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lovers by nature, delusional by choice

Updated: Jul 24, 2020



 











What am I going to do tonight? I could go to a movie... Or maybe I should do something more productive with this unexpected free time. All those days I spent working my ass off without a break, I always imagined having a day where I could just focus on myself.


Where the hell did I put that list? The one I made of all the things I swore I would follow up on should I ever manage to get some free time, much less an entire day to myself. Just remembered, I’m not really one for writing shit down on a list. It’s all organized in my head though, alphabetized and color-coded even. It’s supposed to be a list of things I enjoy doing but, for some reason, I can’t remember what’s on it. How is that even possible? You try! Go ahead, I’ll still be here when you’re done.


So, fate had decided for me, movie time. I got out of bed so I could change into something more movie theatre appropriate, and wouldn’t you know it, I found the damn list. It was right in front of me the entire time.


I could finally sit down and start learning how to play that $1,800 guitar propped up against the wall in the corner of my bedroom. The guitar I bought several years ago, still adorned with the original strings it came with. I could dive headfirst into that unopened box on my bookshelf, Rosetta Stone Learn to Speak Spanish Now, or whatever the hell it says. Or maybe pick up that Nikon Digital Camera hiding in my closet and I could wander off into the world in search of that one heart-grabbing, breathtaking, tear-jerking photograph that if anyone was going to capture, it would be me. Maybe pick up that autobiography I started three years ago? Let’s see, where did I leave off? Ahh, here we go, Chapter 2. Wait... Chapter 2?? That’s all I wrote? What’s in Chapter 1? Let me quickly scan this bad boy... “The summer wasn’t as warm as it had been in years past... the sun was blah, blah, blah”. Who wrote this shit? What the fuck was I...? “Select All”, “Delete”. Here we go; Chapter 1, no wait, Chapter One...? “Save?” Nope.


A movie it is then. Plus, it would probably make me feel better to spend a few hours distracting myself from the overwhelmingly painful reality that I’m alone. It sucks being single... right? Even though I’ll be going alone, at least I’m getting out of the house and don’t have to think about that asshole [Insert Name Here] for a little while.


I stroll up to the box office window in sweats with that “I didn’t shower before coming here” look about me. I’m greeted by some kid, who obviously couldn’t care less about the career choice he made. “How [inaudible] tonight” crackled through what appears to be an intercom system commonly found in most prison visitation rooms. “Hi, can I get one for the new 2 hour long stream of garbage nonsense created by Hollywood’s most elite overpaid scumbags who are desperately trying to justify their self-proclaimed moral superiority by cramming their Social Justice Warrior nonsense down our throats produced by Harvey Weinstein with Roman Polanski and starring Satan at 7:40 please?” Why isn’t anyone laughing? Oh yeah, I’m by myself. Oh god, was I talking out loud?


Jesus, even that little shit behind the 3” bulletproof glass thinks I’m a loser. Why do they need bulletproof glass at a movie theatre, anyway? What area am I in? Did I see a Dollar General nearby as I was parking? How many times have these guys been shot at? Why isn’t anyone laughing? Oh yeah, I’m by myself. Did I say all that out loud, again?


Oh here we go! Look at all of these guys behind the counter at the concession stand. Why the fluff do they only have one line open? The manager is behind the counter and isn't even pretending to be busy. That is the biggest key chain I have ever seen that wasn’t hanging from a prison guard’s belt! Why isn’t anyone laughing? Fuck, I did it again.


Two or three deep down in the line is a young couple. They seem happy. Her arm is tightly entangled with his, her head, tilted, resting on his shoulder. He whispers something in her ear and is rewarded with a kiss and a smile. I guarantee he tries to convince her to sit in the very back row of the theatre, hidden away in the darkest recess where hopefully no one else sits. If he’s going to be able to convince her to give him a blowjob during the movie, that’s where the magic is most likely to happen. Why isn’t anyone laughing? FUCK!


“Get your own damn bag of popcorn” I hear from the couple directly behind me. He has both hands hidden from reach in the pockets of an old pair of camouflage cutoff shorts as he rocks back and forth on his heels, adorned with flip-flops that expose his less than presentable dirty feet.


“You don’t want to share one with me?” she asks her “significant” other, timidly.


“ No!” He barks back as if she had just asked the most annoying question imaginable.


“Why not?” she asks in a semi-offended, but more hurt feelings tone.


He responds, even more enraged at her persistence: “I want butter on mine and I’m going to eat the whole bag. You don’t like butter on your popcorn, why is this so difficult for you to understand?”


She clutches her handbag tighter and shifts her focus away in an effort to conceal her embarrassment. Unfortunately for her, she made the mistake of shifting her focus to the happy couple in the front of the line. She realizes the harsh contrast between them. A representation of how things were in the beginning, compared to how things are now.


I’ve spent the past several years jumping from one bad relationship to another. Yet, despite being able to recognize and accept that they were in fact all “bad relationships”, for some reason, one self-destructive emotion haunted me persistently. Fear. I was scared of the most unusual thing. One minute of time. One minute seems so insignificant compared to the 24 years I’ve been alive, and hopefully to the years to come. But for some reason, one minute was the common factor when considering all of my recently recognizable fears. I found myself almost petrified of spending one minute without having a “significant other” in my life. One minute not being loved by someone. One minute not having someone to talk to. One minute sleeping alone. One minute waking up alone.


