Whenever my life is going through changes, I find myself looking back at my past, wondering what I could do differently, wondering, had I made different choices, where would I find myself today?
An old boyfriend of mine has been on my mind quite a bit the last few days and yesterday I found myself googling his name. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had searched for some of the more significant crushes I’ve had in my life, what followed was pure & perfect clarity.
First off I started googling my first ever big crush. I was 15, he was 18 and in the army. I was a deathly shy, awkward teenager and I remember my heart almost leaping out of my throat the first time he called to invite me on my very first ever date, after I’d been crushing on him for months. It was also a little cringe worthy as he was the younger brother of one someone who had married into my family (my Dad’s cousins wife) and he’d phoned half of my extended family in an attempt to trace my telephone number to take me out. I remember almost dying of embarrassment and trying to hide my excitement when I asked my mom and dad if I could go out with him. He was also the first boy I ever kissed (Mom if you’re reading this, sorry, it’s a little over share) just a few weeks shy of my 16th birthday. I left that date feeling really uncomfortable, being so much younger than some of his friends who had joined us on the date, all of them having a few beers and there I sat, good little girl that I was, sipping my Coke. When he took me home, I told him it was a mistake and I didn’t want to see him again. Part of me regretted that decision, until some time had past and my Aunt mentioned to my Mom that shortly after that he’d started seeing another girl and low and behold she was pregnant! Imagine if that had been me? I was young, and impressionable and I could so easily have landed up being that girl. Yesterday I looked at photo’s of him on Face Book, he’s still married to the same girl and his head completely bald and he is unrecognisable to me in every way and not at all who I remembered him to be.
Next I decided to try to find a big crush I had when I studied at Stellenbosch. I was 18 when I met him and I was seriously interested in him. He was gorgeous and completely unattainable. It didn’t matter how much I crushed on him, he was not interested in me at all. Fast forward a few years and after bumping into each other in a club, suddenly, the rolls were reversed. He was crushing on me and chasing me in a big way. I was stoked! Couldn’t believe my luck, only, we went out a few times and then I realized that aside from being drop dead gorgeous, he really didn’t have much to offer me and I just wasn’t that into him. After looking him up yesterday, I will say this, he is an older version of his gorgeous self just as I remembered him as a 20 something young man, with two beautiful teenage children.
Next I looked up my first true love and also the guy that gave me my one and only true heartbreak. A professional rugby player from Gloucester. We met when he was contracted in to play at club rugby level in Cape Town. I fell hard for him and I thought he for me. He was the one and only time I ever experienced love at first sight. From the moment we were introduced I was instantly and madly in love with him. He was also the one who well and truly broke my heart and changed the course of all my future relationships… until I met Walter. We had a whirlwind relationship that included talks of me moving to Gloucester to be with him. When his rugby tour was over, he went back to Gloucester, filling my heart with promises of how he’d send for me. I heard from him only once after he returned home and never heard from him again. For a long while after that I ached to know what had happened, to see him, to get an explanation from him of how he could love me so much one moment and in the next turn and walk away and never look back.
That heartbreak caused me to make the single biggest mistake of my life. A rushed, rebound relationship that moved way too quickly and resulted in me being married within a year to a man that by the time our marriage broke down 18 months later, I didn’t love, I didn’t like, I didn’t even hate, I was completely indifferent to him. He was a bully and a cheat and he broke my self esteem and my soul into a thousand pieces, the scars of which I still bare today. Yesterday I looked as his Face Book profile pic, with his arms around a cute blonde woman and all I felt was pity for her, I found myself looking into her eyes and whispering, run, get away from him.
Not having learnt from past mistakes, as soon as my divorce was decreed, I rushed into another long term, long distance relationship that followed very similar patterns to my failed marriage. A guy who controlled me from afar, what I wore, how I spoke, who I saw, when I went out and with who and curfews. Unknown to me, he was also leading a double life, a girlfriend in Cape Town (me)who’s every move he controlled and a fiancé in Pretoria who’s heart he broke when he called of their wedding 3 weeks before the date. A man who’s parting words to me were, and I quote: “I can’t make a further commitment to you because I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something better!” The same man who, when Walter entered my life, became obsessive about me and determined to get me back. The same man who called me a bitch, whore and slut, when I refused to leave Walter and go back to him. A man who took the cowards way out when Walter made contact with him and explained that if he so much as sms’d me again, there would be dire consequences. I looked at his picture yesterday and wondered what on earth I had been thinking???
When Walter came home last night, I had been pacing waiting anxiously for him to come home. When he walked in the door, I looked at his full head of thick hair, his soft brown eyes that speak volumes of his gentle soul and all I could do was fling my arms around him and thank him.
Walter broke a cycle in my life, he is my knight in shining armour, he came along and showed me what it meant to be treated like a princess, to be loved, cherished and respected. To be given the freedom to be me, no questions asked, no demands made. Without him, I shudder to think of what my life would be, possibly still trapped in the cycle of controlling and abusive relationships.
Yesterday’s little look into my past brought such clarity to me. I realized how blessed I am to have spent more that a decade with a man I love and who loves me. We have a beautiful happy home, a perfect daughter and everything we could possibly need to be happy. Sure, it’s not always perfect as neither Walter or I are, and we’ve faced some tough challenges together but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I have has been worth fighting for and continuing to fight for. I know that while neither of us is perfect, we’re a perfect match.
I know that while Walter is not perfect, he is perfect for me!