Ghosting

So this might seem like a less intense thing to write about after my last few posts.

Here is the definition if this is a new term for you:

“the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication”

It’s not the end of the world. It’s not as intense as this pandemic has been or any topic of mental health. There are plenty of things that are more serious that ghosting. So why am I writing about it?

It isn’t nothing. And while in the dating realm, it might be the new norm (which also seriously sucks), what happens when it affects your other relationships?

Let me explain my background on this. A few years ago, after over 10 years of what I would consider a close friendship, I had a friend who suddenly stopped responding to my texts and calls. It’s not that I haven’t lost friends before. I’ve had huge fights with friends. I’ve had friends where just distance and time and life comes in the way. But I’ve rarely had someone just disappear on me without an explanation especially after a strong friendship was developed.

I grew up in the era of landlines and typewriters. It makes me sound super old but computers only made their start into our education some time when I was in high school. AOL had just come on the scene. We were cool if we had pagers (I didn’t. My mom handed me a phone card.) By the time, I was in college, I had a computer, ethernet was a thing, and a cell phone with limited minutes and limited texts.

The point of my history there is that if we wanted to stop talking to someone, it wasn’t hard because we didn’t have a lot of contact to start with. But most of the time, if two people were going to stop talking, we at least broke up or fought or something. I had an idea of why a relationship had ended or changed at the very least.

In this world of constant communication and availability, somehow we have stopped actually communicating. When I was ghosted, the worst part was that if that friend had just chosen to talk to me about it, we could have probably resolved whatever the problem was (to be honest, I still don’t know). I’m old enough to know I’m human and I make mistakes. I’m also old enough to know that there is a chance I did something that might have hurt her. But I will never actually know now.

Eventually, I kept contacting her until she finally told me the basic reason of why she stopped talking to me. I had to accept it for what it was. Whatever her reason was, she did not want to be my friend anymore. It hurt but it wasn’t my choice at that point.

The effect of it though has lasted. When I don’t have a friend respond now, especially one that usually responds right away, my mind starts going down the rabbit hole of what I did wrong and if I was going to lose them as well. It damaged my belief in myself, that I was a good friend. The doubts become overwhelming. I have to remind myself that I try my best with everyone around me. I have to remind myself that I have self-worth as well.

So in case you think that ghosting might be something you would want to do, just remember that one small honest conversation might be something that could save your relationship or at least give good closure to the other person when parting. Instead of just disappearing, give both people in the relationship a chance to work it out, whatever path it may take. It sounds hard but it’s my honest belief that it’ll show you that you can handle difficult situations as well as create good communication skills for future relationships. Besides, it’s just the kinder thing to do.

Grief

When Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, I was 16 years old. In the time after that, I saw how much people grieved although I couldn’t quite understand why. It’s not like people really knew her. She was basically a celebrity. How could you feel grief for someone you hadn’t ever met or really even known?

Last Sunday, at 11:32 am, I received a text from my mom in our family group chat that said “Breaking news. Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident. Not 100% confirmed yet.”

I could feel the chills immediately take over my body. I did what I normally do when I hear a big piece of news. I start researching to find out if it’s true and what sources it came from. Obviously, there have been hoaxes before and I was hoping this was just another one. But as the day went on, the news was confirmed.

We were completely immersed in our personal family events that day so I didn’t really have time to process what had happened. The more we learned though, the more real it became. And when I went home that evening and finally had a quiet moment to myself, I felt it.

I don’t quite understand why I felt grief. I didn’t know Kobe Bryant other than he played for my absolutely favorite team on the planet. I never met him. I’m not very star stuck and am not really interested in meeting celebrities in general. With all of the drama and problems that Kobe had gone through and with the ego he had on him, I honestly didn’t really care to meet him.

So why? Why did I feel this way?

