Note: This email actually has not been revised.
I’m not really sure how to even start this. I’ve read your blog for a long time and have really enjoyed your posts. I don’t relate much to travel (not a fan, but the pictures are great), but I especially enjoyed one post you wrote awhile back about vulnerability.
I have a big ooey gooey, achy breaky heart. Recently, it was kind of broken. I found out that I’m not getting a job/promotion I’ve wanted and planned on getting for a very long time. I worked really hard for it, put all my heart/soul/guts into it, but in the end, it went to someone else.
She’s less experienced, but much more confident than I am. I’ve always struggled with being confident. While she’s much more social, always befriending and going out with co-workers, I’m much more than an introvert. But I deserved it more, or at least I think. I’ve worked here longer, as well as in the industry we’re in.
The loss feels like a huge blow. I feel tired all the time, I’m sad. Food doesn’t even taste the same, etc. Insert more cliches here.
On top of that, I recently professed my undying love and devotion to a close friend of mine. I’ve been in love with them forever. I figured that now was good enough time as ever to speak up, so I got a little drunk and sent it out via text message.
He’s dreamy and perfect and deep and introspective and yeahhhh…he didn’t answer for two days. Then he just said he was really flattered, cared for me, but didn’t know if it was necessarily a romantic feeling. He said he wasn’t sure.
I can’t stop crying. It all feels very unfair, but very much deserved. You talk a lot about stepping out of your comfort zone, but I’ve never been really good of that. A part of me wishes I had never said anything at all. So while I’m not coming down on you by any means, more of an open question:
How the fuck do you bounce back from something that feels so shitty?
You seem good at that. You don’t seem to care (even though you joke) when your life doesn’t turn out the way you expected to.
Please bestow some wisdom on my wretched soul before I drown in my own misery. Don’t tell me to go to Europe, though. I admire your galavanting but I don’t have the solo travel gene and want to slowly crawl back into my Netflix blanket fort until things don’t feel awful. kthanks and seriously, I do love your blog. Don’t ever change.
What the actual fuck
Dear What the actual fuck,
Why hello there, comrade in arms. You wrote this to me not too long ago (sorry for the delay), so I’m thinking and hoping you’re still need of a response.
I have so much to say, and a lot of it are things I’m still learning myself. Before I get in it too much, here’s just a little something I’ll share first:
Before you retreat back into your shell, applaud yourself for the bravery to tell someone how you feel about them. Although I’m sure you wanted something in return, something reciprocal, you didn’t expect it. And yes, you didn’t get it.
But you still fucking tried and that’s more than a lot of people can say about their lives. You should feel really good about it, even though that’s also bound to be mixed in by feelings of embarrassment.
That’s fine. You were vulnerable, and fleeting moments of oh shit what have I done are just a part of the package. The more important thing is that you don’t have to hide anymore, something I get the sense that you’ve done a lot in your life. Wear that embarrassment with pride.
When I was in college, I was in love with a platonic friend of mine. It absolutely drove me crazy. So crazy in fact (haha), I decided one day I was going to act on my feelings. I promised the next time I saw him, I was going to face my feelings and just do something.
The next time I saw him was in our apartment laundry room. And I kissed him, right in the middle of him talking about baseball.
I don’t think, to date, I’ve ever seen someone’s face as red as his was. Though I know he knew I had a crush on him, it was much different when those feelings were literally pushed into his face. Other times, we could kind of dance around it.
We’d hang out, go on adventures. He’d laugh at one of my jokes, then side-shuffle as I gazed at him lovingly. Because it’s easier to dance around feelings when they’re not out loud.
I imagine your friend felt this way as well, so give him a little bit of slack for that. While you had the advantage of knowing you were about to change your friendship, your perceptions of your friendship forever… he had no idea. It probably scared him shitless, (and I’ve seen that happen with people who don’t know shit about what they need or want.)
