The Chapter I Promised Before: Letter 3: The Philanderer

Malcolm Gladwell talks about snap judgments. We know things before we know them. In fact, Gladwell states that it only takes us 3 seconds to make up our minds about something or someone. I have always been an amazing judge of people; I regularly know the second I meet someone what effect they will have on my life. I see potential some may not even see in themselves. It’s a gift…an intuitive gift that I work very hard developing. I bring this up mainly to point out the wonder of our minds and how we should just trust it all. Trust the process. I should probably put that everywhere I go, just to remember it. TRUST THE PROCESS.

Perfect example of this is a guy named A. We grew up 2 miles from one another and were exposed to many of the same life stories. He fascinated me. I met him first when I used to take the city bus to junior high with my best friend Ashley. He was 3 years ahead of me in school, so he was in high school then. We met through a friend of mine, Susan, who had been camp counselor for summer camp my mom used to put me in (this one was ‘wet and wild’ themed with a trip to Wild Rivers). A wanted NOTHING to do with me, but I have his face etched in my memory from that first introduction. I didn’t know why, but I felt connected to him. When I was a freshman in high school, we saw each other without acknowledgement at high school football games. Who cares, right? I did. 

Sophomore year, my friend Red invited me to the Weezer/Jimmy Eat World/Tenacious D concert at SDSU for her birthday, and out of a sold out crowd with no cell phones, there he was. That is when I took true notice. He was there with his girlfriend, but started talking to me. I smiled, and he handed me his business card (A, student, schoolemailaddress). I took it and filed it away with all my documents (really it was a huge drawer full of crap). I didn’t think about him actively for another 4 years until the day I applied to live in the dorms at his university. At the same time, I came across his card (I was looking for my vaccination card), and I took a gamble by emailing him. 2 weeks later, after I had already forgotten, he replied that he was living in Spain but would like to meet up when he returned from study abroad.

So far, this story could be seen as horrible timing and a missed opportunity. I prefer to call it trusting your gut (AND the process). A returned, and, as planned, he contacted me to meet up. We went to dinner and chatted. I had a boyfriend at the time (M.), and I had told A about him. As we lived on the same campus, A and I started “meeting up” on a semi-regular basis. We kept getting dinner together on campus. Dinner turned into watching Family Guy. catching up, making dinner in his apartment, doing homework in the same room, spending tons of time together alone and out with friends. Basically, we were dating, and I loved it. A LOT. After talking with A about my relationship troubles, I broke up with M, my longest, most turbulent relationship, and I LOVED being included and dated and taken out by someone who actually cared about me. A was fabulous. He was first generation, had lived abroad, and made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I was crazy about him. At the same time we could talk for hours, I also enjoyed the silence with him. I enjoyed just sitting next to him. One night, while watching Family Guy and drinking wine, A kissed me. It was a couple months into spending time with him, and that kiss just felt like the perfect spontaneous moment. That’s the night we became lovers. Two kids who grew up a mile apart, randomly meeting all over the city, falling for each other for the first time…

Sounds romantic, right? Well, it actually was kind of perfect, until I noticed a picture of him with some girl on his wall. From bed, I asked, “Who’s that in the photo?” A: “Oh, her? That’s my fiancée. In Spain.” It was like a bad rage comic. I had been dating his guy, everything was perfect, and then, after I slept with him, nothing was perfect. 

His fiancée in Spain came to stay for 6 weeks. I remember vividly both the day that he asked if I would pick her up at the airport and the day I actually did pick her up at the airport. He handed me a camera and asked if I would take pictures of their meeting when she came out of the gates. I choked back tears, put on a smile, and did what he asked. Apparently she was fond of me, because they asked to spend time with me on a very regular basis for those 6 weeks. Feeling humiliated that I was in love with her fiancée and that I had helped him cheat, I felt it was only my penance to spend time with them if she so requested. We even DROVE TO DISNEYLAND TOGETHER. A tried to pass me off on his younger brother, who then hit on me most of the day. I remember the line of Thunder Mountain was when I lost it. I sat down on a rock and started to cry…thinking: What the fuck am I doing here? Why am I putting myself through this? And then he came, put his hand on my shoulder, and asked if I was ok. I sucked it up and dealt with the rest of the day…and then decided I couldn’t put myself through it anymore. 

