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When I was young, I thought that if you made friends you just…continued to have friends. Like it was some kind of immortal oath signed in blood, or whatever. I don’t know.

Anyway, various things happened in the ten years since I was first disabused of that notion. Most of them made the hugely naive part of that clear to me, but…the basic constant is that I don’t give up on people. I don’t think I’ve walked away from someone, ever, in my life. I’ve started fights, huge fights, and said things I shouldn’t have to provoke a reaction, and sometimes I was hoping it would end a relationship, or at least completely change it. But I’ve never just…been done.

(There are going to be a lot of ellipses in this. I’m feeling kind of pensive. Also, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, so the pauses are necessary.)

So, I guess I can say I’ve never just made the decision to be done. Usually I set the bridge on fire, because I feel like then whoever is on the other side has the opportunity to put it out. It’s a stupid test and I’m the only one who loses, and I get that.

I’ve stopped doing it as I’ve gotten older. But–okay, so you have one defensive mechanism, and it’s to burn the prison down while you’re still inside it. And then one day you realize the reason you’re all burned and gross all the time is because you keep setting yourself on fire, and that’s really stupid. So you decide to stop setting fires. But you don’t have any other defensive mechanisms, so you just kind of…hang out in jail for no reason.

And then eventually–because you have a lot! of time! to think!–you realize that you simply do not have to be in prison. You can just leave. Just like everyone else has been the whole time, with you stuck in the one dungeon with the gross manacles and the locked door.

I mean, yeah, the guards can stop you, and some of the guards are really good at reminding you of exactly why you put yourself in prison in the first place. But. You still don’t have to stay there.

To come back out of metaphor land: I’ve never had a lot of friends. For a while I lost more friends than I could make because I was–am–really, really damaged when it comes to wanting someone to just fix my shit for me, and I would get really clingy and weird and then angry at myself for being clingy and weird and one of those two phases (probably both) were really, really off-putting.

I’m really tired of constantly blaming myself for everything, though. Some people just suck sometimes. Some people just are not good for each other. Nobody is going to value me as much as I should be, and trying to get them to value me at all so I can see if there’s anything in me with any external value is really unhealthy.

I don’t have to care if people think badly of me. I also don’t have to care if they think particularly well. I get to pick the people that stay in my life even though sometimes that’s going to drop me down to like one entire person. I don’t have to constantly be on edge in case I’ve been too awful for someone to get over. I can expect support from my friends, and people who don’t give it to me probably aren’t my friends. It doesn’t mean it’s my fault; it just means I was plain old mistaken about them, and that doesn’t have to be my fault.

I am allowed to value my own time more than I value the time of others! My first thought does not have to be how my actions will affect the people around me! If I am responsible for how I feel, so is everyone else! This is some basic shit that somehow I never figured out!

Today, finally, my brain just went “give yourself permission to care more about what you think than what other people think of you,” and then I did, and I am so incredibly relieved.

I’m going to try to go back to the happy-fun-times stuff in a little bit, y’all, but it has been an incredibly difficult four to six weeks and I just needed somewhere to figure this out.

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