Over the course of the past several months, I’ve managed to be abandoned by four different people. To be cast away by one person can be steadfastly brushed off as an anomaly. But to be abruptly deserted by not one, but four people over a relatively short time period has honestly, almost completely demolished any shred of self-esteem that I have managed to foster over the years.
I do not use the term “abandon” lightly, as it rightfully conveys harsher undertones than terms such as “rejection” or a “breakup.” I’m talking about the abrupt, one-sided verdict by friends to sever a friendship over a simple misunderstanding, after which one is left gasping with confusion and dismay. I’m talking about the sudden void left behind when someone you’re in a committed relationship with suddenly drops off the face of the earth, never to be seen or heard from ever again.
On the barely contained surface, I put on a brave face, toss my head, put on my lipstick, and drink a very strong, sugary margarita. I shrug it off by blithely referring to said people as “bitches” or “motherf–king bastards,” and protesting that my life is better off without their disloyal presences. But under that carefully constructed surface I feel like a worthless, sodden piece of trash that has been tossed down a dark alley, and will never be clean or whole again. Deep inside the sniveling voice in my head mutters, “I was right all along,” and steadfastly puts up the mile-high gates and walls around my heart, head, and soul—and promises to never let them come down again.
As someone with an anxiety disorder, my brain swirls all the different possibilities around in my head ad nauseum, and refuses to believe that everything is not my fault. Perhaps it’s true that I really am broken at my core, and people only entertain friendships with me out of pity. Men must only want to screw me, and then chuckle with their friends that I trusted them. Maybe I really am broken, and can never be someone that anyone could want in their lives for any length of time, much less forever. Or the ever-constant worry that I am simply too much, too intense, and too quirky for people. It’s the ultimate mindfuck.
But, the reality is that life must go on. Yes, I would dearly love to climb into a dark comfy hobbit hole with my cats and books, and never speak to another human being again. My ability to trust others has been completely mauled by these experiences, and will never be the same. But despite this experience, I cling tightly to the few people I hesitantly trust who assure me that I’m worthy of love, friendship, and respect. They’re the ones who drag me out of my apartment where I’ve been holed up with “The X-Files,” Adele’s music, and several boxes of tissues, and take me to the nearest bar for some good pizza and a nice beer. They sit by me while I get white-girl-wasted, give me a shoulder to cry on, deposit me at home, and cheerily text me the next morning to make sure I’m not too horribly hungover. These are the types of people that help maintain my faith in humanity.
Furthermore, I’m learning the importance of not taking other people’s failings as a personal failure on my part. But also, that if I’m hearing the same thing over and over, it’s important to take that into account and look introspectively at myself and actions and see how I can better myself. However, if your gut and those you trust are telling you it was the other person being a dickhead, than that’s your cue to try and silence your own inner beast trying to make you feel bad about yourself.
So perhaps abandonment is just a part of life. To some degree or another we will all trust the wrong people, and feel that our souls have been scorched completely out of our chests. We will walk around for days, or weeks, with that dazed expression while our brains attempt to salvage, and rebuild, the idea of a life without that person. Perhaps we all experience this and maybe, just maybe, it’s a necessary evil to toughen us up, and add another layer of caution to our screening process. We weather the storm, throw away things that remind us of them, hang on to the things we refuse to let them taint, and then live to fight another day. You’ll find someone else to gab on the phone with, or snag frozen pizzas and cheap wine so you can get tipsy together while watching “Bridesmaids” or “Juno.” You’ll find someone else to cuddle and marathon the “Harry Potter” movies with, or plan ridiculously extravagant reading nooks for the dream house you’ll own together. Life will go on, and you will find someone else worthy of your time.