I wasn’t going to post this short, but then I thought, why the hell not? It’s just a story.
Here’s a short story about embracing pain and experiences, while not letting them break you. Hope you enjoy.
Make or Break
Make or Break
There’s a moment – we all experience it, and if you’re anything like this girl, you probably go through it a lot – where you decide if something is going to break you. It’s up to you how much whatever the situation is – hurts you. And if it hurts, you choose how bad. Does it hurt like a bee sting? Sharp, strong, but it gets better after the first initial bang? Or does it fucking demolish you like a hammer to a teapot? Making you crumble until there’s nothing left but broken pieces that nobody can touch without hurting themselves? I guess that’s the question. How bad are you going to let it hurt?
She rereads the text message for the third time. And she knows it’s the third exactly. She read it first when she initially got the message. She read it again. And then she put it away. ‘I don’t want to be your boyfriend,’ it reads. And she scoffs again, the anger lighting her up like she’s a match. She thinks about texting him, telling him how dare he even assume that she wanted him to be her boyfriend. That wasn’t her question. She wanted to know what he was looking for, as in where did he see this going but I guess the answer is one and all the same. He didn’t want her. And then she takes a deep breath, and the anger is suddenly gone and what’s left is something she doesn’t want to feel. It’s a sharp ache in her chest that seems to ricochet whenever she thinks about the situation. It’s the pain that reminds her that this is after all, another rejection. It’s another failed attempt at dating. Another failed attempt at trying to be someone that someone wants. It’s that pain that she can’t seem to escape.
He wasn’t mean. That’s what she tells her friends. ‘It could have been worse. He could’ve said, “ew, you ugly bitch.”’ Because that’s where the bar is. It’s sitting at the bare minimum where at least a man didn’t outright offend you when saying he doesn’t want to be with her. And it’s not the rejection that she’s mad it – because he didn’t want to be with her. It’s fine, it’s life. We move on from it. No, what made her angry instead of the basic hurt was when she realized he was okay with the prospect of fucking her but he didn’t want to be her boyfriend. So, without outright saying it, he was telling her she was good enough to fuck but not good enough to date.
And that’s where the decision comes in.
She’s sitting in the parking lot outside of her work, staring at the text message and thinking. Just thinking. She thinks about how she could cry and wonder what’s wrong with her. Question why, yet again, a man doesn’t want to be with her. What is the fundamental damage that everyone can see but her? And she’ll cry and think that it’s because of her body, or that she’s ugly – pretty much everything you could think of just to make you hate yourself until your just this ball of skin filled with anger and hate that’s directed at no one but yourself.
Or she could take a deep breath, pull open the dating apps on her phone, shoot off a round of messages while telling herself that she’s a bad bitch who doesn’t let anything penetrate the thick skin she’s got. She could pretend that it doesn’t hurt her. She could pretend she doesn’t know the guy – act like it never happened even though she can’t erase his touch from her skin. And she could never think about him again. Let him be dust in the wind.
She wants to. Man, does she want to do that. She doesn’t want to be sad. She doesn’t want to hurt over this guy who she knows isn’t even worth it. Even the day that she got the text, she said she was fine, lifted her head, wiped at the lone tear that went down her cheek, and said, ‘oh well’ onto the next. Because she knew she wasn’t going to marry him, but it was still a rejection from a guy who she debated on dating. And that somehow makes the sting hurt worse. But she was fine. She said she was fine. Until one friend said, ‘it’s okay if you’re not okay.’ Still, she was able to breathe through the hold it had on her. She was able to pretend like it didn’t matter. Until another friend told her honestly, ‘I don’t think you’re as okay as your pretending to be.’
She couldn’t hide from that one.
Now, weeks later as she sits in her car, she knows that she was wrong. After all, it’s been weeks and randomly she’ll think about it, and get this wave of sadness and she feels the dark, intrusive thoughts trying to escape the dark recess of her mind. So, it must hurt, right? This must be it, where she lets it break her. Where she just lays down and cries not over the man, but over the rejection itself.
It’s like a volleyball match, where she goes back and forth until her brain hurts from all the thinking. Until she’s so emotionally exhausted that she can’t even hurt anymore. She’s done that many times before.
But tonight, tonight is different. She backs out of the messages and deletes the thread. And then she takes a deep breath, puts her car into drive, and starts driving home. She’s not pretending it didn’t happen or pretending that it didn’t hurt. She’s choosing. She’s choosing to not let it break her. It happened, it hurt, but not everything, not every hurt has to break. It’s a lesson. It’s an experience. But you move on from it. And you simply, try again.
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