Allowing yourself to get emotionally invested in someone or something that has a blatant danger is kind of asking for bad news.
By Chelsea Fagan via Thought Catalog
There is a specific feeling which exists only when you run into someone about whom you had long forgotten. It’s probably most palpable when it’s an ex, but it can happen with friends who were once particularly close. It is comparable to a scab that seems to have been on your skin forever — a scrape which was once quite painful but has been so long in the healing process that you no longer notice its presence when you wash over it in the shower. You peel it off almost out of boredom and suddenly there is a drop or two of blood, something that vaguely resembles the wound it once was, now too distant to really cause any discomfort. These people are wounds which have healed over, which have never quite turned into scars but which have become just another part of your lived-in body.
Letting someone go — when it is a necessary act of self-preservation, something that has to come if you expect to move forward in life — is regarded as a kind of victory. You have successfully overcome an emotional trauma that once surrounded you like a kind of fog which prevented you from ever seeing the sun. People will tell you, always with the best intentions, that one day you are going to wake up and realize that you are okay, and your life is not immediately over because they are no longer a part of it. And this is true, though it’s not the net positive that we are so quick to label it as. Because it’s not as though you simply wake up one day and proclaim yourself fine, suddenly hearing birds chirp and children laugh after months of only your own oppressive silence. You simply start to forget, feeling the acute pain of the loss less and less as each day goes on. There will come a day when you don’t care, but you won’t notice it, because you will have other things to think about.
But in order to let that pain go, in order to remove this person from the place of power they have occupied for so long, you must let everything go. Perhaps in a very distant future, you will be able to pick and choose the memories you want to keep, but for a very long time, one memory will always bleed into another. You cannot simply think about the time the two of you sat on the beach for an entire night, talking about your childhood, drinking the second-least-expensive wine you could find in the store. Because when you allow yourself to think about that, it will remind you of them as a whole, and will lead into all of the terrible things that happened after that night — not the least of which being their eventual departure. They exist within us as whole people, stories with beginnings and endings, and in order to let go of them we cannot choose the things we want to isolate for nostalgia.
We have to stop caring what they would think if they saw us, stop worrying about running into them in the store, stop obsessing over the things we could have done differently to make them stay. And that means letting go of everything they meant to us, proving to ourselves that life can be just as good, just as beautiful, without them in it. When you realize, long after the fact, that you no longer care about someone — that what they are doing in life has no bearing on you, and vice versa — it feels very much like a small death. Who they were with you no longer exists, and you cannot even preserve it in your memory, for the sake of your own mental health.
March 4, 2013 8:42pm
Lord help me please :( I dont like this feeling. I need You. Guide me please :(
It’s a dramatic question, I know. Of course you see me, physically speaking. I’m a person who exists in your life, if only on the periphery, and I’m not going to magically disappear because you don’t take the time to notice who I am. But I have this feeling that you have a sort of selective vision, that you’re happy to come in and out of things with me because to invest any further would mean committing yourself to something — and we certainly can’t have that. When you speak to me for a few precious days, acknowledging my existence, I can almost convince myself that you really do see me, that you know I’m here. But then you retreat back into your comfortable silence, your precious distance, and I am reminded that you don’t.
You are simply able to forget about me, to render me invisible, a dot on the horizon that you can take a pleasant stroll to visit when it is convenient. I am not in your inner circle, nowhere near enough to cause you actual harm. It’s easier to keep me out here because it will never imply your real involvement, you will never sign a contract whose terms we both know you’re not willing to fulfill. So I sit here, yelling at the top of my lungs to get you to turn around, waving flares against the night sky and shouting your name. You might turn around, but you’ll never really look at me.
With you, it often feels like those dreams where you want to say something — want to scream, want to get a point across, want to be heard — and your open mouth refuses to make a sound. There is some incredibly small, seemingly simple task you want to accomplish and you just can’t do it for whatever reason. There is an invisible barrier there, something keeping you from attaining your goals and making yourself understood. And you try and try, failing over and over again, waking up just before you can achieve it. I am running towards you, and you never get closer. You always remain at the same frame of distance, always with your back to me, always just out of reach.
It’s easy to forget me. It’s easy to pretend that I’m not here when you don’t want to see me. And I can see how it must be tempting, how it must stroke your ego and remind you that you have power over people whose existence you barely consider. But someday this may happen to you. Someday someone might look right through you and all you want to mean to them. And I hope that, when it happens, you remember that you did it, too. Because maybe then you’ll understand that it’s better to be completely naked and totally understood than covered up and easily ignored.
From Thought Catalog