*This is my story, written down and read out loud at my Breakup/ Breakthrough party. 

At the age of 22, I fell in love and jumped on the ride that would change my life completely. I was a late bloomer and didn't date much prior to this "experience." No need to lie and pretend, my feelings were very strong and very real. This experience went on and off for about 6 years and grew more complicated with each "break" we took and each reconciliation. The heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wanted to keep working at it and keep loving harder than before. Over the years, a lot changed, including behaviors and certain harsh words or comments that I just left alone or ignored when I shouldn't have. My complaints and me "putting my foot down" against things I didn't like, or didn't feel comfortable with, decreased drastically and I got more and more quiet to the point of shutting down in complete silence at times. I had gotten to this point because I felt like I couldn't "win" anymore and everything had a rebuttal. I didn't want to seem like the nagging, over-emotional, over-thinking, over-analytical girlfriend, but little did I know that I was doing more damage than good. I'm not gonna say that I'm perfect. I had my faults and areas of short comings too, I shielded and tried to "protect" our relationship from family and friends who had concerns. I do, however, thank my family and friends for seeing the things that I didn't want to see and for having my best interest at heart.

I celebrate everyone who respected me enough to ride along with me through this long experience and let me do me. I'm sure some, if not most, of it was hard to watch while I endured for "love". However, the love I gave was not returned in the same way. Being cheated on and lying to my face is not love. Body shaming and complaining on a separate social media platform I knew nothing about is not love. Comparing your girl to other female "friends" and non-friends and struggling to give her at least ONE compliment on an evening out is not love. What is love and how was it expressed on my end?

Giving rides home from your first retail job together because you didn't want to see him riding the bus late at night and you conveniently lived less than 5 mins away from each other. Waking up an extra hour early to be dropped off to work so he can use your car because his first car was no longer drive-able (Yea. Did that for about a month or so..) Driving around with him on days off to look for a new car when none of his family members would. Those are just a few ways I expressed my love. Tonight symbolizes the end of a chapter and I'm moving forward to continue writing the rest of the story of my life. In life's journey, God takes us to different places, but unfortunately everyone can't come along for the ride. God is taking me to a new level. We have reached his stop, and it was his turn to get out of the car because he can no longer come along for the rest of this ride.

- Submitted by Tutu