When we first met, I found her on the most unusual place on the internet.of all places. Does anyone even remember using that site? It was 2003. I was 18 years old. So was she. I didn’t have a single dollar to my name, as I was attending college and lived under my mother’s roof.
When we first met, we talked for hours on end. We didn’t make a move on each other. We just talked. It seemed like we could just go on, talking forever.
However, as night came, she had to depart. We would talk more consistently, time to time, yet in most of our conversations, she always told me how she wanted to be with a rich man. She spoke of the Jimmy Choo’s and the Louis Vuitton she dreamed of having. She spoke of how she wanted to live in this fantasy world.
Our connection to each other was strong, yet it seemed like everything in the world wanted to just keep us apart. One time I had borrowed my mother’s car to take a trip out to Torrance to meet her at Tapioca Express. Quite an unusual night indeed, as we both had car problems and were stranded there. Her car battery had died and my starter went out. Talk about coincidence. It was more like the universe’s way to tell us that this wasn’t meant to be.
However, I didn’t want to buy into it. I was in love with her, in love with her with all my heart. She told me of how she thought of me, being blunt and honest, due to my financial situation. She criticized and condemned me, for being the poor broke kid I was. She really was the one who motivated me to stop being this lazy kid who played on the internet all day and motivated me to get a job.
So I had a goal in mind. To be the rich man she dreamt of, so I started working. I applied at Macy’s Beverly Center, without the slightest clue about anything, except for a passion to work. Somehow, I was hired, and I was able to start to serenade her in gifts.
The way to a gold digger’s heart.
As time progressed, it seems she had got herself caught up in the wrong crowd. So, one day, she had asked me for a thousand dollar loan because of some kind of financial difficulty she encountered. I decided to loan her the money by handing her my whole wallet, trusting her to at least return it to me.
After months of trying, I was fed up. I knew I wasn’t going to get my wallet back, so I just sent her off a letter probably telling her to go to hell, or something along those lines. Then, I had a mutual friend who I met through her, who was dating her sister, steal the wallet back for me, about a whole year later.
We were through and I went on with my career, as I progressed and changed jobs. My ex, on the other hand, had some kind of disrepency with her parents and was sent up to Santa Barbara to live. It was 2005, I was 20, and I was working at Manhattan Beach Toyota.
Out of the blue one day, she gave me a call. She said she wanted to meet. I was dating another girl, or having one of those casual open ended relationships? Well, half of me wanted to make my ex suffer, while the other half of me wanted to hold her in my arms for the rest of my life. So, I made a decision. A bad one at that? I can’t determine as of now. I’d say more indifferent than anything else.
So, we met. She had picked me up, and we took a trip up to signal hill, overlooking the city. We talked and talked, then the next sign of fate came. We were rear ended by a car. Talk about our luck.
However, that night she came over. I kissed her for the first time, after knowing her for about two years. Butterflies ran down my stomach and I knew I was in love. She knew it as well.
As the next day came, I had to figure out what to do. Do I stay with the woman I’m casually seeing or do I run back to the woman who had screwed me over, time after time, just because I had the butterflies.
Well, I didn’t know this at the time, but a casual relationship isn’t always a casual relationship, and I was called a cheater. So that breakup didn’t go so well and she hated me for years. However, later in life that friendship was rekindled, miraculously.
So I chose my ex. I chose her as the woman I wanted to be with. I had so much confidence, so much faith, so much belief for the future. I wanted to do anything and everything to make her happy.
That’s when something unusual happen. My passion for her had excelled my income from $50k a year to $100k a year. It wasn’t skill. It wasn’t technique. It was just the pure desire to make this woman, who I would drive hundreds of miles to see, happy.
Being with her, we ate out every night. We spent countless hours talking. She moved in with me. We started planning out our future.
As we lived together, another sign occurred that proved we weren’t meant to be. One night, her car encountered a flat in between where the 110 freeway splits in downtown. She decided to pull over in the center. She phoned me and told me of her situation, so I drove over to help her out.
As I arrived to her destination, I decided to pop open her trunk, take out her spare, and tried to place it on her vehicle. Little did I know, that the jack in her car was broken. While I attempted to replace her tire, the car had fell on my hand and I was stuck. Ten minutes passed as buses and other vehicles were just a mere inches away from crushing me into oblivion.
I had told her to go to my car and locate my jack, so I could free myself. Eventually, I did and was able to replace her tire. Yet, when I was free, I had seen that the car had cut my ring finger so bad on my right hand, that I could see the bone. I decided to go to work the next day and left early, as I needed to go to urgent care. It took me at least a month to recover from that injury.
As time progressed, we made mistakes. We got trapped into a pit of drugs and despair, then our lives fell apart. We became victims to the temptations of wealth, and we lost the most important things in our lives. Each other.
When we broke apart, I cried. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I felt as if it was over. I was like a deer, staring into the headlights, without a clue of what to do next. I had at least another forty years of my life to live, and I didn’t know what to do with any of it.
So, I went down to the Beverly Center, picked up a Dior necklace and some other jewelry, got it all packaged, and drove to her parents home. I thought I could make it up to her. I thought she would take me back. She didn’t.
So I left the jewelry there and I decided to depart. It was my time to go and I knew it was over.
