When I was in college, I had an opportunity to reconnect with a guy I had a crush on in high school. I took it.
While in high school, he wasn't seen as the most intelligent person and, even though it was all jokes, I could tell the words hurt him. He and I had a conversation senior year about our dreams and what we wanted to do as adults. He told me he wanted to be a chiropractor but he would never be able to do it. Shocked, I encouraged him to apply to schools and get tutors if he needed. I could tell he wasn't completely convinced he could do it, even if I was.
Now reconnecting as young adults, he and I were in college. I was going after my dreams of being in the music business - moving to LA and getting into the industry, perhaps trying my hand at modeling. He was in school for something completely not chiropractic, but "it pays good."
He and I were having a phone conversation one night, as young adults do, discussing the future. I said that I wanted to move to California. The dream I had was becoming a reality. I was looking at grad schools and places to live. I was looking into doing campus visits over spring break. As I was explaining this, he actually told me that it would never happen. He told me that what I wanted for my life would never happen.
I had never been told I wouldn't be able to reach a goal. None of my teachers had the gall to say something like to me. My parents *never* doubted my abilities to reach my goals. No one I had dated previously had ever said those words. None of my friends had ever mumbled anything of the sort.
I was livid.
Confused. Then livid. I actually said "what?" And he repeated himself. While he was telling me how absurd my ideas and passions were, he was laughing like "how could you actually think these things will happen for you?" I was SO MAD at him for saying this! How could he say these things? Because he genuinely didn't believe I could do it? Because he wanted me to hurt? Because he was projecting? Because he thought I didn't have the "looks"? Because he didn't think I had the "smarts"?
I'll never know. I don't know if he actually had a reason.
I cut him out of my life. Almost immediately. This was nearly a decade ago now, but one of the most vivid conversations I've ever had with anyone in my life.
This experience was brought up after someone asked me what was the most hurtful thing someone has said to me. I almost instantly thought of this conversation. I told them, and then I reflected on my life currently.
I am "living the good life" in so many ways right now. Did I make it in the music business? No, I didn't. Did I go back to school and discover - not one, but two - new careers? Hell yes, I did! Did I learn to loosen my grip on what I think my life should be? Of course I did.
I'm living on my own in an adorable apartment in Long Beach, California just seven blocks from the beach. I work for a company that truly respects me and my skills. I have this hobby that has turned into a creative outlet into a safe place for people feeling like the world is shitting on them because of how they look. I'm helping people through art. I've met amazing people who want to actually change the world! Change. The. World! I have friends that would do anything for me. I just became a swimwear designer! I DESIGNED CLOTHES! I have a family that still thinks I can do anything I put my mind to. They think I'm ridiculous, but they always have.
And now, as I approach 29, I have fallen in love with a man who truly cares for me because of who I am and what I want to do in my life. He's proud of me for my accomplishments. He's with me because of the woman I've grown into.
In summary, I have no idea what this dude from high school is doing with his life. I honestly don't care. I'm living my good life and I'm going to keep growing and changing and building the life I want because I can do anything I want in my life.
(I also cried tears of happiness the entire time I wrote this. I love you, all, so much.)