Since my employment in August, there have been only three occasions when I have cried at work:
The first was when I was given conflicting information and the grand run-around for why I was not yet a full-time employee after being told I simply had to finish 300 hours with the temp agency.
The second, when I was reprimanded for something I had been told was well done the day prior.
And the third was last week.
It turns out that the tenuous peace of fluctuating feelings that comes with restructuring one’s life to compensate for the absence of a significant relationship can sometimes be fragile.
The rain turned back to snow. So much snow that I was snowed in on Friday (Thanks to a long driveway and delinquent plow service, I never actually made it to work);
but by Monday, one could hardly tell that more snow had fallen. Today, the high will reach 70, and by tomorrow, only the most persistent bits of snow will remain in the cool shadowy places that don’t see much light.
And that is pretty much how emotional recovery is going. Promisingly mild weather interrupted by a raging storm that blew through quickly and melted as unexpectedly as it arrived.
There are two sides to every story involving two people.
And perhaps one of the most liberating realizations I have come to embrace in the past three weeks is that no one is entitled to either side of the story save the two people involved.
There is a power and a freedom in telling your story. As humans, sharing experiences through story telling is one of the key ways we communicate, find meaning, and share meaning.
But there is also a power and a freedom in recognizing that not everything needs to be retold.
I am a classic over-sharer. (Personal pride and dignity–What are those?) If something funny or significant happens, I tend to present it in all of its nitty-gritty glory (or lack thereof)–especially when someone shows genuine interest or asks a thoughtful question.
But not everyone needs to know the details–Especially when the details are related to personal things. And I bet there are several ex-boyfriends who wish I would have come to this conclusion YEARS ago before I joined Facebook. (^-^)
…Speaking of Facebook, last week, I learned that I should never check personal messages at work.
Shortly after lunch, I received a good-natured message kindly suggesting, based on the few details he had shared, that I was mistaken in the nature of my parting from The Physicist, and that it was not a mutual decision but a decisively pre-meditated break-up that had not been in my favor.
Did I mention that it was NOT a good idea to read this message while I was at work? Oh the tears, dear reader, oh the tears! First the tears of betrayal (HOW had this person come to this conclusion? Had he LIED about our breakup?); then of course, tears of fury (Thank you, person who was not there, for informing ME of how MY breakup went!); then tears of indignation (I’m sure this person meant well, but at its core, it was an accusation of either blatantly lying or deluding myself. Granted, anyone has a certain amount of bias in their own favor- myself being no exception- but what have I ever done to make them think that I would be LYING?); then tears of confusion (What could possibly be gained here, even if it were a correct supposition–which it wasn’t. What could leveling this charge possibly have accomplished other than destruction of the the emotional stability I had so carefully been maintaining?) There were tears, dear readers, many tears. (My poor coworkers. Thankfully, I work in pretty much a cave in the back of the building, so my emotional histrionics can be kept to myself on the rare occasions they occur. This time, however, a poor unsuspecting security guard made the mistake of asking me if I were ok. After this experience, he will probably never ask me that question again. ^-^’)
Also, never write an email while crying.
The nice thing about age is that, though it doesn’t necessarily bring wisdom (if only!), it does bring experience. And past experience has taught that it is always a good idea to wait until after an emotional maelstrom passes before sending any kind of written response. (Once you click send, the words are permanent.) Bitter diatribes, sharp retorts, self-defense, and lengthy explanations–I considered all of them in the height of my self-righteous wrath.
But none of them were appropriate.
It took over an hour and much typety typety typety-delete-delete-delete to come to that conclusion; but ultimately, I realized that I didn’t need to defend myself.
The question wasn’t really whether the writer had accomplished anything by writing to me, but whether I had anything to gain by being defensive. And the answer was no.
Is it possible that he was planning to break up with me? Sure. But whether he was planning to break up with me or not is a moot point because the execution of a break-up plan was not what transpired that night.
And sure, I could drag forward all the details. I could arrange the events in a nice little row and rewrite a fair approximation of our dialogue. I could proudly defend my rightness.
But what would be the point? Does it matter whether or not I am right and someone else is wrong?
Does it change the fact that we are no longer dating?
I don’t care about engaging in a he-said/she-said battle.
What’s been said has been said. And I don’t know what he has said to those he has spoken to; but (regardless of what my curiosity might think) I don’t need to know.
What I do know is the sequence of events of that particular evening.
What I do know is the conversation we shared.
What I do know is that we parted friends.
What I do know is that I trust him to communicate with me if he feels I’m being inaccurate (After all, he’s already done so once.)
What I do know is that I don’t have to prove anything because I don’t have anything to prove.
I don’t owe anyone the details of our conversation, the actions that preceded our conversation, or the actions that followed.
And I’m surprisingly ok with someone who doesn’t know me well thinking that I’m just trying to preserve my dignity by claiming a mutual breakup rather than admitting to being broken up with (But seriously folks, being the QUEEN of martyrdom that I am, do you really think I would miss such a prime opportunity to wallow in self-pity? Furthermore, if I were really into preserving my dignity, would I have started a blog dealing predominantly with my online dating experiences? Salvaging dignity is clearly not my purpose ^_^)
So what is left?
When the pride, the self-defense, the anger and retaliation are released, what is left?
Well… there is grace.
There is a return email gently suggesting The Physicist be approached if further information is needed.
There is a silly joke and warm regards in the signature.
There is melting snow and a hint of green in the patches of brown grass.
There is Spring.