As a child, I remember being fairly different from everybody else. I was the only kid in school with a tie-dyed backpack– probably the only kid in school who wanted a tie-dye backpack- and believe me, I got made fun of for it. As time went on and I grew up, the fundamental person inside never changed, though I often lost track of who I was. We are all like a jigsaw puzzle; a box full of unique pieces that only together can make up the whole . Often times, we encounter the wrong people. Like careless school children they mess with the puzzle, jamming the pieces together, carelessly tossing them around, before throwing them back in the box. Over time, pieces end up missing. First only a few pieces are gone, but the more careless people who we allow to mess with the puzzle, the more pieces disappear. Inevitably, if you have absolutely no discretion with your puzzle, you will end up with no pieces and an empty box.
About a month ago, I realized my puzzle was missing some pieces. I, of course was not the one who made the discovery, but a friend pointed it out. Parts of my identity were missing; they’d been stripped away by my last relationship. I didn’t realize I was just a pawn in his game of complacency. I was too innocent or too naive to notice. When my ex told me I was naturally beautiful and didn’t need to wear make-up, I believed him. What a nice compliment, right? Wrong, my friend pointed out it was part of his plan to get no one else to look at me. She had a point. Never before dating him had I dressed so casually. I explained to her why.
For one, he never got dressed up to go out with me. In fact, he might’ve picked his clothes up off the floor for all I know. After a few times of him arriving to pick me up dressed so incredibly down, I began to feel uncomfortable because I was over dressed. I wore beautiful scarves and jewelry, always bright colors, with make-up to match. I began to resent the fact that he didn’t try one bit to impress me, sometimes not even bothering to iron his clothes. So I began dressing casually, jeans, t-shirt, little jewelry, if any. “This isn’t the Hayley I know,” my friend said. “For the last six months, you have been dressing like you just rolled out of bed.” I again disagreed with her and explained why I had little desire to look good for someone who could care less about looking good for me.