Freeing Us Both

By Donovan Perez


Age: 18

Occupation: Full Time College Student

Birthplace: San Jose, California





1.Difficult to find, catch or achieve 2. Hard to comprehend or define. 3.Hard to isolate or identify.

She is elusive. But some difficulties strengthen a connection.

She is hard to define. But amazing people can’t be easily defined.

She is difficult to identify. But she is still in the making. “Perfection takes time,” they say.

The First Encounter

Never had I encountered someone so elegant, so angelic, so well-suited as a model of human perfection.

I tried my hardest to impress this angel with my-not-so impressive basketball skills. Luckily she found this humorous.

I mumbled random words in an attempt to form a sentence but they kept stumbling over her beauty.

She boldly broke the ice, “Hi Donovan, nice to officially meet you — haha.”

Those seven words, and a chuckle, melted my heart.

“Hi Aimee…” my shaky voice croaked.

Hours passed and small talk grew into conversation. I became more confident and she became even more angelic. To this day I am surprised she stayed so long because if I were in her shoes I would’ve left after “Hi.”

Day became night and it was time to go home. She gave me a hug — no ordinary hug; it was warm and cozy and the moment felt perfect.

Dating Sadness

Her tears pierced my skin like a knife.

She vented about her insecurities and sadness, and all I could think was, “How can someone so perfect be sad all the time?”

Her tears were contagious. They rolled down my face because I couldn’t bear the sight of anyone crying, especially Aimee.

She sometimes played a happy character so that people wouldn’t ask if she was okay. But really, she was a grey cloud. It was like going to Disneyland alone… on a rainy day.

We shared Spanish class together and I sat behind her. She even looked beautiful from behind. But she rarely came to school and I rarely caught sight of her.


She sat in the dark, covering her ears, as if someone were yelling at her.

I asked, “Are you okay?” and she replied, “They won’t let me tell you.”

All I could do was hold her tight, pretend that everything was okay, and paint a picture in her mind that we were living a beautiful life.

That night I texted her sister to check up on how she was doing, and her sister said she was well. Still puzzled, I asked what was wrong, and she explained, “Aimee is diagnosed with schizophrenia.”

What the fuck is schizophrenia?

I googled schizophrenia and learned that it’s a mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels or acts.

People with schizophrenia also tend to hear voices in their heads. The voices can be calm one moment and yelling the next.

I stayed up all night reading about this disorder.

I was devastated. And then I was angry.

I was angry at God. How could he send an angel down from heaven only to suffer with schizophrenia? How cruel could He be? I prayed for her in hopes God would take the disorder away. And then I read that schizophrenia cannot be treated and is a long-term illness.

I took the “ish” out of selfish

I never knew that putting someone else before me could pain me so much.

I didn’t know how to tell her this, but I told her “We need a break. You need to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else.” I didn’t want her relying on me to bring her joy, I wanted her to be able to bring herself joy.

She began to cry.

I could feel my eyes weighing my face down. But I refused to cry in front of her because I knew I would regret my decision. I knew she needed me.

How fucked up am I to leave her when she needs me the most?

But it had to be done, because if she loved me more than she loved herself that would be harmful.

I took away the “ish” in selfish and put “less” behind it. I did a selfless act that would pain me in the long run.

After we exchanged goodbyes, I went into a car where my friends were waiting. They asked if I was okay. Without hesitation I said I was fine. Everyone stayed silent until the driver pulled the car over and came to the back seat to hug me.

I cried. I cried like I’d never cried before. I began to weep and was so upset at myself for leaving her when she needed me most.

Best Day of My Life

The door opened and she approached like an angel descended from heaven. As her white dress swept the pavement my jaw dropped to the floor.

The only words I could form were, “Oh my god!”

She was stunning. An “11” out of “10.”

We had broken up but I couldn’t imagine attending prom without my best friend. And I had promised her freshmen year that I would take her to Senior Prom.

As we walked around downtown San Jose taking photos an old couple congratulated us, the newly weds. We looked at each other and started laughing. All we could say was “Thank you!”

We did look good together, a perfect pair like peanut butter and jelly.

The night was magical and the sky was dark, which made Aimee glow even brighter than the stars.

We danced, we laughed and we took some awesome photos. Later that night, we gathered with my friends to reflect on our wonderful night. I realized that I truly love this girl, not only for her beauty, but for the fact that she understood me. Before I dropped her off, she told me that she loved me as a person and as a significant other.

