Weight loss is such a funny thing. We talk so much about how we want to shed pounds so we can meet some ideal of what our bodies should be–based on a government chart or a magazine or what some “public figure” on reality TV tells us. In reality, this is something that you measure by your health: are you doing what you can to be healthy? That doesn’t mean losing weight is a meaningless effort, but sometimes I think we focus too much on the wrong numbers. And just like it’s often frustrating and unfulfilling to chase the latest number set out by <insert magazine or celebrity name here>, in our constant efforts to lose, lose, lose, we forget about the weight gain we take on all the time that is unhealthy.
I’m talking about the emotional weight of the people we need to let go.
As I scrolled through my personal Facebook feed the other day, I came across a picture from high school. It was a view of the stands at a Homecoming football game–the one that we won!–and it took me a while to locate myself in this sea of people. I found one of my friends in our “group”, and from there it was easy to spot the rest of us in the row. I looked at my younger self, sitting there next to the boy who was my date for the dance that night, and his body was turned away from me as he talked with the girl on the other side of me.
Something struck me about that picture: that pose was a metaphor for the entire relationship I had with him throughout the three years we knew each other as friends and (occasional) more than friends. It was always someone else. It was always <that girl over there>.
This was a defining relationship for me; our on/off trainwreck was the longest relationship I had during my formative dating years, and it set the standard for how I would see romantic relationships and myself in them. I let my self-worth be measured by the amount of attention I received from someone who, to be perfectly frank, treated me like crap. I was happy when he would show me attention–not really willing to see that I was only a temporary stop for him on the way to anything better. I was frustrated but willing to submit to his unwillingness to be public about us being together when we were together, because it was either that or nothing. I should’ve taken nothing.
And so it is, that when I get the perennial friend request from him on Facebook, I hit the delete key with such impunity. I’m not that person anymore–that person who doesn’t believe she’s worth enough to deserve anything better.
That kind of spinelessness isn’t good when you’re a teenager, but in your 40’s? Come on, already.
Thus, my only “resolution”, if it even has to be named such a thing, is to be willing to let go of more people. I learned a few decades ago that it’s okay to let go of people who only add misery to your life, the ones who add weight to your soul and expect you to carry around their sadness–making themselves feel better by adding you to the truly screwed up collective. It’s okay to say goodbye and not look back.
So I resolve to “mute” people more. I resolve to “defriend”. I resolve to “unfollow”. I resolve to walk away from conversations on Facebook or Twitter (or in person!) when the other person isn’t actually listening to facts and only wants to hear the sound of their own virtual voice yammering.
And I get that there are those who’ll look at this post and say, “Pot-kettle-anyone?” Sure, I yammer. But this blog is about me and my journey, and those who choose to join can do so at any point. Or not. It’s not about them. People change over time, or at least they’re supposed to, and where I was even a few years ago isn’t where I am now. I fully expect the same of many people in my life. Taking stock: If I miss you but you don’t miss me (or vice versa), then we weren’t what we thought for each other anyway. Not anymore, at least.
Social media has the power to bring us together, but sometimes it seems like there’s an undercurrent of pressure to connect with more people than truly needed. I’ve heard it said that the number of our true friendships contracts as we age, and whether it’s due to a lower tolerance for bullshit or a general sense of not having much in common with so many people, I just don’t know. But I can say that it is okay to let go when it doesn’t make sense to keep clinging to those who make you less happy.
And that’s what I intend to do.