Exes, ugh. Most of us have them. Most of us wish we didn’t. Again, I speak in absolute generalities and 100% from experience. Unfortunately, I seem to have an awfully hard time moving past my past. I’m really great at understanding why it ended. Not so good at the letting go part. I’m awesome at manipulating myself into rationalizing harmless texts, or insisting that I could handle a friendship. It very much resembles something like the few times I’ve attempted to surf mushy hurricane swell. You want to catch a sweet wave so bad, but in the end you just get worked over, worn out and rained on. Or in my specific case, stitches in the back of my arm and a trail of blood leading the sharks right to me. This seems like an awesome example, but it’s actually a true story.
I’ve learned from my survey responses that every broken relationship came with its equal share of unbroken, rather large in fact, red flags. It’s like owning our very own army issued night vision relationship goggles. I don’t know much about night goggles. But I picture us walking around in the dark fully functional, until someone flips a light switch on (or in this case a break up, an argument, a brutal rejection… name your vice).
I’ve got analogies all day to describe the junk we walk through to get over our exes. But the exciting part is this… I think I’ve stumbled on to something. It could be a stretch, or it could be in genius. Hear me out, lady friends. I think, just maybe, it is actually a pride issue. When I first popped this pill in my mouth, it was bitter and hard to swallow. I’ve got a list of insecurities a mile long. How does it even make sense that pride would be the root of my break up hang up? To answer this, I’ll have to expose a little of myself here. This is the part that I try to hold tightly to when posting on a social network for all to see. Who wants to admit they are walking around wounded? Not I, said the pride.
There are two men in my adult life that I can’t seem to dismiss. Now, I have nothing bad to say about either one of them; the opposite, actually. I seem to only remember the good stuff. I shake my fist at you, selective memory. All I know is that they both liked me a lot and then seemingly overnight, not so much. It’s confusing and depressing all wrapped up in one burrito.
The rational side of my brain recognizes that with one of these guys, I built him up to be my very own grown up Aladdin. Aladdin was always my favorite. Mostly because Jasmine was the only Disney princess I even remotely looked like but, also because he was dangerous, had a magic carpet and the kingdom at his finger tips. Boy #1 offered up a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view. (Are you singing the song with me yet?) The magical Disney moment passes and I realize, I looked to this young man to be my absolute savior from… myself. I didn’t blame him one bit as I watched him exit quickly, carpet tassels flapping in the wind. I was young and silly. Pride won’t let me take a step further. And here’s why. Somewhere deep down I have to believe I am something great and irreplaceable. That’s why it’s incomprehensible that he is not trying to ‘look me up’ or reply to my breezy facebook messages. Its pride AND insecurity. I have a feeling there is a lethal relationship here that I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of.
Boy #2 (let’s all pretend we don’t know who this one is). I had to take a few long breaths here to even muster up the courage to unpack this lovely present. I’ve never been tackled by a professional linebacker, but I’ve experienced the painful aftermath. Unlike the last example, this one didn’t unfold so pleasantly and wasn’t as easy to predict. Think more… car accident. I’m jamming out to the radio. Seconds later, I’m flipping through the air and meeting what feels like my fatal demise. Craziest thing… the wound looks almost the same. He doesn’t return my texts, or put forth any effort to be friends. It hurts something bad to lose a best friend. And I find myself wishing upon all wishes to go back to the friendship stage of that relationship. If only we could’ve stayed there. I’d be spared of the hurt and the new void. He’d still be here to make me laugh and hang my Ikea pot rack.
This is when I first realized the pattern. This is me recognizing the wound needs to be cleaned up (even if it stings) and then properly medicated. To do this, I will attempt to self diagnose. Then, we operate.
I’ve talked about this before. I wished I was more like a dude, instead of wondering and pining over all the things I did wrong. I’ve heard it said before that men are like dresser drawers. They can close up shop to an emotion or an event and completely function on to the next. When I get dumped, it spills over into every single smelly square footage of my life. I get intensely hung up on closure. I seek it out from the handlers of my brokenness. It’s like I’m screaming out… desperate to make sense of it all. They’ve dumped me, so I’m convinced there is something wrong with me. Insecurity. But, then I think if they just get a taste of how witty and great I was/am then there’d be no need for closure. Instead, they’d remember they are still in love with me and recognize they won’t find better. Pride. What a nasty cycle. It’s about to be a broken cycle.
I’m leaving all my shame and graveling at the feet of my ghost of boyfriends past. As much as I hoped for a different outcome to both stories, I am finally learning from them so it doesn’t seem such a waste. For now, I’ll just hope they’re single longer than I. And that I some how profit big time from them breaking my silly little heart. Dare I say, best seller?
Dearest friend, if you’re out there still hung up on the ending of something mediocre… let it stop today. Or at least start walking in a new direction with me. If we’re honest, I mean really honest… is it the boy we’re still hung up on? Or could it be the rejection we’ve been handed that dinged our ego? If you think I’m way off, humor me with a quick example to prove my point. I can’t even name the number of times I’ve seen this played out in my own life and the lives around me. You are halfheartedly flirting around with a boy. He’s shorter than you’d like, or maybe wears funny shoes. You don’t really care too much for him and you maybe even have a few others like him on the side. But a pretty girl writes on his facebook wall. Or suddenly one too many of your calls have gone to voice mail. Is your blood pressure rising from recognition? What seems like overnight we are obsessed with a boy, we didn’t actually even like to begin with. It’s the game. It’s the loss of our pride that feeds the insecurity and blossoms into a big heaping disaster of poo. Somehow, we’re devastated and chasing a guy that is less than desirable, all because he breathed a breath of abandonment.
Catch it right now. Put it outside and hope it curls up and dies somewhere. We’re better than this. I promise. Do you believe it? Of course you do. Don’t try to bail ship because you’re keeping score with “him”, but do it because you’re trusting God for a better YOU.