As mentioned in last Tuesday’s post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point. This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.
This photo easily resembles me during the first two weeks of June 2004, when I spend every sunny moment laying out with my textbooks in front of my dorm, Dougan Hall. While every other college kid seemed to be on summer break, my fellow OUers and I were not, which meant FINALS. Final exams, final papers, (final) goodbyes-til fall quarter that is.
This was the first June that I actually began to dread and I’ll explain why. June obviously marks the end of a school year and up until this point, I’d always been happy for that since it meant S.U.M.M.E.R.T.I.M.E. While the same was true for June 2004, it also meant that I had to leave my OU friends and Athens for another summer in Hampton…but this one was going to be A LOT different from the ones before. At least I had my Snack Shackers to help me through it.
I guess it’s not right to talk about June ’04 without explaining what happened during this first year of mine at OU (sophomore year of college- remember I transferred from Kent State). What I’ve failed to mention thus far is that as ready as I was for a change (back in the summer of 2003 before beginning at OU), I was nervous. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know anyone. As exciting as a fresh start is, it’s terrifying too especially when I’d been so used to knowing so many people (in Hampton and Pittsburgh) for so long. Fortunately a few email exchanges with my new roommate made me familiar with one person that would be joining me on my OU (Oh Yeah) journey: Kathryn Byerly. Soon to be known as Kat. I don’t remember the drive to Athens on that day, but I remember meeting Kat and her friend, Laura, in our new dorm room, and then getting Chinese food later that evening. Amidst my initial anxieties, it was a very calming night. The calm before the storm…
The next few months of my life can be summed up as: New Friends; New Adventures; and New Love. Maybe not just new love, but first love.
No one else may have seen it that way, but I know it was L.O.V.E.- whether he felt the same way or not, I fell in love that year.
I won’t go into too many details, but I couldn’t explain that year without mentioning it- or at least giving you a little sample. I’ll say this, I’m always reminded of him when I watched/read/think of the stories behind The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
I could indulge you in all of the details of our courtship-if it can even be called such- or the similarities between myself and Allie & Claire; or why I see him in both Henry and Noah, but what’s the point?
June of 2004 arrived and so did a broken heart. My first real, full-fledged broken heart. I guess First Love and First Heartbreak come as a packaged deal. 2-for-1 special…but there’s nothing special about a broken heart, trust me.
Okay, I need to point out that my heart was not breaking just because of a boy, but for a combination of reasons. From what I remember, I was actually still quite optimistic back then that things would work out with my Noah/Henry boy (aka as the infamous Casey); however, some of my friends, including Brandon may disagree that there were certain weak moments- usually under the influence of good old OU fun. Also known as, alcohol.
So back to heartbreak, after saying my goodbyes to my lovely OU friends, or perhaps we should say my see you laters, it was time to head back to Hampton. Funny story, or at least for B and me. So for some reason, Brandon and I always joked about purchasing one of those huge balls from Wal-mart, but we never did. However, coincidentally, in my final moments before leaving OU for the summer, a big purple ball just so happened to be in the lobby of my dorm to be thrown out. Seriously??!!! Now if this isn’t fate then I don’t know what is. We played with that damn ball until it got stuck in a tree! Oh, Brandon. No one else in the world compares to you! I will never forget that moment, and yes, it was fate.
I remember walking out of Dougan with Rebecca, and actually the underage girl who I was had to carry out an empty case of beer that was drank in her underage dorm room the night with a few friends (one being Joe Zummo, from what I can recall). What a great way to end my friend year at OU, but I just didn’t want to leave. As I drove away with my mom, my heart began breaking…
…and it only broke more as the summer went on. I missed my friends so much.
I was working two jobs that summer and my social life was nonexistent, and so was my life in Hampton. Other than the Hampton Pool staff members and a few other people, MT being one, my past friendships had ended- which I take fault in. (Note: This is before Facebook, if you can even imagine that.) It was the first time in my life that I couldn’t see Hampton as home anymore. My parents and brother were there, as well as my past and memories, but that was it. Enter: More heartbreak.
I did my best to enjoy that summer, but like I said, other than the pool there wasn’t much to enjoy. I’d countdown the days until I was back in Athens, which were also the same number of days when I wouldn’t have to be in Hampton anymore. I just felt like I couldn’t have both in my life anymore, and I knew from now on that Athens would always win. I’d forever pick Ohio over Pennsylvania, and my college friends over my high school friends.
That all sounds so foolish to me now, I mean why did I think that I really had to choose? To this day I still regret, as Matt always said, running away.
If you can believe it, I fell even more in love with a certain boy from OU that summer. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? For a girl who was use to crushing on boys and getting over them quickly, this was painful. I swear I tried to forget him, but every time I did it just made me think about him even more. Seriously, is this what love is all about? Or am I just crazy? There was even a boy from Hampton that I crushed on in high school that may have liked me, and I didn’t even feel a thing. All I thought was, he isn’t Casey. Boys, Boys, Boys! They sure know how to mess with your head, even if they don’t realize they’re doing it.
So the title of this blog is a quote from the one-and-only, Ms. Carrie Bradshaw, from an episode of Sex and the City. I chose it because it’s a different way of identifying this time in my life. Now people tend to see butterflies (as in the ones you get in your stomach from nerves) in a negative light. However, the wise twenty-year old girl who I was at this time learned differently. Butterflies are something that I’ve learned to hope for because they let me know that something is meaningful to me. Not every boy will give you the butterflies, but the right ones always will. Learn to embrace the butterflies because they indicate that something good is right in front of you. Sure, crushes make us feel all funny inside, but I’d rather feel something than nothing at all. And if I’ve learned a thing or two about the butterflies it’s that you cannot force them nor can you make them leave. They do what they want.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to that summer and do a re-do…but would I still be where I am today? And better yet, would I really have done anything differently? Looking back I still feel like going to OU was exactly what I needed, and I still recognize that the girl from Hampton needed a change- she needed to grow up. But she didn’t just grow up, she abandoned who she was and left the place she once only knew as home…ensuing in heartbreak of a whole other form.