So a few weeks later the fiancée left, and I threw myself into feeding my broken heart with guys on and off campus. None were memorable, they were just nightly distractions. Then A sent me a gift for Christmas, asked to see me. Reminded me how special I was to him…and I let him back in for a month and a half. My birthday was coming around, and he said he had reserved for us to go to dinner. I bought a new dress for the date, was really excited to go out, when I received an email that his fiancee had bought him a ticket to Spain for Valentine’s Day and he wouldn’t be back for my birthday. I cried for weeks. He sent me flowers and candy and I was fucking done with it. I felt completely ruined. I found more distractions…some who I had old flames with (like J.), some randoms, some regulars (like CM). That went on for months.

Until the day I ran into the friend of mine who started this whole mess back in summer camp. She invited me out to SunGod Festival, only the coolest music festival on campus…an entire day of just partying and no cops. I shouldn’t have said yes, but I was lonely and empty. So I went to meet her and her boyfriend at a restaurant to eat before partying, and A showed up with his group of friends. We locked eyes, I heard his little comments and jokes, and I was sucked into the madness. Funny enough, though we spent the time hanging out together, I spent so much time getting wasted, avoiding him, and avoiding my feelings, that he ended up sleeping with someone else…someone not me and someone not his girlfriend. He thought I had gone home with a guy (which I hadn’t…I was drunk and the guy walked me home and slept on the couch in my suite), so he fucked a random girl too. I woke up the next morning, calling him to see if we could get breakfast, and I heard her in the background. I was livid. No more contact, I said. NO MORE.

Until about a month later. I had moved into the CLMT house by then, started dating B, whom I had no chemistry with but enjoyed dating because of that. A called one day, out of the blue, and asked for me to come to Carlsbad to see him. He was leaving the next day to move to Spain for good and wanted to resolve things. I agreed because I wanted closure and cried all the way up there. I helped him pack as he started to apologize. Then, out of the blue, he spontaneously told me he loved me. It was a crazy, heated, passionate moment that I was completely unable to enjoy. No matter what he said, I was in love with someone who would never give his heart to me. He always wanted to have me but not me to have him, not completely. But I told him I loved him too…because I meant it. At that point, it had been almost a year since he first took me to dinner. He had spent nearly every day with me for months, I had met his friends and loved them, he had met my parents. He was the first person I actively chose to love. And I was still the other woman. 

I cried all the way home. The next morning, he called me from the airport to say goodbye. He said he didn’t want to go and leave me. I remember feeling most strong when I said, “Then don’t get on the plane.” THAT was the moment he finally had to choose. And he didn’t choose me. 

That day, I stayed in bed. It was June 21, 2004. I cried all day, listening to Third Eye Blind “Motorcycle Drive By” and finally wrote these words. This is what I learned from A:


The Greatest Lesson 

–Before you I could run

I could detach myself from anyone or anywhere

and even though it would sting for a moment

I believed I could save myself heartache

–Before you my purpose wasn’t clear

I feared love because I knew 

I thought I knew I didn’t deserve it

I knew nothing of reciprocity or respect

–You have given me life

Opened my heart to endless opportunities

Shown me the joy love can bring

Mended my wings and allowed me to flutter

–I can be no one but myself with you

You give me no reason to hide

Those walls I spent so long building shatter in a moment

And you have always been here to hold me

–You’re leaving with me knowing the feeling is not quite the same

And yet the days we spent still gave me life

Gave me a meaning, a reason to change

My days to run are over and my heart is free

–Before you go

I need you to remember that I love you

This love is deep and strong and painful

It scares me–all of me loves you

It need not be that you love me

I have learned the greatest lesson

And to share that with you was worth every second

My feet have stopped and I am free.


