I stopped by my old boss’ office on Friday afternoon to say hi. I brought her some Hershey chocolates that were given to me by a professor, but my intestines were already having immense difficulty digesting the lactose in the mocha latte I indulged in earlier. Damn intolerance. My boss ebulliently greeted me and draped her arm over my shoulder. A one-armed hug. She had a cold, she said, and I could tell by the paleness in her face and the plum-colored circles beneath her eyes that she was not only sick, but she was overworked. She told me about her sixteen year-old daughter who has been getting caught up in the drama at her school.
“It’s just crazy,” my boss noted. “These girls care so much, and for what? I…I just know that so many girls she’s friends with shouldn’t be there. I can tell when I pick her and her friends up and listen to the conversations in the back seat of my car who really is listening to my daughter and who isn’t. I want her to be surrounded by people who take a genuine interest in her.
You don’t need that many friends. If you can count the number of friends on one hand, that’s better than having an entire group for show. You can see right through it.”
I started opening up to her more about the relationships that I’d cut off this year. Every year I seem to become less worried about entangling myself in relationships, although the cycle is inevitable. It’s been easier for me to cut off people who only took me for granted, people I outgrew, people I wanted to help but couldn’t. People who either couldn’t nor didn’t want to understand where I was coming from. People whose trust issues precluded them from actually listening to me. People who only told me I was crazy.
Because it never was that easy for me. At all. I used to be anxious 24/7 about appeasing men who didn’t care if I was alive or dead.
My ex texted me a couple of weeks ago. The “hot ex” as my friends refer to him. “Daddy” as I referred to him. He and I talked for two-and-a-half years, and the majority of our relationship was me financially providing for him, aka being his sugar mama. And he did take everything for granted because our relationship was based on a dom/sub dynamic.
But this time, he really surprised me. Like, really caught me off guard.
“Believe it or not when you go full on sub mode it worries me haha…I feel like it’s a sign you’re slipping into old behaviors. And then you told me you wanted to get fucked up. You should get ahead of this and find stress management things that help. Something outside of sex or being dependent on someone. Work on yourself. I try to work on me, I’m fucked. Just remember there are only 24 hours in a day. So if you just try your best for today everything else will fall into place. I can’t always be here. You deserve a top notch guy. Once you’re done with college it’ll all get better anyway. Working, making shmoney, meeting new people.”
He also told me that he tells women in a few countries he travels to that he and I are dating. Like getting married next time he’s back type shit. Even a year ago, I never would have believed that he would ever come around and say something like this to me. For a guy who relishes control, who is the biggest narcissist to walk on the face of the earth, he actually started showing care for someone other than himself. Before, he was a prince who treated me like a prisoner. Now, he treats me like a queen.
Seeing this change in him gives me hope for myself as I move forward.
I look back at other relationships I’ve pulled myself away from. A girl I was friends with for a year is currently in a relationship with a guy who honestly looks like an anime character. Listen. If your boyfriend is your best friend, that’s GREAT. I have no problem with that at all whatsoever. However, if your boyfriend is your only friend, that’s a big problem. What had transpired between the girl and me originated from a very petty situation that could have easily been resolved. But like most of these types of situations, it exacerbated and manifested into a full-blown war.
It was Halloween, and I wanted tickets to a party in Philly. I heard that the girl (we’ll call her Mari) got her tickets from her boyfriend (we’ll call him Pikachu) and said to text him. I texted Pikachu, and didn’t get a response. I was supposed to go over later that night, and so I went over and saw Mari, Pikachu, and Pikachu’s friend (we’ll call him Ugly Duckling.) Well, when I went over, Pikachu was in a bad mood. And he started taking it out on me. He crossed the fucking line, and said I was a dumb slut, and that I should just go do drugs and die. Literally said that to my face. However, I wasn’t nearly as bothered by his insignificant, petty insults as I was by Mari.
Because Mari didn’t do anything. She sat on the couch next to Pikachu with a dumb smirk on her face. I always had a feeling that she was jealous of me, but she concealed it well until now. The Ugly Duckling wasn’t talking, either. I directed my focus to Mari and asked her if she was really going to let her man demean me, her friend like that? She told me that it was between me and Pikachu to sort it out.
And I got offended.
Because I’m a real ass bitch.
