Today has been a heavy day. I had to get out of town just to think. Oddly enough, I didn’t really overthink. I just drove. I got coffee. I chatted with the baristas, who are always awesome. I enjoyed my coffee. I petted my dog as we drove. I cashed in my birthday drink and one of the barristas asked what advice I could give at 47 to someone just starting out. I told them not to marry the wrong person.
I used to have a friend who I would joke with all the time about the guys who would text her “Hey, you up?” or “WYD?” for “What you doing?” at all hours of the night. This was always just to initiate sexting. They were always taking from her, and her values at the time meant that she was happy to give to establish self worth. We used to joke about it, and we would ironically text each other “WYD” or “You up?” at all hours of the day. Damn, that would make me smile.
Most of my female friends have some guy, either a random new guy or somebody from their past texting them the same kind of stuff. Hey you up? WYD?
On some level, it’s nice to be thought of. On the other hand…ick.
I never get texts from exes. I guess once they are out of my life, they are out of my life. I suppose that is healthier. Less complications. I don’t text exes either. Not anymore. I did that once, shortly after the end of my marriage, and that was to apologize for ending things with her before I got married to the wrong person. I was probably around fifteen years too late. She never answered.
I confessed that maybe I had gotten married to hurt her, to show her that I could get married. 24 year olds should be held in trust like Britney Spears. I think a lot of people get into relationships for that purpose. They treat the one they are with so well because they are proving to themselves that if their ex had accepted that sort of treatment, they wouldn’t have had any problems. Sorta that whole sewing seeds in fertile ground vs. stoney fields parable thing. The bummer with that is you are considering someone in a role, rather than the person themselves.
I think you should just want to treat someone you are with as you would want to be treated.Not as your ex would have wanted to be treated. Maybe it’s a reflection of the love you have to give. And if that person is right for you, they will shine back, sort of like the moon. I have made the mistake of showering people with love just because I had an abundance of it, and hadn’t found anyone in a long time who would accept it. The problem with that is you can smother someone if you do that. Or the wrong person will eat it up and ask for seconds. To the wrong person, it’s never enough.
Today I was in a heavy mood. I’ve gotten the WYD texts unironically, and to be honest, I am not a fan. But the people pleaser in me humors them. Like my friend once did. They never get any further than the surface with me. I’m a writer. I’m good at creating an image of who I am. The few who really know me, know me…hell, I wonder why they stick around. I’m grateful that they do.
My advice to the barrista was wrong. It was cynical. My advice should have been “Eat dessert first”. This life is short. Also, don’t waste time. We don’t have enough of it. Wasting time could be eating canned green beans when you really hate them, not taking that chance to see the world, saving up for a retirement you might never live to see, and not being in the moment…always waiting for a “When” or conditions to be perfect.
They won’t be.
Don’t worry about pleasing people either.
I have a few close friends, and only a select few who actually see me. Actually know me. This morning, I decided to shave off my beard. I had been considering doing it for a while. Sometimes I just want to check on the man underneath to see how he is doing. Then it all grows in again, greyer. But for a few days, I look young again. This friend who knows me…I told her a few days ago I was going to do it, and she said, “Whatever makes you happy, my friend.” Damn, we don’t get a lot of those kinds of people in our lives, do we? I posted the pic on Facebook, and got the usual round robin of shock and dismay. I got texts questioning whether or not I had made a mistake.
But, you know what my friend who knows me said to me? “You did it! How do you feel?”
Seen. Right at that moment. Seen.
Unfortunately the rest just made me understand how little most people know me.
I think if WYD Girl was still in my life, she would have asked very much the same question. We had been pretty close. But, she’s not, and she’s been gone for a year or more now. She’s moved on. She’s someone else now. She showed me she didn’t really want to go any deeper than surface. Like I said, “Exes” don’t call me ever. Maybe it’s better that way. Fewer complications. Fewer texts in the middle of the night asking if I’m up. (And yes, I am up. I have chronic insomnia. I’m always up.) Less people who really just don’t fucking know me and are making that abundantly clear.
Not as much getting your hopes up that people actually remember you once you no longer serve a purpose to them.
I wish the ones I have loved every kindness, and I hope some of them catch themselves smiling sometimes, remembering a moment we shared. A glimpse into the past that catches them off guard and reminds them for a brief moment, like a warm beam of sunlight on their face. I hope those moments carry them when things are at their darkest. But I don’t expect to hear from any of these loves or old friends ever again. And if I did, it wouldn’t be them. It would just be a shadow of someone I once knew. We all change. We all move on. We burn those bridges and march ahead in the warm glow of regret for wasting our precious time. There’s another reason we call them old flames.
Like I said. Heavy.
2 thoughts on “I took the poison, from a poison stream and floated out of here”
My goodness, I’ll have to read this a few more times, perhaps on different days, to truly grasp it. Such an insightful piece. I always love your articles but this one, is gold. Also… Happy birthday. Do more of what makes you happy, we only live once 😊
Thank you for reading! There is a LOT to unpack here.