March 13, 2017

The Best Revenge

Whoever said "living well" is the best revenge obviously never ran into her ex-boyfriend on a humid, July day at Wal-Mart, hair frizzed to the max, wearing a stained Goodwill t-shirt and two different socks. That would have been me. Mind you, it was a long time ago because I have had the same boyfriend since 2004 and he's now my husband.

I was never one of those people who dated recreationally. I had crushes in high school, and I was once asked to accompany a sweet, but awkward boy to the homecoming dance, but it wasn't particularly memorable. My prom date was my best friend (thank goodness) and after graduation, I went off to college with the hope of finding true love. It just took me a few years to do so.

But for one fateful season between my freshman and sophomore years of college, while back in my hometown working a summer job, I sort of dated a guy. Mainly we just spent a couple of months talking and hanging out on his front porch swing on muggy Tennessee nights, eating atomic fireballs. Our first official date was to the sno-cone shop, aptly named "Sno-Daze" and over the course of the summer, we saw exactly one movie together at the theater, The Fast and the Furious. 

Ours was not true love, or really any love at all. Just attraction and infatuation. I should have known there was a shelf-life to that type of thing, but having had absolutely no experience in that arena, I was shocked when he stopped taking my calls about a month into the fall semester.

So, let's just say that when I bumped into him at Wal-Mart the following summer, clad in grungy clothes, with my mom in tow, I feel certain it didn't induce some type of woeful regret on his part. I tried to put on a devil-may-care attitude, but the whole thing just gave me a stomach ache.

You see, I come from a long line of people who cannot. let. things. go. Figuratively and literally. This applies to our feelings about situations as well as items we have come to own. I am incredibly jealous of anyone and everyone who can simply move on. That just isn't me. I will hash and re-hash the same scenarios for years, often never getting any closer to understanding the how and why.

Sometimes I jokingly refer to myself as Nancy Drew, but in truth, I'm more an Encyclopedia Brown...getting all the facts down in my trusty notepad and solving the case during dinner, sometimes before dessert.

But so many times in life, we just don't get the facts we need to solve anything. This is a common underlying theme for me. I'm reminded of a quote from my all-time favorite TV show, Sex & the City when Miranda says, "Carrie, we can analyze this for years and never know the answer. I mean, they still don't know who killed Kennedy."

I'll never know why my summer fling dumped me at the end of August without any explanation. It's just one of the many, many things I will never know. And it's not something I really ever think about...I just figured you'd get a kick out of my embarrassing nostalgia.

Are you ever afraid there are other questions that will never be answered for you? Important questions. Questions that you feel you deserve answers to.

Like why somebody who was supposed to love you for much longer than a summer vanishes from your life without any reason. Or why somebody did or said something that hurt you, but can't or won't explain their motives. Or why people can't or won't simply acknowledge things that might give you some peace. Even if it's not the explanation you dreamed of.

Living well is not the best revenge because no revenge is good. You think it's going to make you feel better, but it never does. Being happy with your own life helps. Not because you're shaking your proverbial fist in an "I'll show you" sort of way, but just being genuinely happy with things. There's a peace that comes from having a life you want to focus on, with people you care for, and things you feel passionate about. Before too long, there's no room (or time or energy) to hold those grudges that once took up so much of your space.

That doesn't mean you won't always wonder about the questions left unanswered. But hopefully they won't keep you up at night.