She had always had a problem trusting people–even from a young age her “friends” were never really her friends and would constantly poke fun at her weight, and yes, sometimes even the size of her nose (Middle School is tough). Her “friends” often ditched her and actively neglected to invite her to their birthday parties. Once, when she was at the local YMCA with another friend (this time a good one from way back in PreSchool) she ran into (what she thought was anyway) her core group of “friends” at the same YMCA celebrating a birthday party to which she was actively NOT invited to. This was the first time her heart got broken.
In 8th grade she finally developed the group of smart, witty, fun, and kind friends that she had always longed for and much of her High School career was framed with giggling, Aerosmith concerts, Midnight trips to Wal-Mart, drinking Svedka in Sam’s basement, and cruising to I Love NY Pizza in Troy at 4am to answer the call of the munchies (sorry, Mom if you’re reading this). High School was fun until her boyfriend dumped her a week after junior prom and called her fat. That didn’t break her heart but it sure did sting.
She wrapped up High School the usual way…usual for her anyway…with an outstanding GPA, copious college acceptance letters, a NHS Service Award, a few scholarships, and a summer of concerts, and moderate drunken debauchery (again, sorry mom).
She entered college in the Fall of 2006 apprehensive about what awaited her. It took her 14 years to get a good group of friends and now she was transplanted 5 hours away from home with an anxiety disorder and an impending October snowstorm of doom. She wasted most of the first semester getting drunk with a new friend she met on the magazine, she should have known then that this girl was bad news…but she didn’t, she was grateful for a friend because her international roommate turned out to be a psycho Dubai-tante.
She spent the next year and a half fixated on three things: School, the magazine, and a boy. Things were going well until the Fall of 2008 when said female friend from the magazine went crazy, people spread lies about her causing her life as she knew it to crumble down, and she got dumped by the first boy she ever really truly loved and trusted. This is the second and a half time her heart got broken. She had spent so much of her life putting so much faith in people only to be let down that at this point it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, but it did–it socked her in the stomach like a blow from a WWF wrestler.
She spent the next couple of months beating herself up for being “weak,” and not “independent enough,” until she realized that contrary to what she had always told herself she has a lot of very good things going on in her life. She has a spectacular family unit, a sister who is her best friend, friends who will stick up for her and be there to answer her 2am phone calls, she is graduating summa cum laude AND Phi Beta Kappa, as well as writing an honors thesis and being PAID to intern at The Daily Gazette. She finally realized that as far as her life goals go…she is well on her way.
Yes, young Caitlin learned (the hard way) that she doesn’t need some guy to validate herself. She already does that herself through all of her accomplishments. And yes, being heartbroken is crappy, but at least she has a MILLION other things going for her. She is a kind, respectable, bright young woman who deserves to be treated as such, and eventually she will find someone to do just that (though evidence is that there are none of these types of males in the greater Buffalo area).
She learned that she needs to take advantage of every opportunity thrown her way and that she needs to be happy in spite of the haters, because, you know what? 90% of them are going to barely scrap together the grades to get their B.A.s and end up at dead end jobs, or as the secretaries making her coffee and photocopies one day…because while Caitlin is out taking advantage of life, they are sitting on their computers, establishing beer guts, and spreading nasty rumors and generally being nasty people. Karma.
Caitlin has learned a lot in her 20 years of life and is excited for the summer (as a time to intern and relax) and next fall (as a time to write her epic thesis and GRADUATE). For once, she is content in herself and is excited in the direction her life is taking because it’s the direction she has always wanted it to go in…No regrets (except maybe not taking the almost-full ride to UNC…)
To be continued…