In My Day, We Were Defriended by Taking Back BFF Necklaces

Will you wear it? Will you wear it forever?

Will you wear it? Will you wear it forever?

When I was 10, my dad yanked out my tooth. It was loose, but was one of those stubborn ones that just wouldn’t come out, no matter how much I wiggled it. He had me lie on the living room floor, facing my open bedroom door, while he tied one end of a string around my tooth and the other around the doorknob. Then he slammed the door shut as hard as he could. My tooth ripped from its roots and flew out of my mouth, hitting a wall, never to be seen again.

We assumed it fell behind the sofa, but could never find it. Even after inching it away from the wall and peeking behind, picking it up and scooting it across the room, and finally selling it moving out of the house. Dad was proud. I was traumatized.

He was obsessed with teeth and had serious regrets about not being a dentist. He would make toothpaste out of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, claiming it would whiten, brighten and clean better than Crest. And, he’d stand in front of his bathroom mirror – wearing nothing but pajama bottoms – flossing his teeth, every morning and night, until he’d flung out every piece of debris that may have potentially rotted his teeth. He even went as far as to buy actual dental instruments.

I’m not sure where along the way he manifested this obsession. Dad always had nice, straight teeth. But, maybe this happens a lot. Along with so-called perfect things we’re given, comes a fear of losing them. So we latch on tightly and nurture them, and in some instances, fixate on them.

My tooth is the first thing I remember losing in life; maybe because it was both a little traumatic and a little funny. Some might argue it was taken from me, but whatever, either way it’s gone. I never did develop a tooth obsession like my dad, but I did pick up a few of my own.

Three years later, after the tooth incident, I was really into those Best Friend Forever necklaces that Claire’s sold. Two or three necklaces came in a package, letters divvied up on each pendant, spelling out the words, “Best Friends” when pieced together, like a puzzle. That particular year, I had two best friends, so we bought the necklaces made for three.

You never really hear about good things coming in threes. Conversely, there’s that saying that terrible things happen in threes. You know, you sprain your ankle, your dog runs away and then you…wait. Because there has to be one more horrendous event coming your way. So, you wait to get fired from your job. You wait to get served divorce papers. You wait to get a call from your doctor, diagnosing you with an incurable disease. You wait to get mugged in the parking lot of Target. And, when you get tired of waiting, you create something.

Now pairs on the other hand. Amazing things happen in pairs. Like, peanut butter and chocolate, a hammer and nail, cookies and milk, shoes and socks, wine and cheese and so on. But, it seems the only thing that happens in threes, is trouble. (Exception to the rule: Three’s Company.) And, that’s what happened with H, K and me. Someone always ended up feeling left out. And by someone, I mean me.

My parents were busy and heavily involved in their own shit, teeth and otherwise, so I didn’t know the first thing about making and maintaining friends. Everything I learned, I learned from Sweet Valley Twins, Laverne & Shirley, Nancy Drew, The Munsters and The Brady Bunch.

And, because I was surrounded by so much chaos and commotion at home, I shrouded myself in a world of fantasy in an effort to escape, in an effort to belong – to something, somewhere. I wanted to be a part of something more than just a Nick-at-Nite marathon of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I wanted to belong to something more tangible than The V.C. Andrews Fan Club. I wanted to open myself up to more than a box of Twinkies and Capri-Sun.

I wanted to be loved and admired and one way to get that, I thought, was to run my own little “Unicorn Club,” just like Jessica Wakefield. So I maneuvered it so the BFF pendant with the letters “es ie” dangled around my neck, making me the middle piece of our friendship, the glue holding the three of us together. Without me, there would be no “us.”

If K and H did something without me, it felt like cheating, so I rarely allowed it. One Saturday morning, while I was at Hy-Vee getting groceries with my mom, I ran into H. While we were chatting, she let it slip that she and K were going rollerblading later that afternoon. I panicked. Why wasn’t I invited? Would they talk about me behind my back? Was this some sort of a ploy to kick me out of the group? So naturally I replied,Oh yeah, sure I can make it,” as if I’d just been invited, and then hurried away before I could be ‘uninvited.’

And then, one day, I did get invited – to H’s house. This was over 20 years ago, so I don’t remember our exact conversation. But, I do remember that she didn’t exactly invite me into her house. H’s slight body blocked the doorway, hands on hips. So, I got into a defensive stance as well, folding my arms across my chest. This pissed H off because, she said, I had no right to be mad. She was mad first and, you know how teenage girls are; only one can be mad at a time. In short, I was kicked out of my first and only threesome.

