on some level, I felt like I’d been assigned the wrong one. “He’s gorgeous and kind and sweet and in love with me, who is firmly unlovable. My parents don’t love me, I’m bullied at home and at school, and you, superhot teen with a SIX-PACK BECAUSE IT’S WORTH SAYING AGAIN, love me? Let me solve this problem for you and break this off.”


And so I went back online. Subconsciously, I’m sure, looking for something a little more like what I was used to.


The next guy I met online was also an age-appropriate boy named Sean (which just shows you that there truly were a lot of underage teens looking for love online, so it was technically not just me doing this. Sadly, there were also lots of pedophiles). Sean was super cute and sweet and very tan and had lost his virginity at nine. That depressed me then and depresses me now. At thirteen, he invited me to a party with him where I would, having zero prior experience with drugs or alcohol, casually drink, like, ten beers and fourteen shots of rum, swallow a huge tab of acid, and smoke weed while I watched Sean make out with his ex in front of me. I blacked out shortly afterward, and all I remember of that night was being unable to move or speak on the bathroom floor and vaguely hearing some dude say, “Hey, Sean, your girlfriend is, like, dead or whatever. You should probably take care of her,” and his opting to instead finger his ex in an adjacent room.


Now, I think of my tired, overdosed little-kid self, who only wanted someone to love her, no matter what it took—drugs? Okay! Alcohol? Sure!—lying there on the floor alone in a little ball, waiting for anyone to care about her, and all I want to do is pick her up and kiss her forehead and tell her I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect her.


I came home late that night (a twenty-nine-year-old who owned the apartment where preteens fucked and drank drove me home) and sang Fiona Apple songs into the mirror and watched my pupils dilate until it was time for school, like nothing had happened.


Having decided that the only reason things didn’t work out with Sean was because he wasn’t “mature,” I went back online to meet more potential “boyfriends.” This time, they were men who were nineteen to twenty-four, and would try to coax me to have sex with them near overpasses, and when I wouldn’t, or would cry because this is not how I saw this going at all, they’d get angry. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself, “Lane, you’re worth more than this, and also, these guys are pedophiles,” but I didn’t even recognize these moments as wholly negative situations. When you grow up without real parenting or boundaries, you can talk yourself into believing it’s totally normal for twenty-four-year-olds to date thirteen-year-olds.


I very naively, and very genuinely, wanted someone who would make me mix CDs and love me and watch Empire Records with me while we ate tacos, and instead I’d end up being driven home by an adult man who’d called me ugly and worthless for refusing to blow him outside a Denny’s.


And I’d go home and lock myself in my bathroom and throw myself into work, which at the time was spending seven hours trying to hit every single note that Stevie Nicks, Nina Simone, Sarah McLachlan, Patsy Cline, Gwen Stefani, Debbie Harry, Dinah Washington, Shirley Manson, Shania Twain, the Cranberries, Lauryn Hill, Diana Ross, Selena, Fiona Apple, and Luscious Jackson (who many years later would tell me they loved my voice [!!!] and ask me to play in their band and sing harmonies with their lead singer, Jill Cunniff, on the very songs that kept me going as a kid, which was beyond surreal) could hit. I loved singing the songs in exactly the same way each person sang them, leading me to be able to sing like anyone.


Years later, a friend of mine from school was listening to me sing along to these songs and realized I sounded just like them and was blown away that I could do that, which made me realize, for at least half a second, that maybe that was something special. Not me, no, no, no, but something I could do. I’d record audio of Daria episodes and Comedy Central Presents so I could listen to them at school any free moment I got because it was a lot better than listening to the bullying. Then I’d make some food and go on to phase two, aka watching Late Night with Conan O’BrienUpright Citizens BrigadeStrangers with Candy, maybe a movie, then Blind Date, then infomercials. Then I’d sleep for an hour and go to school. And then I’d go back online and try again, because, well, they say dating is a numbers game.


