What Your Playground Days Can Teach You About Love

In the third grade, a boy named Dan chased me around the playground every day for two weeks straight. He would run after me at full speed and have his friend Kaitlyn tell me that he wanted to kiss me and that he loved me. One day, he asked me to meet him at the top of “the hill.”

“The hill” is a term that refers to the infamous raised patch of land at the very back of the Paumanok Elementary School playground, just before the playground lawn turns into woods and fences and houses. The hill was a big deal in elementary school, and the thought of meeting a boy who I was not the slightest bit attracted to at the top terrified me. And so, I did the only logical thing that I could think to do, which was to run from him until recess was over and I could return to the safety of my classroom.

I couldn’t imagine what I would do or say if he caught me, and I couldn’t understand why he was chasing me, so I just kept running. One day near the end of that two-week period, Kaitlyn grabbed me and tried to drag me to the top of the hill. That was unpleasant and I did not appreciate it.

Thinking about it now, maybe my instinct to run had something to do with the fact that I’ve always had a difficult time seeing what it is that other people see in me. It’s not that I don’t think I’m pretty or smart or funny, because I do. I am happy with the way I look and I consider myself relatively intelligent and comical. I am happy with most aspects of who I am and with my accomplishments so far. But I’ve always wanted people to believe that I was perfect and flawless. When I successfully trick people into believing that my “perfect” facade is the reality, I start to feel insecure, because it’s not a reality.

And yet, at 8 years old, Dan saw something in me that I couldn’t quite see in myself, and he chased me. I pushed him away because I didn’t like him; I liked boys who paid no attention to me, because that’s just how it works.

But despite the fact that it was incredibly unpleasant, maybe I should have appreciated the fact that Kaitlyn grabbed me that day. Maybe sometimes we need someone to grab us, bring us to the top of that hill, and tell us there’s something about us that is different and special and important. Because how else are we supposed to know?

I kicked Kaitlyn repeatedly and eventually she set me free. I guess someone can’t make you see something that you don’t quite believe in.

I just couldn’t figure out why he was chasing me; why was it that he thought it was worth it to chase me around the playground every day? Why me and not some other girl? I couldn’t figure out what it was he saw in me.

I think I’ve run from every guy who has ever been seriously interested in me. I’ve always thought that the problem was with them, and they just weren’t attractive enough in my eyes. I thought that the guys who liked me were always the wrong ones. I believe this to be partially true. The guys who I am attracted to are never the ones who are interested in me. But maybe the other part of the truth is that I’m afraid that I don’t deserve their attention. I’m afraid that, once I get it, they’ll be disappointed. I’m afraid that, once they get to know me, they’ll decide that there’s nothing special and move onto the next girl. I’m afraid because the initial attraction so often seems to fade once they begin to really know me. I can’t understand what it is that they see in me when they barely even know me. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I run.

I’d like to think that at this point in my life I wouldn’t run anymore, but I don’t know that to be true. I’ve always thought that my pickiness was the reason for my pathetic relationship history, but maybe it’s not the only factor. Maybe I push people away, because I can’t figure out why they would want to come closer in the first place.

I broke Dan’s little eight-year-old heart and kicked Kaitlyn with my size three shoes. I guess anything that happens to me with regard to relationships now is karma’s way of getting back at me. TC mark

image – Terence Ong

More From Thought Catalog

  • annika_meredith

    Wow. I can completely relate to this article. Thank you!

  • Rachel Butters Scotch

    Is this supposed to be adorable? Because it is really adorable. I just want to pat you on the head.

  • Guiltpop

    lotta typos. read it over before ya know..

  • http://georgebrostanza.tumblr.com george brostanza

    i was in dan's shoes in the 2nd grade. (deep love to the point where i couldn't sleep at night thinking of the girl/had random outburst of tears and moaning/avoided outdoors and stayed in listening to sad backstreet boys songs) and all i have to say is, fuck you for not giving him a chance.

    • Jaslkjs

      this comment is good solely because the user's name is “George Brostanza.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/muffins.go.rawr Gina Wei

    Of all the perfectly fine names this boy could have been called, of course his name is Dan. God damn it. Why do people's names have to overlap?

  • Arielle

    This is just too eerie for words. Your experience totally encapsulates mine, and my elementary school also had a very similar “hill” situation. The most shocking thing for me, though, was when I scrolled up at the end of the article and saw that I shared my first name with the author–and I don't know about you, but I NEVER meet any other Arielles. I'm probably reading way too much into this, but thanks anyway.

    • http://georgebrostanza.tumblr.com george brostanza

      My names Aria and i'm a guy. Just thought i'd share that. idk why…they're different names but sound somewhat similar.

  • neillk

    If it is true that you're 18 I think you have a ways to go before you can make a judgement regarding your ultimate relationship karma. While it is true that both a man & a woman are more attracted to the mysterious “other” than the sure thing staring you in the face, experience shows that with an open heart and a bit of modesty and/or humility, you never know what sweet things might happen. Best not to pre-judge.

    Nice post.

  • xilefirab

    This is an adorable article; I love it. Don't run from the boys in your life, tackle them and make them kiss you on the playground in the second grade haha :)

  • Jae LeNae

    Arielle—- tender, & a page from my own history! I'm with ya girl! It's so funny how we find these things at the right moments, really love the playground analysis. You speak the f*ckin truth! Haha Thank you for the raw & wonderful piece. <3 the site!

  • http://rmimms.tumblr.com/ Renee

    so truthful it hurts my brain.

blog comments powered by Disqus