When I was a teenager I liked a boy named Stephen*. I wanted him to like me too but I kept my crush hidden away for many years. All my friends knew about my crush and encouraged me to tell him. Finally one day I got the courage to. I still remember the day. It was sometime in the spring and that fresh feeling of knowing that you’ve made it over the hump of winter and you're headed toward the end of the year. I don’t remember what I wrote in the note but I do remember how I folded it up. Back then all the notes were folded up intricately. This time with each fold my heart swelled with anticipation. I slipped it into his locker and went through the rest of the day with butterflies in my stomach. Later that afternoon we transitioned to English class. He was talking in a small group standing in the hallway and wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I waited for him to walk over. The feeling of heaviness and dread got thicker and thicker. I could sense that it was time to go into class and I didn’t want to go yet. I had to find out if he read my letter and what he had to say. Finally, he walked up and I said, “Hi.” He said, “Hi.” I said, “Did you get my note?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “What did you think?” He looked at me in the eyes dropped his voice and said, “I want to be friends and nothing more.” His words reverberated in my ears. He walked into class and I waited a couple of seconds and followed behind him. I sat on the other side of the classroom. My eyes were dry and my heart hurt as I watched him carry on with his friends like nothing happened. This was a defining moment for me. Just thinking about this today gives me a lump in my throat. It's a moment that is etched in my being and unfortunately reinforced a limiting belief that I am not good enough. A belief I carried through adulthood and operated from in my love life. We all have defining moments in life and thankfully we can redefine them and get free.
*name has been changed