And the thing is, our culture totally reinforces the shit out of the normalcy of these guys. We tell kids that pedophiles are fifty-year-old creeps with candy in vans, and then we also tell them, via episodes of TV and movies, that it is totally normal for fifteen-year-old girls to go out with twenty-one-year-old college guys and that ONLY THE COOLEST, HOTTEST, MOST MATURE GIRLS GET TO DO THIS!!! So, as a very new teen with no parental guidance, I was, like, “Fuck it, I’m like thirteen, let’s start dating!” I mean, have you seen Dawson’s Creek where Pacey sleeps with his teacher? I was told this is hot. Or when Buffy (or literally any underage girl on any show or movie from any era) goes to a college party and the guys are jerks but some of them kind of aren’t, and anyway the point is, again, you have been chosen and what a great feeling and also, what is statutory rape?


I don’t ever remember being afraid of dating older guys, possibly a by-product of already having survived so much, so what was the worst that could happen? A very, very dangerous question to pose. And even if I was scared, it was worth it to take the shot that one day someone, somewhere, of any age, would love me and want me.


When we see teenage girls in movies who “seduce” older men, we paint them as bad girls in crop tops, bad seeds in purple lipstick, troublemakers with lip rings, jailbait—sexy, sexy little teens with crazy horny brains. What we don’t ever talk about is what they’re looking for, what they’re running from, and why they’re running toward any kind of love or attention at a terrifying speed. We don’t ever talk about those girls, some of whom might be openly “sexy” looking, and some of whom might just dress like “normal” little girls, who aren’t looking for sex at all, and are truly just looking for love, or caretakers, or a place where they’re wanted, even if they’re looking somewhere those things will never be found.


For me, what I found instead was guys in their twenties who would show me bestiality porn and offer me beers before yelling at me for having “chipped nail polish, what the shit. Next time don’t you fucking come over here looking like this.” Subconsciously, I know I heard this and thought, “Yes! Sign me up. Abuse! Neglect! Telling me to be whoever you want me to be! Being a sexual object owned by whoever! I know this song, every word! Where’s my lighter so I can hold it UP?”


In the breaks between “dating” pedophiles, I focused my attention on the lackluster boys at school. But I do remember thinking one guy was totally cool because he “worked at a hotel washing towels.” Good shit.


Alas, Captain Towels and I were not meant to be, in the same way those who came before and after him were not meant to be, because that’s just kind of how dating works. You just date a fuckton of Not Meant to Bes until you have one (or however many ones you believe you get to have in life) Meant to Be, and then you collapse into an easy chair, like, “Fucking finally. Can we just eat scones now and make out and have fun and change the world and be cute for the rest of our lives? Finding you was exhausting.” And then, I assume, they bring you scones and brush your hair back and kiss your forehead and just say, “Yup.”


Talking to my soul mate every night definitely struck me as not normal, but I was never normal to begin with, so if I was going to be weird, I was going to be the kind of weird that made me happy. And this made me happy. Because on some level, I assumed my soul mate was probably doing the same thing. Somewhere in the world—maybe my same country, maybe not—they were talking to me, sharing all their shitty and wonderful stories and what they did that day and what they hoped we’d do one day and saying good night to someone who didn’t exist yet, but definitely also did, technically, probably. And it was my favorite part of the day. A nightly meditation on the probability that one day I would find them.


Sometimes I’d wake up with them too, and say good morning, and kiss them, and tell them about the dreams I’d had. Other times I was way too busy and had to get to school. As the years went by and I receded further into my own imagination, I began to talk to them all day and all night long. I would tell them everything I felt for them, everything I hoped for both of us. I would tell them, wherever they were in the world, that if they were having a hard day, I hoped it got better and that I wished I could tell them they were lovely and I saw them and they were special. I would tell them stories about my day, imagine us ending our day together in the same place, laughing and making out a lot. Things like that.


Years later, I remember this tradition taking a more bizarre turn when I would occasionally apologize to this concept of a person when I’d dated someone who was awful to me, and I technically “let them” be awful to me, and I knew my soul mate would not be pleased with that at all. I saw my soul mate as someone who wanted the best for me, someone who wanted me as safe and happy as possible until they could come and make me as much of each as possible themselves. Just as I’d hate the idea of my soul mate being out there with someone treating them like shit. But then I’d remind myself that I’d never be mad at my person for sticking around for that, because I get it.