Why can’t it be the opposite? Why do I no longer cherish the thought of spending one minute not having to worry about whether or not someone was angry with me. One minute not having to contemplate whether or not someone was cheating on me. One minute not having to worry if all of those self-grooming standards I created were being maintained. One minute not having to worry about texting my “significant” other asking how they would prefer to spend the evening, or even worse, getting an answer to the most complex question ever asked of a human being: what do you want to do for dinner?

It was then that I realized, before having decided on going to a movie, I was literally trying, and ultimately failed at being able to convince myself to invest in me and my happiness. How did I get this way? Probably the same way the lady behind me in line at the movie theatre did. Ignoring the red flags.


If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you know how much it sucks and how devastating it feels. One minute, everything is great and before you know it, done. Your phone beeps, it’s a text from your other half. “What’s up?” Or “I miss you!” Or “what are you wearing?” Nope! It’s the worst thing imaginable. You’ve just been dumped over text message. Wait... what? Time to call, voicemail. Social Media message, user cannot be found. Blocked! Email, undeliverable. Engine, push to start; park shifted into drive; gas pedal to floor; speed limits, broken; tires screech to a halt; front door, locked; all of your shit, sitting in garbage bags (if you’re lucky) on your front lawn.


One minute now becomes eternity as you struggle to figure out what the hell is going on. No answers. Time eventually begins to pass and answers become less relevant to getting a good night’s sleep. And just when you think you’ve come to terms with it all, you find out from your finsta that your ex just celebrated his 3-month anniversary with his new beau. Painful, but not as bad as realizing you’ve only been apart for two. You sit there playing back the whole relationship in your head, hoping to find answers that will numb the pain. But no matter how hard you try, shit just doesn’t quite seem to add up. Literally. You try pinpointing the exact moment it all went wrong. Searching for what you did to deserve being treated that way. It doesn’t matter if they are a “garbage person” (@ one of my exes working down at the sanitation dept.), garbage people treat others like garbage, that’s all they know. It’s the level of extreme in which that person was willing to go to when it wasn’t necessary that hurts so much. What horrible vision of me do they have in their head to justify such callous cruelty? And because they broke up with you, for some reason, you now feel like you’re to blame. But are you?


Truth is, garbage man had truckloads of issues, long before he ever met me, that have baffled psychologists and scientist alike. But that’s not what’s important here. Like the lonely guitar propped up against my wall, the Spanish Language course on my bookshelf, or the camera in my closet, we sometimes see what we want to see, and ignore what we shouldn’t.


We get into relationships with people even though we are well aware of their shortcomings. We try to justify our willful blindness when attempting to forgive ourselves for making such a self-defeating choice. We throw out the ol’ “Well, what can I say? Love is blind!” Sure, love can make us blind, but love can also turn us into complete imbeciles. Love makes us less cautious. We begin to feel it and jump in head first. We convince ourselves that the red flags we see aren’t that big of a deal. Worst case scenario; they can be overcome or corrected in time. After all, there’s only a couple of them, nothing to worry about. Let’s face it, no red flags is the biggest red flag there is. God forbid, someone is actually normal nowadays. No matter how “perfect” someone may appear, we draw the line at zero red flags. Such a thing would warrant the cost of a private investigator.


One of the worst things a Mr. Perfect could ever say to me should probably be “You’re not real, you’re too perfect...what’s wrong with you?” However, instead of heeding the warning that Mr. Perfect doubts I’m a good person, just because I am a good person, I instead giggled and then blushed like an idiot, believing he had just complemented me. See? Imbecile!


Once upon a time, I even foolishly convinced myself that I will allow my crush to have one red flag (you know, as a treat). Which just so happened to be the dumbest shit that ever popped into my brain. In my overzealous attempt to come across as an accepting, tolerant and forgiving person in the eyes of my newfound crush, I forgot that the significance of that one red flag is pretty fucking important, wouldn’t ya say? Crush: “You’re saying I get one red flag that you’re willing to ignore and accept? Ok, I’m a serial killer! No take’sies back’sies!”


We downplay the significance of red flags in order to justify our impulses for the immediate gratification that comes from “the right person” showing interest in us. It makes us feel better about ourselves and builds our self-confidence, making us believe we can accomplish almost anything (as long as there is someone who loves us unconditionally standing beside us). Tell that to lady wondering why her beau (who was standing beside her) wouldn’t share his popcorn with her, much less hold her hand while standing in line at the movie theatre. Truthfully, we ignore red flags in the hopes that they will just magically go away, or we convince ourselves that we will be the one who can change them.


