Thought Catalog
February 28, 2017

On Letting People And Things Go

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What is the issue?

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I woke up from a text from one of my coworkers this morning about an article I wrote yesterday. The article was about how friendships ending can also break your heart. I jokingly texted her back about how I am very good at letting people go.

Then I thought nothing of it as I continued to lay in bed for about 20 minutes like I do every morning, just scrolling through all my social media apps.

Once it hits around 7:45 I get up and head to the kitchen to make my morning coffee. I grab the mug I always use out of the cabinet and stick it under the Keurig. I make my two eggs and Ezekiel toast like I do every morning. I call Disney about a ticket I had that was from 1998 to see if it was still valid – it wasn’t, but the one from 2009 was. I eat breakfast at my kitchen bar and then come into the office as soon as I finish eating. I don’t even put my dirty dishes away, not until lunchtime, anyway.

Then it hit me as I took my last sip of coffee and put the mug down that’s completely faded and barely readable that I do have a hard time letting things go. Not only people but also things.

I like things that are worn and torn. My favorite sweatshirt is one of my dad’s old police sweatshirts. The sleeves are ripped, it looks like something that should have been thrown away 20 years ago, but it’s my favorite. I have no problem wearing it out in public. I don’t want to throw it away, so I keep it.

I always fought with my mom over getting new shoes, which is kind of ridiculous. She always told me I needed a new pair, but I never wanted to let the old pair go. She’d even sometimes come home with a new pair of shoes (of the exact same pair I had) so she could throw the old pair out. It’s kind of funny actually (and slightly pathetic) how attached to things I get.

I don’t like change unless it’s me changing. I was talking to another one of my coworkers about this when I was staying with her in NYC. We joked about how we hate change unless we are the ones who change. Which is completely selfish, but it’s true. I want to be able to go far away and change and love and learn, but when I go back home I want everything to be exactly the same. I want to go back to my house, I want my roommates to be there, I want all my friends to be there, I want everything to be the same, but nothing is. And I have a hard time accepting that. I have a hard time accepting how fast things can change.

I have a hard time letting go of the things I love.

I can’t even read my coffee mug anymore, but I know it said: “there’s always room for one more dog” only because I bought it as a way to convince my mom we should get another dog. She didn’t fall for it, but it was worth a shot.

And that leads me back to friendships, again. I’ve been single for about 6 years, there’s been the “we’re just talking” things in there many times, but no one I would consider a total heartbreak. Well, maybe there’s one. Whatever. My friends have been my life. They’re the ones I call when I get lonely, the ones I cry to when I’m sad, the ones I run all my life decisions through because they’re all I’ve got.

My friends understand me more than I understand myself I like to believe. They’re the best people I know. I’m that friend who randomly texts my friends all the time. I try to talk to as many of them as possible just so they don’t forget about me. They’re all out in the world moving forward with their lives in new cities with new friends making new memories, and I’m not. Not right now, anyway.

I don’t want them to move on without me and I know how selfish that is but I feel like I’ll be forgotten about and no one wants to feel forgotten about. I guess it’s because it happens, it’s happened to me plenty of times before.

It happened in high school with my best friend when I left for college. He forgot about me, I left our hometown and he stayed, both of our lives went on, just without each other. It happened with one of my best friends in college, we did everything together until he moved and ever since then he has barely spoken to me. Of course, it happened a third time with my other best friend in college. I moved to Australia, he got a girlfriend and he just stopped talking to me one day. It hurt, those times all hurt and sometimes (most of the time) they still do.

People forget about you when you’re no longer together and that’s what I try so desperately to avoid.

I think I’ve been okay with being single for so long because I cling to my guy friends, I get all my emotional male needs from them and that’s why I’ve been okay with being on my own. I understand my girl friends, I get them and they get me. But you don’t get the same amount of satisfaction from your girl friends as you do from guy friends. At least I don’t.

So I try, which is pathetic. I still reach out to all of them from time to time, most of the time my messages go unanswered, but I tell myself it’s worth a shot because I just can’t let go. I don’t give up on people. I’m really bad at giving up.

I can’t let go of people and I can’t let go of things. I’m not good at moving on and letting go. I’m not good at just moving forward with my life because I miss the past too much. I’m convinced nothing will ever be as good as it once was, and so far things have always gotten better. But what happens when things stop getting better? What happens when I wake up one morning and realize I’m completely alone, when I don’t have the people I once had in my life, when all my friendships and relationships fail?

What do I do then?

I always talk about moving forward, but I’m terrified of it and I think that’s why I just keep pushing myself. Everyone around me is moving on and I’m still hanging on to dear life over relationships that should have been over years ago and items that the Salvation Army would turn down. But to me they mean something, to me they reflect my past and I don’t think I’m ready to let them go still.

I hang on because I’m always the one who cares more, the one who’s more invested and I hate to see the things I care about fall apart. I always wondered why this was, but now I’m realizing that I’ve always been like this. I was like this when I refused to get new shoes, I was like this when I refused to give ratty old clothes away, but had no problem throwing a shirt with a tag on it to the Salvation Army pile. And as I drink out of my old faded coffee mug I realized that I hold on so close to people because I want someone to hold on to me that way, but no one does and no one ever has. TC mark

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