Every boy that ever picked on me from K-12 is either dead, in jail, on drugs, or their wives are shaped like box trucks. That was random but I wanted to drive that point in.

The first time I experienced “love” brought me a love child. A young girl with no real concept of love other than in the form of a small human that would consume me for the next 18+ years.

For years, I didn’t know how to love or be loved. It looked beautiful in the movies and on television. So much so, I wrote down my dream boyfriend and eventual husband and tried to be the person he would want. Smart, educated, accomplished, clean cut, athletic. One day, a male relative told me that because I had a child, guys would only want one thing and would never take me seriously. The guys I dreamed of would be “out of my league.” That conversation shaped my thoughts of dating and having a relationship for many years to come.


In college, I exchanged “I love you” with my boyfriend who accepted my past and never hid our relationship. We worked out together, walked to class together and spent countless hours together…. until he cheated. He was an example on my list and  I had what I was previously told I didn’t deserve. Truth is, he didn’t deserve me. (Little known Secret: I fought that girl all over Raleigh that I nearly got kicked out of school)

If the good guys were “out of my league” but wouldn’t treat me well, why would I waste time with them? At some point in college I began to date guys that I knew I couldn’t take home but they treated me like I had read about and watched on television. There was the one guy who left me at his house, filled with drugs while he was supposedly making “deliveries” at night. Another would take me on shopping trips, then give me a book bag to give to someone else on campus. Was I a “runner?” When he disappeared, someone’s gave me an envelope of money and said “__ said this is for you and take care. He won’t be back.” Another just stopped calling and I found out years later, he stopped because he was in jail. Nothing about those relationships were normal or safe but I was always treated well. They loved me, right?

As a 26 year old, I realized what love was. Unfortunately, that love was a young college student who became my Summer boyfriend as he was interning for the summer and would only be around a few months. As a mother working full time, my Summer love reaped the benefits of what I was capable of. His gentle, mature soul would cause me to judge every future relationship by what we had together. He was smart, athletic, passionate and had so much potential. He was on my list. When the day came for him to leave, we were prepared to go our separate ways. We did so with a kiss on my forehead and reciting out loud to each other “1 4 3.” In other words, I love you.

If anyone knows who I am as a person, it is my Summer love. Over the last 14 years, we have remained close friends who have grown up comparing all of our relationships to that particular Summer. We don’t belong together but we know what each other deserves.


That conversation with my relative would stay in my head for many years. It led me to believe that I was never good enough. I wasn’t good enough for the dentist so I ruined that. The attorney, I ruined that too. There was a period where I just ruined myself.

Everyone deserves love and somebody to love. Not everyone is capable of being loved.