I told Jem everything. Everything from why I threw that sudden tantrum and why I stopped going to Church. That I haven’t been feeling comfortable with cell for a long time, that I couldn’t answer late night texts and calls from people who rely on me, and that I want to stop feeling guilty about prioritizing myself. That I want to choose to prioritize myself.
He was very very nice about it. And that only made me feel a little shame about how little faith I had in him. The last time we saw each other I knew he was upset with me. The last time we texted we argued. And what I texted him about, I told him with the idea of throwing the towel in, of giving him the choice to break the friendship if he got upset about what I said. I went into it thinking, “I might regret this in the future, but not now. I’m too tired of this to even care about feelings and emotions, and certainly not about ones aside from my own. I need to clear out all this negativity uploaded onto me, because I didn’t ask for it. I want to reply someone late and miss a call or two without worrying that he or she might break down or commit suicide. I want to enjoy myself and be myself on outings without worrying about offending someone. And if I have to tiptoe around my friends, then I’d rather not.”
I was fully prepared to cut them out of my life if it meant I could stop feeling responsible for anyone’s life aside from my own. Recently another friend of ours has been so worrying and it’s really just bad timing. I’ve had so many essays due, I just got a B- and our devised piece for drama is coming up and I really am the least experienced and the weak link at this point. Not to trivialize someone else’s problems, but I’ve really been suffering from the lack of sleep and I really could use the average 3-4 hours a week I spend on texting and calling up to check on people, studying. And working on my acting which I swear is just feeling worse and worse.
Jem’s reaction made me realize that there were so many things I could have just told him about. If there’s anything I know about myself, it’s that I don’t trust people easily. Or rather, I guess their reactions quite accurately most of the time, and most of the time, I don’t trust those reactions, so I avoid them. Whether it’s by saying the truth or bottling up secrets, my priority was rarely myself. I want it to be myself now, so I’m letting it all out. And just telling Jem alone felt good. His reaction was merely the cherry on top.
Then again, timing is everything. I don’t think he would have taken the things I mentioned so easily if it hadn’t been in retrospect. And when I said I wasn’t going back to cell for a long time, I think he took that as a few more months, or until I have time.
I actually added that in as an afterthought. “I’m not going back to cell. At least, not for a long time.”