They’re idiots. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t give a shit what they think; they’re just jealous. I don’t need them; I don’t need anybody. I didn’t even want that. They were just holding me back. I’m better off alone. I’m fine on my own. I’m tough; nothing can break me. I prefer solitude anyway. I don’t even care.
God it was exhausting to be so full of shit. Disappointment, rejection, betrayal, failure: it didn’t matter how tough I acted, it hurt and I cared.
I could get angry and seek revenge, I could deny ever wanting my failed efforts, I could pretend that a breakup or a falling-out was my idea, and I could retreat into my own protective bubble of self-pity, settling for the easy and the safe. But it never soothed the hurt and it couldn’t stop me from caring, a lot. Perhaps never more so than when I was outright saying I didn’t.
Not caring doesn’t look like that. If I genuinely don’t care about something, it doesn’t make me feel happy or angry or sad or passionate. It doesn’t make me feel at all. And I can hardly be compelled to say or do anything about it. When I truly don’t care, I am indifferent.
Sometimes it’s healthy not to care. I am learning not to care about things I have no control over or things that have nothing to do with me.
Example: if somebody thinks ill of me, somebody who hasn’t taken the time to get to know me, there is nothing I can do about it. I suppose I could try to convince them otherwise, but it is likely their feelings have little to do with me. Blind judgment really does say more about the judge than the judged.
But when something hurts me, I do care. I am real and I feel things. I am human and I am breakable.
The difference is I no longer need anger or denial. My ego is not so fragile that I must attack first to save face. I don’t need to lie – to myself or to anybody else – and I don’t need to act tough. I don’t need to push people away or to isolate myself.
Yes, I need people. Kind, compassionate, and trustworthy people. Not to minimize or make light of difficult situations, and not to try fixing things for me, but to simply love and stand beside me while I figure shit out.
I am strong enough to look at myself and my world with honest eyes. However heavy life gets, I can bear it. Yes, I do care, and I can handle it.