New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

What comes after falling

November 30, 2015

Growing up I was shy and very uptight. In many ways I think I still am and I can’t name a specific reason for that. I grew up in a family of divorced parents, but even though I saw my family fall apart I still somehow held onto a very perfect model of what falling in love should be like and how relationships should be.

Then I got my first slap in the face. For the first time, little me had to deal with her supposedly perfect world falling to her feet. All it took was a regular Thursday afternoon, me, and a car with him in it. I was not greeted with a hug or kiss like the other days, and then I immediately knew.

“Sorry. I can’t do this anymore,” he said with a cold look on his face.

I still remember feeling numb and being in shock. I uttered maybe two or three angry words. I couldn’t even look him in the eyes. I opened the door, walked out and never looked back.

I went through all the stages of grief: I was mad, then sad, later angry blaming the other person for having the audacity to think he could break my heart. “Who does he think he is?” I remember thinking to myself. I never even let myself cry, as if crying would be a sign of weakness. I kept it all inside trying to be strong, to show others but mostly myself that nothing and no one could ever bring me down no matter how hard they tried.

Christian Forte

But was I really as cold and untouched as I seemed to be? I don’t think so. In my head, I still wanted him to come back, just like they do in the movies, and take it all back. I was waiting to see him standing outside my house begging me to get back together. It was more of a matter of pride for me than an emotional need. But he never showed up and so my wish never came true. Will he ever know I wanted that? Probably not. Why? Because I did not want to seem weak.

He might never know that he hurt me, but in the end I’m glad he did. I had to be hurt to realize I needed to heal myself. It forced me to see that change was necessary. I did not want to be the little girl anymore who was afraid to feel any strong emotions and who could not speak up for what she wanted. I wanted to be more than that. And eventually I thought to myself: You simply cannot get up if you don’t fall in the first place.

It took a long time for me to come to that conclusion. It took many more wrong people, more mistakes along the way to see that I could not and did not want to keep going on that way. Now, almost three years later, I think I am slowly coming to terms with who I really am, trying not to judge myself so hard, letting down my guard, letting other people in and staying away from those who hold me back. I want to see myself grow, like a young person of my age should. One step at a time. Slowly, but surely.  At my own pace.

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