As I drove home, I cried endlessly. On that drive home, I was crying so hard, that I had shut my eyes for a full ten seconds. Miraculously, while my eyes were closed, my leg had shifted from the accelerator to the brake. When I opened my eyes, I was at a complete stop on the 110 highway, about five inches from slamming into the car ahead of me. How I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to fathom. A miracle happened, or what felt like a tragedy at the time occurred, and I was left to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
Looking back today, there were only two times I had cried that hard in my life. When my ex had left me at the end of 2006 and when I had broke two bones in my ankle. The physical pain and the emotional heartbreak were quite comparable to each other.
Well, regardless, I had to spend the rest of my life, figuring out what I wanted to do. All I knew that I wanted was her, so I did whatever I could to win her back.
Since, all she ever cared about was wealth, I changed. All I wanted to do was attain wealth to get her back. Not hundreds of thousands of dollars either. I wanted what most people would consider to be massive success. I wanted it all. I wanted power, wealth, and her. I was on a mission to attain it all, whatever the cost may be, to get what I felt I needed in life. I became as superficial and as shady as it gets.
I went on this journey, and time after time, I had failed, falling right back on my face. I kept in contact with her and she just condemned me, since I was never able to meet her expectations. I spent years trying to succeed, and when I almost did, she started coming back to me. Then a travesty occured and I was right back where I started once again, with absolutely nothing.
I was scared, hopeless, and embarrassed to face her again. She kept trying to come closer, but I pushed her away. I wasn’t the man that she wanted, and I was embarrassed about it. I still tried to move forward, but I kept my failures from her. Then, one day, I couldn’t take it anymore and I came clean.
She kind of accepted me, but didn’t really, as she would get drunk and just talk about how much I had fallen in life. She just condemned me and my pride was hurt, then my self value depreciated. I was just this broke loser, who had nothing at all, who had screwed over countless people in a journey trying to succeed, just to win her back. Yet, I had failed. I had failed at it all. Not only did I lose her, yet I lost most of my friends.
In 2011, another grim day appeared. She had decided to leave my life once again. Then, I was finally at a point, where I felt I failed so much, I just wanted to give up on my life. I failed at absolutely everything, and here I was now, empty. The point of my life was over, so I no longer felt that I was a necessary component of the world.
I planned out my departure and in November of 2011, I sent her my last letter goodbye. I was ready to just jump off into the freeway in the hopes of being reincarnated in a world that we can only fathom to be our own personal beliefs of what heaven could be.
Then, on the day when I was ready to go, she reached out to me. She forced me to get into her car after work, told me how stupid I was, and comforted me until I was able to regain the will to see another day. This day was a pivotal changing point in my life, a day where I had killed off who I was in the past and was able to be reborn into someone new.
As I changed, I still wanted her. Until about three months later, when we were out one night in February of 2012. We had two drinks of Courvoisier at my home, went over to a bar called Bleu, had two or three more glasses of scotch, headed down to Novel Cafe, had two to three more drinks, then went over to karaoke where we had a bottle of makkoli and soju.
As we were there at karaoke, she pushed me away. I was hurt, then I blacked out. Something in me had influenced me to walk back home, so I did. Then when I finally arrived, I didn’t remember I had a key in my pocket. I hopped my fence not once, but twice, as I originally landed on the wrong side.
As I landed the second time, I had fell straight to the ground. I tried to lift myself up, yet I faltered to do so. As I laid there for the next five minutes in defeat, I decided to crawl up my stairs. I opened my door and passed out on my sofa, which was my bed at the time.
As morning came, my roommate came out. He told me I was late for work, so I had awoken. I looked to my ankle as I pulled off the blanket, and saw that it was swollen. I cried and didn’t have a clue what to do.
He suggested I call my mother, so I did. My mother was in Hawaii, so I had no clue what she could do, but I called her anyway. She had then called my grandmother, who brought my cousin to come pick me up to save me from the despair I had encountered.
As she arrived, I figured out how to hop to her car, as I was in more physical pain than any other time in my life. Instead of taking me directly to the hospital, she dragged me along with her to a acupuncturist, a foot doctor, then finally the hospital. I wasn’t seen until about 8pm, even though I had injured myself at 4 in the morning.
After being at the hospital, I cried once again. I cried as they told me to straighten my legs for the x-ray. I couldn’t do it. I just laid there and cried for at least thirty minutes straight, until I was injected with morphine. Coincidentally, after that injection, I didn’t have a single problem in the world.
Well, anyway, I was placed in a cast and told I would need surgery. I was told it would be three whole months until I fully recovered.
In that duration of time, not once had my ex decided to visit me. So, when I was recovered and she called, I pushed her away. It was the day that I knew I no longer loved her.
I was finally free to the trap of living my life for her. I was free from the spotlight of success of which I wanted to be in. I was free from the journey to attain wealth, as I no longer wanted to win her back.
No longer had I needed to become a slave to money, nor a slave to her. I was finally free to thoroughly evaluate my life and to start living for myself.
It may seem like a tragedy, yet I see it more as a day of redemption. The day when I was finally able to redeem myself. The day when I was free to the shackles which shaped me into who I was. The day I was able to forgive myself for who I had become. The day I was able to live my life the way I wanted, with the integrity and ethics I desired.
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.