|Gone by in time and no longer existing.
| A sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
|A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.
It’s that time of year again. The peak of my loneliness. The most self-reflective stretch of sixteen weeks out of my 365 day year. Shit’s crazy right now between work and school and little life errands that eat away the extra minutes, and before I know it I’m asleep and awake again just in time to start over until Friday, which blurs right into Monday and then without a moment’s rest I find myself off to race the marathon of another work week. You know the feeling. Momma would say ‘swamped’. I like that. Granted, I do all this to myself. It’s the mess of interests I have the keep me from ever standing still. Yet, at the same time, I wonder what it would be like to have some breathing room. Anyway, I can promise I’ll elaborate on my middle-man workaholic complex soon. Until then, it’s time to let go of some demons.
A couple weeks ago in my Anthropology lecture my professor was discussing the relationship between sickle cell and malaria when he stumbled on his words and quite suddenly stopped talking completely. As the room fell to a deadly silence his focus shifted to a girl near the front row. Instead of following the presentation, she found it a better idea to sit inattentively and text. The professor approached the girl with rage, staring through broken and wounded eyes. The girl looked up, embarassed and terrified. He then said:
“Have you ever told somebody that you loved them, only to watch them respond with silence?”
A few seconds passed. The girl understood. The pain fell from his face, and he slowly returned to continue his teachings.
I held onto his words for the rest of the day, countlessly referring to the situation in my head. Yes, I’ve been there. Yes, I know the kind of disappointment when worlds collide, when the fantasy has been shredded by the biting edge of reality. Yes, sir, I have suffered this before. And I continue to suffer this, not knowing if it will ever completely heal. Reciprocation is rare. The feelings are hardly ever mutual. The temptation lies in the gamble, even in the lowest of odds, but that glimmer of hope inside of you pushes you to throw the dice. Yet, even after ten rolls, there’s always the chance that this could be snake eyes. This could be jackpot. This could be worth the suffering of all past losses.
So many of my rolls have left me without chips.
And how do I react? Like a child of course! In 2009, after single-handedly wrecking the potential of a girlfriend by playing the Hare instead of the Tortoise, I sent late-night novels full of blame and self-pity. A year later, after resisting so many urges to hurry things up, I decided to ‘take things slow’. Except I realized I wasn’t moving at all, and she falsely sensed a lack of interest. So I blamed again. I felt sorry for myself. I was the 2 year old in the grocery store that wasn’t getting what he wants. Temper. Tantrums. Kicking & screaming. All of these pity stories of being lead on are in the dozens.
Hell, it doesn’t apply solely to relationships. Upon coming to college, I lost a really close friend in the transition. We slowly became gossip, indirect insults, passive aggression. And of course, more blaming. “But always their fault”, said I, the eternal victim.
What happens when kids call other kids ‘stupid’? They go and tell, of course! I’m on the playground at least three times a day. Do you know how many little scuffles I’ve settled between a couple of young’ns that for the moment can’t seem to get along? Shit, I wish I got my bonuses from swing-set counseling. Here comes little Jimmy again. I bet Roger shoved him too hard, and now he’s pushing tears. Let’s have a talk. So I do what any other adult does that can see the bigger picture: I take little Jimmy and raging Roger off to the side, I kneel down (to always equalize the eye levels!) and I say these words:
“Now Jimmy, did you really mean what you said to Roger?”
“Well, no, but I just got mad!”
“That’s okay buddy, that happens a lot. It’s normal!”
“Yeah but he pushed me! ”
“That’s normal too! I bet he just got a little mad himself. Now, are you still friends with Roger?”
“I guess so.”
“And since you both didn’t mean what you did, let’s settle this right now. Tell him you’re sorry, buddy. Okay, now your turn. Perfect. Shake hands, boys. Now you’re alright, go back and play.”
Assuming we’re not on the goddamned Prarie anymore, little Jimmy and raging Roger will probably get in another scrim before the day’s out. And another at the end of the week. And they’ll both be crying again, because they’re boys and they get pissed off at each other. But that’s not the point! One of the most beautiful gifts that kids posses and somehow lose throughout their development is the ability to forgive (and I’m not going to sit here and glorify kids like everybody else does…that rant is also for another writing). They fight, they cry, then it’s done. Moving on.
Fuck, if my ego wasn’t so big, I’d probably be able to do the same! After all, Sam, shouldn’t you practice what you preach? If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with kids, it’s realizing how much of a hypocrite I can be. Who am I to say “just let it go” when I’m still holding onto silly minimal things from freshman year of high school. Who am I to say “don’t exclude anybody” when I purposely erase numbers from a mass text just because I refuse to blend two conflicting groups of friends. And who do I think I am when I tell Matthew to apologize when I’ve never been the first to take the fault. These fucked up standards are pushed upon the little ones every day, and frankly, it’s time I take some accountability.
