Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Last Time I Had A Valentine

It's been 10 years since I've had a Valentine, and on this lonely anniversary I'd like to share the story of the last time I celebrated the holiday. It's time for the internet to own this shitty memory, not me...
It was the year 2000; I was 17 and a senior in high school. For about a year, I had been in an on-again-off-again relationship with my first boyfriend, Ryan. When Valentine's Day rolled around, we were in an "off" phase, but still seeing each other every weekend, and I was positive that we would soon be an official couple again. Despite all the drama and manipulation that he injected into my life, my pathetically low self-esteem made me go back to him time and again, believing that no one else would ever want me. I saw myself as ugly and replaceable, a fat girl getting by on her sense of humor and generous nature, and felt that I was lucky to have anybody who wanted me. It's very hard to admit that these were my regular thought patterns, considering the strong person I have become over time, but they were; my thoughts were that of someone who felt she had no worth outside of that which others assigned to her.

My best friend Nicki was dating Ryan's best friend Justin. Through the grapevine, I heard that Ryan and Justin had been at the local flower shop during the week of Valentine's Day, buying roses which they intended to send to their sweethearts at school. On the morning of the fateful holiday, Nicki was called down to the office during our government class, and came back with a giant bouquet of flowers. She told me that she had seen an identical bouquet right next to it on the counter, surely from Ryan to me. My heart swelled with excitement through my next few classes, as I anxiously awaited this romantic gift.

Finally, after waiting hours that seemed like days, I was called to the office. The secretary handed me a single rose with a note attached, then wished me a happy Valentine's Day and sent me on my way. Outside the office, I read the card and my heart dropped into my stomach - the rose was from my friend Katie, a lovely platonic gesture that I found nearly impossible to appreciate at that moment.

At the end of the day, I confessed to Nicki that Ryan had not sent me flowers. She promptly found her boyfriend, who admitted that yes, Ryan had bought a dozen-rose bouquet when they went to the florist's shop, but that, sadly, it had not been for me. It was for Justin's ex-girlfriend, Rachel, who Ryan had recently met and developed a crush on.
I was embarrassed, incredibly hurt, and totally confused. I immediately began making excuses for Ryan's behavior, justifying his total lack of respect for me. I didn't confront him about the way he hurt me; I ignored it. We had plans that evening for a double date with Nicki and Justin, and I was terrified of canceling. I knew that if I wasn't there, he would simply find someone else, and that thought was enough to make me go to Hell and back to keep him.

That night, I arrived at Ryan's house to meet up with everyone, wearing my "I swear I'm okay" face. Although no one brought up what had happened earlier in the day, Ryan was clearly pissed off at me for some unknown reason, and acted completely indifferent to my presence. When it was time to leave for dinner, he kept checking his phone and stalling, making us all wait around but refusing to tell us why. Our questions were answered when a car pulled into the driveway - he had invited Rachel.

I was dumbfounded and mortified, for the second time in one day. As Rachel approached the house, Ryan looked at me, ready to fight over any reaction I might give his mean-spirited stunt. Nicki and Justin were as appalled as I was, and uncomfortable to boot. I asked Ryan if I should leave (yes, I ASKED him, rather than just high-tailing it out of there) and he replied that he didn't care; I could go or stay, and it was all the same to him. At this point my stubbornness kicked in, and I told Nicki and Justin that I would ride to the restaurant with them, since Rachel would be riding with Ryan.

And I did. I made it through the most horrific dinner of my life with a little bit of wit and a lot of repressed feelings. I held back the tears until I got home that night, and by the time they came my anger for him had become hatred for myself. A couple months later, I began dating Ryan again, and the shame cycle continued. Luckily, though, his behavior on Valentine's Day had desensitized me enough that when I saw the words "FAT FUCK" written across my face in his yearbook, I barely even blinked an eye. It was just another day in Love, after all.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recommended Viewing

"I didn't bring your breakfast, because you didn't eat your din-din!"

This movie has been on my "To Watch" list for a long time, and I finally saw it a couple weeks ago. It's a MUST SEE! If you're anything like me, you'll be rooting for crazy Baby Jane for the duration of this deliciously demented film.

"Being an adult means to have a speedometer that marks 210 and not driving over 60." 

This one is about a boy, a girl, and an absurd game... oh, yeah, and a most fucked-up kind of love. Love Me If You Dare was personally recommended to me by a close friend, based upon a specific experience I had with a former love. If you've ever trusted someone who you knew you couldn't trust in the least, then I think you'll enjoy this one. Also, it's shot beautifully, reminding me of the same dreamy, fairytale feeling that's conveyed in two of my other favorite films, Amélie and Big Fish.

'If I wanted to have sex I'd go out and find someone who was actually sexy." 

Just a few things that made me love this movie: an amazing female director/writer/lead (see: Marianna Palka), unabashed stalking, and Jason Ritter. I suggest going in without any expectations, and just enjoying the characters for who they are. Also, order a pizza.

Skip Day

I should be at school right now, in sculpture class, but instead I'm at home, finally catching up on my blogging. The following string of events lead me to this spot:

1. Overslept this morning, waking up too late to catch the bus.
2. Borrowed my roommate's Jeep to drive to school, because I've had a flat tire on my car for over a week now.
3. Stopped at a gas station to take out money from an ATM, then bought a coffee to get some quarters back to use at the parking meters at school.
4. Arrived at school, already 10 minutes late to class, only to find that all of the meters were in use.
5. Thought about circling back around, or parking in the $5 pay lot, but decided just to head home instead.

Rather than get worked up about the fact that I'm missing my favorite class, I'm taking it easy. It turns out that the older I get, the less I worry about the consequences of my actions. Each time I find myself getting anxiety ridden about a crappy date, or a missed homework assignment, or a ridiculously intimate secret shared with a casual acquaintance during a drunken tell-all, I just remind myself that it's not the end of the world - I've undoubtedly dealt with worse. It's a liberating thought process, and I highly recommend it.

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