Somewhere in the middle of college, I fell hard and fast for a boy who did not like me back. It all started with a chance run-in on campus one day, a couple flirtatious smiles and a hopeful "see you around." I was officially a goner.
For months and months, I crushed deeper and deeper. And you can't blame me -- he was good-looking, he was fun, he wrote me witty emails to entertain me during class, and we frequently hung out on campus between classes, and even sometimes on weekends.
He never took me on official dates, and he never held my hand or kissed me or did all the usual things a boy would do if he has feelings for a girl. But I told myself he would come around. I just needed to be patient, right? And maybe he was shy? And maybe he took out other girls (and not me) because he was intimidated by me and those other girls were safe...?
I remember once, we were joking around about me becoming a punk-rock pop star someday (who knows why) and he playfully touched my bottom lip and suggested that a lip piercing might work out well for me. It's funny how, even several years later, my breath still catches in my throat when I remember the way it felt when his finger briefly brushed my mouth.
But like I said, he did not like me back. Or if he ever did, he must have changed his mind. Because one day, there was someone else. There was another girl, and there was less of me and him. There was less of witty emails and less of campus run-ins and less of casual weekend hangouts. And then one day, there was a ring on her finger.
And I was crushed, and not in the good way this time. I was crushed, I was heartbroken and I was jealous. I wanted to win his attention back. I wanted to prove to him that I was the one he was supposed to fall in love with. But I am not a home wrecker, and there was a ring on her finger. And so I wallowed. And then I felt deeply numb.
I remember coming home one day a couple months later and sitting in my room, without even bothering to turn on the light or take off my coat. I simply laid on my bed and looked at the ceiling, until the numbness finally broke inside me. I cried...and I cried...and I cried.
And this is when a dear friend found me lying there, in my pitiful, tearstained condition. She was one of those wise souls, and I'll never forget what she said to me:
"Katie, do you really want to spend the rest of your life convincing someone they want to be with you?"
It hit me like a welcome ton of bricks. She was right. Why WOULD I want that? Even if he did magically change his mind and decide he wanted to be with me, what victory is that? What victory is it to manage to convince someone to be in love with me? That my persistence eventually wore him down into being with me? Would I ever really feel secure about that?
I realize there is something to be said for persistence. And sometimes, people do change their minds down the road. Sometimes, patience does pay off in the end. (I know it does, because I've been there. I've been the exception to the rule, so I know it exists.)
But even if someone does eventually change their mind about you, there is so much more you can be doing in the meantime than putting all your eggs in one basket and pining away with a lovesick heart.
I'm not talking about pessimism or not taking risks. You know I'm an infallible believer in hope, vulnerability and courage. But I do think there are times when we all need that good friend to sit down next to us and say, "It's time to let this go and move on."
what do YOU think?