One Saturday, I took some time and ate at the closest diner to my place. I relished the thought of being unburdened at 11 o’clock. It felt drastically different than my usual 11 o’clock on the weekdays, where I would be eating my lunch at my desk, working away at some marketing project. I sighed and took the eclectic sight of the diner.
Decorated in a quaint 1970’s look, I felt the stuffed deer heads looking at me as I listened to the classic rock blaring in the background.
I looked around and realized that one of the servers was a girl I went to high school with. I smiled at her. I felt transported to the time when we were in high school together eight years ago. I was in the last year of high school and she had two more years to go. With that gap, we never had the chance to become really good friends, but there are no ill feelings.
We ended up going to the same university, but it’s a big place. We bumped into each other one time on the train almost four years ago, said hi and briefly caught up between stops. Our friendship consisted of random likes and comments on Instagram. She recognized me, went to my table, gave me a hug. I realized that her family ran the place.
After the customary “how’s it going”, she immediately asked:
“Wow, so you’re dating now? Things are going well?”
I just changed my profile picture to myself and my boyfriend. We’ve had the customary honeymoon phase – going on adventures and exploring new things. Our respective Instagrams chronicle most of our adventures, and I guess my friend has seen those too. Fair enough that my new relationship got brought up, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way.
I’ve been single for most of my adult life. Between school, working, and never quite finding the right fit, my current boyfriend is actually my first one. He’s a wonderful, intelligent, loving man that I am incredibly lucky to have in my life. It feels like a dream sometimes, but then one of us passes gas and I am reminded that we are human too.
My life’s been through quite a bit in the last year. This time last year, I was freshly unemployed and nursing a broken heart from a fuckboy that strung me along. After months of angst, I eventually found a job I loved. Then as if the universe wanted to change things up, I met my current boyfriend and got swept up in a whirlwind romance. It wasn’t perfect though – my overly controlling family put up a fight over my new relationship because their perfect little girl had changed. I ended the cycle of abuse there and walked away, starting new.
I have had to crumble and discover who I am. In walking away from my family, I lost a core part of my being, and needed to rediscover who I am again. Who I am is the girl who loves her career, hot yoga, the outdoors and her dog. I am the girl who wandered downtown Portland by herself, getting lost in Powell’s, overwhelmed with her love of reading and books. I wanted to be asked about my career. I wanted to share I am as a person; how I’ve grown since the days we walked the hallowed halls of high school together.
I felt reduced to just being my boyfriend’s girlfriend. I love my boyfriend, yes. But I am also someone who loves marketing, someone who loves life, someone who loves good food and company. I am so much more than someone’s girlfriend, even though that someone is pretty great.
However, seeing as this is a casual exchange, I sipped my coffee and replied, “Yes, yes things are going super well. He’s such a good guy.”