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  • Jenny

10. Virginia & All that Jazz: Confessions of a Teenage Heartbreak

I came to love my band camp trips each year, traveling to different places with kindred souls who loved music—and loved being goofy and unique even more. This time, we were headed to Virginia, and as seniors, we ruled the bus. Plus, I felt like I finally had groups to fit in with somewhat, so choosing a room wasn’t all that difficult, and the bus ride there was fun.

This was going to be just like last year, or even better—or so I expected.

This trip was topping off what had been a whirlwind year for my heart. I was deeply crushing on my blue-eyed Toronto-boy, who had recently broken up with his third girlfriend of the year. I really adored him, and he was always sweet and helpful, but he never saw me or treated me as anything other than a friend. And it was so frustrating for me, because we could talk about anything, and we were flirtatious and playful, and everything I thought a relationship would be like. But he never made a move our entire

senior year.

I thought this trip would change things. I mean, when I met him last year on our Toronto trip and had such an amazing ride home with him, I thought we would be able to rekindle that initial connection and finally make something happen. (When I love, I love loyally and for a long time, with the patience of a saint as if they will come around one day like magic. Perhaps that is a bit stalkerish; but I like to think of it as committed *LOL*).

Anyway, this trip wasn’t anything like I had hoped it would be. I thought I could recreate the same kind of fun as last year—and in some ways, I did—but in many other ways, the same fire wasn’t there in Virginia as it was in Toronto. And I just don’t mean with my boy, but with the people I was with, too. I mostly walked along with the drama club people, since I really, really admired them—and of course, secretly wanted to be them. They were carefree, fun, silly, sing-songy, not caring what others thought of

them as they were just themselves. And although they are sweet and accepting of everybody, there was still that twinge that I just didn’t quite fit in. I was from jazz band; they were more chorus-driven.

Funny how the difference in how you explored music also created different cliques of people and how they interacted.

I did like my jazz band people, of course, and hung out with them, too. My crush was part of jazz band, as was our friend and his girlfriend that we hung out with and were planning on going to the prom with. But for some reason, our foursome didn’t really stick together during the trip until the bus ride home, so I found myself a floater again: no “home” of friends to experience this trip with. Not even with the girls I stayed with—a combo of orchestra girls (yet another different kind of group!) and some other jazz band girls with whom I didn’t really feel a connection. It felt all so forced; everywhere I turned, all of the different groups had “inside jokes” that I had no inside information on, and couldn’t relate to.

This was to be a common theme in my life. Likable, but just not meant to fit in with the mainstream crowd. Today, I am cool with it, but as a teenager, it’s all your heart wants: to be liked by everyone and be like everyone else. I don’t know why I couldn’t bring myself to have the same carefree attitude as I did

last time, honoring the authentic me instead of trying so hard to fit in. But I can tell you that my change in attitude definitely impacted the experience I had this time, and my sense of self-esteem and acceptance. I mean, it certainly wasn’t as bad as my Frost Valley trip; but add in the disappointment of a crush barely acknowledging you, and we’re talking teenage tragedy.

My crush and I talked by the end of the trip and cleared things up: it just wasn’t the clarity I was expecting. He just wanted space to be with his friends—and to be free to explore certain activities

I wasn’t exactly on board with. But I wanted to help him. He was my friend, I cared about him and I thought he was going down a “bad” path.

Enter my very first desire to “save” someone from themselves, from their “self-destruction” (as I saw it).

And every moment after that—save for a few special memories over the summer—our friendship was tarnished with my incessant savior attitude as he continued a downward spiral that was his lesson to learn. It would take me a great many years to realize what a damaging part of myself—and damaging vibration of attraction to draw in—in many, many of my relationships to come. I never was able to save him, or our friendship. Luckily, years down the road, we briefly reconnected for closure, and I got to see him as the loving, respectable family man I knew he was meant to be.

It just wasn’t my job to lead him there—it was his.

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