Everyone has that person. The person that makes you feel like your toes are touching clouds. Every time you thought about or saw that person, you would lose all control of your ability to speak, think, or move with any real cohesion. Now that we have established the common thread of our younger years, I have a question. Why? Why does that one single person hold more sway over you than anyone else? There will be prettier or more handsome folks that come by or those that fit better with you, but that person will still dominate your inner-most hopes and dreams. It is an entirely unfair and sadistic game your brain plays on you, and the internet has finally given it a name. Or rather given her a name. Susan Glenn. (Relevant info here. http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/susan-glenn.)
Susan Glenn may seem to be just the girl (or gent, however I will be using she from now on for simplicity) who got away, but she was so much more than that. She was the perfect girl. The one to whom your simple, adolescent mind felt a deep connection even though you never spoke to her for more than a sentence or two. She possesses a mysterious combination of physical and behavioral traits that causes her to have a halo effect. Nothing she does can be considered to be wrong and everything she does is beautiful. The way she ignores you just makes her even more fascinating. I will not name my Susan Glenn in real life; however, the one fictional character that was a sort of Susan Glenn was Winnie Cooper. She was the perfect Susan. She was beautiful, vulnerable, and clever. She was enchanting, and I still think Kevin was a moron for letting her go; however, my Wonder Years fanfics aside, Winnie demonstrates an important concept of Susan. You never end up with her.
No matter how hard you try, she will remain elusive, which is indeed how it must be. Even if you think you are getting close to her, in the course of a few days she will find someone who is not as devoted in a creepy way, and your heart will be crushed. For those How I Met Your Mother fans, Ted’s Susan was Maggie, the window girl. Every time he got close, someone swooped in and she was gone.
You may wonder why the brain does this. It seems entirely too painful to pine longingly for someone who you know deep in your soul that you will never have. But it is not. Well, it is painful, but it is a good pain. It teaches you to be strong. She teaches you to try even when you know hope is lost. When you know that you will never get that prize, you still fight and scrape and pull every ounce of courage you have to mutter out a quiet, “Hey.” The Susans of our lives teach us that even when things hurt they are still worth going after, because the promise of pay off will make all your hard work worth it.
I talk about Susan using teenage and adolescent terms, but the truth is she can haunt us all the way until we find our one true love. The scars of Susan are there on our psyche like the mark of some fallen angel. She plagues us and haunts our dreams. We hear songs on the radio and think of her. We read books and see ourselves as the hero and her as the lady we are charged with protecting. It is a terrible thing to find yourself in your mid twenties and be pining still over someone from your more youthful days. However, once you meet someone and fall in love–like true love–those feelings and scars over Susan vanish. They are washed clean like footprints in the sand, and you are free. Finally blissfully free.
The only downside to freedom is a pang of depression and sadness over how much you pined over someone who turns out to be a normal person who makes poor choices and is struggling to exist just like you. Seeing someone who was damn-near mythical suddenly fall…is hard. However, through her you have grown strong, so you will be able to press on and find happiness with your new European model who is also a doctor. Poor you.