A Curiosity Trap

Good Morning, to you. I hope your weekend has been a pleasant one, thus far. I contemplated writing this post for the past several days after I first encountered the finding I will mention momentarily. Perhaps you’ve personally experienced this, yourself. Having an ex-significant other as a friend on Facebook and periodically “checking,” their page to see what they’re up to. It’s not really that you’re still interested in them or pining for them, but merely, you’ve fallen into the “curiosity trap.” It’s so very easy to type in any name and instantly see snapshots of their life appear and though it may present as something completely different than their actual reality, if you don’t personally see them anymore, there really is no way of knowing the truth vs. what you’re seeing on their page.

This instance for me, though, was slightly different. To provide some brief, background knowledge. Back when I was 15-years-old, the summer leading into my sophomore year in high school (which for me, was technically my “first year” in high school, because 10th grade started the high school building, since my middle school went up to 9th grade), my best friend at the time and I met two guys at our local mall. Back then, I was bubbly and overly-excited about all the new people and adventures I would encounter when starting the high school building. When my friend and I first met those two guys at the mall, I didn’t very much like the one (let’s call him “M”). I found him to be off-putting, unfriendly and certainly not interested in me at all, though I did find him physically attractive. Still, the physical attraction was not enough to entice me or even begin to romantically consider him. The other one, was funny, talkative and outgoing (let’s call him “T”). Physically, I wasn’t all that attracted to him, but his personality appeared to shine through and in turn, he became attractive to me in a sense. We all exchanged phone numbers (or at least I believe we did, anyway) and from that point forward, I actually began talking on the phone to M every day on the phone. After arriving home from school, him and I would chat for what seemed like hours. He started to call me each day on his way to work, on break from work and so forth. At first, we started talking about his friend, T, when I expressed interest in him. Before long, it became apparent, that my feelings towards M were starting to change. At that point though, everything was still new to me. It was a new school year, a new school in general, and my only concerns centered around what I was doing on the weekend, whose parent was chauffeuring my friends and I to the football game and then afterwards to visit a local eatery. At that point, life was good and I was thoroughly enjoying being a teenager. In fact, it’s probably the fondest part of my life, I can really recall; a time when I was truly happy and at ease within myself.

My life was finally starting to take shape back then. I remember feeling excited about each day, thrilled to finally have that “teenage life,” so often described in books and magazines I read, or in movies and TV shows I watched. My friendship with M started to take more of a shape, as we made plans to hang out as a group. He asked if I would like to come along to his town’s harvest day (a town I actually now live in, today). Though I didn’t know any of his other friends, I was excited and eager to explore and see what his town and friends were like. My mom dropped me off and I ended up spending much of the day with him and his friends, though it was really him I spent most of the time talking to. I felt grown up as I strolled through his town with him, having been on my own, away from my solid group of best friends, really for the first time.

After that day, M and I talked even more and it became evident something beyond friendship was slowly developing. With Halloween fast approaching at that point, M asked me if I would like to join him and two guy friends on a hayride and haunted house adventure at the local farm. Having never been there before, I eagerly accepted and felt no fear being the only girl around three guys. That night, things changed between M and I. Though him and I never officially shared a “title” solidifying our relationship, I always look back to him as my first boyfriend. He was the first guy who ever drove me alone in a car, and I remember that first time as clear as day. It was a Sunday afternoon and though we were only driving to our local mall, I felt grown up and independent, as though I was truly a woman now. I remember how surreal it was, sitting next to a boy driving me alone in the car. I felt so feminine and free, so excited for what the future was to hold. I was carefree and swept in a sea of euphoria. After several quick weeks, I came to know his car quite well; every scent, every dent, each of his movements. Though at the time I believed my feelings with him were love, I came to know, years later, they were that of infatuation. I was enthralled with the idea of him and looking back, my relationship with him was nowhere near functional.

Though parts of our budding relationship at times felt like a fairytale, most of it was not. Having told me, “I didn’t look that great,” with my hair down, I always made sure to wear my hair up when I was with him. Other times, when not around him, my hair would be down, as I felt more comfortable that way. With him, my hair was always up, because I wanted so desperately to please him. The meaning of his words didn’t matter to me, at the time and I didn’t realize just how much they impacted me, until months later. My entire sophomore year of high school centered around him, seeing him several times a month and then skipping months altogether. He would never refer me as his girlfriend, I was always kept on the side, as he feared he might “meet someone better.”

Many nights, I sobbed myself to sleep, or would call my sister, away at school, crying into the night, asking her time and time again, why it was so hard and if it would get easier. Finally, in April of my sophomore year, I saw him for what would be the last time, though for months after, I still thought of him nearly each day. I wondered about him and hoped that he would come back to me and finally make the commitment I longed for all year. Periodically, he’d message me or send a text message to which I would reply, but then they started to drop off, as well and I began to realize, I simply didn’t care anymore. I had moved on and closed that part of me that felt wounded and broken. I realized at that part, I didn’t feel that sense of longing for him anymore, that he was no longer the central focus of my heart and mind. For years after, even as recent as a couple years ago, he would occasionally message me and ask to see me, and would apologize for hurting me. His apology, though, meant nothing to me at that point, as I tried my best not to reopen the wounds that had taken so long to heal.

The reason why I recount this relationship, if you can call it that, which happened so many years ago, at this point, is because I fell into the trap of venturing over to his Facebook page. Facebook friends for years, I defriended him about a year or so ago, not wanting to see what his life was like at this point. He is married now, which I knew when I defriended him. Though, the other day, my curiosity got the best of me and I typed his name into Facebook, wondering what his married life was like for him, now. Within moments, I saw it. The smiling picture of him and his wife, holding a onesie, confirming their pregnancy. My first instinct, was to cry, then it became anger, and then, nothing at all. I clicked off his page, took a deep breath and tried my hardest to expect the truth and ultimately, reality.

I came to realize, my emotions were not because I felt sadness in seeing him married and expecting a child, but because I am disappointed with my own life. I’m not where I want to be and it’s often difficult to see others moving forward and experiencing all I thought I would have at this point. It’s important for me to be accepting of who I am and where I am today. I am not what has happened to me and I can choose to accept the current state of my life, realizing that it is capable of being changed. I’m not the 15-year-old girl I was when M and I first started dating, I am a 26-year-old (27, as of next Sunday), who is simply working to come to terms with who I am.

I’ll be okay.

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