You do the best you can with what you have and where you came from and all of the overlapping messages there. And because I would know and I could tell them how easy it was to settle for something over nothing, to take on people like broken-down houses you could totally invest a lot of time and money into and make new again, only to find out they were money pits all along. And I would remind them that, no, this is not all they deserved. Not even close.


I can see now that I used the idea of a soul mate to give myself some sort of parental figure, some sort of protector, someone who was able to see that everything that was happening was not okay, that I deserved more, who could validate everything I was experiencing, since no one around me seemed like they’d be doing any of that any time soon. And if that figure didn’t exist, I would make one up.


On the one hand, I had some doubts that my soul mate existed because it was so hard to believe anyone that wonderful could exist. It was easy to doubt that all of the odd combinations of very specific things I wanted to exist in one person could in fact do that and that he would also live in my city and be my same age—like, wow, what are the odds on that? Because I doubt they’re bankable.


But on the other hand, I knew I existed and I figured maybe my soul mate was out there somewhere thinking maybe I didn’t exist, but I totally do, so it was only fair that I believe he exists too.


And then one day I met a boy named Adam on a class trip to Germany. He went to my school and was friends with all my friends and was a nerdy skateboarder who wore a lot of hoodies and looked like a young Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys. And since I had finally started dressing like the sparkly, blue-haired punk-rock kid I was, instead of a sentient sign that just reads “PLEASE DON’T HURT ME,” we were a perfect match. But we’d never met before the trip. I don’t remember much about the beginning of the trip, but I remember being at a restaurant and not loving the food I’d ordered because it was truly gross (sorry, specific German restaurant). I made a joke about this to the group, and he gave me his soup. Even now, this act makes me smile in its simplicity, because that’s really what I needed. Some simple, pure hearted, age-appropriate thoughtfulness.


We talked and flirted the whole time in the most innocent way possible. I worried that the amount I joked about sex and masturbation would terrify him or, worse yet, make him think I was someone who’d sleep with him super quickly, which LOL, because I had definitely not had sex with anyone and had very firm and unyielding plans to lose my virginity to another virgin who was a Capricorn, for my own complicated, astrologically based reasons. I don’t remember his sign and it doesn’t matter. What does matter was that I am counting him as the first boy I ever dated because I refuse to count a twenty-four-year-old on a “date” with a thirteen-year-old as a fucking date because it’s not, and it’s important to note that.


Sexual assault is not your “my first time” story if you don’t want it to be. Some creepy age-inappropriate piece of shit driving you to an underpass doesn’t have to be your first-date story if you don’t want it to be. Count what you want. You can’t change what they did, but you can change your landmarks. It’s not a rewriting of history. It’s a telling of truths and separating abuse from moments that are supposed to be nothing like abuse at all.


And because you can do that, my first kiss was with Adam—something I would never have guessed on that trip to Germany while I was wandering around, hoping to run into him, excited to make him laugh, letting him nervously try to make me laugh too. But I’m sure it would’ve elated me to know that kiss was in our future.


All the genuine worries I relayed to my friends in a stairwell at the hotel late one night—about Adam’s thinking I was “fast” (LOL) and therefore “easy” (it is not currently 1952, but man, you wouldn’t know that from this paragraph) because I was constantly making masturbation jokes and drawing R-rated flip-books—that were laughed off by every single one of them. “Okay, sure, you joke about sex a lot, but your jokes are never super dirty, they’re just funny!” And I had no reason to worry, because Adam was the most innocent and sweet first boyfriend who was not a sexual predator that I could’ve had.


When we got back home from the trip, Adam invited me over to his parents’ house to watch Star Wars, aka our “date,” because he was totally That Guy. And to my credit, we watched like five minutes of it and I was, like, “What if we went somewhere else and did . . . not this?” And thank fucking God, we did.


Adam said he was so excited that I wanted to date him, since he’d never dated anyone before, and his parents would be thrilled to know he wasn’t gay. I joked that they’d bake him a cake that said, “Yay, Not Gay,” and we went to get soft-serve ice cream and skateboard while listening to my punk mix CDs. It was lovely. We had our first kiss on my elementary school playground, though I was in high school at the time. I’m sure I’d suggested we go there because I love playgrounds and I never got to be a child. He told me I was his first kiss, like he was really excited that it got to be with me. And I really, really was too. Unfortunately, Adam and I didn’t last very long, because pretty much the second we kissed, he became Too Much.


