What Came Before

The Summer I Turned Pretty (an Amazon Original Series based on the books by Jenny Han) is the perfect escape from the real world this summer. Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah took me right back to summers with my friends in the 1980s, and of course, the complexities of summer romance.

My guy presented a little more like Jeremiah on the surface. He was the guy everyone was drawn to, cute, fun, up for anything, but he had a thick stubborn layer of Conrad underneath. Indecisive, uncertain, never talking about what was bothering him, and always handling things badly.

He was a great kisser and my best friend. Our connection was like a sparkler on fourth of July. Even people who didn’t know us well could see the intensity.

And when he was kissing other girls, he was still my whole world.

We fought in a smoldering silent way, rarely raising our voices, but unmistakably displaying our displeasure. Even during the bad times, I always believed in him. I stood up for him. I supported him. It was my fatal flaw. If I had put all the energy and love I saved for him into believing in myself, I never would have gotten so lost.

Watching The Summer I Turned Pretty, I cheered every time Belly tried to draw a line with Conrad because it was more than I could ever manage, and I totally understood how easy it was to fall back into his orbit. We’ve all been there, sister.

I didn’t believe there was a line my guy could cross that would make me walk away, but I was wrong. Eventually, he broke me so badly that I could no longer defend him, and it wasn’t just my heart that hurt. He killed my spirit and destroyed my trust. 

The only thing anyone noticed was that after many years, he was no longer by my side, but from my perspective, the world was upside down. I recognized nothing, least of all myself. I floated through days in a nightmarish state-untethered, frightened, and alone trying to find my way, but without any idea where to go. 

Slowly, piece by piece, I touched down on patches of solid ground. They were unfamiliar and that was comforting. What had been before did not exist now.

My new world was about me, trying new things, meeting new people, asking new questions, and discovering new strengths. As I woke up from my nightmare, I took comfort in understanding that I didn’t need him. I didn’t need anyone.

After completing The Summer I Turned Pretty series on Amazon, I read the books by Jenny Han. I was impressed when Belly chose to figure things out on her own. 

We all need the opportunity to get to know ourselves because like Cleveland said, you can’t be good with someone else, until you’re good with yourself. 

Now I know that my heart is #TeamConrad, but I’ll never stop cheering for #TeamBelly