I still feel this way for A, though the passion has died and I would never want someone who didn’t respect me like he didn’t. I also don’t agree so much with this poem, for at that time, I was so heartbroken that I was not free at all. In fact, I was so heartbroken that I ran from any man who was anything like A: well-read, stable, funny, sweet, super nerdy, well-spoken, interesting, complimentary, kind, wanted me to hang out with their friends, this list goes on. Until about a month ago, I ran from every “A” I had the chance to meet, believing they, too, would have another woman waiting for them, with me in the wings, just the understudy. 

Farewell, A. Thank you for:

  1. teaching how to recognize love
  2. being the person who embodied almost every trait I ever wanted and do want in a partner
  3. reminding me the importance of honesty
  4. teaching me loss, true loss




The Worst Fling Ever

I think about you every now and then, when a mutual friend posts on Facebook and I am forced to remember you. I think about you when I watch “Deadliest Catch” or someone talks about fishing or swordfish. I think about you when someone asks if I have ever dated a Mormon. Other than that, I don’t think about you. EVER. I’m sure you’re aware of why. I never got to know you. We rarely chatted after the night we met, though our connection was crazily strong. All in all, you sucked as a boyfriend, and, most (if not all) of the time, you sucked in general as a human.

Do you remember the night we met? It was late June 2004. A week earlier, I had met “Big Nasty”, who paved a grand entrance for you in my mind. He worshipped you, like all the others. Big Nasty ideolized you. So when you came into the CLMT house that night, (my second week in the house, my first real party), I’m pretty sure I was supposed to meet you. I don’t think I have even started really drinking yet–a sign was that I was sitting next to my landlord, drinking a disgusting Mike’s Hard Lemonade, making eyes at my own roommate. You had tried to start a conversation with me a couple of times that night and I wasn’t obliging…until you said you were Mormon. Then, beers in both our hands, we talked for hours…or what seemed like hours. I remember having to go to the bathroom, getting up, going, and then going to the kitchen for water. Then, I went into my room and closed the door–so over the fucking party. You knocked. We kissed. That kiss reminded me of how much I loved casual, emotionless, uninhibited sex. And I really liked the taste of it I got with you. That night, I used you to remind myself that I still had it.

As for boyfriend status, that one’s on you. I kicked you out of my room, looking for nothing else, and you asked for my number. Then you called over and over again when I was out of town, looking to see me. I didn’t even remember you. The months went by…and you sucked me in more and more. I started to lose myself in your enormous ego. For a minute there, when you looked in my eyes and told me you loved me, I almost believed you. You used me, your friends used me. You often humiliated me. You were the worst months of my life. You didn’t break my heart, you broke my spirit. You horrified me, you invoked all the shame I already had. You used me and ruined me. Still, you taught me things. What I wanted, what I didn’t want…

Thank you…

  1. for teaching me my worth
  2. for teaching me that first instincts are the best instincts (I should have let you keep knocking, I should have let you keep calling, I should have left you there that night you said you were wasted and needed my help…I should have listened to me)
  3. for teaching me that good looking doesn’t mean intelligent
  4. for teaching me the art of having casual sex, once again
  5. for teaching me that even though sex doesn’t always have to have emotional ties, that it should ALWAYS be based out of respect
  6. for reminding me what a complete pig looks like
  7. for reminding me that I should never lose myself to a pair of brown eyes and empty compliments



***Note of Reflection: I wrote this letter about 8 months ago, when I was not ready to really face the complete pain and humiliation this person caused me, with full intention. To anyone who happens to read this blog at any time, I have some notes of caution I also learned while seeing N:

  • No means no.
  • No means no.
  • No means no.
  • No woman deserves sexual abuse or humiliation.
  • A real man is not a misogynist. A real man does not force a woman to have sex with his friends or family while he watches.
  • Mormons are just like any other human…some are good, some are bad, and some are just pain soulless.
  • Resistance means no too, unless you explicitly give permission.
  • It doesn’t matter if you know him, if you like him, if you’ve fucked him, if you want to fuck him, you don’t deserve getting it if you don’t want it.


The Fake

There are many negative things I could say about you if I really looked back at the cat and mouse game you’ve taken me on since 2004–wow, 8 years already. I could highlight the fact that you couldn’t keep a lie straight, you slept with a 15-year-old while we were together, you told me you loved me then called me the wrong name; the list, unfortunately, goes on. But I won’t elaborate on that. Sure, you sucked as a boyfriend, but you’re a great human, and you push me every day to be one, too.