He called me what felt like forty times a night, to the point where my mom noticed—and given that her parenting style at the time was “I’m never home and if I am my door is locked, I don’t live here, you don’t exist, please move out, are you eighteen yet, God I hope so, I can’t deal with this right now,” that says something. He waited for me after every class, which if it hadn’t been coupled with the forty calls and messages a night would’ve been sweet. It was just too much, and I had to end it, which bummed me out, but he was too intense and smothering. Months later, he’d message me and tell me he was really sorry he’d smothered me and was so intense, but he liked me so much and didn’t know what to do.


I’ve seen this pattern play out in my adult relationships too, in a way. I’ve dated men who were so sweet and kind and wonderful, but moved way too fast, claiming me as their girlfriend after one date, texting me nonstop all day every day, saying “I love you” after a few dates. And once I learned about attachment theory, I knew exactly why I went for it.


Basically, there are three primary attachment styles: secure, avoidant, and anxious, and occasional combinations of avoidant and anxious. Your attachment style develops in childhood via how you attached or didn’t attach to your parents, and then often translates to exactly how you do or do not attach to people when you get older. People who have a secure attachment style have no problem attaching to people or getting close to people or exploring relationships, or relying on people; it comes naturally to them because it came naturally to them as kids (or because they’ve done the work in therapy to get there).


Avoidant people want that closeness but are scared of it, so they tend to be less expressive with their feelings, view themselves as unworthy of a reliable, responsive partner, and often would rather be alone than deal with potential rejection or pain.


And then we have my attachment style, are you excited??? Anxious attachment! Yeah, shout-out to my anxious attachment people! Granted, you and I can never form a close relationship with each other because two of us together is death, but high five, because I know how much this one suuuucks!


These are people who want to be close with people, but feel like other people don’t want to be as close as they do (too many feelings). They don’t want to be alone, but they also feel like other people don’t value them as much as they value people (too many feelingggs). They need high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness, and often become dependent on the person they’re attached to, to the point where they can feel safe only when they’re in constant contact with the person they’re attached to, and if they don’t have that, they will blame themselves (toooo manyyy feelingggs). Fun, right? Also, this is absolutely me.


What’s so fascinating about all this to me is that if you have an anxious attachment, you’re pretty much compatible only with secure attachment people. That’s it. If I tried to date an avoidant person, they wouldn’t want to be with me (or anyone) anyway, and even if they did, they would just be an unreliable mess I could never feel truly safe in, so it makes sense that I spent so many years being attracted to guys who were, like, “Lane, you’re it for me. I’m in. It is easy for me to express this and move within it; let’s go!” and for me to be, like, “Yay, but also you’re kind of a lot. Is there a way to get a secure attachment who isn’t smothering? No? Oh, well, I’ll take what I can get! At least you’re consistent, that’s fine, I’ll work with it!”


It’s better than abuse, but not any healthier. There’s a middle ground. I knew there had to be, and this wasn’t it. But it did feel great to hear him say, “I was acting in a way that wasn’t cool. You should’ve ended it and I don’t blame you.”


Adam told me he’d learned a lot about women from me (which I smirked at then and I smirk at now) and was now dating someone else and wanted to thank me. It seemed like a really fucking obnoxious thing to say then, and it seems like an obnoxious thing to say now, but he was a teenage boy, guys, and in retrospect, for a sixteen-year-old boy, that was actually pretty insightful and mature and sweet. So it will not surprise you to know Adam is now very happily married to someone who seems very nice, but whom I have never met because I got this information from the internet.


But the fact that we didn’t work out doesn’t matter anyway because he was movie previews. And I knew I had my whole life left to have a ton of even better relationships, just a ton of them! That life would just be an endless string of super romantic, super cute boys who were incredibly nice to me and emotionally available, but, like, way more mature—haha. And it would be up to me to choose the best one, whenever that time came. The world had told me I was just a kid and high school relationships are dumb and just practice for bigger, better relationships! And I had all the time left in the world.





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