Detox: the process of removing toxic substances or qualities.
Not too long ago I decided to do a dating detox, just some time to date myself. Single and simmering in it, no need to be with others when I needed to understand the relationship I was going to have with myself.
"I love myself." During an introduction game of say your name and tell us someone you love, that is what I said. “I love myself.” A chuckle came from the crowd, the type that identified the selfishness in my answer. I stood by it. "I mean it, it sounds selfish but in the society we live in, we aren’t told to love ourselves in a way that allows us to make decisions that honors your entire entity. Your body, your mind, your character, your worth. I’ve never felt so ready to do all those things."
I have written what seems like a chaotic amount of back and forth about 4. Always ending in the same identification of no chemistry but the platonic is there. We had a hollow foundation, a completely undefined comfort zone. And then this summer’s break came to allow us to explore other options, a mutual agreement. My only request was that I didn’t want to be the last to know." Do what ever you want with whomever from the area, but tell me if it’s someone from within our brigade, don’t let me be the last to know if it’s within our circle." I would give him the same respect.
Sadly, the grapevine was a little too long for his reflex. An unsolicited conversation with a mutual friend later, I heard the news. I was done.
There is no way to describe the deep seeded surmounting betrayal I felt. There was no confusion of what my insecurities and fears would be about this arrangement. There was nothing. This was an offense on the friendship. The things he knows about me. He knows. A day later I conveniently received a text from him asking to talk. Someone told him I knew. Is that what it took? We can’t take ownership and be honest with an intimate friend? Especially with the only request that was made, the only courtesy or respect that I had asked for: to have the news from him. To not be the last to know. And never to be the one to have to bring it to him. I responded with the times that I had available to give this talk it’s time. He agreed and then never followed through. No reschedule, no text, no call.
I proceeded to live my life without any expectations to hear or speak with him again. Two weeks later on the first day of his arrival home he sent a friendly exclamation pointed text message. What a joke. Let’s ignore the fact that I completely didn’t follow up on the one request you had and pretend like everything is fine. No acknowledgement of my actions or apology on my part needed. But hey I am back how are you other than knowing your angry because of what I did?
I never answered.
A day later through our mutual friend circles I received a call from him, inquiring about the trivia night I was doing and when it ended. Because ya’ know we’re like best friends, feel free to come on over. I was polite, cordial, and welcoming as I could be; we shared friends. He didn’t come. He messaged me to the effect of letting me know, stating we should hang out and grab some lunch, and with another exclamation point said trivia must be fun.
I didn’t bother to answer.
The next night and packing for Jersey I sat there thinking how long I could go on just being to the point, cordial, kind, but moving away from the friendship. How long could I play this game? Especially being someone that stomps on any notion of playing any games with friends. I picked up the phone and called him. The conversation that proceeded was painful. Pretending like everything was fine, he actually started to talk about his own work experiences and how it was a struggle for him. I couldn’t physically be on the phone longer if it went in that direction so when it was silent, I said, I find this difficult to say but I do clearly remember my last request being to let me know if you were hooking up with someone within our circle before I heard from anyone else. And then you did and I heard from someone else. So I am confused about what is happening here and I don’t see us having a friendship.
Some of you might gasp like this is harsh, but admittedly I’ve been taking too much of this for too long. There were too many occasions that I allowed myself to turn a blind eye to his flirtatious advances of some of our mutual friends. Or just accept that some phone calls weren’t going to get picked up or text message unanswered. I exchanged this treatement for the comfort, consistency, and warmth at night. I did not honor myself by not taking myself out of this environment sooner.
The ball was in his court. He explained through a timeline that by the time he would have talked to me, it was too late. So he let me be angry and didn’t address me or it until he returned. And even upon his return he didn’t expect me to return his text or phone, he knew I’d be mad.
"So you waited until I called you about it?"
I took a breath as I looked across my room at a wall of photos, evidence of where I’ve been and who was with me for the ride. This thought jumped to distinctly remembering saying earlier that day to a group of strangers that I loved myself, and that I was convicted and rooted in that phrase, that notion, that reality. And so in that moment, I told myself I love myself too much to be treated like this.
"You don’t value me. We’re not friends. Delete my number." Click.
The conversation was over.
There was nothing to converse. Conversations over an argument or disagreement are for friends. Friends are the people whose actions align to honoring you. It aligns to being respectful, kind, and considerate. I couldn’t even think of an example of one action of his that afforded these words. The definition of his actions were simply that he was not my friend. I was just the one that stated it.
I put my phone down, went to my computer and put on the song Izzo/ In The End Jay-Z & Lincoln Park from the album Collision Course. I looked in the mirror and mouthed "Welcome ladies and gentleman to the 8th wonder of the world…..Thank you coming out tonight, you could of been anywhere in the world but your here with us. And we appreciate that." I was speaking to my self-worth, dignity, and love for me.
The next day I had two presnetations and a flight to catch back to the colonies (NYC/JERSEY). I packed with a smile on my face throughout the night and then faced the group of people I just told I loved myself the day before, I knew I wasn’t a liar.
That’s the anthem. Get your damn hands up-