Rising Thorns

Reads: 161  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 17, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 17, 2016

A A A

A A A


Rising Thorns

Nineteen is a rather interesting age. 

It is similar to riding a bike for the first time. 

You have to commend yourself to making lots of mistakes. 

At nineteen, you have to take chances despite your uncertainty.  I am not saying go out there and be as reckless and foolish as possible, but allow yourself to succeed or learn something.  I was always lost in my imagination, especially at nineteen-years old.  I cared too much about what others thought of me and did not stay true to myself.  I wish I invested more time into myself in attaining knowledge and wisdom.  If I did that, I think I would have had a better hold and control on my life at the time.

  I want to introduce you to a once eighteen-year old boy, named Jason.  Jason loved trains and was about to be a senior in high school when I first met him.  In the midst of preparing for college, he wanted to study engineering.  My nineteen-year old brain was constantly whirling wondering how and why he was ever interested in me.  My feelings of inadequacy about myself were at its peak at nineteen years old.  I also experimented with a little dark brown eye liner convinced that I looked “prettier” with outlandish makeup on. 

In reality, I looked like Alice Cooper.  I was not Elle Cunningham– a girl who is carefree, mellow, and enjoyed simplicity with a touch of thrill.  I wanted to be someone more than myself; become the utopian person I so desired to embody.  When I met Jason, I began to reflexively believe that he could revamp my sense of worth.This relationship clearly lacked relational maintenance which is aimed at keeping relationships operating smoothly and satisfactorily.  I will explain more so as to why this is the case later on.  Although, you might have some sort of idea now. 

When Jason and I first “met”, it was through a mutual friend while I was working at Graters, an ice cream parlor in Cincinnati that summer.  We could not help but continuously stare at one another.  I tried to look discreet, but now I think about it, I was far from it.  Eventually, we both awkwardly introduced ourselves.  We were both quite anxious.  This all began during July of 2013.  When I added him on Facebook, we then started talking via Facebook messaging sharing remarks about bland subjects like the weather, how we were doing that day, and other friendly expressions. 

This was the initiating stage which is the stage where we both displayed interest in building some relationship with one another.  Social media made communication much easier for my inhibited self especially, to commence a relationship of some sort.  After discoursing via Facebook that Thursday night, we both agreed to meet with one another for brunch on Saturday.  Internally, I was freaking out and already planning potential outfits I could wear.  Jason and I met at Le Peep that Saturday morning at around ten. 

The summer car show was happening next to the restaurant which gave us something to do post-brunch.  I also figured he might be amused with a girl who is obsessed with cars.  Score! It was pedal to the medal time.  This was the experimenting stage where we experimented small talk.  For your information, I despise small talk.  I am referring to the kind where you run into someone at the grocery store and all you want is to escape because you want to go home and eat!  I would rather have a conversation that holds meaning to both parties and this one did since meeting up with one another was deliberately planned.  Small talk is only natural as you are meeting someone for the first time.  In addition, small talk is a safe way to ease into a relationship.

I like to think the two of us were not insistent on building a romantic relationship.  It was a mix between being intentional and unintentional.  In other words, I like to believe that we were not about to dive into the romantic pool anytime soon.  Instead, it was more of we know there is something there, but we wanted to avoid diving in right away.  The water was so cold, but we knew we had a high chance of enjoying ourselves if we just cannon-balled in.  It was as if we carefully made our start toward the three feet end of the pool even though we knew we wanted to stand in the five feet area – where all the fun and excitement splashes around. 

He was going to be a senior in high school that summer and I was about to be a freshman in college.  We were only a year apart from one another in age.  So similar, yet we were both so different.  He came off as very mature for his age.  He acted as if he was in his late twenties or early thirties – already established in life.  He was convincing and poised yet young at heart which made me crazy about him.  What did he see in me?  At the time, I was incapable of answering that.  After going on a few casual coffee “dates”, he invited me to dinner.  He picked me up in his fire-engine red Ford pickup truck.  Obviously, this was the intensifying stage given the pickup truck.  I adore pickup trucks, but not the obnoxiously gigantic ones. 