With Aimee

Every day I try to learn something new about her, and every day is a new adventure. In the words of the Temptations, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day” and it makes me happy to say she is “My Girl.”

She is wonderful, and I am truly fortunate to have a best friend that I am blessed enough to call my girlfriend.

No More 

We are no longer together.

How can you explain to someone you still love that you can’t be together so that she can grow and so that I can grow?

She never believed me when I told her I was the reason she was stressed.

I don’t think anyone can understand that for Aimee to grow I had to leave her.

I still love her which is why it hurts to see her with another man. She wanted me to see her dance. She wanted me to see her kiss him. Maybe she wanted to prove to herself that she can love herself and receive love in return. Maybe she wanted to show me up. But what matters is that she is happy, I think.

Now that she has moved on who am I to fuck that up and try to rekindle our past?

She is back and better than ever.

I learned a lot from Aimee, but it’s my turn to be happy.

Goodbye Aimee.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 8, 2017, in relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Amber Rodriguez

    Wow. I honestly feel like you are partly telling my own story with my first love its insane. These words were said so beautifully. I felt every emotion with you as I am sort of going through the same things right now myself. I felt as if you were telling the story through my ex boyfriends point of view and what he probably felt in a relationship with me. Although I am not schizophrenic I suffer from depression and anxiety. At times, it could be crippling and lead me to push him away. I blame myself still to this day for making him feel that way when really it was my fault all along. Like you we had dated freshman year but then broke up and still went to senior prom together as our promise. I will never forget that night and how I felt with him. We dated again when I first got to college and recently just broke up. It is a tremendous loss I took and will forever regret hurting him.

  2. Idania Rodriguez

    This is selfless. To be at war with yourself, for choosing your happiness or someone else’s. That is a very difficult situation to be in. I believe what you did was for the best for the both of you. Indeed, it’s hard to tell someone you are in love with that you need to grow apart, but you can’t wait until it turns into anger. You wanted to be happy, and yet by her side. I adore the way you describe her, it melted my heart. The way you wanted her to love herself. And that is very important, because you could have ignored it and used it as a weakness. It must have been so difficult, I hope you had support. And know you made the right choice. I view this as a blessing in disguise. She will look back and be thankful for letting her grow and for letting her learn how to love. Cheers, to freeing you both.

  3. MirandaCaitlin23

    This was a beautiful sentiment. When I hear the emotion behind your words I genuinely feel as if I’m part of your story. I have gone through many situations where I also have heard voices, gone through countless panic attacks and continue to struggle with how to handle my emotions. My boyfriend has stuck with me through things I could barely handle myself. I can understand your pain and her pain, I can relate to both sides of this story, and I honestly wish I could have your perspective. I am currently learning to accept the saying “selfcare is not selfish”, which is what I’m hearing from you.

  4. Wow! This work is well narrated, I felt as if I was Donovan reading this. I think Aimee needs love too. In my opinion, on the stigmas of dating someone that is diagnosed with schizophrenia, people with mental illness should be seen as a normal human beings. Aimee although she is schizophrenic having a healthy relationship could be vital to her. Although people with mental illnesses could at times be impulsive and unpredictable, it does not take away from their good qualities. At the same time, depending on the relationship of the two, I think the relationship is healthy for Donovan. As long as the relationship is not toxic and you both could communicate well, you could still be together despite the schizophrenia. I happen to have a friend who has a mental illness but she thrives when she is in a relationship, she feels accepted in the society. My friend is truly beautiful and intelligent but once she got labeled with her illness, her life has never been the same. She constantly has to take medication and be aware of what she is doing at every moment. At times she feels terrified of what people think of her to the point she got depressed and bulimic; she used to think no one could love her with her illness until she met a decent and caring guy who showed her a lot of affection and she is currently better than she has ever been. However I am not saying that people with mental illness need relationships to feel whole, or their unwanted behaviors are justifiable all I am saying is that everyone appreciates being loved. Even though Aimee was schizophrenic, that should not discourage Donovan to be with her. I would only discourage Donovan to not be with her only if he thinks their relationship is toxic and consuming, otherwise he should not let a disease take away what they had. If Donovan would like he could still be inspirational and instrumental in Aimee’s life unless its too much for him emotionally to deal with her illness.

  5. very touching. a painful insight into our lives.

  6. wow – this is well prepared, organized and introduced.My mother is a doctor was reading over your piece and material and found this very fascinating.You don’t have normal post, you have good reflection and complex. Well done!!

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