Then, the door slammed in my face. And, even though there was no piece of string tied to the end of it, it felt like I’d just had another tooth ripped from my mouth. Only this time it wasn’t the least bit funny. This time it really, really hurt.

 

Mo’ Mullet, No Problem

Her limp hand lay in mine, her head turned to the left, disgusted. Well, as much as an 8-year-old could look disgusted. I, on the other hand, two years younger, would have picked no other place to be. The two of us, my sister and me, were punished to six minutes of hand holding in the oversized brown chair in our family room. This was Mom’s way of disciplining us, after we fought, which we often did.

There were – still are –far too many fights to recall each one. Like trying to read the last few letters on a Snellen chart, our fights all sort of blur together. But, what stands out are the rare moments of alliance and coveted snippets of affection.  

Like the time I was eight and N let me cuddle up to her while she read chapter after chapter from The Boxcar Children, after my aunt gave me a terrible haircut. Let me preface this story with a couple of important facts: N despises reading and writing. Really, the English language, in general – she prefers French. Also, hair disasters don’t faze me – not now. It just took me a few years to break my attachment to the stuff.

When I was 14, I waxed off half of my right eyebrow and didn’t blink an eye. I had meaty, unmanageable brows that wanted desperately to meld into one. Of course, I wanted to put a stop to it. Every other Saturday I watched my mom wax the little space in between hers, along with her upper lip. So, I thought I’d try my hand at it. But, I’m a little clumsy and wax is a little messy. All in all, I stopped a unibrow from coming in, but also half of my right eyebrow – for about three months. Thankfully, it was the nineties and big hair was a thing, so my bangs did some damage control, but mostly I laughed at myself, along with everyone else.

But in the meantime, it took the mullet episode before I could handle hair loss so gracefully and maturely. Mom convinced her sister, who was a hairstylist at the time, that she should give me “this darling” haircut she’d seen in a magazine. My aunt, 16 years younger than my mom, argued the cut might not be considered darling to someone my age. My mom is stubborn and the older of the two, so my hair was cut.

mulletLet me tell you what my mom defines as a darling haircut: a mullet. Yes, a mullet. I looked like Joe Dirt (minus the sideburns and mustache) in my second grade school pictures. I was inconsolable. Like most little girls, I coveted long hair. The kind princesses had in Disney movies. Curls like Pollyanna, a mane like Marcia Brady, braids like Laura Ingles Wilder.

When I was five or so, I’d wear my pajama bottoms on my head, twirling my head just so, so the legs would linger on either one of my shoulders, allowing me to sassily brush them off as if they were long strands of hair getting in my way. When I was seven, my hair had finally grown out to the length of a princess and people would comment on how long it had gotten. I’d respond, “Thank you.” Because, I thought it was a compliment, as if I’d done something extraordinary, like win a spelling bee.

In a way, I had accomplished something. Having the courage to grow long hair was quite a feat in our household. Mom was never one to mess around with the stuff. She hated styling it, which is probably why she always had hers cut into a short bob, off of her face. I’d ask her to braid my hair for school, and quickly regret it. She’d jerk my head around like she was shifting gears at NASCAR. By the time she was finished with my hair, one of us was crying or giving the other the silent treatment or both. And, instead of walking onto the school bus looking like I was fresh out of a salon, I walked on looking like I was fresh out of a car wash.

So it made sense that she’d want me to have as little hair as possible – nothing to fuss over. Looking back, I’m fortunate I was given a mullet and not a bowl cut or a flattop. Either way, a little hug and well-read chapters from someone I craved attention from more than long hair, helped me forget about the disaster I was wearing on my head and made things okay, in that moment. And soon, my tears dried, second grade turned into third and my mullet grew out.

Maybe that was the year I learned pain was temporary. Maybe that was the year I learned people you least expect will be there when you need them. Or maybe that was the year I learned the mullet was way better than princess hair.

Tick Glock

This thing needs to be buckled in while we're driving.

This thing needs to be buckled in while we’re driving.

He ate raw eggs. He shot himself in the thigh with steroids. He drank Bud Light while lifting weights. He wore his hat backwards. He was nine years older and two kids ahead of me. Clearly, he was strong enough to be my man. I was 22 and in one of those on-again, off-again relationships with D. We didn’t have much in common except where we worked, which is where we met. This is never a good idea by the way, but I’m sure you already knew that. Everyone knows that. I’m sure somewhere in the deepest part of my being, I knew that. I just chose to ignore it. Like how I ignore the number of calories packed into Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, or how I turn my head at the number of times Nordstrom’s swipes my credit card, and how I brush off a photo radar speeding ticket. Either way, I should have heeded my co-workers’ warnings, “Stay away, Meghan. He’s bad news.”

