Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Bright Side of Disappointments

Each day I become more convinced that there are no accidents. We stumble onto books, films, art, jobs, companies, and situations that teach us something about ourselves. The hardest lesson, I think, is when we stumble onto another person who gets us to reexamine a piece of ourselves we'd rather leave hidden in the shadows.

They may come in the form of an overbearing parent who doesn't understand us, an unlikely friendship that causes us to awaken to a parallel choice and consequential loss, or a mentoring source of support that pushes us because they know we're limiting our own capabilities. The most difficult ones are those that end up disappointing us.

We have our hopes high. We take a chance. We think this might lead to something good and beneficial. There's possibility and the idea that we might just finally find what we've been yearning for.

In middle school there was this boy. He lived around the corner and he was of course one of the popular ones; a preppy jock type. This is the type that I'm still ridiculously drawn to today, even though I know that self-absorbed, superficial jerks and compassionate, absent-minded, random, self-contained creatives tend to not mix.

Anyway, we were friends for the most part. We talked and joked around in class. We helped each other with the parts of our schoolwork we didn't understand. We liked each other. He used to follow me to the nearby park, trying to appear somewhat nonchalant as he made his brothers tag along. Sometimes he would hide up in the tree in his backyard and tease me as I walked past his street on my way home. We even held hands once on the field at school.

But our would-be romantic montage was suddenly interrupted by the blonde. Her parents allowed her to wear heavy makeup and tons of hair spray. It was the late 80s and Aqua Net, teased hair, and pore clogging base were still in. She didn't have much substance as I recall and their "middle school crush" was more of a display for his father who didn't approve of his "all-star athlete" son liking the "smart girl," with the "reading glasses." Not to mention, I never caught on to the "teased hair, heavy makeup" look. In short, the blonde was a "better" trophy.

Good thing young hearts are so resilient. Five months later I was completely over him and when I ran into him in high school and later in college, I couldn't quite figure out what I ever saw in his 7th and 8th grade self. The only regret I had was that my younger self didn't think she was as worthy as his "blonde trophy" at the time.

Despite his obvious lack of good judgment, that boy still managed to do me a favor. Besides the fact that I might have ended up in a miserable, unfulfilling teenage romance, I discovered that I was ok with being me. I knew that I didn't want to change my outward appearance or my inward one either just so I could be someone else's arm candy.

Disappointments aren't meant to hurt us. So much of life is a process of trial and error that it doesn't really matter if someone decides that we aren't going to "suit" them. It usually means that they're there to help us figure out what it is that will eventually fit us.


  1. Wise words. Synchonicity is amazing. Especially when looking at the past and seeing how everything really . . just fit . . the way it was supposed to . . experiences that led in the direction we were meant to go . . to experience . . to learn (although I wouldn't have said that in my youth . . much easier in reflection with much life experience!).

  2. Dear Thom,
    You're recovery from the puzzles that is part of your DNA worked out well for you. Your trip was a perfect journey. I admire you for this Thom. Some people's eye sights are better than others. I'll take yours anytime. :O) I enjoyed reading this very much. It gave me even a better insight about you. When I went to high school, I was NEVER in a click.....I enjoyed a smörgåsbord of people. I enjoyed the entertainment aspect from the different flavors smorgasbord people gave to me and I gave back. But the scholars was a “click” I could never “take my shoes off for a long stay”....and boy did you all miss out on some simply fun!!! And yes, I missed out too. Jackie

  3. oh oh...I thought the above was posted by Thom. I am so sorry for my mistake. Jackie and the famous Gastoon