I can remember in profound detail how I broke his heart. His name? Not important. What is important is that he was a rogue. A scoundrel. He was the proverbial bad boy that girls are too often drawn to in the hopes that they will be the one to redeem him.
I, in my limited teenage version of wisdom, made it a point to hurt him before he could hurt me. Why? I cared for him. I longed for him to care about me in return. Oh, he was interested in me, I knew. I strung him along with every smile. I giggled and laughed at every joke. I dumbed myself down because it was what I thought I should do. I cultivated his interest with my flirtations. But mere interest was not enough to sustain a relationship. I knew it was a matter of time before he would be tempted by another. I reacted out of fear. And so I did the unthinkable. I will not describe it here. I will not give words to those memories. Let’s just say that I behaved in a manner unworthy of me. I choose to remember it so that I will never forget how much I have grown. But I do not enjoy the remembering. What I did, it was beneath me.
And I did it to spite someone. A boy. And now I cannot even remember his name.
I hurt him before he could hurt me. Then I moved on. Without looking back, I moved on into adulthood and life until one day the memory crept in upon me. A memory that taught me that in moments when my younger self thought that she was strong, she was weak…she was low…she was sad. A parody of all other teenage girls who came before her and who will come again. And that was the moment when I vowed that my own daughter would never feel as I felt, would never give in to such weakness. I will give her more strength. I will enlighten her, telling her of the ways of the world. I will assist her on this journey.
Never once did I stop to wonder if my own mother had made the same vow.
This post features The cunning skill to break a heart, painted by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale (British, 1871-1945)