Just Get Over It? I Wish It Were That Simple.
About four years ago, I lost a number of seemingly close friends. They didn’t die or meet with tragedy. They decided they didn’t like me any more, became willing to believe some vicious lies, and promptly removed me from not only their social circle, but from any involvement in a local performance scene. The whole drama happened over the course of a weekend, and for me it came out of nowhere. I was blindsided, and what I thought were close friendships were gone without warning, with no chance for explanation or the rebuilding of bridges.
It hurt. A lot. It sent me into a year-long depression. The emotional wounds didn’t heal properly and every so often, to this day, they flare up and hurt all over again. I’m most susceptible to these flare-ups in the summer, since that’s when this all went down years ago.
One summer, about two years ago, I was out in my backyard grilling with my dad. It was a pleasant, perfect evening. We were chatting about life, fatherhood, trivial pleasantries… and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it just came up again. Something in our conversation reminded me of that day, four years ago, and it flared up from the delicate scar tissue around those old emotional wounds. I didn’t break down and start weeping or anything so dramatic, but my tone of voice turned snappy and bitter as I spoke of those events.
My dad rolled his eyes, waved a dismissive hand, and said simply, “Oh Michael, just get over it already.”
I said, in a somewhat exasperated reply, “I really want to!”
Every now and again I think about that brief exchange with my dad. He wasn’t being mean. He wasn’t dismissing the hurt I felt all those years ago. In all fairness, he was trying to shove me in the right direction. “Just get over it already.” Those unfortunate events happened years ago. Everyone involved has stopped caring, and they likely don’t think about me any more. Get over it. Get over them. Move on, get on with your life, and be happy. It’s tough love, but sound advice.
But this was an old emotional wound that didn’t heal properly, and people treat those differently than physical wounds. You can’t see them. You wouldn’t tell someone with a leg injury that healed wrong to stop limping, or to dismiss their discomfort when certain weather makes their old wounds ache.
On the other hand, I’m not one to expect everyone to tip-toe around me for fear of triggering a bitter rant. I have the responsibility to take care of my old injuries, to do the work to make myself better, and move forward despite the presence of an emotional limp. I may need help sometimes, and I’m not afraid to ask for it, but on the whole the emotional work needs to be done by me. To move on, get on with my life, and be happy.
That’s what today’s blog is, really. Doing some of that emotional work to move on. To ease the flare-up of painful memories that, after four years, are still lingering.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m grateful. If you’ve been following my blog posts, realized where I was going with this, and said, “Oh, not this again,” I also understand. Even if no one reads this all the way through but me, seeing these thoughts on-screen and sending them out into the world helps me get some emotional junk out of my system. Once it’s gone, there’s room for something positive to take its place, and maybe those old injuries will finally start to heal correctly.