THE WIPERS SCRAPED VIGOROUSLY AGAINST MY windshield, awakening me from a daydream as I sat idle at the intersection, missing my green light. The rain had stopped minutes prior and I was too preoccupied in the blissful silence inside of my car to even notice how many lights I sat through. It had been several days, perhaps weeks, since I had a good night’s sleep. I wish I had an exciting reason for my insomnia.
I’d love to say I was busy writing a screenplay, or that my ADD had taken me on a whimsical excursion across the country, collecting antiques, sea shells, and sports bras. I’d brag about the nights I stayed awake in bed feeding ice cream to a hot girl if it was true, but it isn’t. Not yet anyway.
Simply put, my fatigue stemmed from three little words: RELATIONSHIPS. ARE. EXHAUSTING.
And I was involved in several of them, though none were actually mine.
I had taken a year off from courting so that I could date myself. It was amazing. I did so many wonderful things for myself. I took myself everywhere. I was so sure of who I was and what I wanted after spending all of that quality time alone that I thought I was ready to throw my hat back in the ring. That was until I found myself caught in the middle of a few of my friends’ relationships. You know how it goes; a friend calls you up to vent about something troubling
them with their partner and at first you lend an open ear. Then they proceed to send you screen shots of a text conversation they’ve had with said partner because they want you to know just how crazy their girlfriend is so you can hate her, too. That’s when you start analyzing, dissecting, and eventually handing out mental health diagnoses as if they were Snickers and it was Halloween, because you’re also now a therapist. And the worst part is that everything you say will be erased from their memory the moment they start talking to their partner again.
But fear not, as it all starts over again tomorrow or in 12 minutes, or at 3 AM right before you enter your REM cycle. This is when they need you again and also when you actually begin to believe that your advice and wisdom will sink in because nobody could possibly torture themselves enough to keep going back to an unhealthy situation, right? Wrong. I mean, have you ever met a lesbian?
Cue the sound of a mic drop
I’m pretty sure I know a gaggle of lesbians whose break-ups have lasted longer than the average relationship. We all have that one friend who’s been breaking up with her girlfriend for years but you tend to forget because they always attend social gatherings together and then leave early to feed their cats. And they always say the same thing when asked about it. “It’s complicated,” they’ll spout in unison, but it’s really not that complicated ladies and we all know it. Those aren’t the friends who make a girl want to reach for the emergency Xanax she keeps
hidden in her Tic Tacs, however.
I’m not sure how it is that we become a relationship guru when it comes to others but then clueless when it comes to setting boundaries and tending to our own needs in our affairs.
I can’t recall the last time anyone took the advice they asked for despite the time and energy put forth on my part to help them see their worth. That’s what friends are for, but add several friends going through similar situations and you’d probably fall asleep at the wheel too because that shit is exhausting. The thing is, until I had taken a love sabbatical, I was in the same boat. If I was seduced by a little sweet talk with a pretty smile from a charming girl who was chock full of BS, it was hook, line, and sinker for me. There wasn’t a word or a floatation device my friends could throw my way to save me from the inevitable capsize awaiting me. I had swum in a sea of red flags, too lost to see the shore, but damn was she cute. Do you like metaphors…because you just got served? Anyway, my point is, not only do we have to learn to save ourselves, but we also can’t see these things as clearly when we are knee-deep in them as we can when we back up a little to view them from the other side. Sometimes we get stuck and, until we have the strength to take a leap and believe there’s something more out there for us, we end up saddled on that same merry-go-round convincing ourselves that’s all we deserve.
Time has become more precious to me as I age. I think back to a decade ago when I was turning 30; I not only thought the world was ending, but that I knew everything. In hindsight I realize my world was expanding and I knew very little about life, love, or myself back then. The lessons I’ve learned would be in vain if I continued living and loving the same way today. I finally understand that happiness is a choice, not just a feeling. I see that I am the captain of my own ship. I accept that I am responsible for my actions as well as my inactions. I know that time is not guaranteed, henceforth it must be cherished.
If you’re reading this and you feel stuck, stagnant or unhappy, whether it’s in a job, a relationship, your geographic location, etc., remember that you have the power to change. This is your life after all. Each day serves as an intersection toward the direction of your choice. You can sit idle or you can get out of your way. Either way, you have the green light, and green means go.