I am the most indecisive person you will ever meet. I transferred schools twice in high school and twice as a junior in college. I guess you could say I’m a little all over the place. The part of my story that usually makes people throw their hands in the air is that two of the times I transferred were solely for a boy. But it wasn’t just any boy. The first time I transferred, the boy in question was my first love: I was convinced we would get married one day. As the story goes, insecurity got the best of me. I was sure that if I didn’t transfer to his school, he would find someone else, leaving me loveless, lonely and most importantly, boy-less. After a year at his school, however, I realized my mistake in leaving my all girls, snobby, prep school for his painfully mediocre school and ended up transferring back. 

As first semester of senior year rolls around, me and “the love of my life” are still dating. Four years of conflict, drama, and fun have passed us by and there I was hoping that we would end up at the same college so that we could pass another four years by hand in hand. Oh how naive I was. He had spent the summer in England, doing his physics thing at Cambridge and I had spent the summer with my newfound theatre friends. As hard as it was to accept, we had grown apart. Consequently, when I offered to follow him to Scotland for college, he promptly broke up with me. In retrospect this was a blessing. We were not meant to be together and he probably never really loved me. This is the first big break up I ever had and it is the first time I truly realized that actions speak louder than words. I say this because up until the day that this guy broke up with me he was telling me he loved me and wanted to be together forever; however, the way that he treated me in the months prior to our break up contradicted this, and if I had realized that sooner, then I would have been more prepared for the break up.

Moving on to college! I was single for a year or so after me and “the love of my life” broke up. It was a good year–I did all of the things I had wanted to do in high school but never had the chance to while I was dating him. I dated around, went to parties, got a couple of leads in plays, and focused a lot more on my art. I got a full ride scholarship to Rhodes and once I got there I was able to focus on making friends for the first time in a long time, which was really refreshing. Unfortunately, come November (of 2014), I met “the actual love of my life.” Grant. Yes that is his actual name, I don’t care if you all know it. We had the most intense relationship I have ever experienced in my life. It was love at first sight. We were head over heels for each other. The first thing he told his mom and all of his friends about me was that he “wasn’t afraid to admit that he was going to marry me one day.” It was so special. Or at least it seemed that way–I won’t go into all of the details because I don’t particularly want to remember them.

So, about four or five months after we had started dating, I got this crazy idea that I should transfer from Rhodes to Webster University–an Art(ish) school in Saint Louis, Missouri. Grant went to Saint Louis University, so it made sense, right? The next school year rolls around and I’m enrolled at Webster. I got an apartment right by the school and I was going to have my car and my best friend, Marielle, lived there so it was going to be the best year ever–or so I thought. I could not have been more wrong in thinking that. Webster was about 25-30 minutes away from SLU and Grant did not have a car. We rarely got to see each other and when we did it was mostly just because he needed a ride home from work and wanted someone to sleep next to him because he was depressed and lonely. Every time either of us had free time, he would choose to hang out with his friends over me. Not to mention he was a huge substance abuser, so when he did finally agree to hang out with me, he would be extremely high and I would be miserable because I just wanted to spend time with my boyfriend and it didn’t really feel like we were spending time together when he was high out of his mind–it felt like I was hanging out with a zombie. Don’t get me wrong, I think its fun to drink and smoke, but you have to do it in moderation. That’s common sense. You can’t let substances rule your life or you wont progress or grow at all–we all know this.

This guy treated me like shit and I let him. He picked everyone over me and then made them all hate me so that I couldn’t hang out with any of them. He took my best friend away from me. He lied to me. He picked drugs over me. He picked everything that he possibly could over me and I stayed with him because I was afraid of being lonely and because he was so incredibly manipulative that I believed every word he said to me. I believed him when he said he loved me. I believed him when he said he never wanted to lose me. I believed him when he told me there was no one else. I believed him when he told me he wasn’t still talking to his ex. I believed him when he told me he wanted to marry me one day. I believed him when he told me he had stopped smoking. I believed him when he told me he was “doing homework” even though he was really just doing an assortment of random drugs with his friends and didn’t want me to be upset. I always believed him and looking back, I have no idea why. I don’t know how I could have ever allowed anyone to treat me so terribly when I gave them everything that I had. I paid for his food, I gave him rides to work, I did so much for him and I never asked for anything in return. And he never gave anything in return. He made $400 a week valeting in Saint Louis and I picked him up every night. Not once did he offer to put gas in my tank. Not once. He spent all of that money on drugs and food and alcohol. How was I so blind?

It wasn’t until recently that all of his lies became too much for him to handle. It wasn’t until recently that he cracked and everything completely fell apart. After the year that we spent “together” in Saint Louis, I decided to move back to Memphis because he had failed out–thanks to the copious amounts of drugs he was doing and his intense lack of motivation–and wouldn’t be in Saint Louis the next school year. We had decided that we were going to try to make things work long distance again and it was our plan that he would eventually move to Memphis for me since I had moved to Saint Louis for him. It was the least he could do, especially considering the town he was from had a population of about 15,000 people. Anything was better than that, right? Wrong. He lead me on for seven months or so–up until a few weeks before this past Christmas (2016)–telling me he was going to move here and that he was going to save his money up and that he wanted to marry me before he turned 25 because I was the only person he could ever see himself with. Then one day he just broke. He ghosted me. Turns out he had been talking to a crazy girl from his home town for probably three or four months and he chose her over me because it was easier to be a drug addict with another drug addict than it was to be a drug addict with someone that was trying to help him get his life together.

It was rough for a while. I was really sad and I felt really betrayed. I was in complete shock because just a few weeks prior to him breaking up with me he had spent two hours explaining to me in gross detail how incredibly special to him I was and how beautiful I was. However, looking back on it and looking back on the way that he treated me throughout our entire relationship, it makes perfect sense. Because regardless of the things he said to me and regardless of how special he made me feel with his words, he never acted like he loved me. He never went out of his way to do anything nice for me. He never treated me like someone that he loved. He just spewed a bunch of nice shit out of his mouth and hoped that it would compensate for his lack of motivation in our relationship. Now, I can say with confidence that actions truly do speak louder than words. Do not stay in a relationship with someone if they do not go out of their way to make you happy. Do not stay in a relationship with someone that watches you sacrifice everything that you have for them but wont sacrifice anything for you. Leave. Those people are not worth your time. They are using you and they might not even know it themselves. It’s so easy to hold on to someone for the sake of having someone around, but in the end it isn’t worth it. If you’re with someone who’s words make you happy, but who’s actions make you question everything, sprint away from him or her as fast as you possibly can without hesitation. Because there is someone better out there. There is someone out there that will see your favorite snack and pick it up for you just to brighten your day. There is someone out there that will fold your laundry for you just to make you smile. There is someone out there that will offer to pay for your meals and that will put gas in your tank because they love you. There is someone out there that will put you before themselves, before their friends, and before everything else–you just have to be patient.

And who knows? Maybe that person is you. Maybe that person is your best friend. Maybe that person is your mom or your dad or your great great uncle. Not all of us require a significant other in order to be happy. Either way, if you’re in a toxic relationship–get out of it before it’s too late. And ALWAYS remember: actions speak louder than words.