Of course, at that age, this only enticed me more. It was like asking a seventeen year-old girl not to squeeze her boyfriend’s bacne. Impossible. So, I dove deep into a relationship with D. It was more dramatic than a season of The Bachelor, featuring roses, tears, unrequited love and a broken engagement. I just wasn’t as into the inside of D as I was the outside – or the idea of who I thought he was. Regardless, I strung him along because that’s what I did back then. Actually, I was in love with someone else whom I dated during my off periods with D. But, that man was super successful and super intimidating. And, sometimes I needed an extra shot of love, you know? So, I’d run to D for my fix and he’d catch me – most of the time between his legs.

D knew about my uncertainty regarding our relationship, but like me, he was broken. And, when two broken people get together it’s not a resurrection of Jerry Maguire. No one completes anyone. You both just tear each other apart in new and awful ways. He slept with one of our coworkers. I accepted his marriage proposal and then rejected it. He threatened suicide. And, that’s when shit got real.

The madness of our relationship finally started to take its toll and one night while we were driving back to D’s place, I decided to call us quits. I’m not sure what exactly happened. I’m not even sure where we were leaving. But, it’s a pretty safe bet that I was fueled by Miller Lite and we were coming home from The Hayloft, a popular hangout in town. We were always coming home from The Hayloft. I do, however, recall that D was driving his sapphire blue Chevy Cavalier, it was around midnight, and pouring.

Before the dangers of texting while driving existed, there were the hazards of breaking up while riding shotgun. Speaking of a gun, the moment I mentioned breaking up, D pulled one out from under his seat.  It was a Glock. It wasn’t terribly unusual for D to be packing heat in his car – he practiced with the emergency response team at the prison where we worked – although him having the weapon underneath his car seat was a little bizarre. But, D in general was a little bizarre.

The rest is a little hazy, as situations are when your adrenaline is racing. I remember D saying if I broke up with him he would kill himself. I remember him being calm. I remember the rain slapping the windshield. I remember screaming, “Well, do it then!” I remember reaching for my cell phone in my purse and calling 911 as we turned the corner to D’s driveway. I remember talking to a 911 operator, telling her my boyfriend was threatening to kill himself. And, finally I remember D grabbing the phone out of my hand and throwing it out of the window.

But, there are a lot of things I don’t remember. Like pulling into D’s driveway, what happened to my phone, what D did with the gun, getting into my car, driving home, or if the cops ever came. I only heard things the following Monday at work – that D called his buddies and they got him out of the situation and smoothed things over with the police.

Because that’s what friends do. They cover for you. I get it. They love you and don’t want to see you in trouble so they do whatever they can to help. And, that’s what D’s friends did – they covered for him with unfaltering loyalty.

And, like most things in life, situations have extremes. And, I was on the other end. I wasn’t covered. I was exposed, which is why I was in the situation I was in. We typically engage in the behaviors we learn and, well, that’s what I was doing – just repeating. Repeating things I saw, but wished I hadn’t. Repeating things I thought were normal, but felt were odd. Repeating things automatically, but wishing someone would end it.

No one did.

No one did because they were all too involved in their own stuff. So a lot of things went unlearned. And, looking back, I want to step in and parent myself. Like, I want to drag my 22-year-old self out of that sapphire blue Cavalier and fucked-up relationship and tell myself to get a grip. Among other things regarding healthy relationships, I want to tell myself:

  • Go for nice, not passion. Sure, you want to be attracted to him, but the intensity and drama only work in the movies. Nice lasts and feels really, really good as you get older. Nice men open the door for you, ask about your day, take you out, don’t do drugs and get a paycheck.
  • One of you may cheat and things may get worked out, but you both must talk about your feelings first. And, if either one of you cannot forgive or move past the betrayal, then leave. Because if you stay, the infidelity will be slung around during fights and it will get dirty – I promise.
  • Take engagements seriously. Do not accept a proposal from a man you don’t intend to marry. It takes a lot of vulnerability to ask that question.
  • Threats and intimidation should never be a part of a relationship. Really, it’s considered violence. (Violence isn’t just physical.) And, if anyone were to threaten suicide should you leave a relationship, take him seriously and try to get him help. Do not provoke him.
  • There is zero tolerance for physical violence.
  • Also, do not date anyone who eats raw eggs, shoots himself in the thigh with steroids, drinks Bud Light while lifting weights, wears his hat backwards, or is nine years older and two kids ahead of you.

