September 25th, 2022
It’s been a while. Here I am with a cat on my lap, a cat on the floor next to me, and the air-conditioning creating the white noise that I tend to overlook, but not today. Today I feel very aware. Awake even. My outlook on life felt like it was withering away. The hopeful person in me was falling deeper into the void and being overshadowed by thoughts that tend to come up when life isn’t working out as I planned. After years of pushing forward, I felt stun-locked. I realized the jadedness I have been dodging all of these years was holding on tight to my heart. All the words I share with others and myself were beginning to feel meaningless. Doubt was setting in and acceptance of this was lurking.
I took a step back and do what I always do, which is reflect. I realized reflection can only go so far. Sometimes we even get stuck in reflecting and the action gets pushed back. A form of procrastination for myself. I can plan all day long; think about my life and others; but if I don’t act on it then I get stuck in a limbo. Talking to myself in the mirror to prepare for conversations that may never happen.
As mentioned previously, I like to reach out to people who I have known in the past in hopes to share kind words, repair bridges, and just to see who they’ve become. I started doing this as a way for me and for them to see that although we may no longer be in each others’ lives physically or on a daily basis that they still hold a place in my heart and mind. Good intentions but it depends on the perspective. Those relationships that have ended in turmoil are not always so accepting of this. I started to understand why after multiple discussions with people.
We tend to handle our lives as a book. The classic metaphor of when a chapter ends so does that person’s place in our lives. People move on and don’t want to revisit those who have hurt them in the past or caused too much stress to their lives. It’s not too hard to understand that, but for me, I always tried to look at life in a way that if we had a bond previously, then I want to cherish that regardless of how it turned out. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that we may sway from others due to a change in their path or ours. Some people may not be aligned with where we are in life and that can become difficult to uphold, even co-exist alongside. So saying good bye (for now) seems like a method that will help us put the energy we were exerting to care for that friendship into one that we feel nourishes us now. I feel like we’ve all had people in our life that we clashed with so much that it was becoming a source of toxicity, exhaustion, distraction, or too challenging for who we were in that moment.
That’s the thing though for me. Who we are now, doesn’t mean we will be the same version of ourselves in a few years. The person I was ten years ago, although similar at the core, was naive, stubborn, and ignorant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still those things in certain areas, but I’ve grown much wiser, more open, and a bit more experienced since then. The issue is that people see one another as the version of who they knew. Think about how a lot of parents see their children. They see them as the kids growing up, and when those kids start forming their own personalities it can become difficult for the parent to accept them as this new person. It’s a struggle. I catch myself doing it too, especially in arguments with my significant other. So when someone hurts you, it makes sense to shut that door, take a breather, and step away from what has been troubling in your life. The thing is a lot of people don’t want to open the door back up. The thought process of they served their purposes in your life, they hurt you, or they’ve hurt others locks the door and boards it up so they can never come through it again. The thoughts that they may have grown in ways that align with who you want to be surrounded with may not cross your mind and if they do, there’s still the conflict of taking a chance, exerting the limited energy you do have, or even re-opening communication sounds like it’s too much to handle at this current state in time. It goes back to what I’ve said previously, we’re all on different timelines. That person may still be working on themselves; you may still be holding resentment; and neither of you want to reach out to see if there is a way to exist without those negative emotions swarming you. Closure to repair that part of yourselves that linger in the depths of your mind, because eventually those feelings get pushed down where you may feel like everything is okay until their name is brought up or you bump into them again.
That brings me to how I normally try to work on these relationships that ended poorly. I have spoken about it briefly in my Reactionary Mindset blog but I want to go more in-depth in this one. After a relationship ends and I work through what I’m needing to I will then reach out to the other person. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes it is to repair the relationship; but for the most part it is to let them know the impact they have made on my life and that someone is out there thinking about them. It’s difficult to confront a situation that ended poorly, but when we see the other person is willing to talk or has shown forgiveness it may make it easier to approach them again compared to speculating. Do they hate us? Do I even exist in their mind anymore? Do they want to have me pop up in their life again, even if it is for a conversation? Normally these questions make it more difficult to reach out to that person, but I always do it. Throughout the years the expectations were different, and I assumed people would reply and be direct with me. That’s the kind of person I am. I need honesty and directness otherwise I try to look at the best case scenario regardless of how low the percentage of it actually happening may be. Now, that’s where we circle back to what I mentioned in the beginning of this blog.
