Growing up, I was scared of roller coasters. I never wanted to ride them. I never enjoyed feeling my stomach doing double flips. It felt unfamiliar and scared me more because the sensation was not pleasant. It was not as bad as I thought as long as I got off the ride.
Imagine spotting that roller coaster at the amusement park. One more ticket is left in your hand, but it was supposed to be saved for a special ride. Your friends coax you to get on, but you say “Y’all! I don’t do roller coasters. I’m not doing it!” You remembered the last time you got on one. Now dared to get on, you find yourself seated on a roller coaster. The engineer slaps that belt on tight and secure and you’re set to go. “I’m only going on this ride one time!” You shouted to your friends. They’re laughing at you waiting to see the look on your face when you finish. The engineer pulls the lever, and ZOOM! Off you go on the craziest roller coaster ride. It’s known for the ridiculous high and low inclines and you try to prepare yourself mentally for the experience. You enjoy the ride at first, until the first incline. The sound of the lever pulling you up the hill makes you nervous. Sometimes it jerks because of the amount of weight it takes to take you up the hill, which is getting incredibly higher by the second. Panic ripples through your body in emotional waves. Your stomach is already doing double flips before you get to the top.
Suddenly, you regret using your last ticket for this ride. The wind blows tears off your face. The waves of panic gets worse and your breathing gets shorter. Questions form in your mind. Why did I get on this roller coaster? I hate roller coasters. I can’t wait til this ride is over. You hear people laughing at you. You realize you’re saying your thoughts out loud. You look beside you, and the passengers next to you are laughing at your fear. By the time you look forward, you’re already at the top of the hill and the ride takes off downhill! Everyone has their hands up, but you grip the pads in front of you tightly for the ride of your life! Blood curdling screams shoots from your lungs until it hurts.
The ride down sends your stomach off like a gymnast. This is not comfortable at all. You’re breathing in deeply to keep your stomach from floating into your throat. Right as you recover, the roller coaster sends you up another hill with a quickness. You brace yourself because you were not ready for this kind of ride. You should have never gotten on this ride, but now you can’t get off until it’s over. So…when is this ride over? Did you ever want to get out of something you knew was not for you but felt stuck? It’s like watching a series about your life, and this one episode you hate the most because the main character is making the stupidest choices. You hate it more because that character is you and you keep wondering why did I make this decision?
This was me three years ago.
My girlfriend Jada texted me one evening and wanted to get out. She suggested ESL (Eighteenth Street Lounge) and I was down because every Sunday night is house night. I really enjoy house music and the dance because people can dance to express their love, frustration, anger and sadness in the middle of the circle of people who watch and nod in approval. Once finished, people leave it all there in the middle of the floor and someone else takes their place. I still have never gotten in the middle, but Jada did. I love to watch people dance. As this was going on, I looked behind me and found this guy staring at me. I did not read into it but continued watching the dancers. He started a conversation and asked if I wanted a drink. I did not turn free drinks down, and figured I would never see him again.
Hours later, Jada told me the same guy invited us to late night breakfast. I was a hair disappointed because I thought he would ask me, but shrugged it out. I had just gotten out of relationship four weeks ago, so it was not that big of a deal. “Enjoy”, I replied. She looked at me confused and explained, “No, he wants to treat BOTH of us.” I got excited at the thought of free food. We ventured to Surfside around 1 or 2 am, and his friends and mine started vibing and talking. I learned the guy’s name is Jones from Los Angeles, CA. By the time we left, he found his way to me and asked for my number. I gave it, not thinking I would hear from him. Welp, I was wrong and he asked me out on a date one week later. I figured, sure why not? I’m newly single, and it would be nice to be treated.
Jones was a great date. He was more handsome than I thought and a great dresser. Also, Jones was proper, respectful, eloquent and a great conversationalist. This date night was the best conversation I’ve had with a man in awhile. He stimulated my mental psyche and woke up a dormant stimulant. It was such a release, yet also a major disappointment. As I listened to him talk, I looked outside of myself watching the two of us converse. I was not ready for him. I could tell he was very interested in me and got scared because he started asking questions. I was afraid of the infamous question that rolled out of his mouth.
“So tell me, how long have you been single?” Sigh. Well so much for a mind blowing date, I thought. I explained my recent relationship status. “I think you are really a great guy and wish I was emotionally ready to take this further, but I’m not,” I replied shaking my head the whole time. Damn, I am such a fuck up, I thought. Why can’t I heal faster? I hate this healing process from a breakup because it is really time consuming. Little did I know my vulnerability would open the door to Jones sharing his experience. We had a common situation we were dealing with: being broken from a relationship. This connected us for the good and bad.
Jones would continue to contact me from that night forward. I would avoid him because I was not healed. In fact, I pushed him away several times but he was very persistent and thought he could fix my brokenness. I didn’t understand why but he would keep pouring into me about how great I am and how I am extremely attractive. Years before him, after each breakup, I would resort to sexual rebounds or drink each night before bed. This time I tried to resist these natural resorts because they were not good for me. The last thing I wanted was to get wrapped up in a guy during this season of my life. He finally left me alone for six months (I just stopped responding to him).
