Hey man, you’ll never hold that hand,
Like never ever again
You’re almost someone else now
Perfect as I want it to be
You were everything to me for a time…
Fuck no hard feelings,
All I got is hard feelings, you know?
Get so emotional after you go
And I hope I’m not approachable
-“Fuck Feelings”/Born Ruffians
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people who make fun of others for caring about stuff. People who are emotionally detached from everything except the few things they deem acceptable (usually school, work, and family) because they’re too cool for feelings.
These were the people I was friends with in high school. When I fell in love with one of our friends it was, “You’d better not date him, you’ll start drama,” and when we broke up it was, “Well, what did you think would happen? We told you.” When I felt like I was being teased too much, it was, “Learn how to take a joke,” and, “You’re being dramatic,” and, my personal favourite, “Stop being so emo.” No one was there for me when I struggled because everyone thought I brought it on myself and I deserved it.
Fast forward 10 years and the number 1 rule of relationships is still “don’t get attached”. Smart people don’t get attached. Smart people know that anyone could leave at any point. If you’re smart enough, you can avoid getting hurt. You can cheat the system. If you’re smart enough, you are better than other people. You have an advantage.
I don’t agree with any of the above, but it’s sort of true. Whether I like it or not, “smart people” can manipulate others into thinking what they want them to think at any given time, and I tend to be the person that gets manipulated. I am trusting and I take everything anyone says or does at face value. I am genuine and I mean everything I say and so I often forget that not everyone else does.
I take everything really hard, which is sometimes great because that means I feel everything hard, good and bad. This is usually what draws people to me in the first place. I am easily excitable, I love people and things unironically, I am happy and bouncy and always laughing about something. I’ve been told that all of this is adorable. It makes me different. But I’ve learned that the same aspect of my personality that makes me so happy and cute can make me very sad, too. I love people and I care about them and for some reason not everyone wants that. So I’ve started warning people about this. Usually within a couple weeks of getting to know them I say things like, “I don’t do casual,” and, “I get attached to everything and everyone,” because it’s true. This is my way of saying, “Get the fuck out now if this is ever going to be a problem for you.” And usually they don’t bat an eye. It’s still cute unless they’re the one I’m attached to. Men are especially bad for this but it happens with friends too.
Then the inevitable happens, and they freak out. They get scared. Of me. Of my feelings. Like they’re gross. I become this unappealing thing because I care. So they push me away. They make me feel small and stupid. They convince me that real things that happened were all in my head. They’ll tell me that they lied to me, but it was my fault for believing them. They’ll tell me things like, “You’re so clingy,” when I want to be included. “That’s a little creepy, don’t you think?” when I try to do something nice. “You’re starting to see this as something that it isn’t,” because apparently feelings and attachment simultaneously make people lose touch with reality.
People stop telling me things because they’re afraid I’ll emote at them, or something. Really all I want is to communicate with people openly and honestly, with no secrets, and because of that I’ve made a commitment to myself and to others to always have calm and mature discussions about things and to avoid snap judgments. I care, and I care enough to do that and not always put myself and my own emotions first (though I will admit that took practice). I am not a fire-breathing dragon. I’m a person. A nice person, in fact.
It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not even going to try to explain why this happens because that type of behaviour is so far from my mindset and life experience that it practically lives on another planet. All I’ve ever wanted is to find people who care about me. And when I do, I don’t let them go until they stop caring. And sometimes, I have to let people go because I discover that they never really cared at all – that was just what they manipulated me into thinking.
I told my friend Charlotte about the most recent time this has happened and she recommended the above song to me and listening to it was cathartic. Also a lot of fun, because who doesn’t want to sing the word “fuck” over and over again? Fuck no hard feelings. The idealization of everyone being able to walk away from every situation with “no hard feelings” is overrated. Hard feelings are great, as long as you use them to learn and grow and drive you. Smart people have no hard feelings, but the smartest people embrace ALL their feelings.
I have no answers. If you feel this way too I can’t tell you how to make people stop treating you that way. All I’m saying here is that I am very frustrated by this kind of behaviour and the way that sensitive and compassionate people are treated in our culture and I think it’s stupid. And people who make you feel stupid for caring are stupid.
YOU are not stupid. Caring is never stupid.
Chelsea Ricchio is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the SPEAK OUT blog. She is also the Communications Manager for Healthy Minds Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2015 with a BA in English Literature and Book & Media Studies. She was the former president of the student group Active Minds at UofT, which hosts SPEAK OUT events on campus (from which this blog takes its name). She was diagnosed with Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She is 23 and lives in Toronto with her cat Genie and her roommate.