A brief and incomplete list of people who are (in my humble opinion) crazy: anyone who enjoys mashed potato, anyone who keeps their chocolate at room temperature and their tomato sauce in the cupboard, anyone who thinks I’m not getting dessert.
An even briefer list of people who are not crazy: you.
“When men attempt bold gestures, generally it’s considered romantic. When women do it, it’s often considered desperate or psycho.” – So pondered the prophet on love of our generation, and probably all to come, Carrie Bradshaw.
For argument’s sake, she would’ve said this at least a decade ago now.
Why then – HOW??? – is it still so relevant in our swipe-right dating culture, where we avoid labels and bury our emotions? Why is it that the bottomline worst thing someone could think of you is that you’re either desperate, psycho, or crazy?
It’s becoming so clear to me that the worst thing one can do in a relationship – romantic, platonic, professional – is replace honesty with being chilled.
What is chilled, you ask? We don’t know, but we need to be it.
In the mass migration toward keeping it casual, an ice age took over that rendered us incapable of saying how we really feel for the sake of ruining an otherwise perfectly good situation.
You like a guy, you don’t want to freak him out with the boyfriend talk, so you act chill.
You’re mad that your boyfriend hasn’t texted you all day, you don’t want to seem clingy or needy, so you act chill.
You’re pretty sure the guy you’re seeing (and really like) is being sketchy, but you don’t want to look paranoid, so you act chill.
You’re fine, it’s cool. You’re cool!
And before you know it, you’ve turned into something between a desensitised robot and a whimsical movie character, unfazed by everyone and everything, contorting yourself into something more palatable for the next person.
Swallowing how you really feel and pretending to be “chill” has the opposite effect to what you think it does. Because you will never end up with the person you’re meant to be with by pretending to be someone that you’re not. And while you’re overlooking that fact, you’re thinking to yourself: What version of myself can I present to make sure I don’t mess this up?
And that right there is the basis for just about every bad rom-com (also, Gone Girl) ever made, where in one relationship the girl is a born-again Christian, and the next she’s a card-carrying member of the Atheist Club. Carnivore one minute, vegan the next.
But I can guarantee no matter how carefully you reply to his texts, no matter how painstakingly you present yourself, he’ll always fade away again, and you’ll be feeling, yes, exactly as Carrie Bradshaw prophesied, desperate. Asking yourself, and anybody who’ll listen, what might’ve been had you done this or this or this differently?
When what you should’ve done, from the start, is just be honest. Because a void is created when we refrain from telling it like it is, from allowing ourselves to feel how we feel. When we’re “chill”. We think we have all the power, because we don’t crave attachment; we keep our options open and everyone at arm’s length. We think we’re in control. But we’re not.
All this does is perpetuate the idea that having expectations, wants, needs and feelings of any kind is crazy. It’s not crazy.
And everybody loses as a result.
Because here’s the thing: pretending that you don’t care is so fucking exhausting. I don’t know about you, but I am not an aloof person, I am not a chill person. Trying to act like I don’t care usually lasts about a week or two before my head explodes and I say a bunch of regrettable things because the pressure is too much for me to handle. Maybe you’re cooler than I am, maybe you have more self control, but I can’t do it – I don’t want to do it.
Something I’m learning is that it takes ten times the brain power, and the energy, to act like every issue in life slips away like water off a duck’s back than it does to just be honest. If you like talking to someone, talk to them. If you like someone, hang out with them. If you want to say something, just say it. If you don’t get it off your chest, you’ll never be able to breathe. It’s as simple as that.
This is one of those problems in your life that only you can solve. The more you obsess, and fret, when you could just say something, the longer it’s going to take. And if it blows everything to shit, and makes them run scared, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be, but more likely it’s because whoever is on the receiving end isn’t mature enough to handle open communication, and therefore probably isn’t worthy of your time.
You’re not asking too much, you’re just asking the wrong person, and you need to be with someone who you can say whatever you damn please and write however many times you damn want to. It’s not a fairytale, it’s not asking too much – this is the basic effort and fluidity you deserve.
Two things that a friend wrote in a blog post really hit home with me (me oh my, she is so wise this one), and sum this all up better than I could, so I’ll leave you with those:
The first: You only have to do something outside of your comfort zone once; after that, it becomes part of your comfort zone.
And the second: Don’t settle for anyone who makes you feel like your existence is an inconvenience. Someone out there can’t wait to love you and show you off. Wait for that person.