I’ve spent much of my life jumping out the window and making a break for it. Sometimes it was a real window (luckily only from the first or second floors) and other times it was a metaphorical window. My go-to coping mechanism is being avoidant. You name it, I’ve avoided it. Slept through it. Not answered it. Blurred it with a sip. Stayed quiet. Put on my shades. Avoided that uncomfortable conversation, the scary change, the boat rocking.
Cold hard light of day: Nothing sobers you up like sobriety. I used to like how a wee winey would blur the edges, soften the blow, put down a film, erase the memory. I now realise that it never solved anything, it just snowballed it into bigger issue to face the next day with the added handicap of a big hangover in big broad daylight. And cue me jumping out the window and down the road to the pub as the snowball gained size and momentum like Stay Puft, the Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters, and so on ad nauseam (literal nauseam). I’m not saying I’m a hero for giving up the booze (that’s for others to say not me) but I now know there’s no avoiding issues as you’re gonna have to face them sooner or later. So, it may as well be sooner while Stay Puft is a manageable size.
Difficult discomfort: Rather than have a difficult conversation like telling a boss ‘I quit’, a guy ‘I’m just not into him’ or a housemate ‘I want to move out’, I would just avoid it by side-stepping, absconding, blowing it up or just plain old lying even if that meant that the pain was drawn out or built up which it inevitably did. Like the time I told my boss at the café I was ‘moving back to Queensland to be closer to my family’. Never mind that my family was in Canberra, I now had to go around the long way to the shopping centre for the next 2 years in case they saw me. Or the time I didn’t tell the guy I wasn’t feeling the vibe so I just stopped replying and left him wondering and worried and wounded. Or the housemate I just plain avoided by jumping out the window before they awoke and climbing back in under the cover of night. By trying to avoid everything, I didn’t actually avoid anything, I just snowballed the pain for myself and others.
Stopping snowballing: Tim Ferris (all hail) says, “Success can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations we are willing to have, and by the number of uncomfortable actions we are willing to take”. That is why I now try to cop all the awkwardness in the face sober in the cold hard light of day. In the dating world this means short term pain for potential longer term gain (or at least a lesser pain with added clarity and lack of wine goggles). I’ve learnt the hard way, a short sharp slap of honesty and reality now is better than the slow burn of a snowballing Stay Puft, going round the long way and dragging others down with my deception. On a smaller scale of lesser avoidance, I’m trying to look down at my phone less and take my shades off and look up at people more.
Love and light and I’ll meet you round the back, I gotta go the long way xxx Yvette