People think I’m dead when I take a week of writing. As if, on a site where I let each of you know allllll my glorious fuck-ups, radio silence means something has gone horribly wrong. Hilarious.
Sometimes it does. Sometimes I’m busy hiding the fact that I got fired, totaled my car, or am contemplating selling my soul back to the corporate world. These things happen. But they didn’t happen last week, last month, or yesterday.
April was a crazy, awesome month for me. I’m exhausted in the best way possible. Five people visited me from five different states. I drove to Pittsburgh and back in twenty-four hours. I went on dates that didn’t suck. I went on other dates that did suck. I started a coding class. My car started leaking some unidentifiable fluid. I signed two clients. I found my second gray hair. Then I ran a red light.
I’m not telling you any of this for the sake of a life update. I’m telling you this because I want you to know fine.
If you ever go through a hard time, which clearly you have, you know how difficult it is to configure yourself into a vertical position, plant a fake smile on your face, and pretend that whatever shit you went through didn’t take its toll.
Each one of us knows how horrible it was when a boy broke our heart, friend broke a promise, or client broke a contract. We know how worthless and miserable we felt, seated on the floor crying or laying next to the toilet puking whatever shots we took in hopes of forgetting it.
Those times suck and I won’t say you don’t have every right to binge on an entire pint of ice cream and not partake in society. You do. You have every right to cry, scream, and smash whatever picture frames (I’ve done it, ask my college roommates) to smithereens.
But no matter how brutal those times were, no matter how scaring the aftermath, I’ll tell you this: It was 10X harder on everyone else watching you go through it.
For the people who love you, care about you, and want absolutely nothing but the absolute best for you; witnessing your misery is the worst thing a human being can go through. And for that reason, we owe it them to pick ourselves up and let them know we are, or will be, ok.
When I was in college, almost every one of my girl friends came to school in a relationship. Eighty percent ended within the first semester. [I know. Who saw that one coming.]
There were, of course, the rare few who made it several years before calling it quits. One of these happened to be a close friend, we’ll call her Meghan, who had been with her boyfriend for five years. FIVE YEARS.
Do you know how long five years is to a twenty-year old? That is one-fourth of your life. And the other three-fourths you hadn’t hit puberty.
Meghan and her boyfriend broke up roughly half a dozen times before calling it quits. Not judging—I, for one, have been in relationships where we broke up, got back together, and broke up again one gazillion fucking times in a single-year span.
You would think that, as a bystander to an on-again, off-again relationship, I could train myself to tune out the turbulence.
I couldn’t. Because each and every time they broke up, it absolutely ripped me apart to watch my friend cry. I can scream, and I can yell, but I cannot handle it when one of my friends is sad.
One day toward the end of summer, I was sitting at my college internship when my phone rang. It was Meghan, and before I could even say hello she burst out sobbing. In a sentence that, to this day, is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard, she cried, “Are….you….home???”
I shut down my computer and drove straight to her apartment. One week to the day, they got back together.
I don’t hide the fact that I have a temper. But if you think I’m a hothead now, you should have seen me in college. And if you want to see the absolute worst side of me, make one of my friends cry.
In a speech that’s probably the worst and best thing I ever said to a friend, I let her have it.
“I have watched you be MISERABLE, for MONTHS. I had to sit here and literally WATCH YOUR HEART BREAK in front of me. I had to watch you cry and see him treat you like a piece of SHIT. And for you to just RUN back to him, without thinking about ME or any of the other DOZENS OF PEOPLE who love you, care about you, and only want the absolute best for you, that was the biggest FUCK YOU to my face you could have POSSIBLY given me.”
Like I said, you should have seen me in college.
They eventually broke up. She married someone awesome. Surprisingly, she never stopped speaking to me and we are still lifelong friends. Whew.
Unless you are the emotional reincarnation of Unbreakable, there has been a time when something, or someone, shattered you into a thousand pieces.
Yet there was someone around you, someone who loves you very much, who swept up the shards and slowly pieced them back together. And as is the case when you handle broken glass, those people probably got cut up in the process.
These people will always worry about you. Since you picked up the phone and called them when you were broken, you owe it to them to let them know when you are safe, happy, in love, and otherwise on top of the world. To the people you once leaned on, they want and deserve to hear you are fine.
People want to hear you’re doing great. You’re not bragging. You’re not talking to much. It will genuinely make them happy to hear your good news—because your scars were a thousand times more traumatizing to them as they were to you.
So to all the people who love and tend to worry about me, I’m doing fine.