If you haven’t been dumped in your 20s, good on you.
I mean it too; no sarcasm here today friends. I’m pretty envious of you to be honest, but I’m also applauding you at the same time because you’ve managed to avoid some of the experiences that I personally found made me feel, on a scale of one to shitty…well pretty damn shitty.
Along came this empowering post by the lovely Ari, who jumped on board the ‘Take back what’s yours’ campaign and decided to take back the feeling of being fearless. She then very kindly tagged me to take back something that I feel I’ve lost or has been taken from me, and it actually tied in well with this topic. I want to take back my worth. The confidence that I am a person worth love, worth sticking by, and at the very least, worth respect.
But of course, no post of mine would be complete without a good (and somewhat tragic) story to complete the whole picture. Ready? Ok, let’s go.
I guess I wasn’t the most confident person growing up and whenever I did like a boy, I automatically thought he was more than my worth. This made me desperately desperate; to admit that makes me cringe a little (literally, there are creases in my forehead as I write this), but it’s also the truth. The desperately desperate truth.
While I’ve been the dumper once in my life, unfortunately I’ve been the dumpee a good handful of times; three times in particular worth mentioning.
My first boyfriend dumped me over MSN messenger. We were teenagers and lived in different towns, so thinking back now, I don’t blame the kid for cutting ties in what was probably the most impersonal way possible; however we had been together for eight months, which is a lifetime for a 17 year old, and I thought I was head over heels in love.
Getting dumped for the first time when you’re a teenager is probably the most earth shattering thing that could happen to you. I had to tell my Mum we no longer needed that extra ticket for my deb ball (sob) and breaking the news to my friends that I got dumped over an electronic messaging program was a tad embarrassing. What’s even better was going to school the next day and breaking into heaving sobs not once, but twice; the first during the fish tank scene from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet (still one of my favourite movies regardless) and then when Best of You by the Foo Fighters (his favourite song) came on the radio during art class, causing me to run from the room wailing like a banshee.
The good news is, I’m actually having a quiet chuckle at these particular memories right now. The bad news is, not all my break-ups were this funny in hindsight.
Whilst there have been a couple more semi-serious boyfriends (and break-ups), it’s the boys I was never really dating that pulled the best numbers on me. And if getting dumped when you’re in a relationship sucks, getting dumped when you’re not is just plain embarrassing.
For one long year, I seemed to be suffering from a ‘three month curse’; every boy I seemed to start ‘seeing’ (or whatever lingo the kids are using these days) crashed and burned after only a few months.
One was a more mature guy who all my girlfriends told me was ‘a great catch!’ and ‘the nicest guy ever!’, which probably should have sent me running in the opposite direction almost immediately. But my vodka and orange juice confidence pushed me right into his arms (followed by that kiss I couldn’t remember). The rumours were true; he was lovely, the conversation flowed and welcome to crushville, population – me.
You know when you’re in high school and you like a boy, so your friend asks him out for you and he says yes, and then 48 hours later you realise you don’t actually like him anymore? So you ask your friend to tell his friend to tell him it’s not him, it’s you and by the way, he is D-U-M-P-E-D. And then when you get older, you muster up the courage and maturity to have these conversations to people’s faces instead of through a note or a friend of a friend. Well that’s what I thought anyway.
While this guy was polite enough to let me know ‘thanks, but no thanks’, he also did it by asking his friend to ask his girlfriend, who was my best friend, to tell me that he just “wasn’t that interested” and maybe I ought to know that before it went too far.
Yep. That happened.
The third was the worst. By far the worst. Another three month curse, he came like a hurricane. Younger, good looking and cool. He was so cool. We caught up for afternoons that turned into days and had long, deep discussions I don’t care to ever remember. A few months later, we had ‘the conversation’; acknowledged he didn’t want a relationship, but this was fun and perhaps we could just keep hanging out.
Then one day, he blocked me on Facebook. He didn’t just defriend me – he blocked me. We’d just won our netball grand final (the one I never actually played), and I’d posted a handful of photos from our celebrations.
“Too much!” he cried. “Too many posts!”
So he blocked me, and the story unfortunately doesn’t end there.
The following weekend, I headed to the local pub for a few bevvies and BAM – there he was. (I feel it’s important, yet irrelevant, for me to mention that we were wearing basically identical outfits. I went home and changed.) When I returned, he walked past me and…nothing. I was invisible, I was a ghost. He’d never met me apparently; not a hint of recognition on his face. I got drunk, I cried, I went home. (A common occurrence in my early-20s really.)
A few awkward text messages the following day made it clear that yes, he did never want to see me again, and no, he couldn’t really explain why. Even today, I’ve passed him a few times when we’ve been in the same place at the same time. Still nothing.
That one in particular bugged me. I’d never felt so worthless; like a piece of rubbish discarded on the footpath, not even worth walking the few metres to a bin for. I’ve let it bug me for a long time now. I’m in a happy, stable relationship with one of the most wonderful human beings I’ve ever met – yet I’ve still let that feeling linger. Until now anyway.
‘Take back what’s yours.’
I’m taking back my feeling of worth. The realisation that I’m a pretty damn good catch. That it was fair enough if those guys weren’t interested in me, but I was worth the effort to tell me to my face; not leave me dwelling over exactly what went wrong. I’m no longer holding grudges, but I am taking back the knowledge that I’m worth respect and taking seriously, whether it be by a friend, a colleague, a potential employer or someone I just met on the street. I’ve always kinda thought I wasn’t worth any of these things before I’d even had the chance to open my mouth or walk into a room.
If people make the decision they don’t like me based on what I say and do, that’s fine with me too. But I’m worth that first chance and I’m not going to let my past experiences take that away from me.
The idea of the ‘Take back what’s yours’ revolution is to tag 10 bloggers to tell us what they’re taking back, but as I’m fairly new to this blogging community, I want to pass this one over to my readers – to YOU. Tell me, what would you take back? An emotion? A feeling? A first time?
Take it back and own it. I dare you.