Happy Thursday, readers. I know, I know, it’s been too long. Truth be told, I had no intention of updating the blog tonight but I was suddenly struck by thoughts I need to get out on “paper.”
I was watching one of my favorite MTV shows, Catfish. This show resonates with me so much for several reasons. One, I am a sucker for a happily ever after. Despite the fact that most of the episodes seem to end in failure/betrayal, I always hold out hope for a love connection. Two, I understand the insecurity that these catfish have. They’re not usually evil villains – quite the opposite, usually. These young people need to be saved, they need someone to love them for them. It’s unfortunate that they go about this the wrong way but I can see how they could escape to the internet for what they need. And three, I have always been an online dater. I’ve never been a catfish, nor do I wish to ever be. I’m looking for something real and how can you build a solid & real relationship by starting off lying? Just doesn’t work.
So I looked up the one happy Catfish ending on YouTube (what? It makes me happy to watch, sue me!) which led me to discover these “Meeting My ________ For the First Time” videos. I had no idea these existed. Basically, for those of you who don’t know, these videos consist of younger people who have been in LDR for a certain length of time and they’re meeting for the first time in person. I got so emotional watching these, even though most have probably ended in broken hearts…..
When I was only 13 years old I met a boy on the AOL message boards (remember those?) We IM-ed back and forth a couple of times and this boy constantly said how his brother was getting on his case about talking to a stranger online. After a week or two, I was instant messaged by his brother who let loose on me about how irresponsible I was, etc. etc. Within minutes the conversation turned friendly, and then sexual. I forgot all about the first brother and fell head over heels for the second one. We started talking on the phone every night. But my young love was not very long lasting.
After approximately a month, his parents found out he was talking to me and we cut ties. I was miserable and depressed for months.
Eventually life goes on, as it has a tendency to do. Fast forward three years. I am sixteen, I walk in the door after work one night and my mom tells me I have a message. I don’t recognize the name or number but curiosity killed the cat (and the BB) so I called the number. He answered and after a confusing couple minutes I discovered it was him.
We picked up as if we’d never been away from each other. His voice was wonderful and familiar and I was consumed immediately by the affection I felt for him. We talked every night, the chemistry was even more intense, and our feelings grew stronger every day. After a couple of months, I picked him up at the airport and met him for the first time. Our relationship was like a storybook romance to me. He visited once more after that, took me to my prom, and proposed to me.
I visited him in his home state and then finally made the decision to turn down my first choice college and move to him. I left friends, family, my job, my life for him. (If anyone is following my age, I’m 18 at this point.) I lived and worked with him for fifteen months. The break-up was just as intense as the beginning of our romance. In hindsight, he wasn’t ready for what I was. I’ve always wanted to settle down, have kids, a family, work hard and be happy. He never got to be a teenager. We went at it so hard and so fast, I can’t blame him for wanting to know what it was like to be a kid.
The reason for my story? I’ll be twenty-four in October. And looking back, my time with this boy was the happiest I’ve ever been. Talking to him every night on the phone. Sending him stupid selfies. Having movie/date night by saying, “1…2…3…play!” and clicking the play button at the same time. Him visiting. My time living with him. It was the happiest I’ve ever been.
Why? I had no money, had to learn independence faster than any other 18 year old I know. I dealt with debt, responsibility, caring for others, planning and cooking meals, working two jobs, living halfway across the country without my family. And yet… I was truly happy there. I was happiest from 16-19.
Don’t get me wrong, here. I don’t regret my decision to come home. But I wish we could have worked it out. Because I was happy.
Now whether it was him that made me happy? I don’t know. I think it was the young love. It felt freeing even if life wasn’t so much. I felt…carefree. So yeah, seeing these “Meeting my…” videos make me feel jealousy. But they also make me remember what it’s like to be in that position. To have the whole world in front of you and know (at least in that moment) that you can get through absolutely anything as long as you’re holding his hand.
I continue to hold out hope that one day, despite what my age might be, I will find someone who makes me feel young love again.
Tonight I leave you feeling a little reminiscent…sad…thoughtful…and above all, hopeful.