Just Because It Burns Doesn’t Mean You’re Gonna Die

Ibis,

I have a friend, who is a boy, who is named Caleb.

Caleb and I have many conversations about many things, sometimes serious. Oftentimes in serious conversations, he will say that I have a lack of sympathy. I will say, fat people need to just stop eating so many calories. Sad people need to just stop their negative inner monologues. Indebted people need to just stop spending beyond their means. Caleb condescendingly tells me every time that I do not understand, life is not so simple, and I should be more sensitive to the challenges people face. I am going to go ahead and say he is right and he is wrong.

I have only recently come around to the idea that he might be right. Here’s why: I have a massive crush on him. He has rejected me, he has told me that sex with me is bad, he has told me that he does not find me attractive, he has told me that I do not ignite passion in him, he has told me that he does not want me to be his girlfriend, he has told me that many other girls have piqued his interest but not me. You know, when I write that out, I really suspect that I may have a real mental problem, like masochism or low self-esteem. To be clear, he didn’t always say these things in so many words; I am reporting subtext. (Mostly.) Nonetheless, his lack of interest in me is not uncertain. But I still have a crush on him. I still want to spend time with him, and convince him to love me, and live happily ever after.

My typical advice, it seems, would be, suck it up, get over it, get over him, put him out of your mind. My lack of sensitivity to other people’s problems dictates that I must have no sympathy with myself. If it is so easy to cut back on calories, spending, and sadness, then surely I must practise what I preach, and cut back on attachment.

But I cannot.

When I spend time with him, I want to be near him, I want to be associated with him, and I want to jump his bones. When I am away from him, I plot a time to see him next. (Honestly, it’s perverse and I hate myself a little bit.)

So Caleb is right, it’s not as simple as a Nike ‘just do it’ ethos.

But then again, he is also wrong. It is that simple. I am struggling, but in time, I will get over him – and it will have been that simple: I had to get over him, so I did, in time. Struggling is the process, and setbacks are just setbacks. Just get over him, just eat fewer calories are not bad pieces of advice. They are the distance, as the crow flies – the shortest distance between point A, now, and point B, desired future where I am skinny and over you. I won’t follow that path, because I do not want to trespass through backyards, wade through the river, and break buildings. My path will be more circuitous and slower, how circuitous and slow depending on my strength of character, my willpower, my emotional health, my past, and my support network. But in the end, the elegance of the simple solution will still be true. Just get over him.

So, as sensitively as possible, I tell myself to just get over him. He is not returning my affection, so move on.

I was doing well, until this weekend, when we went away skiing with friends, and we ended up on the couch together, drunk, alone, late at night, cuddling under a single small blanket.

But a setback is just a setback.

I will get over him.

This is more affirmation and pep talk than blog post, but let’s call it two birds, one stone?

Happy Birthday Ibis. I shoulda opened with that.

Spoonbill

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