Some Things Are More Important

Including today, I’ve had two days off from work. Today, one of my bosses called to ask if I’d like to come. Normally, I would’ve said yes and gotten ready as quick as I could. This time, however, I had to decline.

Well, that’s not the complete truth. I didn’t have to. Nothing was really stopping me from saying yes. But at the time she called, I was with my boyfriend, who I do not have the pleasure of seeing as often as we’d like. I was also in pain. Pain I deal with every month, but it’s still pain.

Accepting would mean I have to leave immediately, cutting my time with this person I see infrequently with barely a chance to kiss him goodbye. We’re used to the distance. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to use every minute we can have together.

It sounds strange for someone who needs money to turn down an opportunity for it, especially for a reason many would consider flimsy. I know very well jobs are hard to come by. But so are good relationships. While I would love extra money, there are some things money can’t make up for. In my situation, that was time.

Yes, more money would let me visit my boyfriend more often, but what would be the point if I had no time? My next day off is after three straight work days. The day I see my boyfriend, if we are both fortunate, may be on that day off. Three scheduled work days to one possible day with who I call the love of my life. Perhaps it’s me sounding haughty, but it’s not really a hard choice. I know I’m fortunate I can turn down the chance without worry. Some people would need to say yes.

When our time was finally up, we had to run to ensure my boyfriend got the bus he needed to get back home (it came earlier than expected). We hugged and kissed each other goodbye, and he waved at me through the window as the bus drove away. There will undoubtedly be many more goodbye affections and waves, but at that moment – when it was happening in the present – it meant everything. Nothing could replace it.

To My Younger Self

Every so often when I browse Facebook or Tumblr, I see a post that goes along of the lines of “If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?”

I think if I went back in time to meet my younger self, even by as few as three years or so, she’d slap me back into my current age. I wouldn’t blame her. As little as one year ago, if someone told me I’d be doing the things I do now, I would’ve assumed they were out of their minds.

However, when I see that question, it’s myself as a child I think of. I usually picture myself back around age 7 or 10. There are a lot of things I would go back and tell my child self because I very much needed to hear them, but no one ever told me. Hearing them probably wouldn’t have made life back then any easier, but in the moments I needed it, it probably would’ve helped. Had I any artistic skill, I’d create a comic about it.

I want to keep this list fairly short, so I’ll stick to what I think are the most important things.

  • You’re going to be happy to be alive. The very first time I thought about suicide, I was ten years old. Before that, my thoughts were often of running away from home and not returning. When things got especially bad and I was crying myself to sleep, I spent the time until I finally wore out hoping someone would break into my house and snatch me away. If I could go back and speak to my child self, I’d tell her she’ll be happy those thoughts were never a reality. She probably wouldn’t believe me and, again, I wouldn’t blame her. But I’d still say it.
  • Love does not hurt. Well, not the way I learned it did as a child. To be totally honest, this is something I’m struggling with as an adult. I prefer to just be grateful and not dwell, but in the back of my mind, I question why someone loves me or why they care to help me or why they want to know me. This is something I’d probably say over and over to my child self until I was certain she understood. No, your loved ones are not supposed to hurt you and no, being family does not justify them doing so.
  • You’re the cutest child ever, but that’s not what matters. No, I don’t think I was the cutest child ever when I look back at my childhood pictures, but “ugly” was the most common insult I heard growing up. It wasn’t only by the school bullies. My family’s vanity and obsession with looks also pushed me to believe I looked horrid when, in actuality, nothing was wrong with me. I spent my entire childhood hating how I look because I believed my looks weren’t good enough and that was all anyone cared about. I would tell my child self she is an adorable person, but it’s not the most important thing about her and most people really don’t care.
  • Friendships aren’t like the cartoons. I’m certain this one speaks for itself. I had trouble keeping friends because of how often I moved and my mother didn’t like friends visiting or letting me visit them. I would tell her it’s not completely abnormal and she’ll not only find her own friends in due time, but learn who’s a friend and who’s not.
  • 2010 will be the worst year of your life. As awful as it sounds, I’d tell her this as a warning. 2010 is the year everything began to crash and burn. My life was ripped apart from the inside out and this is the year my suicidal emotions were at their worst. The only thing that kept me from acting on those emotions was the cowardice to cause myself pain, and I regularly kicked myself for that. I’d tell her she, unfortunately, doesn’t have a choice and she’ll get through it, but it’s going to be painful. Very painful.
  • Your family will fall apart, but you won’t. This is the final one and arguably the most important after love doesn’t hurt. My family indeed has fallen apart. It’s ripped up more than I could’ve ever imagined as a kid. I’d tell my child self this is going to happen and she can’t stop it, but it’s not her job to stop it in the first place. I won’t lie and pretend it doesn’t hurt. It hurts a lot! However, what hurts more is when you’re trying as hard as you can to keep it together and your efforts are failing. I’d tell her she’s not a failure for being unable to hold her family together and it really is alright for her to worry about keeping herself together first and foremost. I’d tell her it’s their choices and their actions that are making them fall apart, and she’s not at fault for what they do.

Your Judgement Isn’t Important

Anger is swirling inside me right now.

I spent the whole day with my boyfriend. As always, I had a great time. However, we accidentally left his home a bit too late and, as a result, I had to take a much later train home than I intended. It was a genuine accident and we know we have to be more careful now.

So, why am I angry? Because when I sent a message to my uncle to let him know I’d be late, we got into a discussion about it and at one point, he said this to me: “He’s not important.”

“He” is referring to my boyfriend, of course. This isn’t the first time my uncle’s said that either and, frankly, I’m becoming less and less tolerant of these comments. I ignore them because my boyfriend doesn’t hear them, which is what I care about most, and they do not affect either of us personally. I don’t expect him to be considered important to anyone in my family. They don’t know him. But to say he’s not important at all? No!

Not only is he important to me, he is important as a person overall. Why? Let me break it up:

  • He was upset about being late and blamed himself for it. (Empathy)
  • He saw to it that I got on the train I needed and wouldn’t be any later than I already was. (Responsibility)
  • He told me to call him when I got home because he wanted to know I made it home safely. (Caring/Concern)
  • He apologized again after I called him. (Kindness)

There’s much more than that, but those are the ones relevant to this instance. You don’t have to be a big shot to be important. Everyone is important to at least two people: themselves and someone else. And I certainly hope he considers himself as important and valuable as I consider him.

I’ve told my boyfriend enough about my family for him to be able to make some scathing comments of his own, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t know them just like they don’t know him, yet he manages to be the bigger person in this matter. I love him for that, and I love him overall and the devil will have to rise before I let my family decide who I should deem important and unimportant. I could deem several of my uncle’s past relationships unimportant, but that wouldn’t make me any more mature than him, and they’re not mine to place a value on anyway. So, I don’t.

Getting in deeper, my boyfriend is one of the three people (the other two are my best friend, and high school clinician) who’s had – and still continues to have – a huge positive impact on me and my life. He’s important to my health, my well-being, and me as a person. He’s added a lot to me and my life I don’t want to ever have taken. He’s become another reason I’m happy I did not take my life years ago when I was heavily suicidal. I didn’t know him around the time and thinking that I so easily never could’ve saddens me. Heck, when I think about how it was pure luck I met him (I randomly decided to log into OKC after being fed up with it), I feel a bit stunned.

Yes, he is very important to me and I prioritize him. Sure, sometimes, other things come first because different things need attention at different times, but he and our relationship absolutely are a priority for me and unless the day comes when we decide to cut ties (which I hope will never happen), that’s how my priorities will always be. No amount of mean comments will make me regret that.