Maybe We’re All Afraid Of Getting Hurt And A Few Other Things I’ve Realized Lately

Becca Tapert

1. I have this friend who is not afraid of anything. Like yes, I realize that hyperbole is probably WILDLY untrue and she harbors some fear of like, spiders or heights or the dark. But I feel like every time I talk to her, she’s off doing something crazy, something exciting, something that would set a level of anxiety off in me that would be utterly debilitating. But then sometimes when we’re talking and she gets vulnerable, I can sense the hesitation and the…well fear that’s there. Even when it’s minimal or quiet or just a little bit. I can feel the hesitation about risking something that’s maybe more precious than things like routine, stability, and a schedule. And then I realize that even people who aren’t afraid of anything still might be kind of afraid of getting hurt.

2. I failed at my New Year’s Resolution last night. I sat in bed, some cooking video playing on YouTube, and one by one peeled each nail of my gel manicure off before biting the tip off entirely. My nails are stubby again. They’re rough, unmanaged, and look like I just got back from surviving in the wilderness for 14 days. And even though I shouldn’t have done it because ripping off your gel manicure is TERRIBLE for your nails and failing at your resolution on February 12th is a little humiliating, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. The nails will grow back. I can try again. And yes—this could very easily turn into a BIG HUGE AMAZING AND PROFOUND metaphor about how we’re all allowed to start over. But I’m not going to go there. All I’m going to say is that changing your habits is hard. It’s really, really hard to change something you’ve done for a long time and do the complete opposite. And you’re allowed to fuck up along the way and try again tomorrow. If you try again tomorrow, you’re already doing better than you were when you were just ignoring the habit.

3. I can be a fairly confrontational person. And when I say “fairly confrontational person” I mean that if I hear something I immediately ask someone about it. I don’t shy away from hard conversations. I dive into them and feel ALIVE. But over the last few weeks, I feel like I’m in my first “fight” I’ve been in in a while. A friend of mine clearly had Very Strong Feelings about a situation I’m involved in, and when we finally actually talked to each other about it, they aired their grievances in a way where it was just completely evident we weren’t going to see eye to eye. But the thing is…while they’re allowed to have their opinions they don’t actually have the authority to tell me what to do. But the other thing is…now there’s this palpable tension between us and it’s incredibly 1) annoying 2) uncomfortable and 3) exhausting. I wish there was a switch you could flip where you were able to see exactly where someone was coming from and in turn, they could see your side. I wish that unadulterated honesty didn’t sometimes result in things getting worse. I wish that fights and tension went away after a certain age. Like once you’re 27 it’s like, “Congratulations! You made it this far! Now disagreements with no end in sight will just be a polite, ‘Sweet! Agree to disagree!'” and you’ll never have to talk about it again. But life doesn’t work that way and walking around the tension will never suddenly become completely easy to ignore.

4. I think 2018 is finally going to be the year (remains to be seen, tbd) where I have to admit I can’t do everything. Where something has to give and I have to say a metaphorical “when” to what my mental capacity is capable of and I have to ask for help. I’ve always been a “burn the candle at both ends” type of person. I’ve always been an “if you want something done right do it yourself” believer. I’ve always tried to do everything. But last night, and the night before that, and the night before that, and the countless mornings, I could feel my brain pleading at me to stop. To turn off. To let myself just be. And even though I’m not quite ready to admit it yet because I still think there are things I haven’t tried or methods I could attempt first, I think there’s a metaphorical time bomb when I will have to concede and say, “Okay now what? Because I can’t do everything.”

5. There this joke I have with my friends (and I bet everyone has their own version of it) where we say that we think there are certain exes who have radar for when things are going a little too well or we’re happy or something and that’s their cue to swoop in and try to fuck it all up. One of my friends has an ex whose radar you could set a clock to. Every six-ish months he calls her and goes on and on about his personal life, reminisces about their past relationship, essentially uses her an emotional dumping ground, and then goes on with whatever he was doing before like the overly emotional phone call after midnight just NEVER happened. And I think it’s so key to recognize these people in your life. These people who take emotional advantage of your willingness to be open, your readiness to listen, and treat you like a garbage disposal for the shit they’re too proud to buckle down and deal with. And I’m so proud of her that she was able to recognize that. That this isn’t “I just need you” it’s “I just need to lay all of this on you.” I don’t think there’s anything to gain from being someone’s emotional dumping ground, for taking out their emotional trash because they weren’t willing to do it themselves. And you’re finally able to see through it for what it actually is, that’s when you’re really able to leave it all behind. TC mark

Kendra Syrdal

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