I have a tendency to make more of things than they may be. [If you listen close, you can hear the sound of a collective sarcastic gasp from anyone that knows me at all…]
I know I do this. I have gotten better at listening to my rational side during moments of doubt, of spiraling over-analytical processes in my head.
Still, when it comes to matters of the heart, of emotion – feeling tends to be stronger than practicality. Particularly when it relates to rejection. No matter how old I am, rejection still hurts as sharply as if I were a child not picked for a team or sitting alone at lunch while others glance my way and whisper. I think we all have that default ache, even if some were more acquainted with such grief than others.
Even in my thirties, when I am dropped from a fellowship of which I use to be a part, especially one in which I used to be well-involved, it leaves me feeling confused and spun out of sorts. More so when it comes without explanation, without any communication. Just silence. Just disappearance.
Even worse, when it becomes straight up ignoring any time I try to reach out.
Why does that still sting so much?
Maybe because the older we are, the more expectation we have for the maturity of others. Not believing that the lack of communication between adults is truly that poor or disregarded.
Enter my ability to make more than it may be.
Even if what has happened truly is intentional – the ghosting as the “kids” call it – more evolved people (read: rational) can just chalk it up as a gain to not have to deal with the effort of maintaining a friendship with someone who obviously doesn’t want anything to do with you. They would shake the dust and move on and not think on it again.
How do they do that? How do you turn off the caring? The shame of rejection and the inability to not feel like you failed?
I know it isn’t easy to describe how. The most common response when my husband answers is “you just don’t care”. It is easy for him. It didn’t used to be. He is one who used to care too much, like I do. Things happened in his life, and he evolved to cope. It is one of the benefits of his growth as a person. I’ve grown and evolved in many ways, but this lingers – this giving people too much power of my psyche, my emotions. My self-identity.
Bridges are this thing that connects two points – common knowledge. If the foundation of the land on which the bridge is built, is faulty, then it won’t last. This seems fair knowledge. Likewise, if the ground is sturdy on one side, but porous on the other (lacking the stability to stand firm), then it also can’t be a reliable bridge. It wouldn’t be safe to continue to use. Even if that bridge is valued, considered useful and wanted – if those considerations aren’t coming from both shores, then it probably shouldn’t remain in use.
Surrendering the bridge you loved, one for which you were thankful in so many ways…maybe that simply has to be the choice. Surrendering to the reality.
My previous practice has tried to be to repair that bridge – come hell or high water. Even if the other side kept breaking down, the ground regularly sinking on one side – I would roll up my sleeves and do everything to repair it as many times as needed. I wanted to keep that bridge. Not because it was a number to add to the other bridges I wanted to use, but because it was truly valuable. It had substance and I invested because there is worth there.
But my effort can’t continue to repair what is no longer strong enough to support. Not when it is the only effort.
Maybe it was my fault. Without even one syllable of communication, I’ll never know.
When things like this come around (and they have before, this is not my first disintegrating structure), I usually have to protect myself by removing myself as far as possible. Staying nearby – staying in view – is too difficult. There is rawness to the wound and I need distance to recover. I recognize the irony in that – needing distance to repair when distance is what struck pain in the first place.
As odd as it is, this is me at the moment.
We all regenerate ourselves in our own ways.
I know the freedom is in the surrender. That is a life lesson that is so powerful, it will come around as the solution again and again – and it will work better than almost anything else I could try.