 

Waiting Until the Next Time

This was my 30th birthday. Greg bought a special liqueur and made me a drink. Now, that's how you treat a lady.

This was my 30th birthday. Greg bought a special liqueur and made me a drink. Now, that’s how you treat a lady.

Sometimes you don’t learn how a woman should really be treated until you meet someone special. Someone who allows you to experience it. Someone who actually shows you. Someone who once lived with three women.

My uncle, Greg was that person. He opened his home to me nine years ago and never stopped giving to me since. Sure, he picked up the check at fancy restaurants and is to blame for getting me hooked on Malbecs and martinis – straight up with a lemon twist. But, it was his heart that I was most fond of.

It was the time I was really struggling in life and he opened the front door, stretched out his arms and said, “You need a hug.” I did.

It was the time an ex-boyfriend threw a wrench in my Europe trip and Greg picked up the slack. He researched hotels and flights – giving his time to get me a better deal.

It was the time I needed a new car and he test drove several with me. Okay, way more than several. Either way, he vowed never to do it again. But, I think he was teasing.

Because that was Greg’s nature. He absolutely loved people. Talking to them. Debating with them. Getting a reaction out of them.

Greg and I didn’t always agree about the important things in life. He hated “The Voice”. I loved it. He loved “American Idol”. I hated it. It was our battle and we both delighted in fighting it. However, he nearly had me convinced “American Idol” was superior. Nearly.

Greg was convincing. But, one thing he never had to convince anyone of was how much he loved and adored his wife and family.

After 45 years of marriage, I still witnessed Greg hold Jackie’s hand, rub her leg, put his arm around her shoulders, send her flowers, give her gorgeous jewelry and drop her off at the door when it was raining. It was beautiful. And, I bring this up because he didn’t just throw money at someone and have them do the dirty work. Greg actively gave.

Of course, he also doted on his girls – Shawn, Britt and Olivia. He was infinitely proud of them and indefinitely loyal to them. He called himself lucky.

But, I argue that Greg was not lucky. Everything he had, he worked hard for. And everything he worked hard for, he appreciated. Greg was given amazing things in his life because he gave amazing things.

On the Mom Side of the Tracks

track

I am woman. Hear me purr.

We all have that one person in our lives we think we’d be lost without. Like, in the event you ever stupidly got a DUI when you were 21, you would call this person because they’d know how insanely claustrophobic you are. They would offer explicit instructions on how to keister sleeping pills into jail and offer to help – physically, if needed. You’d also call this person if you ever pooped your pants at work. You’d obviously be so close to this person that the two of you would work at the same place. They’d come to your office where they’d cut you out of your soiled panties and dispose of them – in a sanitary fashion. More importantly though, this person would not act disgusted whatsoever; in fact, they’d laugh with you. And, they’re the same person you’d call if you ever got your heart shattered by the only man you ever loved – because their words would act like superglue. Of course, you’d also call this person when you were bored as hell, or lonely as hell, and had absolutely nothing to say, but just needed comfort. This person would instantly know this and just listen to you breathe through the phone.

My person was my mom. Mom and I were tight. Think fitted sheet tight. Think Spanx tight. Think Joan Rivers’ face tight. A little Thelma and Louise, a little Laverne & Shirley, a little Sharon and Kelly Osborn; that was Mom and me.  She had my back and I had hers. She was my compass, and with her I felt safe. Why wouldn’t I? The woman protected me while I was hanging out in her womb. And, she did such an amazing job that there have been many times – since I was violently thrust out 34 years ago – that I’ve wanted to crawl right back in there.

Especially the time right before I lost her, about 10 years ago. I just wanted to hold on to her so tightly, because I could feel her slipping away so quickly. It was like trying to hold onto ice cream. She was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. Divorce is like that. It changes people. Divorce takes people by the mom jeans, gray-speckled black hair, untarnished lungs, sober liver and it frosts their tips blonde, dusts their duds in sequins, pours them a fifth of Captain Morgan, tosses a pack of Marlboro Reds their way, and calls it a day. And when Divorce is through, it leaves you with a Pimp My Ride version of your person.

Divorce is a bitch.

