A Boy Never Texts Me Back, I Lose My Emails, and Senior Year Begins

I once fell in love with the perfect boy. Of course, he never texted me back.

I should have listened to my friends, who told me to kick him to the curb. Instead, in a classic Thomas-abuses-introspection move, I took his lack of a response to heart. I would sit on my couch, book in one hand, phone in the other, and think:ย “did I say something wrong or come on too strong?” orย “maybe if I were smarter or hotter he would text me back” orย “why am I even wasting time on boys anyway?”

This last thought sprung from my intense value of independence. While I love the friends and mentors in my life, I also cherish my ability to be alone. I once spent an entire birthday weekend on my own in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere reading books about mental illness; I have entertained myself for days with pop music and novels and writing with almost no human contact. So my desire for this boy struck me as out of character. Yes, I have always loved human interaction, but I have also always considered myself a complete and whole person, even without a boy in my life.

After even more introspection, listening to Ariana Grande’s empowering hit “Into You,” and consuming a copious amount of peanut butter straight from the jar, I came to a realization: I could still desire this boy while maintaining my independence. I could like him and still take pride in my hard-won academic accomplishments, my many extra-curricular activities, and my passion for mental health and social justice. Indeed, resisting my feelings only intensified them, a good old lesson on mindfulness and its importance.

But the problem remained – he would not text me back. With this conundrum came its own burning question: how much do I respect myself? I could wallow in bed for days, listening to melodramatic Selena Gomez songs while eating barbecue pop chips by the bagful and staring at my phone. I could scroll through this Facebook profile and our texts, pinching the fat on my shoulder and wishing it would disappear. Or, I could listen to the wise advice of my friends both online and offline, honor the expectations I have for healthy relationships in my life, and move the fuck on.

peanut butter and ariel leve an abbreviated life yay

Exhibit A: peanut butter and An Abbreviated Life by Ariel Leve, one of my favorite books of 2016 so far, if not my absolute favorite.

I lost 100 emails last night. My online life from June 2 to August 17 disappeared. They all vanished – my messages from this blog, all the Goodreads comments I wanted to respond to, and several miscellaneous writing-related items. I spent the whole day in mourning, trying to get Yahoo! to fix it, rolling around in bed lamenting all these lost connections, those meaningful words and thoughts. But, just as with the boy in my life, this wallowing made me miserable. I wanted to treat myself with self-compassion, and to do so, I needed to move on.

Moving on does not mean erasing my feelings or putting on a brave face all the time while saying “screw men, they are all patriarchal robots anyway” (though, trust me, I love dismantling oppressive gender roles). Just like the loss of those emails will sting for awhile, this boy’s lack of a response will hurt too. But instead of looking at his social media pages, waiting for him to contact me, or trying to to justify his absence, I can continue to dedicate myself to my research, my service, and my writing. Instead of mourning those emails and my idealized, nonrealistic image of this boy, I can practice gratitude for the wonderful friends and opportunities in my life. Instead of getting angry at myself for my feelings or at him for not responding, because he may have a decent reason preventing him from doing so, I can direct my frustration toward toxic masculinity and how it produces so many men who fear expressing their emotions, toward the stigma that pervades mental illness, and other subjects I care about.

This year, I apply to graduate school, a goal I have worked toward since freshman year, since the age of eight, really. I could get into multiple schools; I could get into zero schools. Perhaps this boy will never text me back, and ten years from now, I will look back on this with a smile on my face and the smallest hint of wonder. About 15 months ago, I got into my first car accident and freaked out, afraid that I had just ruined my life. Little did I know then, as I stood on the side of the road panicking in a full suit, that I would write this post – with calmness, with the acoustic version of Ariana Grande’s “Into You” playing in my ears, with curiosity about what will happen next.

ariana into you video screenshoot what a queen

Exhibit B: a screenshot from Ariana Grande’s “Into You” music video, which has given me so much strength over these past few months.

I still feel kinda awful about all those lost emails, so if you messaged me anytime in the past few months, please resend what you wrote and I will do my best to reply. I hope you are all doing well and would love to hear your thoughts if you have any similar experiences or advice on coping with boys, technology going haywire (well, I did delete them on accident, so the responsibility lies on me), or how to cope with adverse circumstances. Thank you for your love and support, it means the world to me!

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “A Boy Never Texts Me Back, I Lose My Emails, and Senior Year Begins

  1. Stupid Yahoo. Can you open a gmail account and import your emails to it? They might even reappear, you never know … Take care, be kind to yourself.

