After my high school girl friend and I broke up, I made a conscious decision to make sure I found out who I was before jumping into another relationship. From 2009 to 2011, I bounced around Oswego for school, Long Island, New York City, Italy, and Brooklyn. I did a lot on my own, a lot of soul searching. I broke myself all the way down. I remember riding my bike over the Manhattan bridge in 2010 heading to Brooklyn. I felt numb. Sometimes I would stop halfway and just look out into the City wondering what was next, wondering how I would get through this (lack of) feeling. I had a rough time working at the bike shop, where I spent most of my time. The guys were hard on me, and while I appreciate it now, it made it really hard to go in every day. Luckily, that summer, I went to visit some family and take some classes in Italy, which helped to take my mind off of what I was feeling, at least most of the time. I remember listening to Polar Bear Club’s Convinced I’m Wrong about 500 times while standing on the balcony of my room in Altomonte.
I didn’t know what to feel at that point. I was lost. When I got back to Oswego after five weeks out of the country, I began to build myself up little by little. A few new roommates helped me get involved on campus, which led to me beginning to coach hockey at SUNY Oswego. Later that school year, my college band started. I hadn’t played in a band since high school and I missed creating things (which I’m not very good at, but that’s not the point). One of my bandmates, Ian, is still one of my best friends. Anyway, that year really got the ball rolling for me becoming who I am today. I started to get my confidence back. The summer of 2011 presented me with a unique opportunity managing the bike shop I worked at the last two years, though I wish it was under better circumstances. Regardless, I worked my ass off, about 90 hours a week, and just socked away the money. It was a hard life, but as the summer went on, I built up a little confidence, met a lot of cool people, and by the time I got back to school that fall I was a different person. I had a different outlook on my life, I knew what I wanted or, better yet, what I was ready for, and took things slow.
By the end of 2011, I met one of the most important people in my life. A few months later, we started dating and I finally felt whole. I wasn’t the greatest person to her over the next five years, and we went through some rough times, by and large because of me. I took her for granted and never gave her the attention she needed. She was always there for me, through all of my bullshit, my activities, graduate school – everything. Eventually, it took a toll on our relationship (no surprise there) and it led to us breaking up recently.
I don’t know if we’ll ever get back together, but either way, I hope she finds a way to be happy. As for me, I guess I’ve been down this road before. We’ll see what happens.