With the mom I knew gone, I felt lost.  Who was I supposed to call when I had an excruciating migraine, but didn’t know if it warranted a doctor’s visit? Who was I supposed to call when my period was late? Who was I supposed to call to help me decide if I should be mad at my best friend for not taking me to the airport? And, who was I supposed to call to find out if I could substitute dark corn syrup for molasses in a cookie recipe? Most people use Google to get these answers, but I used my mom.

The woman who once had all the answers was off doing her own thing now. She was living the life she never got too all those years ago. Well, at least, that’s what she said. Besides, didn’t she deserve that? And, really wasn’t I old enough to figure out my own dilemmas by now? Mama didn’t raise no fool. It was time to woman up – or find a new mom.

I wasn’t sure which task was more daunting.

I considered adult adoption, but that seemed a little extreme. I mean, there didn’t seem to be any shortage of little kids to adopt – domestic or international. We’ve all seen the Jolie-Pitt clan, which gave me the brilliant idea to try a kid on for myself. I became a Big Sister to 9-year-old C. Our relationship lasted as long as any one of Taylor Swifts – not by my choice, however. As our relationship began to flourish, C’s dad was released from prison and kicked me out of her life. I’ve seen enough Dateline to know it’s best to respect an ex-felon’s wishes. So again, I was left teetering on the fickle line of womanhood and substitutions.

I called in some of the greatest – and some of the not so great – to try on my mom’s mom jeans. There was my older sister, who has the emotional sensitivity of a chair, tell me to, “Suck it up, you pussy.” I’ve always thought of myself as a delicate flower, like a cherry blossom, lily, or orchid, but pussy willow never crossed my mind. There was my aunt, who opened her home and fed me meals beautiful enough to grace the cover of Food & Wine. Nourishing my body with such beauty made me feel like I could spew it back out there. There was the entrepreneur, 17 years my senior, who fed me espresso martinis until the wee hours of the morning, until one morning involved a hangover and a morning after pill. And, there was my cousin, who’s saturated with motherly instinct and made certain I was never alone on holidays – including romantic ones like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve – and smothered me with chocolate hearts and midnight kisses. Now, who says being single isn’t sweet?

But either way, both you and I know, substitutions are just that: substitutions. I mean, there aren’t replacements for cheese, falling in love for the very first time, bear hugs, or moms. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying substitutions aren’t working for me – they are. It’s just that it’s time I stand on my own.

I’ve been with myself long enough to know myself better than anyone – even my mom.  I can make my own decisions. And, in a way I’ve been semi-independent all along.  The shoes on my feet? I bought ‘em. The clothes I’m wearing? I bought ‘em. The watch I’m wearing? I bought it. The house I live in? I bought it. The car I’m driving in? I bought it. Destiny’s Child isn’t the only one who can get down like that.

So yeah, I’ve got a handle on part of the whole adulthood thing. The emotional part just needs a little fine tuning. But, come on, is that part ever really done? I argue it’s not. And, you know what, I’m okay with that because everyone needs support. Just like Dolly Parton’s breasts.

Lady Acts Like a Dude

So, is that a no?

So, is that a no?

Growing up, femininity was sparse around my house. My mom was way too busy running a household and a business to have time to teach me how to cross my legs and paint my toenails. So, I’ve just kind of always been more like a dude. Not in the way that I put my hands down my pants when I’m watching TV, or pee in the shower, or even try giving myself oral. But, more in the way that I prefer a Miller Lite to a Cosmo, brag about the scars I get from crashing my mountain bike, and dust around the books on my bookshelf. Oh, and there was that one time I proposed.

I was 21 and had been dating L for about seven months. I was wildly in love. I had never felt that way about anyone before. I couldn’t have been happier. I had to fuck it up. That was my M.O.: self-sabotage. Along with femininity, the ‘L-word’ was hard to come by around my house. We used it sparingly; like Tabasco. It’s not that my family didn’t love each other. We did, deeply. It’s just that expressing it was far too awkward. Either way, I knew I was loved by my dad’s relentless teasing, my sister’s constant blows to my arm, and my mom’s overflowing pans of Rice Krispie bars. Mostly, by the pans of Rice Krispie bars. But, at the same time, for whatever reason, I felt a gnawing uncertainty, a need to prove myself, a deep-seated fear of rejection.  And so, when I was 13, I made a pact with myself that I would never be rejected. I would be in control of my hurt.

