By Anne B.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ~ Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Hello lovely Ramblers,
Go grab yourself some tea, coffee, whiskey... or whatever your favorite beverage is and get ready for a roller coaster ride. Because today, we are exploring that deep, dark place I typically ignore as I talk about the emotions, hookups, and ghosts of my life.
Rewind about a year and a half to Spring 2017. I was miserable, lonely, stressed and extremely self-conscious. Let’s be honest, college culture can be a lot of fun, but it can also wear you down sometimes.
Anyways, it was around that time that The Ghost entered my life. It started with sending random snaps, followed by actual conversations where we asked random questions to get to know each other better. Those conversations sometimes led to late nights talking about random things until one of us fell asleep. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I am a sucker for those nights. To me, rambling about life deep into the night is a very cute moment that can bring two people closer together. And honestly, those nights are what I missed the most after we stopped talking. As you probably assumed from the title and his name, we stopped talking because he ghosted me. As suddenly as we had started talking, he suddenly disappeared a couple months later. Ok, I’m exaggerating. It was a little more gradual than that. At first, it was a few “left on open” moments that could be attributed to the fact that he’s a busy person. But after seeing that open arrow time after time, my confidence started to shake and each open arrow started to hurt. I finally realized I had been ghosted, plain and simple. And believe me, it f*cking hurt. I had been ghosted before, but never by someone I actually cared about. To make matters worse, I was completely alone at that time. Back then, Bailey and I were living in a 4 person apartment, but two of the roommates hadn’t moved in yet and Bailey was on that Glenwood Springs trip Tomas mentioned in the podcast (hint, hint, you should go listen to it if you haven’t).
So, I was alone and hurt and heartbroken. Not heartbroken in the romantic sense of a couple breaking up, but heartbroken in a friendship way. I thought we were better friends than that and the fact that I seemed to matter so little just shattered me. And like any traumatic event, I went through the five stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
The denial was when I kept saying to myself that he was just busy each time he didn’t respond; that eventually, he would find the time to actually respond to a snap. The isolation happened when I was alone in the apartment, crying myself to sleep multiple nights in a row and refusing to talk about my emotions to anyone. Instead, I would get in the car and drive around aimlessly until well past midnight.
Sidenote: I promise I was always careful and I was never crying when driving. I also stopped driving around aimlessly soon after because I knew it was bad for the environment.
After the isolation, came the anger. Obviously, anger towards him for ghosting and hurting me, but also anger towards myself for letting this affect me so much. The anger stage didn’t last too long, though. They bargaining phase was also pretty short, but it was quite impactful on my self-love. This phase is made up of “If only” phrases, and I had plenty. After the anger stage, I started thinking “If only I were funnier or prettier or cooler or...” well, you get the idea. As you can imagine, that sent me right into the depression phase.
I was pretty down and lonely for a while, but school started again a week or two after the ghosting, so I was able to focus my energy on that. College parties were also starting up again, and one of those led to my first hookup. I honestly was not looking for a hookup, but I was a little drunk, we were killing it a beer pong, I was lonely, and it kind of just happened. Now obviously, hookups can be a controversial subject, but for me, it actually helped. And I mean, there is a reason the rebound concept is a thing. In the end, you do you - well, as long as you’re safe and you agree 100% with whatever you are doing.
After the hookup, I transitioned to the acceptance phase. It wasn’t immediate, of course, but slowly, I started accepting the fact that The Ghost was gone and I began focusing on school and moving on with my life. It probably helped that he didn’t live in the same state and I never had the fear of running into him. However, if you’ve ever been ghosted by someone you like, you probably know it takes a long time to completely move on because there’s always that little glimmer of hope they’ll reappear. That little bit of hope, mixed with a little bit of alcohol (oops), made me slip up and send him a snap on Halloween.
He actually apologized for ghosting me and we started talking again. I didn’t just forgive and forget, but me being me, I decided to give this complicated friendship another chance because I really did miss our conversations. We talked on and off until March when I saw him. We may or may not have hooked up… what can I say, once you turn that button on, it’s hard to turn it off *insert shrug emoji*. After I was back in Colorado, we continued talking until April and he ghosted me again. Keep in mind, I had been cautious since we had started talking again because I knew there was a good chance he’d ghost me again. So, this time I wasn’t surprised and I didn’t go through the stages of grief like the first time. Instead, when I saw that same pattern of “left on open” starting again, I just shrugged and stopped sending snaps. Plus, I was so busy that I didn’t really have time to feel anything. Between my 21st birthday, graduation, and graduate school applications/interviews, there was no room for pain. I was also excited for the future, surrounded by all my lovely friends and I had changed a lot since the first time he ghosted me. Between the first and second ghosting, I had managed to work on my self-love and confidence. Plus, since I had been the one who sent the snap on Halloween and who went to see him, fully knowing that I’d probably get ghosted again, I felt like I was more to blame for any hurt feelings than he was. I’m not saying I deserved to be ghosted, but I was also not blameless this time around.
Clearly, a lot has happened since Spring 2017 and even though it wasn’t all roses, I truly think it has made me a better and stronger person. All the romantic encounters I’ve had since then and the support of my wonderful friends have made me realize that I deserve more than that. I deserve to be happy and have someone who completes me. I’ve also embraced the single life. There are still days where I really wish I had someone special, but most days, I’m enjoying the independence I have. I’m taking this time to work on myself and all the things I have on my to-do list, which seems to never end.
Remember, you attract the people you think you deserve. If you’re running low on self-love, the chances of getting a Mr. or Mrs. Right who will treat you well won’t be very high. So ramblers, work on that self-love because you all deserve to find that person who will make you feel like you’re on top of the world, treat you right and never make you feel worthless. I promise that person is out there. If you’ve already found that person, I’m so happy for you! But if you haven’t, work on improving yourself and connecting with the people around you, and I promise your person will come along too.
My last little piece of advice is to keep your heart open. I know it’s hard after you’ve been hurt, but keeping a closed heart can keep you from connecting with amazing people. And as Babe Ruth famously said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”, and you can’t ignore the Great Bambino.
Writing this post and looking back at the past year and a half, I can truly say thank you (after all it is a great day to be thankful). Thank you to my poor, bottled up emotions, my hookups, and my ghosts. Even if there were some big thorns on the way, there were also some beautiful roses.
With that, go grab yourself some pumpkin pie because you’ve earned it.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to my American ramblers!