Learning the Hard Way

“Sometimes you just have to wash your fuck boy sheets and forgive yourself,” Shy LaBeouf (my cat) advised me after bearing witness to a downright wonderful night, average sex, and a horrific morning of betrayal.

Cat1Shy LaBeouf giving it to me straight.

Eh. I’ll get back to this later….

Cool Girl Anna – the down-to-Earth, down for anything, somewhat reckless, super fun Anna – and Anxiety Anna – self-explanatory – are fighting in my brain. (Note: not schizophrenic, just trying to use a metaphor here). Whenever I start to worry and stress creeps up, Cool Girl Anna blames Anxiety Anna, she says stop being such a total boner killer Anxiety Anna, everything is FINE, BE CHILL DOGGY. I’m actively attempting to ignore Anxiety Anna’s instincts because I know they’re inherently exaggerated – but then I’m overcompensating, and I end up ignoring my instincts altogether.

Ignoring all of your instincts = bad stuff. Instincts = there for a reason.

I’ve got another glaring problem: I like to see the best in people. In fact, I love to. I love to blind myself with the good that other people have to offer. I’m not bragging. This is kind of a very dangerous quality I’ve come to learn. While I recognize the bad, I put more weight on the good (this is Cool Girl Anna telling Anxiety Anna to shut up & enjoy). The thing is, I am not Cool Girl Anna, and I’m not Anxiety Anna. I’m both of them and so many more. I can’t let these two dominate the conversation (and I seriously have to tell Cool Girl Anna to take a dose of humility and stop bossing everyone else in my head around).

I have to quit fighting with myself. I can’t keep this up.

boyjackBojack Horseman keeping it real since 2014

While I think this is a lovely and important quote from Bojack, I don’t entirely agree in my case. In my life I don’t feel blind to the red flags. I fully recognize and embrace the red flags. I know they are there. I’ve convinced myself that knowing they are there gives me enough power to overcome and look past them. If I can see them, they can’t hurt me.

Well. That’s not true.

This is the “learning the hard way” part.

Acknowledgement is a step in the right direction, but you can’t stop there. Acknowledging you’re an alcoholic doesn’t make you sober, acknowledging someone is treating you poorly doesn’t make them treat you better, and acknowledging you acknowledge things doesn’t change those things. Knowledge is power, but it is not a solution. I’ve finally reached a breaking point, and I’m calling on myself for a solution.

In the beautiful words of Tina Fey and out of the mouth of our favorite Cady with a C, “When you get bit by a snake, you have to suck out all the poison. That’s what I had to do, suck all the poison out of my life.”

So I’m working on sucking out all of the poison out of my life.

I need to detox. I can’t exist this way, and I need to keep existing.

meangirls Sweet, sweet Lindsay Lohan

Here’s the game plan folks.

I am removing the toxic relationships.
These are the people I lowered myself to. These are the ones who have caused me to dislike and doubt myself. These are the relationships Cool Girl Anna has been convincing Anxiety Anna are worth so much. I’ve consistently misplaced trust and forgiven disrespect, but I’m fresh out of tolerance. Rational Anna cannot stand for the carelessness, recklessness, selfishness, and dangerous behavior from others that Cool Girl Anna brushes off so easily.

I’m not God. I have no right to judge, but I do have a right to who is in my life. I don’t wish ill will on these people despite the harm they’ve done me. Honestly, I wish better for them – and for the sake of those they interact with – but I refuse to be a casualty in their lives. I am going to be the hero, the protagonist, of my own story, and stop trying to be a supporting, disposable character in someone else’s.

I need to cut the ties, despite the goodness I will lose with them. I need to do the most difficult thing in my life and accept the worst parts of people I’ve kept so close. For the sake of my health and safety, I need to distance myself permanently from the toxic ones. Removing the monsters from your life isn’t a straightforward or fun task – especially when those monsters so frequently wears the disguise of love and trust.

I am transferring that energy and attention to the ones who matter.
I’ve been neglecting my most stable, reliable, and loving relationships because I’ve been chasing after the difficult ones. Then I’ve been spending my time with these loved ones by talking about the toxic relationships. It’s an ugly cycle that needs to stop. I need to support and embrace the people that I’ve never second-guessed: my rocks, my worlds.

Accepting responsibility for the neglect and mistreatment of these is another one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

I am going to forgive myself
Now back to my opener, Shy’s words of wisdom: Sometimes you just have to wash your fuck boy sheets and forgive yourself.

Going into detail won’t add any value here, so I’m gonna spare us all the drama/gossip. The important things to know are lies were told and health was jeopardized (recklessly so, but everyone is fine, not to worry).

In my case, however, the process of forgiving myself for opening the door to this toxicity very literally began with washing my sheets, washing the literal filth out of my life after a dear friend betrayed me in a very intimate way. I washed all of my bedding. I washed my mattress cover. I cleaned my throw pillows. I used every washer in my building. I used extra soap. I put too many dryer sheets in the dryer. I made my bed perfectly. I tucked every fold in.

After that was done there wasn’t much else to do (aside from taking a Xanax to prevent the panic from setting in cause let’s not forget anxiety and the lack of control that comes along with it). An anxious brain is one that dwells. I’m very good at dwelling on the past (repetitive thought patterns are the bread and butter of anxiety). I’m definitely homies with guilt.

I had to start the process of making peace with myself. It’s going to take me awhile to forgive myself. I know I’m not responsible for other people’s actions, but I need to take responsibility for mine. I need to shake that feeling of guilt. I need to forgive myself for the way I’ve behaved as a result of these relationships. I need to forgive myself for feeling so very ashamed. I need to forgive myself for the embarrassment. I need to forgive myself for over-trusting.

poobearI know this wreaks of cliché, but my sisters, my Mom, and I all have plaques of this quote.
It helps me remember I am never alone, neither are you.

Toxic doesn’t have to mean lethal. You’re going to get through. You’re going to be stronger too. I love you. All of the Annas love you. We’re gonna be okay everyone.

Not as hilarious or easy going as usual, I KNOW GUYS. I gots ta get real sometimez. I’m there with you though. Forgiving myself is the hardest thing I’ve had to do. Looking my shame in the eye is almost unbearable, but you know what? I’m stronger for it.

Sometimes you just have to wash your fuck boy sheets and forgive yourself.

It’s as simple and as hard as that. I promise.

Xoxo

Anna

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