Two years ago, I ruined my life.
I graduated from high school and instead of falling for a university
I fell for a boy.
Except, I didn’t really fall for him.
I fell for a reason to escape all of the social burdens placed on me.
I’ve always said my dream of becoming an artist was mine
Until I hit junior high.
In junior high, while walking down the hall,
My dream was jumped.
It was beaten up and I tried to defend it,
But there were just too many of them.
When they finished my dream was unrecognizable.
And despite all of my efforts and all of my strain,
I couldn’t put my dream back together again.
So, I turned it over to professionals
And they performed reconstruction surgery.
My dream came out looking nothing like itself
But they swore on the inside it was the same.
How could it be?
So as my dream and I grew further and further apart the more I realized
The professionals were wrong.
My dream had been molded and shaped into something that wasn’t mine anymore.
But I learned to live with it
And pretended that I was still a strong, independent individual with my life put together.
Now, I won’t talk about my major depressive disorder diagnosis in high school
Or how a mixture of antidepressants and my inability to deal with my depression
Ruined friendships and created a rift between my family and me.
Or how because I was in high school no one took my depression seriously,
and I was labeled an attention seeker,
Or how I thought about and attempted suicide more times than I care to remember,
And how the reason came more from people refusing to take me seriously than my actual depression.
I won’t talk about any of that because that isn’t how I ruined my life.
I ruined my life the day I packed up and left without warning to live with a boy I barely knew
To avoid being thrust into a future I didn’t want.
I was bitter and angry at my dream because it wasn’t what it used to be.
Because it couldn’t “just get over it” and go back to what it was before everyone changed it.
So I left without proper goodbyes and lived for the next half of a year without friends and family.
My relationship with some of my best friends and my little sister especially dissolved.
I wasn’t there when they needed me and they weren’t there when I needed them.
I didn’t talk to anyone and I drew a smile on my face every day to fool everyone into believing I was happy.
I took selfies and I took them often to keep up my façade.
Then I moved back down to my home town and that boy followed.
In the middle of fighting with him and fighting myself more friendships were lost
And it wasn’t until that boy was back at home for the summer that I finally had the courage to say
Enough is enough.
I shouldn’t say courage.
I broke it off over the phone like a coward.
But in person his controlling nature always over took me.
One time in the midst of a fight he smacked me across the face.
I asked him why and he said because
I was being crazy.
On the day he lost his job he lied to me and told me he was fired
When in reality,
He quit and I ended up supporting us for the rest of our relationship.
In the midst of a fight he told me he hadn’t been looking for work at all.
Another time he pushed me on our way into class and my uncle saw and tried to fight him.
I broke up their fight by insisting he was just playing around.
Our first day at the local college two police men saw us in an argument and pulled over to see if I was okay.
I lied and told them we were just playing around.
On the day of my first gallery opening he pulled me aside and told me I was being selfish by not spending more time with him at that moment.
I came back crying in front of everyone present.
I told everyone I was upset because the gallery wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be.
He told me ‘I love you’ shouldn’t be said too often or it’ll lose its meaning.
And it did.
A week before we broke up he wanted to come down earlier than we had planned.
When I told him my little sister and I had plans already he said, “Too bad. She’ll have to deal with it”.
A few days before we broke up he told me I couldn’t cut my hair the way I wanted without his permission.
The day we broke up he called me furious because I had cut my hair without his permission.
The day we broke up he drove four hours to find me.
The day we broke up he came to my work and put my job in jeopardy.
The weekend he broke up he stalked me all over town until a friend stepped in and told him to leave me alone.
He spent the weekend refusing to believe we were broken up and messaged, called, texted
Everyone who knew me.
He told everyone that we broke up because of a haircut while I chose to remain silent.
And as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months I found my true friends and lost others.
My dream and I went through therapy and are in a happy relationship now.
Two of the most amazing people in the world have helped me rebuild myself.
I strive each day to become a better person and to rebuild relationships ruined.
The nightmares stopped and eventually I forgave myself for the mistakes I’d made in my past.
But to tell you that I am happy with myself now and all the wounds have healed would be a lie.
I’m still not okay.
I still find it hard to sleep some nights and hard to get up some mornings.
I still fear the sight of any silver car that looks remotely similar to his.
I still have panic attacks when I walk into my local college.
I still can’t talk to friends I’ve known for years about the past two years of my life.
I still avoid eye contact with old friends when I see them around town.
I still have trouble focusing on my art.
I still want to die sometimes.
I’m still not okay.
But I’m still here and I’m still trying.
And every day seems to get a little brighter.
And thanks to the help and understanding of my friends and family one day I will be okay.
This is the story of how I ruined my life.
Stay tuned for the story of how I put my life back together.

Published by Skyler Winder