Last week, I posted a little about the anniversary of a hard day. This week, I've been flooded with memories of what the Super Bowl has come to mean for me. In the two years since this has happened, I've done my absolute best at not posting about this. Holding it in just isn't doing me any favors anymore.
Two years ago, I was still raw from the breakup we talked about last week. I decided that throwing a Super Bowl party would be a good way to be around a bunch of my best friends, so I invited them all over. Still missing my ex and thinking we could be friends, I extended an invitation to her as well. I don't think you can blame me, even if it probably wasn't the healthiest.
But I thought being cool with it was what I was supposed to do. I thought they would've expected me to suck it up so all of our friendships could stay intact.
She didn't show up until sometime in the second half and suddenly the mood was different. Happy laughter turned to solemn silence. The best friends shuffled out as soon as the game was over and just the ex-girlfriend was left to help me clean up the mess.
It wasn't too much later into the night that I started getting texts about what a bad idea that was. I was told she was heroin that I had to quit. I was told she was an abusive relationship that I had to run from.
And I did what I imagine anyone who had just been dumped and then yelled at by his best friends would do – I lashed out. I fought back. I refused to believe that this person who had been so central to me for so long could be bad for my health.
I even defended her, which I imagine made them think I was even further gone than they had thought.
And then they were silent. For a night. Then for days. Then weeks. Months.
It's quite probable that I was wrong to lash out. To defend her. To even have invited her to the party in the first place. I accept that I'm to blame for those.
What I can't comprehend, even two years later, is how this form of tough love was ever intended to help me. How accusing and ignoring and not apologizing for choosing a different route than comfort when I was at one of my lowest points was ever intended to be an act of a friend. Of love.
I'm told at the times where the loss of these people still overwhelms me that I should make the step to repair those relationships. That holding onto a grudge for this long serves no purpose, accomplishes no tasks.
It's not a grudge I still hold, but pain. I'm hurt that they couldn't approach their concerns with kindness. I'm hurt that I couldn't respond that way either.
And I'm hurt by all the time in between.
This was a guy I lived with for two years. Another guy I moved across the country with. These were people who saw me at my worst – scared and angry and lonely and insecure and doubtful and broken and anxious and secretive. And in the height of it all, they left.
When I had a hard time believing that people wouldn't all leave me someday, they left.
When I most needed someone to tell me I was okay, or that I could be okay, they left.
And it all started when I tried to be "cool" about something.