I recently got a whole speech on how I should not hard exit from people. So for the sake of argument, the “wise man” was upset about how sudden and harsh it can be. That things don’t have to end, they could just fade into oblivion, and what is the point of a hard exit after all?
It really put me in a spiral of reflection. I didn’t like it. Was I doing something wrong by cutting people? I know people can change, but why must I sit through it if it is making me suffer irrationally too? I felt a lot of guilt because my hard exit is usually preceded by a discussion/confrontation/intervention, and if that doesn’t work, I bid farewell. I am out.
The “wise man” accused me of doing this without feeling guilt about the wreckage I caused, because I had a discussion. I brought up the issues. But what is the point, he argued. Times would just resolve them or make the times seem lighter in the distance. You could just hang around, and not really say goodbye.
There are two reasons I may make an hard exit: One, I have had enough. Two, all diplomatic ways to deal with it have failed. But I still felt guilty.
Serendipitously, the next day, I watched Ben Platt sing,
“If you have to hurt me, hurt me once
If you have to end it, get it done
You have all these choices, I have none”
And, I was like— Thank you Ben Platt. That’s what I would want. Hence, that’s what I do.
I can’t for the life of me prolong the torture. If I know that it is a phase, I will obviously wait it out. If I believe that this is a pattern of abuse that this person has no intention to get over any time soon, I feel like the best thing to do is to leave. I don’t want to just stand by and be supportive of self-destructive ways. I used to think that my friends who have a stupid patterns that they repeat on others, they would not do it to me. They’d keep me safe on a pedestal from their madness. But it is untrue. You become witness and victim to the madness.
I am not a person that gets angry often. Even when I get angry, I talk about it. I want a sincere discussion. But then if the person feigns ignorance, or throws up a defense, or unleashes tantrums on me.. I can’t put up with it anymore. I have also had hard exits that have been mutually agreed upon, like, when I know that the bitch is a Nazi to me, and I am the Anarchist to them.. there is no reconciliation. That is not a phase. (Both labels are true for both of us. Lord, forgive me, I have kissed a Nazi. </3)
I am not trying to avoid responsibility. I am responding to the suffocation I feel when I can’t express myself truly. If I have to tone down myself because the person is volatile, and it is not temporary, the why must I persist? It is an energy-sapping relationship. I am not trying to avoid the wreckage that my departure may cause. I don’t block, I just say “Bye FOR SURE”. I am open to the people I have left to confront me when they can articulate it, if ever. I am still open to helping them if they need me. I just can’t be the shoulder to cry on, or the person who they hold on to as a crutch.
So the hard exit is not an expression of anger or punishment. It is the need for my closure.
I have also realised, as a writer… (I will double down on the imposter syndrome and say—) as a prolific writer, I like neat ending to stories. I mean, the door is not shut forever. But I can’t god damn linger. I know life is not a well-edited movie. There are times that just extend to a painful degree. Memories merge and make new meanings. But I genuinely imagine that each person has a story to tell, and people walk into our lives as characters for a season or a reason.. (is this a poem?). Then they may leave, fade in time, move to the background of the narrative and not be the plot-movers. But even for those characters in our life, I want a closing conversation that the characters can have with each other. I just need that. Maybe it is selfish. Maybe I don’t deal with grief well, and this is my way of processing relationships gone sour. I mean, I see myself as a side character who wants an exit, and a graceful one that makes sense. Not something that becomes suddenly inarticulate and is unexplained. I am not trying to make a well-edited movie out of life.
But I definitely want good stories to tell about the people I have met! And aren’t limbos the worst?
The prolific writer,