A few weeks ago, I came to a realization.
People and experiences come into our lives in the exact moment we need them. They’re not always meant to be around forever. They’re meant to remind us of our strengths and who we are when we’re feeling lost.
I still believe this. Wholeheartedly. I also know closure isn’t always promised, people will continue to make Irish exits out of my life, and it will hurt. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been in my life for a few weeks or if you were supposed to be by my side at my wedding.
You will hurt me when you decide my life is no longer something you are interested in.
The transient people don’t hurt – obviously. I don’t mourn the disappearance of every person out of my life. We meet people in passing. Maybe we hit it off with them right off the bat but that doesn’t mean they’ll be a constant part of our lives.
I wear my soul and scars out in the open. I don’t wear them as a badge of honor. At this point in my life, as I’m about to turn the corner to 31, it’s more of a time consideration.
Here I am. Here are the things that have contributed to who I am today. Here are the scars that get picked and bleed once in a while. Here’s how I am on a good day, and here’s me on a shitty day. Do you still want to be a part of it?
I don’t know why but in the last year or so, people have decided I am no longer worthy.
Friends I’ve stayed up all night in the hospital with. Friends I’ve considered family. Men who held my hand to their hearts and promised to at least be honest with me if they change their mind.
The new term is ghosting. Someone recently wrote about zombie-ing. We can come up with as many terms as possible to make sense of it.
Sure, it helps us that we’re not alone. There are others who are going through similar situations.
But not in the moment it’s happening. You know those moments.
Not when you’re crying on your kitchen floor because you found a birthday card full of promises.
Not when you’re sobbing yourself to sleep because it feels like your heart is being ripped out by an invisible hand. The invisible hand of crushed hope. The voice in your head saying “Why? What’d I do? What’s wrong with me?” over and over again.
You feel bad because you are surrounded by loved ones. Your best friend who lets you come over to her apartment to just escape. Your roommate who holds you as your tears and snot get all over his shirt and you keep saying “Why? What’d I do? What’s wrong with me?” over and over again.
Time goes by. The wounds scar over and it no longer takes your breath away. The twinges are there, sure, but your life is dependent on moving on. You can’t shake people to ask them to explain themselves, though your friends suggest breaking down doors. You heal, slowly. You focus on work. You spend time with your friends. You get pieces of your confident back – pieces that were lost in the “Why? What’d I do? What’s wrong with me?” moments.
Sometimes you even make new friends. A client gives you the confident boost you need. You even start putting yourself out there again. You go on a date here and there. You meet someone promising.
If you’re like me, you lay your shit out.
“Here is my bag of damage. This is me.”
You promise your friends you won’t be so pessimistic, and you won’t focus on how others have hurt you in the past. You’ll give the new people in your life a chance. You’ll invite friends to girls nights. You’ll go on that second date. When the guy you’re seeing talks about wanting to take you to some of his favorite places, you won’t internally roll your eyes and think “Yeah, whatever, like you’re going to stay around.”
You will do everything you can do to control how you feel and react.
Some days, it won’t be enough. You’ll mentally start the countdown. The film reel will begin rolling, showing you all the moments filled with verbal promises in the past by the ones who left you. Your confidence will shrink. You’ll text your friends:
“It’s happening again. This is when things go to shit. What if it happens again?”
The best answer they can give you (and for those of you who get this text from your friends) is:
“I understand why you feel that way. I want to say something about how you should feel different but that wouldn’t really work. If anything does happen, you have people to rely on. But I don’t think it will.”
Because sometimes, most of the time, all you really need is to be reminded that your feelings are valid, and you are not alone.
So you take a deep breath. You take a drive to your favorite spot to see breathe in the beauty of the city you chose to call home. If tears come, you let them fall. You let yourself feel but you don’t get lost.
There will always be ghosts.
There will always be endings.
But there will be beginnings, too.
And GIFs. There will always be GIFs.