One of the things that’s been really difficult/annoying to deal with during this time is people’s reactions to how I’m dealing with my grandmother’s death/my grief.
What I mean is people seem to be struggling with the fact that I’m putting myself and my feelings first instead of falling all over myself to be there for them like I used to.
No one likes to hear, “It’s not about you right now,” I get it. I just didn’t expect people to have such a hard time dealing with hearing it.
In prioritizing myself, I realize just how far down I was on my list, though I thought I was near the top. I’ve also realized how easy it is for some people to prioritize themselves, people who’ve prioritized themselves their entire lives and didn’t need an earth-shattering event to occur to do it. This group of people, who I’ve found were often raised to believe the sun rises and sets on them, has, not surprisingly, had the most difficult time with my new prioritization.
A difficult thing for me to accept was the worst thing I could imagine happening in my life wasn’t enough for these people to stop caring mostly about themselves and start caring more about me. I should have known better. All the signs were there. But I didn’t.
I started talking to an ex in Pennsylvania again when I went home for my grandmother’s funeral, and he was really there for me at first. Calling and texting often, and to my surprise, he would rush to call me if I said I was sad and needed to talk to someone. I thought, maybe he’s grown up. Maybe he’s less selfish than the guy I used to know. Maybe people actually can change.
But once I made it known I didn’t want to be with him. That I wasn’t going to let him get with me and mooch off of me, I stopped hearing from him for two weeks. When you’re grieving and looking for human connection anywhere you can find it, two weeks is a long time not to speak to someone you’ve grown accustomed to communicating with.
When I finally did hear from him, he acted like nothing had happened and tried to distract me by showing concern for me being in the path of Hurricane Irma. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s when someone tries to act like he hasn’t done you wrong, when he knows full well he has. I called him out for his behavior, which he did not appreciate, hoping he would admit the real reason he stopped talking to me. Of course, he didn’t, and we haven’t spoken since.
Can people change? Possibly, but I’ve never seen it happen, so I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The other day I was listening to the podcast Another Round (this site includes a link to episode 103, but the episode I’m talking about is actually 109) and Stacy-Marie Ishmael, a career expert, said, “Give people three strikes. After that, give them nothing.” Now that my grandmother’s gone, people are lucky if they get 1.5 strikes. I’ve found out very quickly who cares about me and who doesn’t.
If you’re one of the people who doesn’t, you’re not going to be in my life. And if that’s difficult for you, that’s just too bad.