Growing Pains

“Don’t worry, it’ll all make sense to you one day. One day. But not today.”

And that’s when I woke up.

I have always had intense dreams in my sleeping state. So intense, and so real, that for as long as I can remember, I have woken myself (as well as my family, friends, and roommates) up with tears, screams, and laughter. In my dreams, I am capable of experiencing and emanating emotion (joy, fright, abandonment) as real as when I am awake.

I have had dreams that I have deemed as premonitions, where I have found myself reliving an exact conversation or situation that I had already gone through while asleep.

On this particular morning, I woke myself up advising myself not to worry; that what I have been going through will make sense, but not anytime soon; so wake up, forget about it, move on from it and live. Live to the fullest capacity that I can, and some where in between living, forgetting, moving on, and letting go, I will come to terms and an understanding with “it”. And I have faith in myself. I have faith in my dream/premonition/subconscious advice coming from inside of the depths of my brain. So I woke up, with a new sense of confidence.


Well, “it”; the thought; the thing; the predicament, is pretty complex. It’s more than just my ex-boyfriend. But that’s what it has been disguised as this whole time. It took me right until this very day to realize this, and unfortunately, four years is a long time. So long that I had started to prepare myself for a lifetime of loneliness and desperation. While most 18-year-olds were carelessly dating or sleeping around, I would stay in and write. Always using him as my muse. I didn’t want to forget about him; I didn’t want to stop hoping, and worse, I didn’t want to stop trying to get back something I had lost when I was fifteen.

It was the only thing I could ever think about, and thus, talk about. I brought my fixation of my lost love everywhere I went and to anyone I met. He was the extra baggage that held me down, but I refused to leave home without it.


I came home drunk the other night from my best friend’s celebration at a local bar for finishing her summer internship at Goldman Sachs, a major finance company on Wall Street. I went straight onto the Internet, as a daily and nightly routine ever since I was ten years old. Like brushing my teeth, it became a mandatory habit to sign on first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I grew up on the Internet; a true product of it. It has long been a friend, an enemy, and a form of entertainment of mine since I was in 5th grade, when we were first introduced I created my screen-name “Flower163”.

For 10 years-exactly half of my lifetime-I have lived a major part of my life through AOL- so much to the point that I have actually adapted to my Internet-based persona. One that can advocate good looks, a way with words, popularity, and creativity- and get away with it. This is a persona that is less fearless, less bashful, less inhibited than my public self. And I think that’s a similar role that most people my age have adopted as well. For better or for worse, I have grown up with a generation where we have set dates, started and ended fights, strenuously stalked, guiltlessly lied, promoted ourselves, and confessed deep feelings all behind a screen, in a personalized font.

The older that I become, the more I start to resent the Internet. I am resenting it for all the drama that it has devised, all of the immaturity behind it, the loss of intimacy, proper grammar, and proper manners. I am resenting it for all of the access I can not come to ignore; like prying on my ex boyfriends and their ex girlfriends and my ex friends or the constant need I feel to prove myself behind pretty pictures and creative quotes. More importantly, I am starting to really resent it for my dependency on it.

For 10 years, it has been the main form of reducing boredom from my days and nights. I could never feel too lonely once I was logged onto a cyber universe that has a piece of every one and every thing at the tip of my fingers. It has become far more than a habit; it’s an addiction. And I’m getting tired of it; I’m getting too old, too mature, too busy, and too aware to participate in this anymore. The only problem is, if I say goodbye to AOL- to my buddy list, to profiles, to new, commodity websites like MySpace and Facebook, to screen names and Instant Messages, I am saying goodbye to a large part of my life’s condition. I am saying goodbye to a lifestyle, to “friends”, to gossip, and mostly, familiarity.

And this is where the truth starts to become revealed to me, on a late night, drunk, at 20, scooping out the new commodity websites.


I log onto a website where I know I will have access to my ex’s web page. It has not changed since the last time that I looked at it, which was only a few hours ago, but I still stare. Examining. Soaking it all in; soaking in the person I knew so intimately; so personally, so long ago, who I can now only catch up with in ways where he doesn’t even have to be involved in such a reuniting. I just type in a few words, and I am somewhat part of his life. But it’s only the life that exists through a screen, and it’s a screen that blocks out any real truth of who he is anymore.

