I’m 26 years old but I’m very primitive when it comes to relationships. I’ve struggled with self-esteem my whole life. A 100 people can tell me I’m the man and the one person standing in the corner shaking their head will get to me. Recently, I was talking to a woman for 7 months. I even went to go see her on leave, we had some great nights. For once, I thought I could let my guard down and be myself. For a brief time, I saw who I could be and saw glimpses of a confident Kamal. She made me want to be better and she motivated me. Even if she was the wrong woman for me, she ignited a spark that had been absent or almost non-existent. I haven’t felt that way since before I joined the military. Now that it’s over, it sucks and I’m still getting over it. I was vulnerable in ways that I haven’t been with other women. She was both a blessing and a curse, she showed me that I’m not as abnormal as I think and that I can lead a normal life. At the same time, she’s made it harder for me to want to open up to women and/or trust them. I thought everything was going fine and she sent that text about her coworker. We had talked the night before and were planning to see each other in March. Little did I know the next day, she’d send a text that would end all of that. It’s unfortunate but a part of life, I’m just always a little bit late when it comes to these milestones. She’s provided me with both hope and regret, I look back and think of things I should have done rather than just sending mere words. However, like the tattoo on my left arm says, you have to live and learn in this life. No matter how stubborn or how late you are to learn a lesson, everyone, at one point or another, has to live and learn. That process is what has allowed us to survive as a species. Adaptation would not be possible without our capacity to learn. It’s a never-ending process and I hope to use this momentary heartbreak to remind myself that there is hope out there and that I can lead a happy life if I choose to.