This way of life worked for me – hurting people before they could hurt me – until L came along. He was different. After two months, I wasn’t sick of him. Actually, it was quite the opposite; I wanted him near me, around me, in me – all the time. The most mind-blowing part was: he felt the same.

L was hot. He looked like Adrian Grenier, except with brown eyes and prominent ears. He ran a funeral home, and made me laugh until I snorted, like all of the time. Most of the time, my fingers were wrapped around L’s dark, curly locks. And, his were wrapped around a can of Bud Light. And, most of our nights ended with an empty 18-pack, half-eaten burned Totino’s pizza, and a tipped over La-Z-Boy. But, in the mornings we somehow found ourselves twisted up in L’s crisp, white sheets; my head nestled in between L’s broad shoulders, his chin resting on top of my head.

Around the same time I started dating L, another guy was interested in me. It doesn’t even matter who it was. It could have been Pee-wee Herman or Ron Jeremy, for that matter. It was the attention I was after. Because if I focused my attention on other men, it wouldn’t hurt so badly when L broke up with me. Because he would break up with me. Sooner or later L would see how unlovable I was and reject me. So, I had to reject him first.

Eventually I cheated on L with that other guy. L found out and broke up with me. But, not in the regular break up kind of way. He cried. He wrote me a gut-wrenching letter, he told me that because of me he had to read the book, “Never Be Lied to Again”, he said he thought I was ‘The One’, so how could I do this to him? He told me the only way I could fix this mess was with a time machine.

So, I made a time machine.

I went to the dump and got an old cardboard refrigerator box; spray painted it silver, decorated it with a black sharpie, and carved a door in the front. You know, so L could carry me over the threshold and we could travel back in time before I screwed things up.

The next morning, I dropped the machine off in his front yard, went to work, and waited. And, waited. Finally by three o’clock, I couldn’t take it anymore and called him, “So, did you see the time machine?”

“Meghan, it doesn’t work.” L told me, matter-of-factly.

No fucking shit. Of course it didn’t work. It’s not like I thought I was Samantha from Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie. L’s response crushed me a little bit, but it also encouraged me. Maybe he just wanted me to try harder. Like, prove my love more – by doing more. You know, like a marriage proposal.

Because when someone continually rejects you, proposing to them is clearly the best way to illustrate your remorse, commitment, and love, right? So, I went to Kay Jewelers where I settled on a thick platinum band sprinkled with five diamonds. It screamed L: sophisticated and masculine.

I needed to propose in a grand way, so when I got home, I plucked a whole chicken from the freezer, defrosted it, and carefully dug out the wishbone. After cleaning it, I attached it to the ring with a piece of thread, and on a small piece of pink construction paper, I printed: I wish you’d marry me, and placed my proposal in the ring box. Then I drove over to L’s, my hopes high.

L was sitting in his La-Z-Boy, drinking a Bud Light when I got there. The lights were low and The Dixie Chicks wer softly humming from the stereo. The mood was set. Just like old times, we found ourselves twisted up in L’s white, crisp sheets. While still wrapped in his arms, I fished the ring box from my pile of clothes on the floor. I placed it on his chest and he looked at it like I just put a UFO on him. Then he asked, “What’s this?” with an expression that made it clear he knew exactly what it was. He did the polite thing, opened it, and tried putting the ring on his finger. It was like the OJ/glove courtroom scene and L bluntly explained, “Meghan, it doesn’t fit.”

It was at that moment, I knew he meant I didn’t fit. I swept my proposal from his chest and what was left of my dignity and got dressed as if the house was on fire. Really, it felt like my insides were on fire. I drove to my mom’s – where I always go when I’m feeling broken.

For the next several weeks I embedded myself into my mom’s recliner and pretty much went into a comatose state. Really, I’m surprised I didn’t get bedsores. I remember very little, except subjecting myself to depressing country music, drinking rum (side note: I hate rum) and sobbing. Finally, my mom yelled at me and told me to get the hell out of the house. She actually physically jerked me out of the chair, telling me I’d punished myself enough. Next to the Rice Krispie Bars, that was the kindest thing she’s ever done for me.

It’s been thirteen years and I’m over L. Some things just aren’t meant to be. And, some things you’re meant to experience in order to learn from. If L would have taken me back, I may have never learned the value of fidelity. If L would have taken me back, I may have married an alcoholic. If L would have taken me back, I may have never learned engagement rings must be returned within three months of purchase in order to get a full refund. If L would have taken me back, I may have never started crossing my legs and painting my toenails.