Lolita has solidified its place in the great works of 20th century literature. It is marked by its style of poetic wordplay, carefully placed humor, and its controversial plot – a middle aged professor falling in love with a prepubescent girl. (Before you write off ever reading the book, I would like to point out the author did not advocate for the lewd and crass conduct he centered in his main characters’ personhood). Throughout this article I have quotations from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel to assist me in telling the tale of my own Lolita account.
The year was 2009. I was an enthusiastic, carefree high school senior, unscathed by any broken heart or self-conscious woes I surmised I would go through as a teenager. The countdown to the rest of my life was on, as graduation swiftly approached. I had plans, I had ambition. I was going to dominate the world with my pen and paper and poise a la Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. That was, if I could just get through sixth period…
I had decided to take piano class. Even though by senior year I had dramatically laid off caking my eyes with eyeliner, I was THE biggest Evanescence fan and was determined to learn how to play all of their songs. The one major problem was the total depletion of concentration I experienced in that class all due to my music teacher.
“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
I’ll call him The Maestro. He was the band director and he was my teacher. The very moment I walked into his class, I was terribly head over heels in love with him. He was your “average” American looking white male. He was in his early 30s. His voice was louder and deeper than the voice actor who provided ADR work as God in The Ten Commandments. He told terribly cheesy jokes. He tripped over the very keyboard cords he’d repeatedly tell us never to touch. He was charming, handsome, intelligent, and he was also married.
Somewhere during the school year, he must have picked up on my maddening crush on him. He started to pay more attention to me. I wasn’t quite sure yet how to rock my curls or get through a lipstick or pick a rubber band color for my braces that WASN’T spunky obvious, so I had myself securely convinced he could not find me attractive. I found out this wasn’t the case post graduation.
We began to talk via social media. The talking turned flirtatious. He called me his Lolita. Before I even knew how to process what was going on, we had both agreed he would be the one to take my virginity. I had never so much as pop kissed a boy before in my life! I was excited. I was ready. I was so elated he liked me back. I had always occupied my mind with lustful musings of older men – the Hugh Jackman, or Joaquin Phoenix, or Kiefer Sutherland – and now I had my very own!
“All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other.”
At first it was just sexual. We had learned to care about each other on a mutual platonic level. But somewhere in the stolen kisses, midnight trysts, and endless attention, we began to fall for each other. Only then did he start to back away from me. He realized his wrong-doings as a husband, and just as swiftly as he picked me up, he put me down.
I was confused. I was startled. I was hurt. I understand as a reader, this may all translate as me being used and I would not blame you for thinking so. I did start to feel used. I became angry and resentful. I became bitter. Unsure. Depressed. Suicidal. I would cry for so long. I thought I would be able to eventually move on, but it only got worse.
As the years crept on, the depression grew stronger. I began calling out of work, skipping classes at college, canceling plans with friends, alienating myself from family. I grew desperate for him. I texted him constantly like a madwoman. I lacked the self discipline to stop. At some point through the years my mind – depleted from playing the same track over and over again – became a big cloud of hazy numbness. The depression swallowed all passion and ambition from my life. I learned about the ugly parts of myself, befriended isolation, wished for the way out.
So I made my way out.
It wasn’t until very recently that I made the very conscious decision to find a way out of the mess I made for myself. I started to get back into reading and writing. I bought paintbrushes and canvases and started to paint. I took on hot power yoga. Through my practice of yoga and through the dedication and will to get better, I started to develop my sense of being, and the importance of honoring your soul first and foremost.
The Maestro has inadvertently taught me about strength and self-respect. He taught me things about myself , good and bad, that would have otherwise stayed hibernated. I’m learning how to respect my soul, my spirit, my one and only life I have. I’m going out with friends again. I’m re-gaining the optimism I once had for life. I am a very long way from being that self sufficient career driven power woman I always dreamed of, but I am certainly not where I was before.
The Maestro is still married, as I always thought he’d be. I cannot find it in me any longer to blame him for what I did to myself. He has not taken away my optimism for finding a good man, but he has surely shown me even the most unsuspecting person can practice disloyalty. I am more aware and careful of the people I let into my life, and into my heart.
I am getting to know myself again, I am learning to love myself. Please do not take away from this that learning about self respect and respecting someone else’s marriage is mutually exclusive to having an affair with an older man. There are much more healthy, natural ways to go about coming into your own as a woman, I am merely sharing the odd road I am on to get there.
If you do find yourself in mental instability after any sort of break-up, please keep going. You are worth so much more than what you’re putting yourself through. You are beautiful. You are strong. You’ll make mistakes, but you mustn’t be too hard on yourself. Come to peace with your past but please do not dishonor your self by neglecting the present.