Hey guys. No “How To Grow Up” this week, unfortunately. I’ve been pretty swamped with requirements, to the point that I eat, sleep, and breathe my daily to-do list, courtesy of the combined forces of Evernote and my Bullet Journal. The side effect, though, is that I’m unwilling to do anything beyond what I set for myself in my Evernote/Bullet Journal to-do, especially after about ten in the evening. If there was ever proof that human beings needed sleep, it’s me: I cease to be as productive after 10PM…which is ironic because I usually leave my most difficult work for then.
…What is #FrankieLogic?
Also, that explains why I’m blogging right now, instead of getting a headstart on my other requirements. Have you ever been so busy that you actually need to stop working, otherwise you can’t see straight? I’m sort of at that point. Even my professor is telling me to slack off a bit: I guess she’s worried I’m approaching a nervous breakdown. I’m by no means fragile, but I can definitely look the part, especially during finals season. All the key symptoms are there: hysterical laughter, crying fits, long periods of morose silence…you get the picture.
Anyway, since I can’t put up my weekly dose of “words of wisdom from other people” (Working tagline. Suggestions accepted.), I’ve decided to put up a snippet of my own. Disclaimer: obviously I’m far from “grown up” yet, which is why I started the HTGU (yep, I made an abbreviation too. WHATTUP!) project to begin with, but I guess notes from the battlefield are better than no notes at all, right?
Did that question even make sense? Whatever.
These past couple of days, I’ve been reflecting a lot on pride. Admittedly, it’s something I’ve been struggling with for quite a long time, sort-of in the same up-and-down way you’d struggle with drinking or drugs: having too good an opinion of yourself can be an addiction, you know? And like any addiction, pride gets into trouble a lot: it makes me bitter, unforgiving, inclined to brooding on past hurts and old mistakes. It’s even been instrumental in ending a friendship or two…or six.
…Okay, maybe not literally six. I doubt I’ve had that many close friends, to be honest.
Recently, I was on the road to doing just that: more-or-less ending a long-established friendship, on the basis of quite a few resentments that I let fester for too long. I was taking the path of what I thought was least resistance: avoiding the person, not saying anything, trying to live my own life. It helped somewhat, I have to admit. Part of the toxicity of the friendship was due to the fact that I let myself get a bit too codependent on the person–I’m a little like Brad Pitt; I always end up looking like my significant others–and the distance allowed me to clear my head and establish my identity outside of being the name on the other end of an ‘and.’ But there’s getting some much-needed space…and there’s outright disowning, and to be honest I was planning on pushing through with the latter.
I would have pushed through with the plan too, if it wasn’t for a tiny detail: I missed this person. The more I figured out who I was–the healthier I became as I “detoxed”–the more I wanted to share the journey with them. Except I couldn’t, because I was too busy resenting them for things, some of which to be honest I only half-remembered. I was trying to accumulate a laundry-list of offenses to convince me to give up this person for good, but whenever I got around to it, all my arguments ended up falling flat. Meanwhile, something was growing increasingly clear: I missed them.
Which brings me to the “life lesson” (or “word of wisdom,” or whatever you’d like to call it; basically it’s the kind of stuff you superimpose over hipster pictures on Tumblr) for the week: Life’s too short not to say, “I miss you.”
I think a lot of the time, we’re afraid of putting it out there that we miss people. We don’t want to look too clingy, or else inflate people’s egos, or, sometimes, because we’re unwilling to forgive and let go. While admittedly there are times when “I miss you” will look clingy and definitely it can inflate certain people’s egos (those are the sorts of people you have no business missing though, to be honest), that last issue…is more of a non-issue. Missing that person is a signal that there was some good in that relationship, that there’s something there that needs salvaging, and would be wasted if you kept stewing in your own anger. I’m a big believer in the saying that “You always hurt the ones you love,” and that it also cuts both ways: the ones you love will hurt you, too. That’s the reality of loving someone–you let them get close enough to cut you apart in ways people you hold at a distance never can. It’s a risk, but it’s one we all have largely agreed is worth taking, and thus have to be willing to accept the consequences for.
And let’s face it: they’ve taken the risk too, so chances are you’ve hurt them as well. No one’s completely innocent of blame in a misunderstanding. If it was so, then why would arguably one of the best Broadway anthems on friendship, For Good, include lyrics that go, “And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness for the things I’ve done you blame me for. But then I guess we know there’s blame to share, and none of it seems to matter anymore.”
Because when you miss someone, it’s a signal that it doesn’t.
Sure, yes, there will be friendships that, no matter what you do or could have done, will inevitably drift apart. That’s life’s ebb-and-flow in action. But there’s a friendship brought to its natural conclusion–a passive kind of nostalgia, borne out of reminiscing–and then there’s one that was ended before it’s time, all because we were too afraid to take one more step of vulnerabilty and say “I miss you,” usually followed by the other ‘three words, eight letters’ combination. Because missing someone has everything to do with loving them, and sometimes saying “I miss you” can be an even greater proof of love than saying “I love you.” You miss essentials, things that were a part of you, valuables. Saying “I miss you” is tantamount to saying “I value you.”
And if you do, is any resentment worth hanging on to?
Befitting the drama queen that I am, I said “I miss you” in the midst of a high-octane confrontation, full of soap opera crescendoes, frantic hand gesturing, and, of course, lots of tears, mostly on my part (my friend isn’t one to cry as much). In the end, though, I managed to choke out those three little words, and mean it: “I miss you.” It didn’t invalidate that she hurt me, and it didn’t make up for the fact that I hurt her, but in saying that I laid down my weapons, issued my terms of surrender, and admitted that life was too short to waste a good friendship, even with all its attendant problems. And it felt good to say. It somehow made letting go, and owning up to my side in the conflict, easier. It isn’t a magic fix. I anticipate more bumps in the road as we both navigate the two newly-minted individuals (all gangling limbs and growing pains) we’ve become. But at the very least there is fewer—I hesitate to say absolutely none; nobody’s perfect–baggage between the two of us. One less wall.
Life’s too short to live behind walls. It’s too short to walk around brooding. It’s too short to be proud. And it’s definitely too short not to say, “I miss you.”
Hopefully I can have a new installment of HTGU (yep, defs sticking with that abbreviation) by next week, but no promises. Finals season is open season, and I have to keep my grades from getting shot. :))