Cliché alert: on top of a cloudy mountain, one wise monk once mentally communicated to another wise monk “We must forgive and we must forget, for that is how we grow as lovers” (and I bet you just read that in an ancient faux-asian voice. haHA, I strike again! PS: that saying? I just made that shit up right now). The idea’s there, though. Forgive and forget, that’s what we’re told. But I shouldn’t really forget, right? I mean, wouldn’t it be naive to assume it won’t happen again? And if it does, it would be wise to remember how you settled it the first time, right?
Yeah. For the most part.
One of my closet friends once said to me “I know who you are, Sam. I don’t know what you’re up to, I don’t know what you did last week, but I know you.” And before this semester, Matt and I had only seen each other a total of six to eight times within the past 5 years. It’s one of those genuine friendships that don’t need upkeep, something I am so lucky to have in more than one person. Here’s the thing: we have a choice in what we ‘forget’ (or better said, ‘let go’). If I continue to hold onto the ugly memories of arguing, deception and feeling abandoned, I can assure you that will only spoil my attempts to reconcile. And guess what? This is what I, for the past three years, have chosen to carry with me as memories of once beloved friendships. I’ve cast away the smiles, the bonds, the happiness. I’ve forgotten the way Matty saw me.
But it’s time I let it out.
Okay, here we go:
To all the girls with whom I saw a future, yet for one reason or another it didn’t go as planned: Thank you. I have learned so many things from these failed relationships that have given me such a stronger grip on being a better ‘me’. You know you’ve made progress when you look back and laugh at yourself; ‘did I actually say that?!”
To all the girls that saw a future with me, yet I chose otherwise: I’m infinitely sorry. I was the one who sat in silence in your confession of love. I crushed those dreams and chose to leave you behind. I know that nothing I can really say will help the cause, for it’s me you want after all. With that, my only hope is that I’ve been able to show you something that you never saw in yourself.
To the few friends that I’ve kept at bay: I’ve missed you, sincerely. If there’s anything that continually comes back to me, it’s the laughs. It’s your company. It’s your love. I’d be damned if I said I don’t think about you all the time. And to be honest, I’ve forgotten what pushed all of us away in the first place. So this is my invitation to patch the seams. You mean more to me than you know.
I was jamming to Kanye on my way to work a few weeks ago. Nostalgia seems to especially accompany that music, and upon arriving in the parking lot I sat and thought. And I was taken back to so many places. Those five minutes of musical meditation will be a memory I’ll keep alongside those that flooded me. It was time I said sorry. I knew I needed those that were missing from my life. It was time I get off my high horse, because you can’t give hugs from atop a saddle. I killed the ignition and walked into school.
Since then, I’m happy to say that I’ve mended old scrapes that were bleeding for far too long. A few days ago, an old friend of mine came out as bisexual. I was so happy to have been apart of that moment, and to at least send my two cents of support in his direction. And a couple of weekends ago I was ‘Iced’ for the first time in my life. I would have not wished that experience to have been with anybody else. Then a brief moment of ‘catch-up’ happened later that night from a friend that always showed so much support in me. With the unpredictability of life and death always in mind (just look at the school shooting earlier this week), why would I choose to lose these people before I’m forced to? Regret lies in the things you’ve never done. I don’t want to look back and think ‘it’s too late to save’. I don’t want to look back at a premature end. So I remembered who these people are. I remembered all of the beauty that I once chose to forget. I remembered the humility of being the first to say “I’m sorry”
and the joy of yelling “I’ve missed you!”
So what now?
Well, we’re back to the Tortoise. After all, Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a night. Time is again at play. But damn, it feels good to be with my gangsters again. If there’s anything I’m willing to work at, it’s this. And despite the fact that I don’t have enough time these days to trim my own nosehairs, I’ll make time to trim yours. I mean, that could be one hell of a re-bonding experience. All shits aside, I feel I’m on the right path.
|The time or a period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come.
Let’s make it count. Cheers, my friends.
And with that, I conclude with my tacky-yet-honest catch-phrase. But in all reality, I think it especially pertains to this topic, wouldn’t you say? Even if you would say, I’m the damn writer here. Go make your own blog and end it with some goofy shit like mine. No seriously, do it. I want to read it.
Oh man, here it comes…
Keep on loving,