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What's Meant To Be
March 27, 2013 - Liz Skoczylas
I have a tattoo on my left wrist that reads "What's meant to be will be," in Polish.
The words are ones that have been repeated to me hundreds, if not thousands, of times throughout my 26 years, first by my grandmother (Babcia, in Polish), then by my mother, Matka. The words are also a permanent reminder of the absolute worst time in my life.
I moved back to Jamestown at the end of October 2010, a year and a half after I finished college. Earlier that month, I had been broken up with by a boyfriend I had started dating my senior year of college. In what I now consider to be the worst decision of my life, I continued to date him after I graduated, taking a job I couldn't stand so I could be with him. I found out days after breaking up that he had been involved with someone else, and had been for longer than I care to reminisce on.
I was absolutely crushed after the breakup. I can still feel the pain, the humiliation, to this day, as I curled up on the floor of the bedroom I shared with the then-boyfriend and called my parents. The only words I could get out were, "Don't tell me I'm stupid." I eventually asked to move home.
Because I strongly believe what's meant to be, by some miracle, Matka was already planning on coming for a visit three days after my breakup. She treated me better than I feel I deserved to be treated. She helped me draft a letter of resignation to the company I had been working for. She helped me pack. She provided the comfort I desperately needed. Although he wasn't there on that trip, my dad sent me the most encouraging text messages during this time as well.
After that weekend, I still had two weeks of living six hours away from my parents, as I wrapped up loose ends and committed to my final two weeks on the job. My friends are what kept me going during that time. And, every day when I opened my mail, there was a new card, note or letter from my parents, with encouraging words, telling me how much they loved me, and with a countdown of how many days until I was home. When I say I was not in a good place, it is an understatement. I had panic attacks, sometimes multiple ones in a day. My friends literally made sure I was eating and going to work. My best friend (and, now Matron of Honor), Emily, came to stay with me the weekend after Matka's visit. It was then that I got my tattoo.
About a week before I moved back, I received a Facebook message from a guy I hadn't spoken to in quite some time. Just a simple message from Nick.
"I heard you were moving back. When I see you, I'm going to give you a big hug."
Nick and I had met the summer of 2007. We dated casually for about a month, before we went our separate ways, with me returning to Pennsylvania for my junior year of college. I honestly hadn't thought of him much since then.
Nick and I continued randomly messaging each other that week, to the point where I called the mutual friend who had introduced us that fateful summer for a reminder of why he and I never became serious -- he had an ex-girlfriend that summer who wasn't being very nice. However, when I finally moved back to Jamestown -- heartbroken, ashamed, without a place to live other than my parents' house, without a job and without a plan -- I wasn't ready for anything more than that hug from Nick.
By the end of November 2010, things were falling back into place for me. I had a job. My relationship with my parents was growing stronger. I returned to Jamestown to find friends I didn't know I had. But, I still wasn't ready to date. Not that Nick didn't try. He would go out with my friends and I, only to be rejected. Quite frankly, I wasn't very nice. Finally, Nick reached the point where he backed off and told me to let him know when I was ready to date.
In February 2011, my brother and his then-girlfriend (now she's his fiance!), Mary, came to visit. Somehow, the three of us ended up out at a bar with Nick. I remember the drive home, with my drunk brother saying, "Liz, you're so dumb. You'll never date him. He's too good to you. He's too nice. You're just going to let him go."
In all honesty, I was terrified I would end up in the same place I had been in only months earlier. I told Nick I couldn't be in that place again. I wasn't strong enough to go through the pain and humiliation twice. It almost broke me the first time. He assured me he wouldn't hurt me. Somehow, I eventually put the feelings of terror aside, and we went on our first real date since I had moved back.
At the time, I was working at The Post-Journal during the day, and Nick was working basically second shift at his job. We would talk and text all week, and then see each other on the weekends. I think the amount of talking we did during that time placed us on the solid ground we needed. It built the relationship we have today.
After 14 months of dating, Nick proposed to me. They say you just know when you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone. I had known after about three months. The 11 I spent waiting for him to catch up were torture.
It has been more than two years since I got over my fears and decided to let Nick into my life once and for all. However, I truly believe that it's what is meant to be. Six years ago, when we casually dated, it wasn't meant to be. The timing in our lives was off. We both had growing, learning and hurting to do separately, in order to become the people we were when we finally fell in love, all those years later. And now, in a very short time, we will become man and wife.
What's meant to be will be.
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