for me, myself, and i
I have a confession: I overthink. (Maybe not much of a confession). There’s something to be said for introspection; but looking inwards can turn into a spiral quickly, in the same way that constantly focusing on “living your life” takes away from actually doing it. In the same way that trying to convince someone of something often results in the exact opposite. Recently, I had the perfect, albeit slightly unfortunate, reminder that life just is what it is, and at the end of the day, the only person I need to prove anything to is myself.
A phone call with an ex. That was the cliche reminder: a completely unproductive phone call with an ex (breaking every rule, I know). I don't know what I was expecting. I was trying to set boundaries, and by talking to him on the phone, breaking every boundary I was trying to set.
The two of us are different in how we react to things. I am emotional; he is logical. I know what I was hoping by keeping in touch as we have been, sporadically, over the past few weeks: that he would wake up one day and want to get back together. I knew this was wrong. And I know this is one epiphany that won’t happen. And so, I tried to take a logical approach — setting a time period in which we didn't talk, in an attempt to preserve the option of some kind of friendship (given the amount of mutual friends we have). I’ve been so tightly wound lately that I think I was searching for some semblance of control. I convinced myself this was the way to do it, that everything would feel better if he agreed. In retrospect, I can recognize the scapegoat I created in my head, that in the end this caused more stress than anything else. (After all, if I didn’t want to talk to him I didn’t have to. It was simple). I would say I wish I could take it back — but then I never would have learned that trying to take control in this way was a mistake, and one I doubt I’ll make again.
Needless to say the phone call went in circles, and left me upset. He said a lot of things, things that originally I wrote about but I’ve realized most, ultimately, aren’t worth going into. They are what they are. Before we hung up, he asked me what I was hoping to get from the conversation? It was a fair question. After the call, I sat in disbelief at a lot of what he said. His flippant attitude felt cruel, even if he didn't mean it to be. (One thing that did stick out — he said he is living his life not focusing on how he feels about other people, which seemed…a strange thing to say).
And then, he called me back.
I picked up. I shouldn’t have, but I did. I picked up to him saying “Amberrrr” in the jovial tone he used to use when we were dating. Among other things, he asked me, what were the steps in the grand plan I imagined if he woke up and wanted me back? What was my elevator pitch of us getting back together? It was also cruel, really, for him to ask that, with no real interest in my answer. Once again, I should have known better. But I answered, briefly, and listened to him respond with something along the lines of, “you haven’t changed.” I told him I didn’t appreciate the phone call as a test, and he should stop testing me. He said I wouldn't hang up. And so I did. (I actually think, for once, I might’ve surprised him. Not a bad note to end on).
It was clear, in how he spoke, that he thought he knew me completely, that it was very likely he would never see me as anyone other than the naive 19 year old I was when we started dating, even though I’ve grown up so much since then.
It infuriated me.
In my immediate anger, I thought to myself, I’m going to prove him wrong. But — no. I don’t need to prove him wrong. I don’t need to prove anyone wrong. I’m going to prove myself right.
That simple reminder erased all the anger and anxiety (some of it misplaced, some of it not) that had spontaneously accumulated during, and after, that phone call.
I’m far from perfect. But I know I will keep growing as a person, because I want to. Those things I’m working to improve — not letting my anxiety and stress get the best of me (not taking it out on loved ones), being comfortable not planning and accepting uncertainty, standing up for myself and knowing my worth — I believe I can. I don’t need anyone else’s validation; I want to be the best version of myself for me. It’s cheesy to say, but sometimes you have to lean into the cheese when it’s true.
When I wrote about letting go, a few weeks ago, I thought I meant it. There is so much uncertainty that I’m perfectly ok with. But I hadn't really let go, not yet. Not fully. I would say things like, who knows what will happen in the future. But I have to admit deep down I was still hoping, ultimately, we would get back together. I don’t know if it was the phone call, but things have clicked. I’m finally, actually letting go of hoping for one future over another. And I don’t need to prove how I feel to anyone but myself.
I hardly agree with everything that was said on the phone call. But for now — I’m done planning. I’m young. I can take things day by day. And planning has so far, not worked out so well for me. So maybe it’s worth trying something new.
This is not one of my more eloquently written blog posts. But I don’t particularly care. I felt like it was a moment of emotion that was worth exploring, that I wanted to write about in the rawness as I experienced it, that I wanted to write about for me. There have been times lately I’ve held back — on the blog, or elsewhere — times I’ve acted a certain way for other people. It’s occasionally exhausting and always disappointing, and I’m not going to do so any longer. And as I’ve said before, my blog is a space first and foremost, for me. When everything else is uncertain, I have writing.