I don’t care how close I am with my significant other, I do not tolerate it when someone I’m dating is condescending toward one of my friends. Hoes come and go, but friends are the ones who ride for you. It was her inaction that infuriated me. I can’t hold her at fault for taking her SO’s side–that’s usually how it goes, but I knew that she wouldn’t prioritize our friendship until Pikachu was out of the picture. And I wasn’t about to catch any fucking Pokemon. So I cut her off.
A couple of nights ago, the Ugly Duckling called me. This was the fourth time that day that he called me obliterated. He said, “I want to chill and fuck.” I told him I didn’t want to fuck. He was like, “I can chill, but if we’re not fucking I’m out.”
Out? Excuse you? Out where? You weren’t invited in the first place, bitch. You can’t leave if you were never here. Who the fuck do you think you are lmfao? Do you think I’m furiously masturbating to the thought of you? Because I’m 100% not.
I hung up, and he called back, and then I told him to mind his ugly ass to himself and go drink with his mom.
Cut off people who treat you like that, immediately.
How I handle pain has changed tremendously for me. A month ago, I visited a guy I was fucking for a year. He claims we don’t have history, which makes me laugh, but I visited him. Essentially, I wanted dick and closure because he and I both had things to talk about. I missed him, for God knows what reason. It’s funny how the soul works.
Unsurprisingly, things took a turn for the worse.
We’d planned to talk over Mexican food, but by the time I got to NY, all restaurants were packed. He also thought I wasn’t coming to see him. I don’t know why he thought I didn’t come to NY to see him, because I told him we were getting food regardless, but he acted like he didn’t know I was coming to see him. When I got to NY, we spoke briefly on the phone and he told me to meet him at Rosie’s on 2nd. Then he made me go to 9th. Then fucking 8th. I was dragging myself around Financial District from NY Penn Station just to meet him. I was about to leave, honestly, and I would have had I not looked fly as shit.
So we sat down at a dimly-lit, chill bar with rock music playing. The guy (we’ll call him Dick) and I made small talk. It’d been a while since we last saw each other, and I could tell he was edgy seeing me. He was checking his phone, saying that he was bored. I ordered two Long Islands to make the time pass more quickly. I wanted to leave after the drinks, to be honest, but after we left the bar, Dick asked me what my plan was. I didn’t have a plan. I told him I could do whatever. I could stay over, I could go home. Whatever he wanted. So he led me to his apartment, threw a football game on television…
And we fucked. And it sucked.
Not only was the sex garbage, but his attitude was too. He began insulting me. He said I was trashy (three times), said that I don’t listen to half of the dumb shit I say. He distanced himself from me, and I didn’t feel comfortable at all. I wanted to leave, and conveniently, my friend called me so I could step out. I was debating whether or not I should leave. Part of me wanted to stay and talk it out, but I had a knot in my stomach and in my tongue. I felt enervated around Dick. I was painfully infatuated with him. Even after all this time, I wanted him to like me even a little. I missed him, and I could feel him trying to push me away on purpose. I confronted him about it after I tried storming out the first time. after he had told me that I wasn’t going to be let back in if I went out to smoke a cigarette. Well, he did let me back in because I told him I’d pay him back for the Long Islands he covered me for. He cornered me by his sink and reached for my wallet, demanding that I pay him back for the Long Islands.
I was dizzy from how overwhelmed I was. I knew that he was acting this way because he felt out of control of the situation. He told me that whatever I was feeling, I had to shove it really far down and not care. Pretend that I’m wearing a wetsuit and just let all the negativity fall off.
Eventually, we ended up in his bed again and he fucked me for a few seconds before saying he was tired. I almost cried myself to sleep because I hate my body when I’m around him. I hate myself when I’m around him. All I hear are criticisms. He tells me I don’t actually listen to criticism, but I do, and I feel it. I didn’t even come there for criticism, I came there to talk. I understand if someone wants to help you become a better person, but lately, all he does is put me down. I don’t know if it’s for my betterment, or if it’s to inflate his ego and make himself seem superior to me. Nevertheless, his behavior iconographically suggested that I was unwanted.
It was a huge turn-off.
