You Don’t Owe Him a Response

I know I never really gave y’all a proper ending to my relationship with Jay. Synopsis – broke up “for good” January, 2016. Slept with him once in April, 2016, while dating Dan. Jay moved to California in May, 2016. In August, 2016, Jay and I have this long talk about maybe getting back together, and he says he wants to move in, at which point I tell him that we need to date for a minimum of 6 months before I will consider letting him move in. Jay says that he’s not coming back to Austin unless he’s moving in with me. I tell him that he’s not coming back to Austin. Flash-forward nine months to May, 2017. Jay starts texting, I ignore him, he tells me really needs to talk to me, I say he can call. He just starts babbling away, until I ask him to get to the point of the conversation. He says just talking is the point. I tell him that he no longer has a place in my life and that I don’t think we need to communicate again. We hang up. He continues to text for 6 more weeks until I finally block his number. Peace and quiet at last, right?

Back to present day. Last Friday, Jay sent me an incredibly long message on Facebook, telling me that he needs to explain his past actions, he *thinks* I might have blocked his texts, and going on about how great and wonderful I was (um, duh). Only, it’s the worst email ever. He starts off by telling me that he was seeing a girl last year, but it didn’t work out. Then he literally says, “I don’t want to make this message about me, though, because it’s about you. I’m way more self-aware than you could ever realize.” Uh, isn’t bragging about your self-awareness about you, and not me?? There were parts of the message which were incredibly manipulative – classic narcissistic lessons here. Telling me that while he has dated a wide variety of very successful women, *I* am the only one who he’s ever wanted to be with permanently. First off, jackass, I am incredibly successful and you know that. Second, so I’m supposed to be grateful that you chose me over everyone else you could be dating? I rejected you. He brought up my dog, saying that he loves her and she loves him, and he really hopes he gets to see her in the future. Dude, my dog is a hoe. She loves anyone who will pet her. He told me that nobody had ever shown me that I was good enough, but that he now could. Then he ended by saying that he had so much more he could tell me, and that he hoped he got the chance to.

So of course I let all of my friends and my mom read it. There were some who felt that I owed him some sort of response. Not necessarily a nice one, but at least one that would give him some closure. Enter my mom – talking to her Saturday morning, she was adamant that NO, I did not owe Jay a response, that this message was all about him and what he wanted, and that I needed delete his Facebook request and walk away. So I did.

Because here’s the thing. With narcissistic people, you can’t explain or argue anything. They hear only what they want to hear, and no matter what you say, you will still end up at fault. And if you open that door even one inch, they will jump in and try with all of their might to  get you to engage. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for protecting yourself and your mental and/or emotional well-being. You do not have to explain why you are breaking up with someone who treats you poorly. You do not have to explain to an ex why you moved on. You DO have to take care of yourself. Truly, the only way to break free from a narcissist is to walk away and don’t look back.

I’ll finish by sharing one of my favorite lines from last year – “If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, it means no one else wanted them. Let them go again.”

– Finch

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Quick Thought: A Fear of Change

I was just watching a Mr. Kate video where Kate was getting a blow-out, and her hair looked so good. Her hair is a just slightly lighter than mine, and slightly shorter. The major difference is that she does not have bangs, and I do. So as I’m checking out her video, I kept thinking that I should grow my bangs out again. It’s been a few years since I’ve been without bangs. Plus, they’re already long enough that I can pin them aside, so it won’t be a super long process.

Immediately though I could hear my mom saying, “But I like your bangs!” And then I told my friend Jessica, and she said the same thing. And then I started to wonder if I would feel as cute without bangs, and whether my face would look too big or my forehead would be too shiny, and it was all down the rabbit hole from there.

I’ve always been jealous of the women who cut and dye and style their hair with wild abandon. I’ve been thinking about chopping my hair into a long bob (a “lob” for those of you in the know), but when I brought it up to my mom and her friend recently, they both shot down the idea. “You have mermaid hair!” Okay, yeah, but even a mermaid has to get tired of brushing out this mane all of the time.

