Why Girls Love Bad Boys
I have just graduated high school from an alternative school for kids with addiction problems. After graduation, I am somewhat able to maintain my sobriety. I make it to 89 days before I give up. I am not sure why I give up. I think part of it is not wanting to be sober for college. I think the other part is I constantly feel under pressure to redeem myself and stay redeemed in the eyes of my peers and my family.
It began at a party-the drinking, the pot smoking, even the cigarettes. Just one party. That is all it takes for me. I am 13 years old. I feel accepted and I enjoy feeling absent. I change the music I listen to and I start hanging out with the older boys. We spend the weekends drinking and smoking together, but I am never ready for the party to end. My parties spill out into my school week. By my sophomore year, I am dating men in their twenties. Guys in their twenties have ecstasy, hydrocodone, weed and Xanax pills.
I am missing a lot of school and when I am there, I usually nod off in first period from the pills and the weed I have smoked on my way into the school. Sometimes I get snippy with my teachers and embarrass myself. I spend a lot of time in ISS and detention. The school starts drug testing me. I admit I have a problem and my guidance counselor, Ms. Bandy reaches out to me. I adore her. She shows me such a kindness I have not experienced in a school system- a kindness I haven’t experienced in my own home. I hate letting her down.
My family and I figure putting me in an out-patient rehab would fix the problem and I could get back into school and finish my senior year. Instead, I just end up making new friends to get high with now. The counselors teach me I use my humor to disguise my pain. They teach us about scapegoats and golden children. I learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body, but I still want to get high. I live within a certain dichotomy of myself- I crave a scholastic life and yet, I also crave the drama of an after-school special.
It isn’t until a major depressive episode hits me after a weekend of rolling ecstasy and eating Xanax pills, do I begin to take sobriety seriously. I reach out to a therapist who informs my parents I, once again, need to be admitted into a psychiatric ward for depression. I am no stranger to psych wards, but this time at 17 years old, I am put in a ward with adults. Seniors sitting in stupors and yelling at the TV surround me. I am horrified. I am also very angry. Coming off drugs will do that. I slam doors and yell at the staff. I do not belong here. A mistake has clearlybeen made! Eventually, my parents are told I am not psychotic or mentally ill, I am an addict and I need 28 days in-patient drug and alcohol treatment.
I love rehab. It feels like a vacation for me. They have great food. Incredible key lime pie. They let us smoke cigarettes. I make so many new friends and watch them figure out the root of their addiction. I watch as my peers confront their parents sometimes to empty chairs. I learn a lot about addiction, human nature, and psychology. I decide I want to go to college. I want to study journalism. I want to write and story tell. And I want to learn more about psychology.
I enroll at Middle Tennessee State University. My best friend and I decide to get an apartment near campus together, but she backs out on me at the last minute. I now have three roommates I have never met before in my first apartment away from home. Two of my roommates are from East Tennessee and are friends. One night one of my roommate’s friends, Jeff comes over.
She introduces us. He is very soft spoken. I am currently hung up on another guy who is about to dump me and begin sleeping with my friends. I don’t really think much of Jeff at the time, but that’s all about to change....
I am leaving campus one day when he approaches me near Peck Hall. He has a backpack on and asks me if I would like to hang out with him. I can’t place where I know him from, but he seems to be pretty keen on me. When I get home, my roommate tells me he’s her friend Jeff and encourages me to get to know him. She tells me he’s a big drug dealer in his hometown and has lots of money.
Now I’m interested.
I begin spending a lot of time with Jeff at his apartment. We become good friends. I am so hung up on so many other guys that it is hard for me to see him more than a friend. I confide in him. I have feelings for him, but I hold them back and it turns out my roommate is not lying. Jeff does sell drugs, but he isn’t just a drug dealer in my eyes. He’s popular. Everyone seems to know who he is. He seems annoyed with a lot of the people who call his phone and makes up nicknames for some of his junkies and tells me their crazy stories. He lets me have a peak into his life and his life excites me. He’s also a bio chemistry major. He’s incredibly smart and wants to one day become a pharmacist. He has a plan. Meanwhile, I’m studying Journalism. I want to be a writer and I want to be on TV, but the practicality of it? I don’t know. I’m still lost on my plan. I admire Jeff. He can lead me.
“Girl, what are we doing? You come over here and tell me about all these other guys and you won’t give me a chance. What about me and you,” he asks me.
“I don’t know. I like you, but we’re just friends”, I blow it. “Well, there is a girl from my hometown...I haven’t wanted to tell you this. She was my best friend’s girl. He went out of town and asked me to take care of her. She’s always been obsessed with me and I was weak. She’s now pregnant and I know it’s mine. She wants to move here and raise our family together, but I was thinking if me and you could be together....then, I can tell her and she can stay there and you and I could do this.”
I am completely caught off guard. A baby? But he wants to be with me? This doesn’t seem right. I’m not ready for this. And then the next words that come out of my mouth become one of my biggest relationship regrets for the next ten years...
“I don’t think so, Jeff.”
