August 20, 2022•716 words
One of my earlier bosses told me to "filter out my thoughts", after I had sent him a very long text, observing an issue I noticed in our day-to-day, in an Asana comment. He said it's not fair to the reader to post such long-winded comments, so I should contain my stream of thoughts, as to achieve a more efficient result in reaching him. I had an issue with that because I don’t assume that things typed that turn out to be lengthy mean that I had an intent on wasting someone’s time.
Recently, I talked to a friend about dating and how the relationships we have make a lasting impact on us. She is one of those people who gets attached too quickly to someone new after a breakup. It turns out she never learned to be on her own. She never had a chance to recover from someone, after they had broken up, due to her conditioned belief that someone always has to be there. The addiction to depend on someone can be detrimental when coupled with strong trauma coming from feelings of abandonment. I understand liking the beginnings of things and disliking them ending.
However, loneliness is mandatory in order to really get over someone. A human needs to process that someone who they've been spending their days with is no longer there. The messages you used to receive are now either rare or non-existent. The little things they did that brought you joy or annoyance are no longer there to influence your mood. All those lists you've made that you were supposed to do together are going to have to stay unchecked. Getting over that takes a while. And the people that move from relationship to relationship do not stand a chance processing those feelings because they seek out a new connection as a form of escapism.
Not that I'm judging. Recreational drugs, the dopamine boosts from cheap entertainment and going into the comfort zone of rewatching True Detective for the tenth time in a two-year span. Not exactly a recipe for mindfulness, or for those who dislike that word - being present.
So, I made a point to be better at processing. To stop is to help myself potentially make another beginning. Only this time, I'll try to stare as well. And let the pain be.
I'll go into coffee shops and ignore other people. My waitress will just be serving me tea or beer. And as soon as she's gone, I'll continue staring. The noise from the other tables will become just the ambient noise of the coffee shop. The iPhone ringtone will flick me back from staring right back into staring again. And once I've realized I've succeeded at stopping distracting myself, I'll admit to myself that staring is pleasant. I might have to put extra effort into not reaching for my phone. It's the napkin for me, please.
I'll take the napkin and I'll write down anything that comes to mind. No filtering. Hell, let's make it a whole napkin... It's just a napkin anyway and I'll keep it to myself. And once I'm done with it, I'll put it in my pocket and forget about it. And when it's time to wash my pants and I'm all alone in my apartment, thinking about something else... I'll reach for that napkin. And on the napkin, I'll read my thoughts from before. They may seem silly, or shameful, or full of regret... And once I've read them, I'll understand that, no matter how the words seem, it's what I had felt at that moment when I sat down to sip my drink.
The waitress didn't exist. The people in the bar didn't exist. My phone never rang and my person didn't call. There's just my boss saying "Filter out those thoughts. It's not fair to the reader.". So, as a reader, I realize "Shit, he's right." And then I'll throw the napkin in the bin.
The sound of the washing machine filling up with water makes me uneasy. Usually, that was her job. But she's no longer there. And now that I'm aware of that, I'll go and wash the dishes. My dog is hungry. It's time for dinner soon.