I Spy.

After Halloween, the anger portion of my grief set in. The lovely Facebook showed me pictures of Adam in a frat boy costume. He was with a girl who was dressed as a pirate wench.

She is now his wife.

Although I had declared my single status on Facebook, I wasn’t an idiot—Adam hadn’t met his wench after-the-fact {their wedding website proves my point even further, but I didn’t know that then}.

So I put my anger on paper and wrote a column for the LSU newspaper, explaining how I’d been played. And I was sick of it. I felt like Adam didn’t care about me from day one, when I really did nothing to deserve such treatment.

Adam had lied to me, cheated on me and I was on a mission to kill. If there was any moment in dating that changed my perception of men, and love, this was it.

I finally had clear vision—if I were to succeed in this dating game, I needed the upper hand. I would have to play the hand Adam dealt to me and treat others like shit in order to get what I wanted. But this lesson was soon packed away, and nearly forgotten.

My column didn’t get the reaction I’d hoped for. My readers knew I’d been burned and was hurting because of it. I suddenly didn’t feel so strong.

A few weeks later, I spent my first Thanksgiving away from home. It was such a hassle to travel back to the midwest for such a short trip, that I was happy when a sorority sister invited me to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

However, I was worried that all of my high school friends would have a pow-wow, giving Adam a chance to talk shit about me when I wasn’t there to stand up for myself.

Regardless, I made it through the holiday, and was looking forward to going home for winter break. But when I got home, I had to deal with something I’d never dealt with before: baggage.

I spent my winter break getting rid of it.

I thought going home would be a way for me to run from my problems but instead, they were all over my room, my house and my city. His clothes were in my room, his gifts were in my closet, his pictures were on my shelves. Restaurants became off-limits because we’d eaten their together. Certain movies were unappealing because we’d watched them together.

But I got rid of it all. During my cleanse, I even found baggage from other relationships which was a very unpleasant surprise.

I even went through my phone and computer, deleting his number, along with messages.

Although I had stripped myself of all the physical baggage, it was time for me to work on the emotional part—the most difficult part of all. My memories of Adam were burning in my mind. The thoughts of him happy, with a new girlfriend, while I was wallowing, alone, tortured me.

But I knew I wouldn’t be able to move on without healing first. Although Adam may have been happy, he simply replaced me with someone else. He didn’t grow from his pain. In a small way, that thought made me feel better.

I had to keep telling myself that Adam only represented himself—not all men were assholes.

In January, I went back to LSU, back to writing for the newspaper, and back to A&F.

Over the course of five months, my friendship with Austin didn’t grow. He always had a girlfriend who he was either making out with at work, or working like a dog, with his iPod headphones stuck in his ears.

But one day, in early March, Austin caught me in the stockroom. And he asked me on a date.

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