-Leonard Nimoy as Ambassador Spock
Perhaps the single most impactful event in my life wasn’t making it through school or landing in a profession that I loved to do. Those things are an affirmation to my skills and talents as an individual. I’m not taking away their significance or their importance in any way. But, what I am doing is using them in a manner that isn’t always the best of times.
The one singular and critical moment could be described as the penultimate failure.
Like most stories, it starts with a woman or a man. This woman, we’ll address her as “The Monkey” not only to protect her identity but rather as the metaphorical monkey that you can’t get off of your back. I will say this about her. She was definitely one of a kind and if there was going to be anyone worth suffering over, she was a worthy candidate.
I’ll start off by saying this. These events happened during my 7th-grade year. You may be thinking about whether I was cognizant of my feelings and whether or not I knew what it all meant. I can assure you I did. I wasn’t ignorant to my feelings. I may have been stupid, but not ignorant. I don’t think me being a child had anything to do with my monumental collapse.
The story itself is actually fairly common. I got to know her on a trip to San Antonio for a contest. There was nothing about this girl that you couldn’t like. She definitely had the gift of the double-whammy. She was someone you meet and that all of the other guys will sabotage and stumble over themselves to get an opportunity with… myself included.
Everyone thinks that they have a chance until they don’t. She started dating a guy and it was quite typical. Star quarterback starts seeing the cheerleader except she wasn’t a cheerleader. She played the flute. Weird, but it was definitely one of those things that would tend to happen if the personalities were right.
They dated for a while and when they separated, there was plenty of chances to assert my feelings for her. I’d like to think that she knew and I hate thinking that everyone else around me knew it too. But, like I said… stupid, but not ignorant. I was sitting around with some friends who thought that I should actually verbalize my feelings and intentions with her. I don’t know if they knew something that I didn’t. One, in particular, had a pretty good beat on things so I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had an inside track on it
If the person I am now is anything like the person I was then, the one thing that we have in common is that we don’t have the humility to accept things we don’t deserve. We got along great and I knew that she was more in tune with what having a personality meant more than she got credit for. But, a kid like me who wasn’t popular or didn’t have much in the way to offer someone like her… why would she even consider the idea with someone like me? “Someone like me…” She was interested, or so I was lead to believe anyway. I was definitely interested. What was the problem then?
The problem was exactly that. I didn’t deserve her. She was the type that she could have had anything or anyone she wanted. So, why in the hell would she choose me?
Well, the whole lousy tragedy of this whole situation is that I never asked. So, I never got to find out. To this day, that whole deal affects me in ways that I didn’t think about. To this day, I think about all of the missed opportunities that I had in front of me because of the damage that not taking the moment to find out inflicted. What could have been more important than what currently is or what could be? “What if?” is probably the most damaging question one could ever find themselves asking.
Sadly, due to my own stupidity and fear, I had to learn that the hard way. Because of that, one of my biggest flaws is that I haven’t been able to be bold enough to make life-altering decisions. I can admit it. I feel that I’ve suffered enough and endured through that particular form of torture now, but it wasn’t a short or easy process to commit to completing.
Part of getting over this, and I feel like now I can say that I am, was coming to terms with how it affected me. It destroyed my confidence. For the better part of twenty years, and yes I did say twenty years, I had no confidence in my ability to attract the opposite sex. Well, attract someone like her anyway. Coming to terms that I was hurt and that I was suffering because of it was huge. It wasn’t her fault for doing it. She did nothing wrong and I don’t blame her. I never did. However, it was my choice and I harbored ill-temper and hard feelings towards myself. Though, in retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have even done that. There is a reason for everything and in time, maybe I’ll figure out what that reason is.
The second step is accepting that what’s done is done. There really isn’t any sense in dwelling on it and thinking that things could have gone differently. Sure, they could have. But, there isn’t any way to see otherwise. It’s hard accepting that things are just beyond our control. We want to have a good handle on everything so we can have a say in how things turn out. I’m guilty of it as are a lot of you, I’m sure.
It was difficult for me just because of the magnitude of the impact she had. Feelings, quite possibly, linger the longest. I can’t deny that I was pretty attached to her and there’s a part of me that still is. Perhaps that part will always be because of what she meant to me. I don’t think that now it affects me in such a way that it would sabotage my future relationships. I think now that it allows me to have a unique perspective because it was one of the few that worked.
Now, all I have left of it is memories. A lot of which I would love very much so to forget. Mainly because of how it derailed any of the future relationships and lessons that it potentially may have taught me. However, I am at peace with the one I did get left with. The one that says one missed opportunity doesn’t mean that you have to suffer because of it.
Although the experience was painful and shattering, I feel like I’ve been renewed by it now. Dealing with a significant other is risky business. A risk, then, I wouldn’t have been so eager to take. Now; however, I feel like I’m better equipped to at least consider taking. There was a lot to learn in letting one bad experience govern future circumstances. In retrospect, it’s laughable. But, the scar still remains and it’s quite apparent for me today. However, I’m starting to be a little more comfortable in my own skin because now I can learn to wear them with a little more confidence.
After all, I don’t think that just blocking out a traumatic experience such as this is a good thing. We need our trials so we can overcome the challenges that are placed in front of us as a result. I’d like to think that I learned something having gone through that loop of agony and suffering and if I had, then it was worth it