There's something about shift and turmoil and the end of relationships that stirs the silt of all those that came before. In fact, I think of a particularly poignant phrase by one Ms. Cheryl Strayed, "understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again."
Sitting in Tom's office last week I brought up one such man--a man I've resolved again and again. And again. And for reasons I won't go into here, he's been on my mind of late.
I remember a few years ago, somewhere in the west village, just past midnight, getting into a fight with one of my best girlfriends. I just want you to move past him, she said.
You don't get to dictate that timeline, was my response. You don't know him. You don't get to pass judgement on him.
And then we both started to cry.
There's something about your good friends passing judgement on the people you love--the people you've loved. It always feels like an insult, because the thing is, you loved them. So for someone to say how crummy and awful and not-worth-it they are, well, it somehow feels like a judgement on you. For not just liking, but loving, someone so obviously awful.
But there's something to objectivity.
And friends often have it. (Sometimes not. And so you have to suss out who to listen to, but it's worth attempting to suss).
When I brought up one such so-not-worth-it-guy a few weeks ago, Tom said to me (man, Tom's good): That is a train you do not want to be hitched to. You just don't want to go where that train's going.
And what's so genius about this expression is that it moves the objective judgment from the man to the life he has and the choices he's made and all the things that make him him, which sort of demystifies affection in a way that makes someone's necessary objectivity far more palatable.
Does this make sense?
Because as I think back on what Tom said, I realize it is the best, kindest, most wonderful way to say, that guy is the pits. The worst. Not. your. guy. (And yes, of course, all men are worthy in some way and no person is as small as the small choices he's before made, but that's not a discussion I plan on having here today).
It's just, there are things I know I want for my life. And love is not always the whole of the story. And so that is a train I do no want to be hitched to.