A distance grows between he and I. I miss him. I liked being at his apartment every night talking and watching TV. I loved listening to him talk. He is so smart and such a man of few words, but every word is so deep to me. There is no one else like him. I have blown it. He had presented a relationship to me and I shot it down. To my surprise, and I don’t know why I am so surprised, he moves into a house with his new family like he said he would do. I regret my decision deeply. I don’t remember how we started talking again after this, but we did. Maybe a phone call, maybe a text, maybe we ran into each other on campus.
I can’t let go. I can’t move on. Jeff tells me he is being the father he knows he needs to be, but he doesn’t love the mother of his child. He doesn’t want to be with her. He wants to be with me. It was always me. I am where his mind goes. We continue to talk and occasionally see each other, but mostly my relationship with him is emotional for me. I see him as a strong male figure in my life and I want to lean on him. It’s really all I want from him.
I am the other woman. I don’t want to be the other woman. I am the first woman is how I see it. She came in and messed everything up. I had cracked under pressure and ran away from a potential relationship because this woman couldn’t keep her hands off my man one night. Eventually, he will leave her and he and I will pick things back up the way they once were. I can feel it. I am willing to wait.
And then she finds my phone number. She calls me. She calls me every day from unblocked numbers only to hang up on me. I change my number several times and each time I give it to Jeff and then sure enough, the calls start again. He calls her silly and tells me not to worry about her. She has OCD, a drug problem and needs mental help.
This continues for five years, up to thirty times a day. Even during the periods of time when I am no longer seeing Jeff she calls me. Even when years had passed since I had last seen Jeff and was involved in an abusive relationship, her calls continued. She loves Jeff and she loves to torment me. After all, my presence in his life had tormented her.
Jeff and I continued off and on for years. Eventually he and his baby momma did break up. We had the chance to try things again I believe after I left my abusive relationship. This time it would be just he and I. I was living back in Hermitage with my family one night and he was on his way to visit me. I think he had just gotten out of jail. He had been writing me letters while he was away. I had been waiting for this moment for years now, but something odd happened. Jeff never showed. I waited and waited. He wouldn’t answer the phone. Eventually, it went to voicemail as if it had died. Panic may have set in for a moment that something had happened, but Jeff was invincible. This was a guy who got jumped downtown Nashville by a group of guys and a baseball bat and still lived. He had a large scar on his face to tell the tale. There was no way anything could happen to him on the way to my house. He was tough.
I waited and waited for him all night like I had waited and waited on him for years. He never showed. My heart broke. I didn’t give up though. I wanted answers. Finally, after weeks maybe even months he finally answers the phone.
“Jeff, what happened? I waited for you,” I question. I am in shock that he finally answers the phone. “That night on the way to your house, I had a pound of weed in the car. The cops pulled me over. I panicked and threw it out the window. I flipped my car upside down. I broke both my legs. I had to go to the hospital. God saved me. I almost died. I’m a born again Christian now since that night and I’m back with her. She’s really been there for me through this. She’s been helping me relearn to walk.” I go silent. I’m in shock. What could I say? And where was my apology?! “Wow. I am glad you are safe,” I mumble before I hang up the phone.
I have never been so disappointed to hear someone had Jesus in my life. It was one thing that he was back with her. I knew that would’t last, but Jesus? If he has Jesus, he will never come back to me. Guys like that don’t like girls like me. I had to move on.
And I did. I spent all of my twenties idolizing Jeff, getting dumped by Jeff, moving onto another guy other than Jeff, only to come back to Jeff.
Until around 2011, I had been doing comedy about a year or so when I was performing in Jeff’s hometown. He came to my show. He ordered a Coke. He was definitely taking the born again Christian thing seriously. He didn’t smoke anymore or even cuss. I felt lesser than him now, but I still wanted him. After the show, Jeff invited me to his friend’s house. I met some of his friends and even overheard one of them say, “I like her more than the other girl.” WHAT?! ANOTHER GIRL? STILL?????
But I knew what was going on in Jeff’s mind even though we had fallen out throughout the years. He and I had a difficult relationship- a complicated relationship to say the least. We cared for each other. We had great chemistry. We made each other laugh, but the odds were always against us. They always had been and now he had moved on with his new life as a Christian and had probably met a new girl who had similar ideals as he. He had probably connected with her and was wanting to get serious, but needed to know if there was anything left in him for me and there wasn’t. We were over.
A year or so goes by and I stumble back into sobriety. This time I’m serious about it. I’ve talked to God about it. I may have even told Him I was sorry for being such a delinquent my whole life. I will start over. I will become a Christian too. Who will I tell about my new decision? Jeff!
I must call him and tell him the good news. Maybe now we can make this work! “Jeff, it’s Ashley.” “Hey, girl! How are you,” he sounds so excited to hear from me. This is good. “I’m great Jeff. I have found God.” “Wow, Ashley. That’s incredible. I am really happy for you. I can’t talk though. I’m getting ready to walk down the aisle. I’m getting married today.”
Of course. Of course he’s getting married today. I am stunned, but I am happy for him. We just were two people who were trying to make love happen where it wasn’t supposed to be. I had to let go. I had to officially move on.
“Good for you, Jeff. Congratulations,” and then I hang up the phone with him for the last time.