I tried communicating to him that he tries to make me feel bad about myself and he said contemptuously, “Honey, the world is a mean place. I don’t make you do anything.” He didn’t acknowledge me at all, and I knew that there was no use in arguing or in trying to explain anything anymore. There’s no hope for reconciliation when there’s so much unresolved anger and resentment. I learned that the best thing to do was to give him what he wanted, which was to leave him alone. So as soon as I woke up at 6 am, I tried fleeing. But Dick deftly caught up to me, and again he told me to pay him back. I gave him $20 out of the $35 I owed him because I had to get back home too. And I did pay him the rest back when I got back to my apartment.
I was in my feelings for a long time. Usually it takes me a good 2-3 days to get over a guy before I’m back on my bullshit. But I had all of his criticisms on repeat in my head, blaring in my ears. I told him I was confused and frustrated beyond words. I told him I loved him because I had to get it off my chest. But he didn’t believe me, because I had lashed out at him before when he tried to ghost me and dead me, as most girls who felt a strong emotional connection would. He told me there was no trust between us, that he trusted me at one point as a friend and that I’ve got to let that go. He didn’t believe me when I said I loved him probably because he hasn’t experienced real love before. Maybe he hasn’t experienced the ups and downs of real love that bring out reflections of the real you. Love isn’t always fairytales. Love can take on all types of forms, and you have to trust your gut.
But he doesn’t want to believe me. He doesn’t want to listen to me. I yelled at him because he doesn’t hear me out. In my head, I only thought about making him happy, but happiness was far beyond reach. I can’t decide how he feels, and he basically decides my feelings for me by negating me. I’m glad I didn’t go full savage, because at that point, it wasn’t worth it. I don’t want to maintain any connection with anyone whom I always have to prove myself to, or with anyone who will never face themselves and admit what they need to admit in order to move on and live a healthy life. I’m done playing the blame game. It was interesting that Dick told me that I need to work on communicating and being more explicit when he never wanted to listen to what I had to say, when he was the one who never texted back, and when he told me that I should just shove it down and not care. But that’s how people explode. The more I bottle things up, the more depressed and wrecked I feel.
I’d rather be a badass bitch, you know? I’m glad I’ve let go.
There’s a lyric by Future that goes, “Best thing I ever did was fall out of love,” and I feel like I’m relating to that lyric more and more. I don’t think I could ever completely fall out of love with someone only because I know I will always have some type of lingering attachment and leftover care. But I feel freest when I’m on my own. I thrive best when I’m on my own. I’m grateful that I’ve made amazing new friends whom I could identify with as soulmates. My friends and I are vicious to each other sometimes, but we always find common ground because we know each other and know how deeply each of us cares.
The best thing I’ve done this year is falling in love with myself. Doing so has helped me find those few friends I care about immensely. As my boss iterated, it’s not quantity, it’s quality. My friends are some baddies, let me tell you. They know they’re valuable. They’re beautiful, emotionally intelligent, empathetic, and hardworking. They love themselves to the core, and they’ve helped me love myself the same way. I’m careful to not rely on ego too much, which is tough because I’m a Middle Eastern girl and Middle Eastern girls are very extra and have the biggest egos you will ever experience, Alhamdulillah. I’ve learned, however, that by falling in love with myself, I know boundaries to my own generosity. My mother still worries about how naïve I can be when I give my all in friendships. For me, giving is more rewarding than receiving. But I tend to over-give and starve myself of what I deserve too. This starvation has helped me redefine success for myself. Success can never be monetary for me. When people define success as monetary, I truly believe it leads to depression and personality problems because you never feel like you’re good enough. You place your worth on an unattainable pedestal and you adapt to a micro view of the world. You start picking out flaws in yourself and in others. You become hypercritical and desensitized. Every waking moment is straight misery. You hurt others and don’t care because you actually hate yourself unconsciously and you take, and you take, and you take until the void is filled momentarily.
If you work on your character and view the world as macro and see the big picture, then you may reconsider letting go of resentment. You may begin to accept yourself and others for who they are and what they do. You may feel less anxious, and you may learn to forgive. In the grand scheme of things, nothing really matters as much as it seems to. You need to find out how to balance yourself in the healthiest way possible, and finding that balance is a constant, everyday search. Your weaknesses should always be a strength in the making. Remember that.
To all of the people who have let me go, since you’ve been gone…
I feel rejuvenated,
I feel whole,
I feel focused,
I feel strong,
I feel beautiful,
I feel healed,
I feel free,
I feel real,
I feel amazing
I feel happy
Become the eye of your own hurricane.