They say hindsight is 20/20. At this point in my life, I get to be one of those people that say super-duper helpful things like that. Really though, what good does a phrase like that do? "Oh, you messed up? You did something you regret? Well, at least know you know that you messed up and you regret it. Gee, hindsight really is 20/20!"
I've only had one bad romance in my 25 years. And yep, after it was thankfully over, I had so many people offer helpful tidbits like the one above. Things that, after the fact, were absolutely useless and really just pissed me off. After five years though, I've realized what things I wanted to hear, not just after, but during my bad romance. And more importantly, I've realized what things I could have done to help myself. These things aren't of much help to me at this point, but bad romances happen every day, and you never know who might need to hear what I didn't.
I was always a loner. Sure, I had fun in groups, but I was always highly introverted and I didn't have any close friends. All those cutesy books you read where the main character has three amazing, beautiful best friends and they all tell each other everything and where the same pants? Yea. My friend status was as far from that as possible. And looking back, this is always the thing I wish I'd had the most. Even just one close friend who could see what was happening, who could grab me by the shoulders and tell me to wake up and do better. That would have made a difference, I'm sure of it. So, to any young person who is willing to listen- If you find a friend who will love you honestly and unconditionally, please latch on to that. Hold on to that friend with everything you've got, because one day that could help you more than you can imagine. One day they could be the one that says, "I have a bad feeling about him," at the time you need it most instead of, "I always did have a bad feeling about him," after you've already been through the worst moments of your life.
So, friends are definitely something I wish I'd had. One other thing, though, stands out glaringly, and it is something I still struggle with to this day. Confidence. And omg, yes I know that saying, "You just need to be more confident," is another one of those incredibly unhelpful tidbits of wisdom. But my lack of confidence really is the reason I stayed with him. One night I was so close, so close to breaking up with him. But I always had that voice in the back of my head whispering, "What if you never meet someone else?" That voice was ridiculous, I know. I was eighteen, I had YEARS to meet someone else. But I was scared. I didn't think I was pretty like other girls. My introvertedness made me the most awkward person to talk to. I basically thought I was a loser and I should have been lucky to have found a cool guy like him. I know, I'm rolling my eyes right now too. But when I was eighteen? I felt all of those things full force.
I don't know how to fix a lack of confidence, like I said, I still deal with this sometimes. I don't know what magic words you can say to yourself to suddenly feel worthy of something better. I wish I did. What I do know is how to fake it. I finally figured out that there is an even smaller voice, barely audible, that tells me the right thing. I really had to search for that voice. But it's there, and when I found it, I decided I had to trust it. Leaving someone whom you love, no matter how horrible they are, is one of the hardest things you'll go through. And through the whole thing, you'll doubt the decision. You'll have that first voice saying, "You will NEVER do better than this!" And that voice is loud. But there will be that tiny, faint voice in the background. "You're doing the right thing. You deserve better." And let me tell you, I did not want to listen to that voice. I was in love, remember? Books and movies tell us that LOVE IS EVERYTHING. I did hear that voice though, and I knew it was right. So I had to fake it. I had to very purposely distance myself from the bad romance, tell myself over and over and over that I would be ok. I didn't believe it. But I kept telling myself that until I finally was ok.
Looking back, I wish I'd had that confidence my whole life. That fake confidence that eventually turned the slightest bit really. Because that's eventually what pulled me out. And as thankful as I am for that, I wish it had happened sooner.
Bad Romance, by Heather Demetrios, hurt to read. It really hurt. There were times I had to stop reading and walk away. But I'm so glad I read it. And who knows, maybe a book this honest, this real, would have helped me when I was going through my own bad romance. I wish I could push this book into the hands of every person I know, just in case they're in a bad situation. I wish I'd had someone do that for me.
Thank you to Fierce Reads for letting me be a part of this amazing blog tour and for providing me with a copy of Bad Romance, by Heather Demetrios, to read.
Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
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