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Embracing the Messy Parts of Life (and Relationships)

Embracing the Messy Parts of Life (and Relationships)

A teen's experience with heartbreak.

If you were to ask me my favorite word in the English language, I could tell you in a heartbeat: simplicity. The word in itself is aesthetically pleasing, but that's not the only reason I love it. In one simple word, it symbolizes innocence, bliss, and even contentment—at least to me.

A couple of months ago I met a boy. I had no idea who he was, but I was determined he should know me. So I made it happen. We dated for a little bit after that.

And then I was dumped. Dumped for someone else, actually. For about two weeks after that, I stayed home, threw myself into my job, and started working out. I didn't want to leave the house, because I felt like a second option to everyone. I tried to keep going on in my life without him. I tried so hard to make the process of breaking up and moving on seem simple on the outside. Internally, though, I knew it was just an act.

“ I tried so hard to make the process of breaking up and moving on seem simple on the outside.”


One night, I finally had to leave the house. It was inevitable. There was the typical teenage high school party going on, and my friend needed a ride home. When I arrived, however, I didn't only see the classic after-midnight party scene—I also saw him. Not just him, but an overserved, passed-out version of him on the side of the road. His new girlfriend had left him, and he obviously needed help. I called all of his friends, with no luck. So I packed him into the back of my car with a blanket and set off to his house. He, of course, had no idea any of this happened.

Something in me changed that night, when I realized that seeing him didn't make me hurt immediately. Later, though, I felt almost stupid. His friends thanked me, but I didn't hear from him until a few days after. He thanked me and then texted me this. "I’m just confused with what I want," he said. "Some of the decisions I have been making I’m fine with in the moment, but after I still feel conflicted and not sure I'm satisfied."

I then realized my favorite word had been proving me wrong all along. As I later told him, "My favorite word is simplicity because I really like the thought of it and I think most people do. But that’s not what life is supposed to be." After all, you have to be complicated and have doubts and be sad and happy and regretful and have no idea what you're doing and make mistakes to be a well-rounded person.

We are humans. We are meant to be complex. To laugh, scream, feel. Yet why is that not so aesthetically pleasing? Why is it that being vulnerable is frowned upon, but being fakely put together is what is praised? Later that week, this boy texted me saying that he realized he made a mistake leaving me.

I had made a mistake with the way I was living. Live a full, complicated life and don't let yourself feel bad about it. Because in the end, who wants to be just plain old simple?

By Reagan Gresh, 16

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