My joy met me at Coles tonight. She’d been away ever since The Great Ghosting of 2018, but tonight she met me at the raspberries.
I posted on Facebook about the Great Ghosting of 2018, because Facebook is my confessional booth. People say “Zuckerberg” and “data” and “Cambridge Analytica” and other phrases of that nature, and I say, “hmm, good point. Maybe I’ll leave the first names off when I explore the depths of my very soul on an almost daily basis. Wait, does anyone know how to tag precise GPS coordinates on an overshare?”.
(Before we continue, I should explain ‘ghosting’, as after I made that Facebook confession, my Dad texted me to ask what it meant. I said “Ghosting means I messaged him and he didn’t reply. Disappearing like a ghost. Byeeeee”. After I explained it he reacted with… this. I am utterly blessed with all four of my weirdo parents).
So. My tragedy, the Great Ghosting of 2018, was scarely an event at all, from an outsider’s perspective. I met a guy from OkCupid and we had one good date, ONE. He ended it with “goodbye” with no future promise, which we all know is basically a precursor to an imminent ghost. And then he followed through with Doing a Ghost, which still somehow took me by surprise.
The way I reacted though, oooh boy. Newton’s Third Law is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Well, sorry Newton bud, but you were wrong. My reaction was completely and utterly disproportionate. I texted my flatmates saying I needed hugs and summoned them to my room to hold me. I cried while big-spooning a pillow. I ate my feelings and then sighed about how eating them doesn’t make them go away and then sighed at how often I re-learn that lesson before forgetting it. Then I googled him and felt my mouth turn down in a perfect upside-down-smile as I scrolled through his Twitter feed he hadn’t updated since 2016.
The worst were the friends who reached out to empathise with their own ghosting stories, all of which had something to be actually sad about. Women who were with men for WEEKS, who had spoken of future plans, and then they VANISHED. Daily regular contact suddenly ceased without any reason given. Women who were legitimately worried these men had died, as it was the only logical explanation to their behaviour. I had one date, one. I realise this.
But look. I’ve been out and breezily dating now for a few months. Flipping my hair about, rolling my eyes at things like who even cares, being generally just quite sassy and cool. Feeling nice feelings, sure, but nothing where I thought anything would develop past a snog and some WhatsApp banter. I had theorems, which I’ll blog on later – my Dress Theory and the Four Man Plan and the Fantasy Backup. (Newton ain’t the only scientist around here, mates). I had it under control.
And then I had one good date and my breeziness all fell apart, and I had to reckon with a world where feelings might exist and I might have to have them. I went to the gym and told my trainer I hated all people and I ESPECIALLY hated FUCKING October. I got all, “well I would have LIKED to have LEFT on TIME, but it looks like THAT isn’t HAPPENING, is it” at work. When people would say “how’s it going?” I’d answer with a full body sigh and a “Well? … I’m not sure. It is what it is.”
Feelings? In MY body? Not without a fight.
One weird silver lining about getting through depression this year (that blog really is coming, I promise) (I love that I’m like, hold on tight pals! like, who is hanging out for maudlin depression blogs?) (where was I? let’s start over). So one silver lining about getting through depression this year is that now I know my heart and my head a little better. Telling myself my feelings are stupid or to get over it… it’s not going to do anything. I just have to let my sadness hang out for a bit. I knew my joy would come back if I just ate vegetables, drank some water, cut myself some slack, and gave her a little minute.
And I was right. She came back. I got to Coles and she was there, waiting, at the raspberries. They were on special, they looked delicious, and it immediately transported me back to when I lived in London and would buy myself fresh raspberries almost every day; a woman of the world who shopped at Waitrose and thought nothing of a four quid snack, because she was worth it.
I picked up a punnet and thought “hello tiny friends” to myself. And it that moment it was like putting on a cosy warm bathrobe in winter. I was going to be ok. I was in my head, having pretend chats with raspberries, again. Joy was back. She’d snuck in, that trickster.
Just like a little ghost.