My life was shaped by many, not only me, and I hope that I do the same for others. I stay interested in the people that pass through my life no matter how insignificant they may feel our interaction may be. Those people who I haven’t spoken to in years, I am curious what they’re doing. Who they’ve become, what perspectives they have on life, and ultimately if they’re a good person or not (to what I feel a good person at that point in time may be as it does alter as I grow older). The person I am has always been a challenge for myself and others. I am inquisitive to a fault. While trying to learn about people’s intentions and actions this can bring up a lot of projection and speculation from the other side. I’m not always tactful, and if the person isn’t willing to be inquisitive back, it can often lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. I have lost a lot of friendships, because of misunderstandings or an unwillingness to endure the person I am. Of course I have made many mistakes as well, but in my mind it has never been to the point of being irreversible. So I reach out and try to fix the harm that I have done; show the growth that I have made; express the remorse that I have; and appreciate their impact on my life. It’s not an easy situation to be in on either side. Reaching out does come with a lot of anxiety, and from the response rate that I tend to get a lot of rejection as well. The majority of the time people don’t respond, which sadly leads to speculation on my part. Not knowing why can lead to many reasons and again I do try to think about it in a way that they’re not ready yet or if they never will be at least they didn’t have to speculate on their side. The more this happens though the pain that I feel seems to become numb. I start doubting what I’m doing, but always remind myself that each person is different, each relationship was different, and each life is different. Whatever perspective they may have about me doesn’t mean it’s accurate now, because time has gone by and that version of who we were no longer exists. We aren’t the same person we were yesterday, as much as we may believe we are. There are certain attributes that may be strengthened or removed. Experiences that may alter our perspectives. There’s something that happens each day that makes our mind stop for a second to make a decision of who we will be in that moment. The more we do something, the more we may feel that it’s us and lock into those views; or we may change it up and take a step on a different path.
Recently my path was not writing to the people I wanted to write to. I realized that although I worked through a lot of thoughts, it didn’t mean they have or even wanted to. I realized that I needed someone to reach out to me. That based on the consistency of who I have been when it comes to forgiveness they would know, if they ever needed to talk, I’d be here. It may not be with open arms, but it would be with an open mind. At first I was conflicted with this, as I believed it was a selfish mindset. Honestly, this recent one hurt… a lot. This time around I didn’t feel like I caused the pain and with that I didn’t want to feel the pain of being ignored or dismissed. Not right now at least. I decided to instead draw a comic that I felt reflected my feelings, potentially their perspective and moved forward with my life.
Coincidentally, someone from my past responded to a letter I wrote to them months ago. I didn’t see the response until today, and I decided to stay awake and reply. This person and I had a lot of conflicts but also a strong bond many years ago. They were one of the few that did try and work through our problems time and time again, but down the road we both had times that we needed to move away from each other. In my past letter I mentioned that we could try to get to know each other as we no longer were the people we once were and they were open to it. Again my intentions aren’t to repair a friendship, but more so a broken connection. I’m not sure where it will go, but the fact that I saw this letter during a time in my life where I started feeling like I was losing some hope in my core beliefs felt serendipitous. Regardless of the outcome of the letter, it was more that they responded. That we both still allowed that person to exist in our minds throughout the many years apart. That’s what I needed to see to help me continue knowing that the efforts that I do put into past relationships aren’t a waste of time or energy. That some people may understand that life isn’t about closed doors. It’s about the people waiting on the other side excited and anxious to meet the current version of you.
Remember that although history does shape us, our future does too. We can learn from our mistakes, but if we keep turning our head to the past we’ll miss what’s right in front of us. Here’s to forgiveness, growth, and being that person who reaches out. Remember to form boundaries, not walls; time is relative; and there are always exceptions.
Until the next Scenario!