The reason I don’t just take the plunge is overwhelming fear. For me, my hair is one of my signature features. A lot of my self-worth is bound up in my hair’s appearance. So what if I chop it all off, and then I hate it, and I feel that I look like a wookie?? Yes, my hair will grow back, but that doesn’t happen overnight! Even dying my hair – I was a redhead from 13 to 30, and then I bleached my hair, and I’ve been a dirty blonde ever since. Every now and then I think it might be nice to see how my hair would look in a rich chocolate brown. But if I hate it, and I try to bleach it back, I won’t immediately be able to achieve my current color, and I could really damage my hair.

This is supposed to be my year of fearing less. And in a lot of ways, it has been. I’ve added temporary pink, purple, and turquoise color to my hair throughout the year so far, and I like it. That’s a huge deal for me; I never played with crazy colors before. But a more permanent change just feels really scary. And I don’t know how to have less fear about that.

– Finch

What Is Your Motive?

I was having a conversation with a friend recently about whether it’s ever okay to reach out to an ex. In her case, she and the ex had had a very bad breakup, but she had been close to the ex’s mother, and she found out that the mother was sick. My friend genuinely just wanted to express her sympathies.

So this led into a whole other conversation about my thought process last year when the singer Chris Cornell passed away. My ex-husband had been friends with Chris, and had a great musical relationship with him. So when I heard about Chris’s passing, I seriously considered reaching out. However, every single message I came up with started, “I’m sure you don’t want to hear from me, but…”

And that had me thinking. If I was *that* sure that Ex didn’t want to hear from me, why was I reaching out? Even though all I wanted to do was express my sympathies, would Ex resent hearing from me at all? And if my only motive really was to say how sorry I was, couldn’t I send him that energy without intruding on his life? Was my motive to express my sympathy, to show that I was a kind and caring person, or to show that, on some level, I still cared for him?

I wasn’t able to give my friend a concrete path to take. However, we came to the decision (*we, as if it was my decision anyway!) that she should send flowers to the mother. My friend decided that this really wasn’t about her ex; she just wanted to let the ex’s mother know she was thinking of her. By stepping back and really looking at why she wanted to reach out, she realized that the person she needed to reach out to wasn’t the ex at all.

I’ve reached out to exes before for a variety of reasons, and most of them have been purely selfish – I wanted them back in my life, either as boyfriends or friends. I’ve been really, really lucky in that none of the exes have reacted poorly to me reaching out. It’s always been a positive experience, and in some cases, it brought me some much needed closure and/or answers that have helped me to move on. But again, that’s about me and about what I wanted.

I still don’t have a definitive answer here. The best I can do going forward is look at my motives, and see if they really serve the higher good. I think that’s the best any of us can do.

– Finch

Quick Thought: Chinese Food as a Lesson

I live across the street from a Chinese restaurant, so I am constantly smelling the tempting aromas. I keep thinking, “Hmm, maybe beef and broccoli tonight?” But then I usually just end up eating chips and salsa and calling it a day.

Here’s the problem – just a couple of weeks after I first moved into my condo, I went over to grab some takeout. Went home, ate my food, and then, a few hours later, experienced the most horrendous stomach pains ever. Not nausea or anything, but swollen belly and curling up in a fetal position pain. So I swore off the Chinese restaurant.

And then a year or so went by, and I thought, “Maybe it was just that one time. I’ll try something different.” But no, exact same thing happened. It happened again last night.

I say all of this to say, this is like going back to exes. You let some time pass, you think maybe it’ll be better this time, maybe you’ll try things a bit differently, take a fresh path… No. You’re still going to end up curled into a ball on your bed, cursing your lack of self-control. Just save yourself the pain and misery.

– Finch

Being Brave Is Worth It

A very dear friend of mine is getting married this winter, and she had asked me to be a bridesmaid. Through a series of unfortunate events, her wedding had been pushed from it’s original date of this past February, and we are all still kind of scrambling to get all of the dates and parties and events planned and scheduled.

