Put That Sorry Attitude to Bed

Yesterday, I was in a bad mood.

I could blame a recent turn-of-events, an impending monthly visitor, the extremely humid weather, or an overall feeling of being quite lost. As it usually does, New York’s been throwing me for a loop lately and it’s testing my patience and my dedication to the city I grew up adoring. For the most part, I’ve held true and strong, riding the waves as they come and living on a prayer that everything does happen for a reason and that this period of feeling downright shitty will pass. I’ve learned to see bad times for what they are and not let my mind cycle into the long list of things that are or could be wrong in my life.

But sometimes, I slip.

I let myself get so down into the dumps that nothing and no one can do anything to change it. No joke or funny moment can alleviate my sourpuss attitude, no amount of motivating blogs or long talks with my mother can turn my sullen frown upside down. I know myself well enough to know that when this happens, it is best that I spent some time alone. It’s best that I do the stupid, ordinary things that make me happy – like laying around in nothing at all, eating something that’s as terribly delicious as it’s terribly bad for me, watch a movie that’ll make me cry and snuggle with a blanket I’ve had for decades. It may be an immature way of coping with stress and adjusting my attitude, but if it works, why try and change it?

So why I decided it was a good idea for me to hang out with Mr. Possibility the entire day yesterday, knowing full well that even his dimples and loving nudges couldn’t shake me into my normally bubbly, talkative and happy self – I have no idea.

But I did.

We spent the day shopping in Williamsburg for gifts for other people and he continuously attempted to play around with me, offering his jovial nature and quick wit to raise my spirits. In return, I bickered with him over a beer he was buying me, nearly walking out because I felt suffocated and frustrated, wanting everyone in the world – including this sweet man – to just leave me alone. Then off we went to the city, to grab burgers at his favorite place, where I sat in silence feeling guilty and a tad angry at myself for being so irritable, when his request throughout the week was to spend Saturday with me because he enjoys having me around for lazy days of wandering. At some point over ice cream later, he casually mentioned that maybe we should go out with our friends separately for the evening, to give me some space and give him a break from my many evil glares and gestures that he didn’t deserve – or appreciate, I’m sure.

Not typically an insecure girl who attaches a ball-and-chain to her man, I found myself turning into the girlfriend I’ve never been. He had hurt my feelings by asking for some breathing room and I had denied him air. I demanded to know why we couldn’t hang out as we originally planned and he proceeded to calmly explain that a few hours away from one another would do us both some good and give me room to unload my spotty mood on something else other than him. He offered up his apartment, told me he’d be back later, and topped off his offer with a kiss on my forehead. I didn’t accept.

Hours later, after a nap and some cute videos on YouTube, he changed his tune and I switched my mood. He decided he wanted me to tag along and that we should enjoy a good night to make up for my bad day. Though in my state of ridiculousness, I was relieved to receive his invite, my realistic-self who had achy feet, a grilling headache, and tired eyes knew it would be better if I stayed in alone.

But the bitch in me took over.

She thought it was a brilliant idea and that I’d be able to make up for being snappy earlier by being the cute and charming woman I really am. I threw on some heels and a backless dress and joined him on the L into meatpacking for his friend’s birthday. I won’t get into details because they are so awful I don’t have the stomach to write them, but in a nutshell, Kettle One and I had a date at this party and it didn’t go so well. Still working out some trust issues from his straying before we were a couple, the jealousy I usually keep pretty calm came out to play.

And it didn’t play nice, to say the very least.

The night ended with a cab back home, Mr. Possibility furious with me, and mascara tears streaming my face. There are no words or excuses, rhymes or reasons for my actions, but when I woke up this morning with a hangover, un-brushed teeth, and puffy eyes, everything came together and for the first time in several, several months I felt like a hot mess. Getting out of bed for some much-needed water and bathroom break, I looked at myself in the mirror and tried to reason.

Why did I take out my frustration on Mr. Possibility when the reasons I was upset had nothing to do with him or with us? Why did I embarrass him in front of his friends, people that when and if they meet me again, probably won’t have the highest opinion of me? Why did I not listen to my intuition? Why didn’t I walk away instead of trying to finish a fight in a public place, for strangers to witness and to make me look like someone I’m not? I write dating advice for a living, columns and freelancing articles pay my bills, so why did I go against each and every single word of wisdom I had ever written or read?

What the hell was wrong with me?

In relationships, the easiest person to unload your every emotion and struggle on is your partner. They are there for you, hopefully, through each trial, and they often turn into what Pink would call “perfect little punching bags.” No this isn’t healthy, and yes, it’s hurtful to you, them, and your relationship.

But as Mr. Possibility so graciously and kindly reassured me this morning, it happens.

And when it does, any and every insecurity you have hidden away underneath makeup and confidence comes out. They pour out right past the very floodgates you set up to keep them away. You say things you regret instantly, do things you’d never do again, and feel things so deeply that you’ll swear this feeling will never, ever go away. And if you don’t happen to be with someone who sincerely loves you, who has your very best interest at heart, you may lose your partner in the process.

Because your baggage is your own, those bad days are your responsibility, those arguments will come to an end if you have the courage to walk away from them instead of pushing them so far that you may not be able to go back. Relationships aren’t meant to be wrapped in fancy paper and topped with a box at the end of every night – sometimes, the best thing you could ever give each other is what Mr. Possibility suggested to begin with – breathing room.

And the best thing you can give yourself is space to calm down, let things work themselves out, and put that sorry attitude to bed.

Daily Gratitude: I’m thankful for Mr. Possibility who is sitting across from me right now as I write this blog, standing by my side, and contemplating how he can throw me down a well in NYC.

6 thoughts on “Put That Sorry Attitude to Bed

  1. Awww Lindsay I hope everything works out sweetie. Wow I know how you feel as a writer, and a young woman I get exactly what you mean. One thing I’ve realized over the years is that listening to that little voice it helps you too.

  2. You are not alone on this. We’ve all done this. The guy I’m seeing did it to me this weekend. I’ll get over it, and we’ll move on, as long as it doesn’t happen all the time. Great post :)

  3. Ouch, you’re hard on yourself…I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve freaked out when I hear that all too familiar, “I need space” ugh…Through a lot of therapy, I’ve realized I have major abandonment issues, as trite as that sounds. I used to get so sick of hearing that from women, until I really “did therapy” and learned how when I was a childhood, my parents (who didn’t know any better) would pull some major emotional stuff which traumatized me that still triggers me today.

    I’m not blaming them, but I learned when I started to get all that all familiar scary feeling of abandonment (and it wasn’t just with romantic partners) to first become conscious and realize when a trigger happened, develop self-compassion for myself (very important) so I could stop beating myself up and thinking I’m the most neurotic person ever, be able to tell my partner (or whomever it was I felt insecure around) what was going on (and if they weren’t interested in hearing it, screw them) and then with my therapist, figure out what I could do to take care of myself emotionally, physically, etc…and apologize to my partner without beating myself up.

    Some of us have more trauma in that area than others do. You sound incredibly loving and intelligent and it doesn’t do any good to beat yourself up so much. Be gentle with yourself, explore what’s going on, work with your partner, etc..My abandonment issues will never go away, I know that but they don’t have as much hold on me and I know not what’s going on.

    Sorry, this is such a long comment. I don’t know any sane woman who could hear a romantic partner say “they need space” and not freak out. Perhaps there’s other ways your partner can tell you he needs some time alone and reassure you that he’s not dumping you and just needs some time away for however long that lasts.

    Big hugs to you.

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