The best answer I can give is because we grew up together. I watched the Lakers from when I was a child but the Showtime era started before I was old enough to be a fan. I remember hearing about Magic Johnson’s HIV announcement and all of the questions that came with it at the time. I remember Johnson making a comeback and getting cut while playing and all of the players freaking out because he was bleeding on the court.

But Kobe, he came to the Lakers right after high school. Being only 3 years younger meant I was also in high school. I watched him learn how to play NBA basketball. I criticized what I thought were his stupid decisions (like marrying Vanessa at the age of 23 and having the power struggle with Shaq and Phil). I wondered as he went through his sexual assault case, wanting to defend him because he was a Laker but knowing full well that it was possible that he wasn’t innocent and that I would always side with the victim. I judged how long he stayed in the league and how he was drawing all resources to himself so we couldn’t put a decent team on the floor to win 3 more championships.

Then, he retired. I can honestly say I didn’t follow him so much after he was off the court as I did when he was on the court. I didn’t even know he made a movie until he won as Oscar. But when he did win it, I was proud like it was my friend that had won.

He was like that friend that you don’t see often or even talk to often, but when you do, it’s like nothing has ever changed. He would always be a part of our lives because he was a Laker. He was part of the purple and gold that runs in the undercurrents of Los Angeles.

It’s complicated. I know there are things he’s done that were wrong but I also believe that he learned how to change for the better. The more I learn about him now, the more I believe he might be someone I would have wanted to meet as an adult. He had drive, passion, and ambition. He was doing exactly what we all do with our kids every day, take them to their extracurricular activities and watch and support them.

The only way I can describe what I feel is grief. Grief over seeing someone I grew up with gone. Grief over seeing someone who was finding his new path gone. Grief over someone who had changed the history of our city gone.

I still have trouble believing it. I don’t know if I ever will.

It’s Okay To Let Go

Today, I saw this article about letting go of toxic people to make room for more positivity in your life. It reminded me of all of the people I have slowly been walking away from because they aren’t good for me.

Let’s be honest. For me, it basically came down to unfriending them on Facebook. The fact that they were toxic already meant we weren’t socializing or in touch at all. But seeing their lives on Facebook just kept me connected to them. When I did have to deal with them in person, it┬ájust drove home the point that we weren’t meant to be friends.

It’s a difficult thing to do. Some of the people I have walked away from share so much history with me. There are friends I have had growing up, people on dance teams, old relationships, former best friends. How do you just let go of 10 plus years of friendship? How do you let go people who were there for you in the most difficult times? How do you walk away from people who were there through sweat, blood, and tears? And what happens that these are the people who become toxic?

I honestly believe a lot of it happened because I changed. I learned who I was and because I embraced that part of myself, it changed the relationship I had with whichever person was now toxic. Some friendships have the capability of adapting. But some definitely don’t. And when you believe you are making a change for the better, you can either trust yourself and those who support you or you can view yourself from an outside point of view that makes you feel less than you should. In my opinion, no one should ever make you feel that way.

If you are also Indian, you know that walking away from someone doesn’t mean you won’t ever see them again. Sometimes, I wish it did but let’s face it. We are all 2 degrees of separation from each other. Inevitably, we will run into someone who we have decided isn’t good for us. And we have to learn how to deal with it.

It’s also difficult to see everyone else’s lives go on without you because you chose to walk away. I see groups I used to be a part of living their lives and celebrating events, only now I am on the outside. It would be so easy to find a way back into the groups but I also know it wouldn’t be good for me to be around those people. Sometimes, it does suck to be on the outside.

This is the hard part for me. I would love people to see what I see and “be on my side” about the toxic person. Then, I have to remind myself that just because someone isn’t good for me doesn’t mean that person isn’t good for someone else. And honestly, I can see where I might be toxic for other people. So I have to learn to let it be because everyone has the right to live the way he or she wants as well and I walk away, unfriend, or shield myself from them.

All I can do is what is best for my life and keep positive, supportive people around my family.