The Game Changer

There’s always that one. That one that comes into your life and turns it upside down and inside out. Whether it was for the good or for the bad, always one. Maybe one of each.

As women, we blame “That One” for our men’s commitment issues, among other things going on. She’s the one that treated him horribly or the one that broke his heart. But what happens in the reverse situation?

Most times, men just assume women are crazy or are too needy and gas light them into being too intense and wanting too much. Unlike women, who choose not to blame the men but their former women, the thought of a jerk that may have hurt her never comes to mind. Instead it’s something like, “You know how women are…”

But let me tell you, I know that jerk on a personal level. He came into my life in the strangest fashion, which I should have red flagged from the beginning but I was such a delirious college student that didn’t really care about herself (I know that now), that I took it at face value and ended up a hot mess in the ICU due to health issues at the end of it all. I mean, it couldn’t have been more telling.

I try and figure out what I was focused on and really, I wanted to be able to make the relationship work. After years of not dating anyone, I fell for the words he couldn’t back up. I think I felt like I was missing out on something. But this was definitely something I could have lived without.

We fought horribly. He would leave me hanging and not contact me for days at a time and he would tell me that he had something important to do. I remember the nights he would leave and say, “I’ll come back in a couple of hours and we’ll have dinner” although I knew he wasn’t going to come back. To this day, I expect people to keep their word to me or else I lose faith in the only thing they have to hold on to.

He ended up being a cheater for more than half of our year-long-and-some-change time together. He probably was seeing more girls than the one I ended up meeting.

In the end, I couldn’t help but blame myself. I thought it was my fault for not being good enough. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. However, I stayed because I kept telling myself that the good was great but the down times hurt me so bad, I abused alcohol just to get through it.

I carried a lot with me, including turning to alcohol when I felt terrible about things. It sunk into the depths of who I was and turned me into a horrendous person. The relationship I had after suffered from my low self-esteem and confidence. I couldn’t get out of myself long enough to see the good I had.

It took a few years but I finally dug myself out of the hole I was in. With how I felt to the alcohol abuse… I swear I was on the road to being an alcoholic for real. Every time I felt bad, anxious, out of control, I needed a drink. It was in 2010 that I bucked up and finally understood who I was as a person. I quit drinking for a year to understand what it meant to me and how it had to change. I finally understood the power I had on the inside in order to love and give and I revived the person that I was and am supposed to be.

Needless to say, I still have remnants of that terrible year in college. There are things that remind me of that year and what I felt, making me nervous and want to run away. Too bad, now. I make myself face what is going on and I stand strong, battling myself on the inside but making it work, ultimately, on the outside. People I know now and met after college would not believe for a second the person I was then.

Just ask my homies. The friends that saw me then and helped me through that situation are still friends now. They are proud of me and I love them for lending that helping hand, propelling me forward.

This was the “bad” game-changer. The one that killed you a bit. But then, there’s that “good one” too, called by various names: The one that you let escape, The one that got away, The best relationship you never had, The one that broke your heart. The “good” game-changer that showed you your worth but, it just didn’t work out.

That story is for another time.


  1. You’ve dug yourself out nicely, my friend. From our mistakes we learn. You are much the wiser, hey us 42ers let you hang with us, that says something.

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