A couple of weeks ago, the bride had sent out a mass text, asking how everyone felt about a destination bachelorette party to either Chicago or Charlotesville in October. Only one person responded, and I hadn’t heard anything else about it. But I was starting to feel the strain. I’m already planning on going out to Santa Barbara in October, and I might be going back to Mexico in September, so my travel money is already spoken for. I kept going back and forth on whether I should say something. For one thing, she’s the bride, it’s her special day, etc. Also, no one else had said anything so I didn’t want to be a debbie downer. But I could tell that I was starting to get resentful and defensive and something needed to be done.

As y’all know, I have no problem breaking up with people over text, or ghosting people, but those are obviously people that I don’t care about that much. I couldn’t text this to the bride. So I asked if we could talk, I called her, and I laid it out.

Do you know what happened? Every concern I had about the bachelorette party was shared by the bride. She agreed with and/or understood everything I was saying, she said that she was already thinking that we might need to scale back some of the ideas, and that a couple of other bridesmaids had already voiced similar concerns.

And that was that! We had a lovely conversation, each of us felt good as we got off of the phone, and each of us was happy with the path going forward. The most uncomfortable aspect of the whole thing was working up the courage to ask if we could talk. And I think that’s a pretty common thing. We get worked up about situations or conversations before they even happen, we fear the worst outcome, and then we get too scared to take any action. Yes, the worst that could have happened was that my friend would be totally upset, would have told me I couldn’t be in her wedding anymore, and we could’ve lost that friendship. That was what I was working with going into it. But anyone on the outside would have (and did) quickly say that the bride is not that kind of woman, and that we’ve been friends for 15 years, and this wasn’t going to end it.

My one resolution this year was to fear less. Not to be completely fearless, because I don’t know if that’s truly possible, but just to fear less. Be less fearful of the consequences, and more open to the possibility that everything will work out. As my aunt says, “It’ll all be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.”

– Finch

My Boredom Problem

Shortly after high school graduation (2001, represent!), I was at Barton Springs with my mom and sister, telling them all about my latest idea. Havianas were just becoming popular, so I had this great plan for making flip-flops with interchangeable straps. You could snap on different straps with different patters/colors, and make your flips totally unique! I laid it all out to them, even how I would make the prototype and how I would sell the pieces. My mom, who has more cowboy boots than flip flops, said, “Yeah, sure, sounds great.” My sister, oracle of my universe said, “Is this another one of those things that you’re excited about for a few weeks and then you lose interest?”

She knows me very well.

Throughout my life, I have had ideas, boyfriends, friends, projects that I am really, really excited about, and then I just lose interest. I become bored. It’s not even that anything takes away my excitement; I didn’t suddenly find out that someone else was already doing my idea or my boyfriend (insert laughs). It’s just that I no longer cared. And this isn’t the case with everything. My two best friends have been in my life for over 20 years each, and I’m not bored with them. I see B every single day, and July will be 10 years since I found her; she doesn’t bore me. I’m not bored at work or with my car. So this isn’t a blanket problem that I can seek answers for.

As the older readers will know, I tend to repeat-date and repeat-friend. Every time that Jay and I would get back together, everything would be great until the three week mark. It was like clockwork. At the three week point, I would start to see that everything that had annoyed me previously was still there, and nothing had changed. At that point, it just didn’t feel like it was worth my time to put any effort into the relationship, since I had brought up my issues with Jay to him and we had talked it through, ad nauseum. The same thing has happened in friendships. I’ll leave a friendship for whatever reason, then something will bring us back together, everything will be great for a while, and then I will see that the initial problems are still there, and I lose interest in trying to make things work.

I get that the relationship aspect is different than the idea/project aspect. In the relationship aspect, I’ve been dealing with people who exhibit the same behavior, no matter what I say or do. With the idea/project aspect, I just lose interest. Recently, I was telling my mom how I would like to start a YouTube channel for makeup/lifestyle, since so many of the people I regularly watch are in their early to mid-twenties, and have different life issues/styles than I do. I researched, I looked at vlogging cameras, I thought of video ideas. This went on for about two months, and yeah… I just don’t have any interest anymore. And who knows? Maybe this is the Universe’s way of steering me away from something that is not a good fit for me. But this is clearly not a new thing in my life, and it’s something that keeps popping up, so I should probably figure out why I lose interest. Hopefully I’ll figure it out before I get bored with the question.

– Finch