But, why do we think this? I guess that depends on the person. Perhaps, naturally born competitive people like myself? Challenge accepted. But I have yet to win. And through my miserably failed attempts, I’ve learned to face the same harsh reality again and again. The reality no one ever wants to hear nor believe. The reality that no one believes applies to them, because they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and no such obstacle will stand in their way. We do not have the ability to change people. Sure, we might be able to change some of their annoying habits, like leaving their dirty clothes on the bathroom floor (guilty). Not washing the toothpaste clumps in the sink after you brush your teeth (moderately guilty). Leaving pots and pans in the sink because they have to “soak” (very guilty). But again, these are just bad habits, not red flags. The red flags that I’m referring to have to do with the person’s underlying personality or character. Selfishness, anger, temper, jealousy, possessiveness, argumentative, overly competitive during non-competitive volleyball. Are those things that you think you can change about someone? Do you think that someone could change the things you don’t necessarily like about yourself?


Think about all of the things that shaped you into the person you are today. What made you, you. Maybe it’s the people you’ve met along the way or the way in which you were raised. Some traumatic experience you had as a child. The first time you fell in love. Whatever it is, we’re talking about years worth of shit. Years of experiences, good and bad. Are we capable of changing? Yes, but not because someone else tried to force change upon you, but because you tried to change yourself, because you wanted to change.


Think about a time you changed something about yourself. Maybe you learned how to be a more rational or understanding person. Let’s point out that the key word here is learned. Not told. You acknowledged this thing you didn’t like about yourself and made a point to change it. While people may have pointed it out in the past, chances are until you, yourself, see it as a problem, there’s no real urgency to change it. It probably won’t even be until you are directly impacted by it in some way that you realize you should do something about it.


None of this is to say that people we love, can’t impart change within ourselves. It happens all the time. People only change if they want to change, however, more often than not, love changes us without us even realizing it. You’ve actually been seeing examples of this pretty much your whole life. Remember Beauty and the Beast? The Beast had a giant red flag on top of his castle that screamed “run! Run like hell!” He was a pessimistic, rude, and hot-tempered half man half werewolf, or whatever the fuck he was. Belle stumbles upon his castle (despite the red flag), shows him kindness, he falls in love, smoochie smoochie and then poof. Asshole tendencies right out the window. Genuinely became a nicer dude. Or, in this case, a nicer beast. Yes, he changed, but not because Belle told him to. Being in love made him happier, made him think of someone else before thinking of himself. The part that no one ever wants to hear, nor accept, is that if the person cares enough about you, they will want to change themselves and will make the effort. Maybe it’s the movies that mess us up. We see the same storyline over and over again about how the bad boy changes for the good girl, and it gives us the illusion that the person will come around and eventually make changes for us, too. The problem is that even when it’s blatantly obvious they are making zero effort whatsoever, we still hold on to the hope.


What’s worse than ignoring the red flags all together? Our willingness to justify them. When we meet someone new, we spend a great deal of time swapping funny stories one day, and the next sharing some of our tragedies, but not all. As a person grows more comfortable with you, the more details about their past will rise to the surface. They share more personal stories, or perhaps their family or friends accidentally reveal something you were never supposed to know (the juicy stuff). They may even choose to confide in you with their "deepest darkest secret" (remember that shit?) You now believe you have some insight as to why they are the way that they are. Suddenly, everything makes sense and we think we just cracked some kind of code. We become psychologists and start diagnosing them, forgiving them or letting them off the hook a little. Telling ourselves that he’s only this way because of this, or she’s only that way because of that. Could be? Or, perhaps that person is just an asshole. And just like that, the red flags are no longer a concern. PHEW, that was a close one. It doesn’t matter anymore because there’s a reason now, right?


With that being said, we have to start holding ourselves accountable. If we choose to ignore the big red flags warning us to run the other way, don’t go telling people that you “never saw it coming” because you did see it coming, you just turned a blind eye to it. Don’t gasp in horror claiming that you “can’t believe it” because you can believe it, you just didn’t want to believe it. Don’t sit there and sulk. Don’t lose faith in finding love, and don’t allow love lost to destroy your faith in humanity. Don’t use that one person as the example for everyone yet to come. Not to make anyone feel like shit, but chances are, you should shoulder some of the blame. Refusing to do so, means that you will never change for the better. But it’s easier to blame other people than to just blame ourselves.


There is something more to all of this and I promise, it will only take one minute more of your time to read, but hopefully not the rest of your life to understand. Something far more significant than willful blindness to the warning signs that alone should be enough to make us sit that one out, but rarely does. Yes, desperately wanting to be in love is a powerful force that makes us do stupid things. But fear is the more powerful and less visible culprit in almost every case. Have you ever wondered why a person would ever stay in a miserable relationship when all they have to do is walk away? It’s more than the fear of humiliation from being blocked on every Social Media outlet, or having all your shit tossed on the front yard in garbage bags. It’s the fear of being alone. And that fear is only capable of influencing your decisions if you don’t enjoy being alone. We have all been told that finding love is our ultimate goal in life. Maybe they’re right... But loving who? Everyone always assumes it to mean finding love in another person. However, if you don’t love yourself enough to see that you deserve better than someone treating you badly , and you don’t love yourself enough to walk away from it because you’re petrified of being alone, then you don’t see your own value, and therefore; yes, “love is blind,” And so are you.


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2 comentários


Love this and you!!!! Everyone needs to read this!

Curtir

Great job! You wrote what I was thinking.

Curtir
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