Back in 2004, when you chased me down on Myspace, I was a mess. I’d just had a string of crappy break-ups and spent time partying with the wrong people. Sometimes, when you came to visit me, I felt like I was the girl you were “slumming it” with. Maybe so, I’ll never know. But I do know that you complimented me like no other. There was something so flagrantly animalistic about the way you treated me that I actually loved. No doubt you know you’re one of the most good looking men who ever lived, no doubt you know that to most women, money increases attractiveness, and no doubt you know you’re good in bed. Perhaps this made you callous towards me. Perhaps it was a game. In any case, your personality worked for me. You are the only man I look back on and still think that if timing were right, we’d be unstoppable. Enough with emotion, though.

I’m here to thank you, not wonder “what if”. Actually, I don’t wonder “what if” anymore because I don’t even know if I ever wanted you in the first place. However, thank you for inspiring me. Actually, thank you for inspiring everyone you meet. People I know can’t stand you because of your accomplishments. You work ridiculously hard to be the best professionally, and you rarely talked to me about it. You climb mountains for breakfast, surf big waves for lunch, rule the mountain for dinner, and then you come home and kick ass at everything else. It must be tough being so awesome. You effectively are the coolest person I have ever met. Thanks for teaching me to go for everything. Thanks for playing “Give it All” over and over again, amping me up, building me up to take risks I never had before. Thank you for never catching my fall. You taught me to walk on my own, to get up and give it all, no matter how much it hurt.

Professionally, my life would be nothing without you blowing me off constantly to develop databases or data structures. To keep up with you, I started reading SQL books. Over the years, I tried so hard to figure out a way to get in touch with you or to ask you a question you’d answer that I started dabbling in database development. Now, that’s all I do. There’s a little piece of me that now can say was created to pay homage to you. Thank you for teaching me the art of getting paid well.

What I really mean to thank you for is for the way you live your life that I am not even close to mastering. I remember New Year’s Eve 2004-2005. You came down to my surprise, happiness, and honor, to party with my group of friends. We drank, we smoked, we danced, we listened to music…then you passed out. It was crazy and embarrassing. But what was beautiful about this moment we got to share is that you did what you wanted, you passed out, and you were completely unapologetic about it. I have never seen you embarrassed about the way you live your life, the way you spend your money, your abundant tweets or status updates, your collection of self-portraits, or the way you spend your time. It used to make me uncomfortable when I wasn’t okay with the way I did those things. You have mastered the art of letting go, the art of just not giving a fuck.

So what our relationship didn’t work out. So what you cheated. So what you are Republican and Capitalist and patriarchial and I am Socialist and small box and feminist. I believe I told you a time before my theory on relationships. I believe that sometimes you have to endure a romance to gain a friend. It’s no secret that I love you. No secret that you crack me up. No secret that of anyone I’ve ever met, I feel most comfortable with you, your smile, your stoner tangents.

Thank you…

  1. for teaching me that I’m worth more than I think
  2. for reminding me (on numerous occasions, with numerous examples and I told you sos) that sex is necessary and not-negotiable
  3. for teaching me to relax
  4. for showing me how to work hard AND play hard
  5. for making me laugh and teaching me to laugh at myself (and others!)
  6. for showing me that some Republicans can be cool…

Thank you for breaking up with me so that I could realize that while you’re cool, rich, smart, successful, I still don’t deserve to be lied to, to be looked down on, to be used. Thank you, after all these years, for being my friend. Thank you for your apologies. Thank you for for being pretentious. Thank you for teaching me that I am better than that. That I am no one to be “slummed with”.

Thank you for reminding me that while people can look successful, they can still be fake and small and cocky. Most importantly, thank you for teaching me that men can change, and that all the things I saw in you were really you. I look at you now, see the man you’ve grown to be, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for cheating on me and posting it on Myspace for the world to see.

Thank you. Thank you for breaking up with me so I could gain a lesson, a climbing partner, and a friend.



Is this true?

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” –Bob Marley