When I was in high school (and prior to) I was a tiny little thing, standing at 4′ 11” and growing to 5′ 1”. I weighed at my most 65-75 lbs. I suffered from horrible body image problems. My senior year the biggest things on my body were my breasts and butt. I spent all of my life up until that point being put down by every female out of my friend group.
In my freshman year at 15, puberty had finally hit me the year prior over the summer and I had just lost my braces. Suddenly, I fell prey to handfuls of horny senior boys. I didn’t have a big head about it, no. It happened all the time in my school of less than 300 people. Mostly I was pretty freaked out by them. I dated a senior briefly that summer. It was a huge thing for me to even kiss him and honestly it actually really grossed me out. So I would really not want to even spend a lot of time with him because I felt like he was pushing me to do a lot of stuff I didn’t really want to do. He also whined about his life, a lot. I think at one point I said, “What are you 18? Stop being a baby and get a damn job if you need one so bad.” After about a month I told him to stop calling me.
Then I had a guy whom had graduated (a friend of a friend) literally stalk my best friend (Nicole) and myself. Going so far as to leave roses on my porch multiple times and having mutual friends leave notes and love songs in my locker. I largely ignored it. But the stalking progressed. Eventually he got the hint from me but continued to stalk my friend. Another much older guy, who was a friend (John), was also massively obsessed with both Nicole and me. Even though he had a girlfriend whom he had subsequently gotten pregnant he still would make subtle hints that Nicole/myself were “the one for him.” We would consistently turn him down. But he never really stopped saying it. At one point he said to me, “Megan lets make a pact. If we’re not married by the time you’re 25, let’s marry each other.”
I said, “Ew, no! What the hell John?!”
Another time he offered to walk me home from a video game playing party our friend group had. He started to creep me out by staring at me so I said, “My house is just down this hill…so you can go back.”
He gave me a hug and then looked me in the eyes really intensely. I looked back at him with my eyebrow raised and my mouth pursed confused, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“What would you do if I kissed you right now?”
“Kill you and hide your body in the woods,” Then I pushed him away from me, “Stop being a weirdo. Go home.”
To be honest I had a very fantastical view of love. As a child I was fed a constant diet of classic rock love songs and Disney movies. I didn’t think I would meet my prince/princess charming soulmate in high school. But I figured they were probably out there floating around in the ether. Everyone paired up in high school. My friends ordered wedding magazines and were sitting around planning weddings and baby names. I just sat in class and watched them with a sense of morbid curiosity. I mean, what did I know about love? Who was I to say they weren’t going to spend the rest of their lives with these first guys they dated? So I didn’t say anything. I just agreed to be in their weddings and be the godmother to their future children. (So glad that they all forgot about the latter promise.)
I also dated. But not seriously. I mean, I felt it was serious enough but I wasn’t comfortable with kissing or anything early on so I just would purposely avoid it. I had a boyfriend off and on. His name was Ken. I, for some weird reason, was seriously obsessed with him. I didn’t want to marry him and was weirded out after we broke up (the 3rd time) and he gave me a promise ring. (Which I kept…WHY? Then gave back my junior year once I was tired of his bullshit.) But yes. Ken and I would date for a week or two days. During these periods we would talk on the phone, walk class to class, and sometimes hold hands if I felt up to physical contact. After about a couple days he would cheat on me. Then have one of my friends tell me (in graphic detail of all the girls he would sleep with) and then tell me he wanted to break up.
The first time it happened I was distraught. I had to go home because I couldn’t face running to him in the halls. A few days later after break ups he would call me and ask to be friends or his mom would call my mom and they would chat about how “in love” with me he was. We always ended up talking every night even when he was dating other people. After a couple more dates and break ups because of cheating. He started to seriously date this girl. We stopped talking. I wasn’t happy about it but I wasn’t terribly sad either.
I just kept doing my own thing. I had plenty of other stuff on my plate to worry about that wasn’t some guy dating a girl. So I would just go to class and read books and write things. Eventually my junior year, we dated again. Then after about a day, at some weird school dance, he sent a friend again – to break up with me for him. I walked over to him as he made out with this new girl he had apparently met while I was in the restroom for 2 minutes. I called him a coward and told him to not ever speak to me again. Then I walked out and walked home, alone, in the darkness at 11 o’clock at night. I felt pretty accomplished. I was a “prude” but at least I was an honest prude. (Honestly, I just wanted to not go around kissing people I could barely trust. Still today, I am like that.)
At least he listened to me. I didn’t hear from him again. Until senior year when “the friend he makes break up with me for him” told me that he had all these fantasies of proposing to me. I told her to tell him to fuck off. Which she did, bless her heart. In my senior year I dated a friend over the summer prior, which was a horrible mistake, because it was the same summer I lived full time in Meadville. Watching and taking care of your dying grandfather is not conducive to having a relationship. We broke up before summer was over. It took a while for us to be friends again and by that point I met my longest term (still my longest relationship ever) boyfriend, Adam. Who was my gateway boyfriend into basically everything that comes with a relationship. All the way up to planning a future together. We were still both stupid and immature and it seems even more stupid and immature when I look back on it at 26. We were both about to turn 21 when we broke up. At the same time he and a very close friend of mine were involved in different major and terrible car accidents within a week of the break up. I have no doubt in my mind that these major car accidents, even though I did not experience them, had a major impact on my driving phobia.
The dating past is the dating past. I am glad I had it. I learned a lot. I learned how to be strong. I learned what behaviors I couldn’t handle. Whiners, Cowards, Cheaters, Creeps. I learned how to learn to trust. It was affirmed to me that being careful with my heart was important. That I had to really care about someone before I could even kiss them (I still do that). I learned how to balance a relationship with a life. That it was possible to have my own life and not start planning a wedding and picking godmothers. I learned that most people are total douche bags to you because they’re stupid (and I still learn that everyday) and that being in love is hard work. To let go of shallow people and shallow things. I learned to love unconditionally. To me loving someone despite flaws became something I wanted and what I felt I was capable of. That anyone who couldn’t love me the way I could love was not worth my time.
After my break up, with high-school-last-boyfriend, a friend texted me, “Megan you’re the only person I’ve ever known who loves people the way they do in movies. It is actually really beautiful.”
Thanks for that classic rock and Disney.