Crossing SoloThursday, June 23, 2011 By Bailey Satterfield
When I was fifteen years old I was still afraid to cross a stoplight-less street that had any sort of traffic whether it was heavy or light. I would always walk that extra ten yards to find a crosswalk and then backtrack just because I had the insurmountable fear that I wouldn’t end up like a human Frogart. However, once I’d met my boyfriend that all changed. I now had someone I could trust to hold my hand and help me, guide me, and make sure that I was safe. As time went on I didn’t need him to hold my hand anymore as we crossed together. As long as he was nearby I had the confidence to decide when to step off the curb and that it wouldn’t result in some car appearing out of nowhere to pound on the breaks or swerve out of the way. Then, the next thing I knew I was crossing streets by myself, knowing in the back of my mind that I would be okay because I had crossed so many times with him and no disasters had occurred. It took me fifteen years of my life to figure out that even if I did step out in front of a car, if I stepped out soon enough the driver would at least slow down for me. Took me long enough, huh? We were dating for about a year and a half before we broke up. For the first few days I was having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that the boy who had taught me so much was no longer my boyfriend, that the bond I that I thought would be everlasting had been imaginary all along. I think realizing this was the most shocking thing of all for me. I’d never been through a break-up before. I’d never in all that year and half seriously believed that maybe he wasn’t the one for me. It was all so strange, so bizarre, so surreal now that I was faced with this reality. I couldn’t stop asking myself where we had gone wrong? How I had been so stupid in believing that our incompatible personalities didn’t matter as long as we cared about each other? I imagined that this was what Bella Swan had felt like after Edward abandoned her in the woods. Even with that in mind, it brought me little comfort because I knew that good ol’ Bella and I had one huge difference: Her story was fictional and I was living in real life. I knew that I wasn’t going to get my man back because we had actual reasons to be apart. I knew that we were too different mindset-wise, but it was harder to accept it than it was to understand it. I felt like I had lost the young adult I had become with him and had been reverted back into the teenage girl who was scared to cross streets, who saw so little value in herself now that no one wanted her. Who would question whether or not she was worth a driver slowing down for? I don’t remember exactly when it was that I finally came to grips with being alone, but I know it didn’t happen overnight. It was definitely a gradual process, throwing away my shattered fantasy piece by piece as I began to reintegrate myself into single life. I filled his absence with schoolwork, friends, drama productions, clubs, work, and anything else that could keep me from thinking of him. The deeper I got into this world of distraction, the more I began to understand all the things I could still do without someone holding my hand. In fact, I realized that it was almost better because I now had the drive to propel myself forward, something I couldn’t do while I had been so thoroughly attached to someone else as I had been. I realized I didn’t need one person to care for and to care for me. As long as I cared for myself I would never be unloved and as long as I kept giving my love and accepting the love of others I would never be lonely. I didn’t have to limit myself to one person. Friends were equally as affective. It was the idea that I needed someone to help me across the street that had been keeping me from getting to the other side and moving on. Once I was able to find my feet again, able to stand by myself, able to take that step off of the cement and onto the concrete road, I found how unbelievably freeing it was to be so completely and amazingly alone. So, to all of you fellow singles out there, I have one message for you during this and every other depressingly romantic time of year: Rejoice in your loneliness. You may not have noticed, but just because you have no one to give your heart to fully and completely, there will always be friends around willing to accept little pieces of it and give you pieces of themselves in return. You are loved regardless of your relationship status and you are wonderful and you don’t need a partner to show people that.