    • Ah, perhaps I should have tried that. But, time has passed, and so has the emotional impact of losing those emails. (: Thank you for your caring and concern, Liz!

  2. Oh no! I’m sorry you couldn’t recover the lost mail. I, too, rely on my email for pretty much everything. I’d be just as frustrated. ): However, I’m glad you’re already feeling better, Thomas!

    And I hope your fall semester is going swell and hasn’t become too stressful yet! Good luck with all the applications; I’m sure you’ll get accepted in a great graduate program. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much for your support, Summer! I’m always happy when I see one of your reviews pop up on Goodreads – here’s to another few months of supporting each other in this online world. (:

  3. Hi, I saw a review of yours in goodreads and ended here… so about the boy. Who never? Moving on is tought, even when you get to point in life when your happyness is made by you and all the people in your life are a kind of bonus joy. Whenever you are open to someone they have this power to change the balance, for good and bad and unless you are a hermit that lives all alone without contact it is something unavoidable, so all you can do when something bad happens is think about what matters to you and focus on that, always ackowledging what you are feeling. Ignoring your feelings never works in the end. Good luck with all.
    P.S.: I like the way you think… it agrees with my thoughts in lot of ways.

    • Aw, thank you so much for this, Hatshuharu! It really made me reconsider what happened earlier this year as well as something I’m going through now – that I can be open and vulnerable and live my life fully, while also recognizing when I should probably cut off certain relationships to keep myself safe. It’s like, permitting myself to be affected by guys but also keeping my independence in check and recognizing warning signs for when/if a guy will be problematic. I hope I can hear more from you in my future posts!

  4. It’s okay to want this guy and I think it’s okay waiting for a response from him and totally normal I think to look at yourself to find some fault (esp. when there is none) for the lack of communication. What’s not okay is to let it consume you, but I see you already figured that out.
    It is funny, in a way, how things in the heat of the moment (or at the time) looks so overblown months later, when you can afford to laugh. But it is immensely important to see it for what the situation really is: an learning experience. Have a lovely evening, Thomas ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw Devina, thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, now, months later, I really am laughing about this experience. I feel like I’ve definitely learned from it, and I’ve grown a lot when it comes to recognizing warning signs relating to unhealthful relationships overall. I appreciate your friendship and comments so much.

  5. Kev

    Ahh, who wouldn’t want to date you? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been there a few times in my single days. I thought my world was ending at the time, but it’s clear now that they just weren’t the ones for me. Different people have different ideas for the perfect partner. Just because this one (stupid) boy didn’t pursue anything further, just means you weren’t matched. It is in no way anything to do with you. At least you have Ariana (‘Side to Side’ doing great here in The UK btw). On another topic, I don’t think I’ve ever heard (read) you swear before. Shocked ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw, Kevin, your kind comment made my day. Thank you for giving me perspective about men and dating men. I’m hoping that when I’m in my 30’s I’ll look back at all of this and laugh, shake my head, feel embarrassed by my youth, etc. I think this scenario was definitely not about me, as this guy had issues he was working through – and I hope he’s doing the best with those issues as he can be.

      Oh, it makes me so happy to hear that Side to Side did well in the UK! It’s a smash in the US, so I’m glad the general public over here loved it. I appreciate you knowing me well enough to reference Ariana. And again, I’m grateful for your consistent kindness, even when I’ve been too busy/sloppy to respond to all of your radiant messages. Hope your end of the year is going alright!

  6. Confession time: I neglected my beloved blog for so long. This school year has been such a whirlwind so far. Earlier this week I ended my first fall quarter and wanted to spend some time writing. Of course, that led me to see if you had posted anything I may have missed between now and the latest posts I’ve read from you over the summer. So… here I am! And although I cannot empathize with you about losing 100 emails, I can surely say I am also coping with boys and texting and letting go and trying to positive channel your energy into other meaningful things and practicing mindfulness despite these strong emotions.

    You’re awesome! Hope to hear from you soon.

    • Elayna, even though we are on opposite sides of the country, I feel like our lives so often occur in parallel. Here’s to both of us practicing self-love, mindfulness, more consistent writing, and all the other good stuff. Keep on slaying all that you do. I’m cheering for you!

  7. Amy

    Best of luck with your senior year and grad school apps, Thomas! I’m starting senior year too, and law school apps are really hitting me hard. I’ll be cheering for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Amy! I hope you are able to practice self-care amidst all that you have to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Amy

        Thank you, Thomas! I’m definitely being more cognizant of practicing self-care, but I really can’t wait to be done with my law school apps! I hope your grad school apps are going/went well!

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