So all is well that ends well right?
I did follow Alex to Arizona for college. He went to the University of Arizona in Tuscon and I went to Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe. This choice I made from my gut and a knowing that ASU was the exact right place for me. Change was in the air and within a few weeks of being at college, on my own, away from the habits and culture of high school I pretty easily broke up with Alex. I went down to visit him for a weekend and the change was overwhelmingly obvious to me. I felt absolutely no desire to continue staying connected with him. We ended it that weekend. I quickly and steadily turned back into my happier self. I was learning to be independent, meeting new people and recognizing how great it was to be me again.
Some drama ensued. Alex decided to change schools to ASU his second semester. I wished him well but asked him not to move into the same dorm. He did move into the same dorm. I remember another fight we had in my dorm room which ended with him saying to me, “No one will EVER love you like me!” And as I stared back at him I thought to myself, “Well thank God for that!”
As I matured and reflected back on those years, experiences and choices, I was able to see what happened to me and tell the story of why.
Martha Beck has a concept of two selves: social self and essential self. According to Martha, your social self will basically make choices based on what it thinks is more acceptable within your social circles or within society in general. It determines what is acceptable from the outside. Your essential self always makes choices based on what is true to you, your wants and desires. It’s the authentic you. It determines what is acceptable from the inside.
In high school I was definitely trying to fit in and following whatever my social self was telling me. I was not yet in tune with my essential self (in fact, I am still getting to know her!). At the time I was just trying to maintain some stability on the outside, while becoming wildly out of whack on the inside. Ironic isn’t it?
There have been times when I have wished I never said yes to dating Alex on that picnic table. I think how different my high school years could have been. But I don’t dwell there for very long. I am grateful that because of the relationship I ended up going across the country to ASU for college. Arizona is where I did start paying attention to and listening to my essential self and I wouldn’t trade that wonderful experience for anything.