I become captivated on his age, which is in big letters next to his picture. “22 Years Old”. “22 Years Old”. It is hitting me so hard right now, that I feel a lump form inside of my throat. I desperately don’t want my ex boyfriend to be 22 years old. It’s heartbreaking; it scares me.

But why? Why?

Oh forget it, I got to get off of this fucking computer and go to bed.


In Freudian psychology, there is a defense mechanism known as Projection. This is where a person places their fears/desires/guilt onto someone else because they are thoughts that are too embarrassing/painful/scary for that person to feel for them self.

The fact that my ex boyfriend, who I met when he was only 17 and I,15, is now 22, leaves me at the age of 20. And I think for the past four years I have been suffering, above anything else, from a serious case of Projection.

When I started to date him, at 15, I was at the precise cusp of child and teenager. I lived with the belief that I had the world in my hands. I was extremely cocky, and thus extremely unaware that my conceited mind-frame was a compensation for insecurity. My problems were caused by a girl’s nasty Instant Message or profile comment directed at me. I had no clue or care about worldly issues. I was just a kid who seemed to have it all, and nothing was too serious for too long.

It’s a mixture of innocence and ignorance that I miss the most from that time.

Growing up; it’s something so surreal. It’s something that just happens, inevitably and eventually. For some it takes longer and others it’s effortless. But in either case, it’s just something so…so cruel; so unfair, and I wasn’t prepared for this, not at all.

When I met him, I was beginning the beginning of something enormous and magnificent. I was making the first metaphorical steps onto a road that would lead me to the rest of my life. Before this big beginning, I was in the preliminary of my life; an amateur, a novice; fresh. Life was filled with possibility; an endless abundance of make-believe. There was no such thing as consequences. Responsibilities included keeping my room neat on days that my mother didn’t feel like cleaning up after me (which wasn’t very often).

At this time in my life, I never got disappointed that we didn’t go on fancy dinner dates or that we spent most of our days lounging in my TV room. There was always excitement, and discussing marriage and what our kids would look like really seemed like some kind of believable, exciting thing that was sure to happen.


I missed him more and more everyday that I knew it was over until today; this very day. Until it made perfect sense to me what I was really missing and yearning for the past four years.

Sure, it has something to do with companionship and loneliness. It’s a little bit about Valentine’s Day and Christmas time. The lack of sex or intimacy in my life hurts emotionally and physically. And yes, I will always have a special place for him in my heart.

But really…It’s about me. It’s about missing a part of myself; of my mentality that I had when I was still so young, unjaded, naïve, and green. I miss the me at fifteen.

I realized today that it is, ironically, a lot easier to place this feeling of loss on an actual object, like a person, like my ex-boyfriend, than to face the fact that what I am lacking is something that is totally unattainable and completely unfixable. By placing all of my emphasis on my ex, I gave myself the hope that one day, when we would get back together, I would fulfill the emptiness I have been feeling inside ever since he broke my heart on a late December night in 2002. This was easier than understanding the hollow hole inside of my heart was done by time, and time is something that I have no control over. I cannot call time up, drunk, and try to convince time to come back to me and make me younger and freer. I cannot visit time and rekindle, if only for a minute, a connection I once had. I cannot touch time or talk to time. But with my ex, as difficult as all of these tasks were with him, I was still able to get a taste of what I thought I needed.


I think that in every person’s life, there is a certain age, along with specific events, that is the turning point from kid to adult. For some, it’s a loss of a parent; death or divorce. Others it might be when they tried their first drug. Lost their virginity. Got their first job. In any case, I think there is an underlying factor in all of these experiences; it’s the first steps on the road of real, hard-core life; the beginning of a beginning at a simultaneous beginning of an end.

Mine was my first heartbreak.

It took away so much hope for finding love again. It took away a chunk of my confidence that once seemed limitless. It made me realize, for the first time, that life is something that must be worked at in order to be happy. Mommy can’t supply me with happiness anymore in the form of pampering, and daddy can’t give me money at my beckon call for much longer. It’s that kind of loss; it’s growing up.

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