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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Buyer

#81: Rule #2

Updated: May 7, 2023

No matter how many times I get hurt, I take a few days (or hours) to be sad, and then I get right back up and begin again – this time with new learning to help me do better the next time. It was nearly impossible to get back up after the first few times I gave my emotional energy to something and it didn’t go my way. The more times I got hurt, the easier it became to get back up again. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t because I felt any less intensely. Nearly every situation was different enough for me to feel as though I wasn’t repeating the past, but when all was said and done, I was left questioning myself for the similar reasons. Even though the reasons compound together, I became more accustomed to this feeling each time it happens. At this point, I have a routine. Rule #2: You hurt me, I get hotter.

I always tell myself that no matter how many times I’m hurt, I won’t let it get to me. I never want to be the boy who cried wolf that I’ll find what I’m looking for and have to tell the people close to me I was wrong yet again, but I don’t want to be jaded and stop being excited because that’s not fair to myself. After everything, I deserve to have my chance to be excited. So does everyone. Otherwise, what’s the point of all this in the first place?

After letting myself be disappointed one too many times, I decided it was time to protect myself and the people around me by being more reserved. I decided that I wouldn’t get excited until I was in a relationship. I can’t and don’t need to know the complete future of any situation (relationship), but that seemed like a fair way to be assured that a pattern wouldn’t totally repeat itself. If someone is my boyfriend, they have to break up with me instead of ghost me, right? Anyway. I’m always working toward the next version of myself, but for the time being, I love who I am, and I will always be myself. However, I didn’t want to get ahead of myself by introducing someone to my friends or going out of my way to keep favorite foods in the fridge, or put what someone else wants ahead of what I want, even for silly things like what we eat for dinner or how we spend weekends. My trust and respect should be earned through actions and words before I completely open my life to someone. As it turns out, I’m not great at holding back. I’m not good at doing things that I don’t want to do. No matter how many times things don’t go my way, I’ll be more than okay – that’s half my personality at this point. Rule #2 led me to accomplish great things. I can’t wait for the day I can roll out Rule #1/2, but we aren’t quite there yet.

Each situation helps me discover something about myself and a valuable life lesson. I have no regrets, even when I don’t like what I learn. I have no idea what more I can possibly learn at this point. Am I allowed to say I’m too tired to learn anymore? As melodramatic as it is, I’m running myself into the ground waiting to feel like I’m allowed to be excited. At the same time, I’m also afraid to allow myself to be excited without a concrete reason because I don’t want to be wrong again. Yes, I’ll be okay regardless of whatever happens, but why bear unnecessary risk? I used to think I knew the signs interest, and how to read intentions, but after the nth time of being 100% wrong, I refuse to assume anymore. I don’t want to be that crazy b*itch, but that’s not too much to ask, right?

Actions mean more than words, but they leave just as much room for interpretation as jokes do when everyone has a unique interpretation of the world. How do I know if someone is introducing me to their friends because they need a date for game night or because they envision a potential for a future? Words are important too, especially to me. I need someone to explain what their actions mean so that I’m not left guessing. There’s nothing wrong if feelings change, but I need to know so that I can move forward. I may not be okay in every single moment, but I will always be okay eventually. Besides, I’m still a hopeless romantic. Well, at some point I hope that I can be again. I’m the kid who used to stop and smell the flowers – I’d hate to have to admit that spirit has been taken away from me.

Growing up, I thought that showing emotion, especially negative emotion, was my biggest weakness. I genuinely thought that fun was stupid, and that everything I did needed to get me closer to my career goals. I spent years avoiding hugs, trying to see how few words I could say at tennis practice and hiding almost all emotion. As I became a happier person again, I didn’t want to hide my emotions anymore – positive or negative. Clearly, I have no problem sharing my most raw emotions with the internet as I process them. Sharing how I feel is part of who I am, but being open about it doesn’t make me a weaker person. I can’t always control how I feel in a given moment, but I’ve developed the resiliency to learn, process, and move forward in the long run as a better version of myself rather than ignoring the issue. Rule #0: L is for learning. “Losing” isn’t a bad thing. Discovering a weakness is a chance to turn it into a strength, and I genuinely believe that. The sooner I acknowledge a mistake, the sooner I can get better.

This has been a cathartic pity party. We’ve reached the moment that I get back up, do it over again, and hope like hell that something will be different next time. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m starting to fear that I’ve learned one too many ‘lessons’ to experience excitement in the way that I always wanted. I’m half kidding when I say that I hope this is worth it. The other half of me knows that it will be, eventually.

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