His presence, in addition to the pickup truck, made me feel distinctive with an overwhelming amount of euphoria.  I was nineteen, so, clearly, I should be granted full permission to feel in such a way – flighty and excited.  Jason took me to downtown Cincinnati for dinner at an Irish pub.  We finished off our delicious meal off with some lavish ice cream at the parlor located a few stores down.  Licking our ice cream cones, we strolled around the city window-shopping, dropping in and out of boutiques, antique shops, and this one record store I remember so fondly. 

After we were burnt out by browsing around and strolling in the region of the small town, Jason and I hopped back into the pickup truck and decided to take the country back roads.  The roads seemed like they went on forever and unfortunately this stage does not last forever.  Our world loves to watch lovers be in love and disregard the burgeoning thorns that often bud in relationships.  He kissed me that night in the truck.  Was that corny? Yes.  But, it was a precise setting and it set the tenor of a Taylor Swift song.  The more time we spent together, the more we started to integrate.  This is when I met his friends and his friends met mine.  

Both of our friend circles knew we were now dating.  As soon as I started college at Bowling Green State University, Jason would visit me on weekends when he was able to.  He visited me quite frequently.  We developed routines, specifically travel-related ones in hopes to maintain our now long-distance relationship.  As we started to form and practice these routines, our sense of obligation to one another grew more, especially being a long-distance couple.  He was prepared more so for the intensity and commitment element of the relationship than I was. 

Being at college and becoming exposed to new and exciting things, I was at the differentiating stage way before he was.  I wanted to grow the relationship but I also strived for some independence.  When he would come to Bowling Green to visit and when we visited each other during breaks, we symbolically made gestures to the world that we were a couple.  He would hold my hand frequently when we walked together.  Jason gave me lingering hugs and kissed me on the forehead and cheek whenever we had to say our goodbyes.  We were bonding at this point.  I strived to maintain the commitment but I struggled with maintaining that on top of creating space.  I created more space which enabled the decline in our overall happiness.

During my first semester, I met some “friends” and went to parties with them because I just wanted to be accepted.  I wanted them to like me and not think I was lame and bashful.  I was anti-social when I set foot on campus.  I lacked an ability to embrace myself and my individuality.  I was a lost cause; very insecure and resorted to worshipping superficiality. 

The circumscribing stage soon began.  Jason and I reduced contact with one another due to our constant arguments.  He did not trust me to go out to parties or other social events and was suspicious of every person, especially if it was a male, I interacted with.  For the record, I was not romantically attracted to any of the men I met.  I just wanted friends and to feel belonged.

When Jason and I would speak on the phone, he would regulate who I interacted with.  One night, I was at a guy friend’s house playing ping pong with other people.  We watched movies and we clanked our beer glasses together and we laughed.  He tried calling me multiple times and I did not answer or return any calls or texts.  I was having fun with friends and living new experiences – the avoiding stage was happening. 

I am not a huge partier and I rarely drink, so I participated in these activities in efforts to fit in.  He started leaving aggressive voicemails and told me that if I did not call him right away, he would break up with me or come find me.  Obviously, the stagnating stage was happening.  Our relationship felt immensely hollow and corrosive.

Our relationship started to become more tart and stiff when I heard my phone ring one January Sunday morning.  The start of the spring 2014 semester starts tomorrow and our relationship was on the verge of oxidizing and soon terminating.  After hearing his threatening phone calls and me crying for mercy, he ended it.  He never wanted to see my face again or hear my voice again. 

