It’s almost 3AM and I will be up at 7:30, but the Universe has decided that sleep is not for me tonight. I hate these nights; they seldom happen anymore. I guess even when I do everything right–when I enjoy my day, do my work, practice great skincare, and do yoga–I still am not doing enough for my body to get to sleep when it should.
I was lying in bed just endlessly thinking. I’m not even that anxious; I’m prepared to take on tomorrow, but for now I feel minimal pressure. Yet, there I was–staring at the ceiling and getting caught on every single thing I could think of. Instead of getting caught on them all, I decided to write about one.
So I saw this Tweet the other day [Holy crap, I just realized I’m going to give up Twitter for Lent!] which read:
Someone who says they don’t want a relationship right now just means they don’t want a relationship with you.
I half-heartedly “liked” it and kept scrolling, didn’t think much of it. Usually I only see those kinds of Tweets from the perspective of the “you” and not the “someone.”
But I was the someone once. And the more I lay there thinking about being the “someone,” the more annoyed I was at the Tweet.
When I was junior in high school, a Boy Friend I’d known since seventh grade came back from Summer Break with a Glow-Up. There was nothing wrong with him before the Glow-Up. In fact, I’d probably had some sort of halfhearted crush on him before it [I had a halfhearted crush on pretty much everyone at some point in high school]. But when he came back, I guess with his confidence renewed, things between us began to change. It took an entire academic year, but at Ring Ceremony in April, it was clear; he and I were Maybe Possibly Might Be a Thing.
We went on a few dates, and we talked all the time. And I really, really liked him. But here’s the thing.
Before his Glow Up, I’d spent all of Sophomore year attached to this College Sophomore who’d gone to my high school. We talked every day. He was my Person for such a long time, admitted to liking me, and truly was my Companion through my Stepmom’s death–which was absolutely one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in my entire life. We spent about eight months talking every day, and when he didn’t want to get serious (for very good reasons that I understand NOW, five years later), everything fell apart. To this day, I can’t stand his social media, his friends, his name. It’s involuntary, the way my body freezes up at the thought of him. He was one of my best friends before I considered him anything romantically, and he just dropped off the face of the planet. I don’t miss him anymore, but I’m still angry with how he let things end.
If I’m still upset five years later, imagine how I was when the wounds were still relatively fresh as a Junior. I really wanted to be serious with the Boy Friend, who obviously also wanted to be Serious with Me. But I couldn’t. I could not, in good conscience, begin to Date this Person while my Mind was still Hurtling over the Hill the Previous Person had left Behind. I consider this a pretty big turning point in my life, because the Me Before this Moment clung to anything that would give her attention. By all accounts, I should have been over the Moon about this Boy who’d liked me for Years. But I wasn’t ready for it. I was too hurt, too raw, too new to this world I didn’t know as 1/4 an Orphan.
I told him just that. Plain as day, that I was still dealing with previous hurts and that I wasn’t ready for a relationship. That I hoped I would be one day and that I hoped that One Day Person would be him, and that I was so sorry I hadn’t figured it out Sooner. That I wanted to Remain Friends but I understood if he couldn’t.
Boy, he Definitely Couldn’t.
His response was long, and Guilt-Tripping. If I remember correctly, he said something like, “I was so stupid to think you’d like someone like me.” But, like, several texts of that.
I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t about him, but he didn’t listen.
For the rest of the School Year, he was Awful to me. He ignored me, said mean things to people about me, LIED to them about me, and showed everyone our texts. I never said a bad word about him, and I let the anger inside of me dry out and reveal itself as Sympathy, Empathy, and Hurt. He had been my friend for so long, but in the end he was just as awful as the person before him.
That encounter happened at the beginning of May 2014. I did not meet or begin to date the Now Infamously Awful Ex-Boyfriend until January 2015. There was no one in between; I truly spent that time focusing on who I was and needed to be. I figured out Being Alone. Because at the time, that was what I needed.
So what I want to say to the people who read that Tweet and nod along and “mhm” and halfheartedly “like” is this:
It usually isn’t about you. And sometimes, the “someone” really just doesn’t want a relationship. If you can’t respect that from them, do you even truly respect or want them at all?
Dehumanizing people when they hurt us is really easy.
Take the hard road anyway.