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Believe in Love?

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Hey Ma,

I am very sorry to hear about you and your son’s father. Especially after all the years you guys have been together. As opposed to my usual response of “screw it,” I took the time to actually think about intimate relationships and why people behave the way they do.

Think back, for a second, on how girls and boys are forced into relationships as children. At the age of four, we either love or hate each other. If we like each other, we do sentimental things such as kiss each other on the cheek, hold hands, pick the same person every time when we play duck duck goose … if we hate each other, we spout sayings like, “Eww! Boys (or girls) are gross!” Then, we turn around and cut off someone’s ponytails, stick gum in their hair, or hit them in the head with some sort of ball. Even while behaving in this manner, we take the actions as terms of endearment. Mainly because some random adult told us, “He/she only does that because they like you.” middle school is basically the same way. Now, fast forward to high school.

You don’t date, you “go together.” all after telling your friend to tell his/her friend that you like them. Mind you, as a four-year-old, you have the balls to tell the opposite sex exactly how you feel about them, without embarrassment. Now you don’t want peers thinking you are lame, so you let your sweetheart know in a roundabout way. Maybe even write them overly-dramatic, head-over-heels letters. Whatever the method, you kiss. Hold hands. Buy them materialistic items. Get to fourth base. Tell them you love them. You still have an idealized view of love and like and care and intimate relationships.

Now comes adulthood and you end up falling for a complete and total arsehole for whatever reason. Maybe they are charming, cute, and different. You try your best to correct the situation, but he/she will not budge. And you attempt to correct the situation because we do not understand that someone sticking gum in your hair is NOT a term of endearment. You feel as though your heart is, literally, torn in two. At this point, either you still have faith in love and everything that goes along with it, or you get over it by becoming guarded and defensive.

Stopping here, I don’t think we ever get over that one person who hurt us. Speaking from personal experience, I “went” with a guy named Robert when I was fifteen for about four months. He broke up with me because he liked an older girl. I cried for one month. At seventeen, I “went” with a boy named Shaan, who cheated on me more than once, got me pregnant, then told me he didn’t want to have a baby with me because I was too dark. This time I cried for months. I “hung out” at the age of eighteen with a boy named Brian for about two weeks, and seriously contemplated moving to another state to be with him. He decided to go back to his girlfriend. I don’t remember how long I cried, but it was a wet busride all the way back to Atlanta. Later, when I was nineteen, I “messed around” with some dude named Kahlil who slept with everything moving. Seriously. However, I did not cry. My feelings were deadened by this time, but still I remember it all. Tears are welling up in my eyes right now, and I do not cry. For any reason. And although I know those boys were just incredibly insecure with themselves and took it out on those around them, it does not make me feel any better, and I am twenty-nine.

Notice how I went from “going together” to “messing around”? I only mess around. I do not know how to do anything else. if a dude does something slightly offensive or says ONE out-of-the-way remark, I do not return his phone calls. It is easier to enjoy yourself and leave than stick around and appreciate a person and their idiosyncrasies. i despise being this way, and I sincerely hope you guys can work things out.

I hope I find someone who will appreciate me as a person and, when times are extremely difficult, will stand their ground and fight with me. and I write all of this to say if I ran into a man who kissed me, held my hand, and picked me every time we played duck duck goose I would believe in love again, the way I did when I was a little girl.

love,
Me

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