Up until April of that semester, I had nightmares with him knocking on my dorm door shouting “You’re in there Elle! Don’t lie!” He would burst open the door clutching a gun in his arms.  I would wake up with tears streaming down my face while uncontrollably shaking.  My roommate at the time was aware of what happened, but was sleeping during my manic episodes.  She was not quite attentive of the bearings the nightmares started to have on me.  I somehow was able to internalize it all and I was proud of that at nineteen years old.  It was the only accomplishment I seemed to be proud of.

As far as my own communication is concerned, I rarely communicated to him a problem or a piece of harsh truth that was stirring inside of me.  I was intimidated by him, which I perceived as being an attractive quality during the intensifying stage; at the beginning.  It was not until our relationship started to decay when I realized he was very controlling along with being manipulative.  I am not attempting to deliver a boastful speech about him and I also wholeheartedly regret hanging out with the wrong crowd just to fit in.  My actions were just as tactless.  Rather, I want to provide an explanation as to why I may have felt diffident and hesitant on being honest and candid with him.  Although a copious chunk of those feelings stemmed from my lack of self-esteem. 

How do you expect for someone to offer you the love you deserve if you don’t believe you deserve it?  Low self-esteem successfully impedes in sustaining a sincere, authentic and reciprocal relationship.  Of course, I did not know that at the time. 

I hate conflict.  All I want to do is run as far away as I can when I sense it emerging.  Ostensibly, dodging has and will on no account work out for me or for any party.  We both used a lovely technique in attempts to avoid being frank with one another– passive aggressiveness.  In my eyes, it is a way of confronting the issue without actually confronting it.  Frankly, it is just a petty way of ignoring the problem – letting it rest on the backburner if you will. 

The most important rule of communication is that you actually have to do it.  It seems obvious and so simple yet not many people neither practice effective communication nor understand it.  Not speaking to one another about our problems was the key to ending the relationship (minus our own idiosyncrasies that were clearly not synchronized).  Whenever there was a problem, we spoke defensively and hid behind thoughtless inanity.  Evidently, the odds were not in either of our own favors. 

Jason and I were in different phases of our lives.  He was about to graduate high school and I was a vulnerable, indecisive freshman being exposed to and trying to survive life outside of suburbia.  What I established internally during the post-breakup emancipation phase was the fact I relied on him for happiness and self-worth.  I wanted him to uncover my strengths and weaknesses; to patch me up.  With my self-esteem being at its ultimate low at the time, it was challenging for me to believe that I was unconditionally loved; that I deserved to be loved.  I knew I was loved unconditionally by people such as my mother, my father, my sister, my best friends, and my dog.  I had to find it within.

But, I also found it difficult to believe others should accept me as I am, like Nick.  This made me feel unguarded, feeble, and incredibly pathetic.  It enabled me to question his love and other’s love for me which held me back from the desire to communicate and repair our relationship.  This reflection of my past was helpful to mull over and recollect the moments where I felt alive as well as moments where I felt comatose.  As I remember the first time I met Jason, our first date looking at cars after brunch, and cruising around in his pickup truck on our first actual date, I recalled regret, pain, insecurity, and the immense excitement I felt at the time. 

I now feel incredibly nostalgic.  Nostalgia, I came to realize, is the reminiscence minus the condemnation of the here and the now.  It is and should be about all of the good parts that it encompasses.  It is all the memories without the ache that leaves us shattered and ashamed.  It is crucial to challenge yourself and create a level of difficulty whether it is for communication abilities, career-related, or within.  You do not want everything to come to you effortlessly.  The more comfortable you become with poor habits, the harder it is to create situations where you have to attest yourself and make yourself not just motivated, but need it. 

I have learned the stakes should always feel high whether it is with yourself, friendships, your work and everything else you do.  I would like to conclude with the words of Maya Angelou, “Some think that love is all flowers and good times, but I think that love is more than just that. Love is the bad, as well as the better, not lived alone, but a journey together. Something that only the closest can share, with communication, respect”.


© Copyright 2017 Audrey_Lynn. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Audrey_Lynn

Rising Thorns

Short Story / Romance

Popular Tags