The truth cuts like a knife, and not everyone is equipped to respond to it in a productive way. It slices through the bullshit, through the mixed messages. You’re just left with space and unfortunately, your friend just filled the space between the two of you with his own feelings of uncertainty and doubt.
But that’s okay.
When I shut that laundry room door behind me, I felt so raw. When you read back that text you sent him for the millionth time (no shame in that game), I’m sure you felt raw, too.
But there’s so so so much fucking FREEDOM in that rawness. Celebrate that rawness.
My friend didn’t reciprocate my feelings (spoiler), and at the time, that felt horrible. But the more important thing was that I had shown myself that even when I was afraid, I’d show up for what I wanted.
This is progress. These are good things.
You’re on to something good here.
As for this “Then he just said he was really flattered, cared for me, but didn’t know if it was necessarily a romantic feeling. He said he wasn’t sure.”
Throw this right in the trash. He’s entitled to his feelings and deserves forgiveness for being caught off guard, of course. However, if your declaration of love wasn’t enough for him to connect the dots about what’s been happening between you, throw those feelings right in the trash.
That uncertainty is (probably) the best thing you’ll ever get from him, unfortunately. Do not learn this lesson the hard way. Sometimes all someone has to offer you is indifference and sure, that can be kind of dramatic and romantic sometimes.
But more often, it just makes you feel worse.
Take the gift these feelings gave you (the bravery) and run with it. Leave him in your dust. You deserve someone that will send you intoxicated declarations of love as well, someone who will show up in a laundry room and try to sweep you off your feet.
Keep telling yourself that. You deserve someone who shows up. You deserve someone who goes big. You don’t want an awkward dancing partner, you want…
REAL FUCKING LOVE!
The job thing is unfortunate, and I’m sorry for it. That really sucks. You can work for something your entire life, just to have some polished, sugary version of you show up and grab it away from you. It feels shitty and unfair but – you know what I’m about to say – there’s something to learn from this, as well.
What is it about this girl that you envy the most? What do you admire about her? Why do you really think she got this job, instead of you?
Sit down and make a list. In no way am I suggested that you change yourself just to be more like someone else, BUT – this practice might reveal some qualities about her that you wish to cultivate in yourself.
And although you say you’re not confident, you are. You tell me that you know this job would be great for you, that you’ve worked so hard for it. There’s IS a quiet kind of confidence about that! A knowing, a determination. I don’t think you’re struggling with the ability TO BE confident, I think you’re struggling with the ability to recognize that you ARE confident.
People that aren’t confident don’t share their undying love for platonic friends. They just don’t. So take the bag off your head and stand tall.
You may have not gotten the job you wanted, the guy you wanted, but these experiences are peeling back layers. Life is teaching you something here.
See these experiences for more than what they appear to be. Failure is failure sure, but it’s up to you to do something productive with it. Practice using that confidence that you already have to realize that:
- When it comes to your job, it really just could be about timing. Life and fate is a carefully stitched quilt, and you may not have gotten this role because you weren’t meant to. Hang in there, stay open-minded. Look for other opportunities perhaps, but keep showing up and kicking ass. Don’t let this knock you down. Let this build you up. More motivational cliches here.
- When it comes to the guy, let yourself feel everything you’re feeling. But let this be an open door. Let the door of I’m willing to show up for love blow open and see who else walks in.
- WEAR YOUR CONFIDENCE LIKE A SPARKLY, EVER PRESENT CROWN. You are not “What the actual fuck” you are “I know what I fucking want and I’ll keep showing up and getting knocked down until I get it.”
Step out from your blanket fort, and vow to never overlook your confidence, your bravery, and your determination again.
You’re already here, you just need to own it.
(If that’s still not enough, switch on this song and dance around while singing it. It always helps me.)
This is your house now.
Ask Driftyland Missy is only published on Driftyland because no one else wants to publish it anywhere else. To ask Missy a question (her advice is narcissistic and generally not recommended), email her at driftyland [dot] com.