A couple of weeks ago I talked with my therapist about AWLOB and how I felt bad about the last message I sent him. In July 2019, when I asked if we could talk on the phone for an hour, he said no and that there “might be” a point we could talk way later, “perhaps,” when we could “potentially” be friends. I did not feel hurt that he set a boundary, because we should all have the autonomy to choose to communicate or not communicate with anyone in our lives. I felt hurt because several months ago he said that he had a crush on me I hope you all realize how painfully vulnerable it is for me to admit that I liked him having a crush on me lol brb gonna throw myself in a volcano now and that at some point we would talk, and then, all of a sudden, he retracted that with no explanation.
So I roasted him. I told him that his words were empty, that he should keep on using the passive voice to avoid meaningful growth and self-reflection as he has been, and that I wasted my time emailing a non-committal loser when I could have been watching a BlackPink music video and sipping a strawberry lemonade smoothie. Not gonna lie, my friends and I still consider my takedown of him as quite iconic, yet I also recognize my takedown stemmed from a place of hurt that manifested into anger.
“Sometimes I wonder if I was too mean to him,” I said, sitting on my couch as I talked to my therapist on Zoom. “I probably should’ve just said something like, ‘hey, your lack of transparency and openness really hurts my feelings, blah blah’”.
“You can’t expect yourself to be perfect all the time,” she said. “He really hurt your feelings and you were angry about that, it can be hard to share that in the moment. And he could’ve always said ‘hey Thomas, I feel like that message was really mean’ he if wanted to.”
Hearing my therapist’s insight helped take some weight off my shoulders. Though I have progressed beyond this behavior now, in the past as in like even two weeks ago lol I often ruminated about why he ghosted me, even when he said he valued honest and vulnerable communication when he had dated his ex-boyfriend. Was it because my dad made a pretty large income and he would rather sniff the shoe of a white supremacist than talk to someone with a wealthy parent? Was it because I’m more interested in providing therapy than community organizing and he’s only turned on by guys who have canvassed for a political campaign or can recite passages from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals while playing piano, doing cartwheels, or sleeping? Was it because he expected me to be someone who would always accommodate his feelings without complaint, even when they hurt my own?
“It’s a little frustrating that I still think about him,” I told my therapist.
“He’s the first guy you could really see yourself with,” she said. “Even though you know you two may not have that chemistry if you actually talked face to face, he really became a chapter of your life.”
Both with my own clients and with myself I have emphasized the importance of self-kindness. Yes, the last message I sent AWLOB was not my best, and I did my best at that time with how I felt in that moment. Yes, it has taken me literally a year or so and 20 million blog posts written about this guy to come to terms with us not having the chance to get to know each other, and that makes sense given how into him I felt. Like, when we started writing to each other, I remember joking with my friends: is this guy actually one of you, like are you catfishing me? I feel like this guy is too perfect of a fit for me to be true.
But I am growing and I am proud of that. Though it is perhaps a small feat, I have not messaged him since July of 2019, giving him space to heal from his breakup with his boyfriend of five years or to just continue being a non-committal dumpster fire and room for myself to process, and I have no intention of initiating contact again. My next area of growth is to stop Googling him and reading his new writing that comes out. Even though some of his writing still stirs up a sense of longing in my chest, for the most part it just hurts my feelings, so I’m going to reclaim my time and invest it elsewhere.
Regardless of this man, I’m proud of myself for growing in my self-kindness, in both giving myself grace for past mistakes and committing to growth nonetheless. Sometimes I think to myself, it would be nice if Armadillo made an appearance so I could have a new guy to crush on and write an oddly large number of blog posts about. Still, even if Armadillo does not come around until 2021, or 2022, or 20never, I love and appreciate myself and my own growth, which will always mean more to me than the love of any man.
How do you balance wanting to grow and improve as a person while also being gentle and kind with yourself? How long do you think it’ll take until another crush-worthy man enters my life so I can have someone new to write about? Other reactions to this post? Until next time!