As I was getting better, I missed our friendship and reached out to Jones to see how he was doing. Sadly, he was dealing with a tragic experience. My heart was in pain for him because his healing process was going to take time. I tried to be there as he was for me, and Jones clung close…too close. Next thing I know, I woke up in a hotel butt naked next to him. I was cursing up a storm in my head wondering…what do I do? Clearly we like each other and I finally gave in months after reconnecting. Jones and I talked and decided to give this a try. This situationship was a set up for a failure.
The first two months into our dating journey should have been a honeymoon phase, but it ended with such a fierceness that it sent me into emotional shock. We got into a really bad argument. It was a result of bad communication on both sides. Because of the sudden tragedy that happened to Jones, he was getting bogged down with responsibilities and prior committed engagements would slip past his mind.
Jones got into an uncomfortable bind and shared this with me. I appreciated that he was honest about the situation, but it made me feel uncomfortable because it involved a woman who still had feelings for him. Yeah, this sounds really bad without knowing the full details right? My mind said “Run Eryn. Run right now.” Instead of running, I tried to put on my “sympathy” cap and tried to fight past what I felt. As days passed, it got more uncomfortable that I had to bring it up to Jones. He asked, “I know this is not comfortable, and I don’t know what to do because I really want to be there for this retirement party. What should I do?” I thought on it and gave an option. He seemed okay with. I mean Jones kept saying “okay” with no intonation of doubt…until the week of the party. Suddenly, Jones was never okay with my suggestion. This omission of information stung me like a bee since I was still healing.
I remember bursting into tears out of disappointment and anger and tried to run from him. Jones grabbed me and kept hold. I kept yelling at him to let go, but he refused. I just sat there and looked at him. Emotionally spent and done, I let him leave to go forward with his engagement. I ended it with him after not talking to him for days. I thought Jones and I were done…until I reached out to him four months later.
I called Jones to let bygones be bygones and start over with a clean slate. Forgiveness is such a love and hate ministry. Some have a hard time letting go while others don’t. However, Jones was not over what happened and wanted to address it. It took a few weeks for him to bring it up. I wish this was mentioned up front because I was in a happy place. Hearing him say this brought a gray cloud around my emotions. I thought oh no, I don’t know if we’re gonna make it. I am sure you’re wondering why did I go back? I wonder that too! We tried to make it work again, but two months later I cut it off again. I do not remember why, but obviously there is a pattern here, right?
A month later, I remember inviting him to a Spades Night at a friend’s place. A girlfriend who was there kept asking “Are you sure you’re done with him?” I put on my big girl facade and said yes. I was convinced I was done. Jones and I were flirting hard that night. I was about to leave, and he walked me to my car, being the gentleman he is. The moment we got outside, Jones turned me to him and kissed me. I looked a him and said “Jones, why do we keep doing this? Every two months we do this and we’re not on a solid foundation here. We need to stop.” It was this night I knew I was emotionally compromised. I was stuck because I was not ready to let go of him. In the midst of his flaws and brokenness, I still wanted to be with Jones even though I knew deep down this would not work.
Whenever I thought I was ready to leave him alone, I found myself going down the rabbit hole again only to land on Jones’ lap. I would watch myself outside of myself screaming “WOMAN! WHY CAN’T YOU LEAVE?! THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU!” It was as if my body was moving under enchantment. I could not stop it. The other side of me was crying…for me because I could not climb out of that hole. Even my own friends were not convinced anymore and I knew I had a problem. I was stuck on this emotional roller coaster.
This situation repeated itself over and over with Jones for about a year until election night. Jones was who I was referring to at the introduction of my first blog entry. This was the final turning point after mulling over our situation for one night. I did try to be friends with Jones because that was a part of our relationship that I enjoyed. He obviously did not want to be a friend and thought he could behave the same way before. Jones thought he could get away with being an ass. I cut him off quickly and chose not to speak to him for three years.
Have we reconnected? After three years, yes…but I approached Jones with caution. I’m glad to see he healed from the tragedy, but I saw the same patterns repeat and addressed it up front. I asked what is he trying to do?Are the feelings still there? I did not think they were, but they are…however, I am not making the choice to return to him. I do not want to go down that rabbit hole again.
Vulnerability has it’s strengths, however you have to be aware of your weakness within your vulnerability. People can take advantage of it for their own greed. People are very vulnerable after breakups which is where those “wolves” come out to look for the “weaklings”. Be aware of that because that situation you suddenly got ‘locked’ into may not be your forever…not even during this quarantine season.
What will happen to that situation after this quarantine ends? Will they stay? Or will they ditch you like they have many times before until they need to “scratch that itch”? Whether it’s a bae, a reoccurring friendship or some other situation, be mindful of that and do not get stuck on that roller coaster ride. You remember and know how it felt before…so why do you want to jump back on that ride again?