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This Is Why I Stopped Blocking My Exes

It started the way all bad break ups do: in a McDonald’s restaurant. It was fine. We were going to be friends. We had to, because all of our friends were friends with one another. And anyway, it was the right thing to do in the eyes of God.

It didn’t work.

Dating someone you go to college with and share all of your classes with is actually the worst. After classes we hung out together, we went to the same parties, and we spent endless hours on MSN group chats.

Something happened in one of the group chats. He said something and I went off my tree completely. Rant, rant, rant. Looking back, it may have been justified, but after he blocked me from MSN, well, I thought it was my fault. I cried for hours. I was worn down — a new job in a fast food joint, living on my own, studying — and he had probably copped most of it for the few months we were together. Whatever. The lesson I learned was this: Block first. Delete first. Leave first. End it first.

From then on, that’s exactly what I did. I told myself I couldn’t go through another breakup like that. And for years, it had been my strategy. In some ways, it had been a good one, and one that allowed me to be angry without rage-texting. In other ways, it probably ended relationships on a really sour and confusing note for everyone.

I was safe. Safe from silly boys and safe from myself. In the new Twilight book Midnight Sun, Edward thinks he is going to kill Bella in the beginning due to her scent being so damn good. Then he doesn’t want her dead, so he worries about other people killing her. Then he worries about Bella accidentally killing herself because she’s so gosh-darn clumsy. Finally, he worries about Bella giving up her human life to be a vampire. What Edward doesn’t know is that future Bella thrives as a vampire. She is happy, she is graceful, and she has brilliant abilities that no one saw coming. Luckily, Edward has a lot of wise counsel and works out that it’s okay to let Bella make her own choices.

Though I mostly despise Edward, I can see where he’s coming from. Keeping all of my ex-boyfriends and former friends behind a big block wall wasn’t real life. I was taking away their autonomy. I thought about the break-up-at-McDonald’s guy again. I couldn’t say sorry, and 15 years later, I still think what he did was a classic dick move. I didn’t want to be his friend, but I decided he must really dislike me if he still kept me blocked after all of these years. And the truth is that I didn’t dislike anyone from my past relationships. It ended because it should have, not because they were awful or abusive or unkind.

The big wall of block came down.

I’d like to say it was a happy crumbling, but it wasn’t. But it didn’t hurt in any way, either. It just meant that I was fiddling around with the universe so much. It was something I needed to do a long time ago.

Past me, the one who ranted on that MSN conversation, still exists. She was angry then. I grew up in church and had long believed that anger was a sin. That other people came first. “God, others, self.” Current me knows better, and she’s angry now. Current me would still whip-with-words someone who made her feel small and insignificant in front of other people. Current me is strong and brave. And current me allows for the opportunities to flow freely without a block button in sight.

I’m a procrasti-writer, a romance reader and chronic mess maker.

Keep up with Lisa on Instagram and lisabirchwriter.com