What is it they say?

Me and some handsome guy in Spain - 1984.
I was dumped at my junior prom. Not a little dumped, as in “let’s not go out anymore,” but really dumped as in he left with someone else and I found out from my friends.

A really long time ago, I had scanned a photo from that night and while I was looking for it, I came across this photo. I’d gone to visit my sister in London (she was going to school there in 1984). Together, we went to the Costa del Sol to hang out. Our parents had friends who had a house near Marbella and they gave it to us for the week. I know! It was beautiful there. I’m seriously off track here, but really just wanted to explain that I found this picture while I was looking for that other picture and just really like it. I have no idea who this guy is but vaguely remember asking him if he’d be in a photo.

I’d also like to take a moment to point out that I do tend to gravitate toward this look. Have you seen my husband? Oh and one more thing – don’t you love my Ray Bans? I did! I took amazingly good care of them but one day, my car was broken into and the jerks smashed my precious sunglasses on the ground. They didn’t steal them. Oh no. They just destroyed them. And they pulled the tape out of all my cassettes. It was crushing.

Back to the prom. 1978. It would have been overwhelming to have been left at the prom except I had some pretty amazing friends (you know who you are xo) who dragged me with them for after-prom festivities. As if that was always the plan. You gotta love friends like that.

No wonder they’re still my friends. Good people.

I was reminded of the feeling from that prom when in 1985, the guy I’d been dating for several months hadn’t picked me up for our 7:00 dinner date by 8:00. I called my father and asked him what he’d do. His exact words? “Make a peanut butter sandwich.”

I was way more confused than sad. I thought we were having a great time.

And finally, I re-met a guy from my high school at my 10 year reunion in 1989. He was dreamy. And he asked for my phone number. He called and made a date!

I went shopping for a new pair of jeans and a top. Nice. I was all set.

But he never came or called.

You might be asking yourself why I took the time to tell you about the times I’ve been dumped and stood up. Good question (if you did, in fact, ask yourself that).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the inspirational tidbits around the Interwebs telling me that it’s our mistakes that build our character. It’s failure that propels success.

And it occurs to me that it’s not just our mistakes and our failures that make us who we are. It’s the mistakes and failures of the people we care for and trust, too. Their actions affect us, as ours affect them. And how we react, how we forgive, how we pick ourselves up and learn from each situation becomes a part of who we are – or will be.

So to the prom date who left with my friend and to the dates that never showed nor bothered to call…thank you. In part, because of you I was able to start defining what qualities were important to me in a partner. Dependability. Trust. Respect.

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6 thoughts on “What is it they say?

  1. I really loved this post. I wish I’d had someone tell me that stuff like this happens a bunch until we decide we’ve had enough of it.

    Incidentally, my friends had “anti-prom” where they went bowling, ate at Burger King, drove by and yelled quasi-obscenities at everyone walking into prom, and then stayed up all night watching prom-themed slasher movies.

    1. Somehow, we have to figure this stuff out by ourselves…we wouldn’t have believed anyone anyway. I like the anti-prom plan – but not the slasher movies. Too scary!

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. oh. oh.

    In part, because of you I was able to start defining what qualities were important to me in a partner. Dependability. Trust. Respect.

    That. The shattering of me that I had to experience in order to come to the point where I learned what they lacked, was what I was to look for…..

    Holy hell. At that time, I’d have done anything to not have learned those lessons, now… I’m grateful for the perspective and knowledge.

    That picture is fabulous.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how we all go through this? I guess it’s true – we really DO learn by experience…

      Thanks re: the picture – it’s a fun memory 🙂

  3. Love the picture … and looking at you then reminds me so much of your boys now. Delightful. I was dumped twice. Once by a man I was dating who, unbeknownst to me was having an affair with the 20 year old receptionist at his office. And I was always so unfailingly nice to her when I called. I wouldn’t have minded so much if he’d told me he wanted to break up; it was a rocky relationship and in my heart I knew he wasn’t for me. But the way he did it – so heartless and unkind. It was heartbreaking, but a HUGE, pivotal learning experience for me. The second time was when a guy I was dating asked me to go to Chicago with him to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Then, he called me the morning we were to travel and said he’d reconsidered and it wasn’t a great idea. Funny thing, we are still great friends. And I loved him for his honesty, even though it was a little heartbreaking at the time.

    As you mentioned, I’m so very thankful for those moments and those experiences, because they led me to me. And the me I am today is infinitely better because of them. So I’m grateful. To them. And for the heartbreak they caused me. It’s resulted in much joy.

    A beautiful piece, my friend. Absolutely beautiful.

    xo

    Shelly

    1. Isn’t it amazing what we live through and how hard it seems – and yet how grateful we can be later? Thanks so much for writing and for your lovely comments!

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