as i was leaving my parents’ house last night, sadie ran out the door again. after years of walking my friends and beaus to the door late at night (her favorite time to attempt escape), i’m pretty keen on her tactics which usually lands me the job of catching her in these situations. i remember one attempt to catch her a while back. she would gallop a few feet and stop to sniff, and i would slowly creep up behind her. this would startle her–or she’d think it was a game–and we continued this way until the end of the cul-de-sac, at which point i was an emotional wreck and she was a cat proud with adventure. last night was easy though. i knew what she would do, because either she’s become predictable or i’ve become smarter. as i saw her scamper in the normal direction, i walked a large circle to end up in front of her, and i ran toward her while creating a ridiculous raucity (sorry, neighbors) so her natural choice would be to run toward the safety of the house. it was so simple last night, yet years ago that cat would have me near tears for fear of her death while i chased her through backyards full of pitbulls.
as do many unremarkable moments in life, this happening sparked a contemplation of my own human nature. when i don’t understand you, i’m desperate and wild, chasing after you like i think it will reveal some sort of answer. my first reaction is to blindly follow your action, whether it’s foolish or not. but after experiencing the futile anxiety of losing myself and my target in the darkness, i began to learn. rather than chasing you, i watch where you’re going. is that a direction in which i should follow? i evaluate the situation as best i can before i decide how to trek. i’m more careful. still–though i am careful–i must make a choice to react nearly immediately. that’s life, right? and it’s all about making the best choice in that moment i have before i must react.
a good friend really hurt me years ago. they hurt me on purpose for whatever reason. i reacted spontaneously out of hurt without understanding. i pursued them for answers for their behavior. i pursued them with pleading for better behavior. i pursued them though they were running away from me with purpose. recently, another good friend treated me the same way. it hurt just as bad, maybe worse, but i was able to recognize the routine. i had to make a choice once i made the recognition. in that moment, it feels impossible. i want with everything inside of me to run after that something i feel i’m losing. not only is a relationship strained, but my pride damaged, expectations failed, hopes destroyed.
even still, my choice was walking away as i watched my friend leave. it takes discipline and endurance to accept the anxiety of possibility and regret as i lose control of something i knew and enjoyed. most days were hard at first. some days are still hard, honestly. i want to break away from the path to pursue answers to questions i’m incapable of answering alone. but will asking really satisfy my understanding? maybe, but probably not. pursuing something that has its back to you will only make it walk further away and induce more pain for me.
as i analyze the effects of your disappearance on me (as i must, because that’s how i operate), i find lessons in patience and understanding. i know not why you run. you don’t function like me. if you did, i probably wouldn’t like you much. all i know is that you left, and it hurt. but rather than losing myself by seeking validation from you, i’m accepting it. i’m not mad, nor have i closed my door (i never do). like with sadie, i may end up walk a full circle around you to end up face to face with you in life. also like with sadie, you may run like a cheetah in the other direction at the sight of me. or maybe you won’t.
or maybe…you won’t. hmmm. because something else i pondered on the way home is that sadie may not have responded like i thought when we had our face-off. she might have darted into the woods or attacked me or any number of things. then i relate it to how i could allow my mind to be terrorized with the whys and why-nots of your choices about me. usually, this is exactly what i would do, and i’ve had a hard time resisting. however, i feel so much better shrugging and accepting it at face value. you are all the good things i liked in our relationship, and you are also the person who chose to leave without notice for now. i can’t predict you or the future, and i don’t have time to if i wanted to.
the point of the matter is that i thought about my reaction and chose the best action in relation to the event unfolding. and in the obvious case, i caught my cat. in the case with you, we could never speak again. or you could reappear as a friend. or maybe one day you’ll be my boss at work. who knows, really? the important thing is that this time, i’m not focusing on you or how you responded or how you may one day respond. i’m focused on me. i’m focused on making the best choice given the circumstances, and i’m maintaining my dignity and mental clarity through a time when i could have given it away.
losing is losing, unless it’s winning.