Post #2 in the series. Recently, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Associate Director for Outreach and Development Programming for CAPS and all-around nice guy Gary Glass. The topic: relationships. Relationships in general, with no particular person in mind. It was the first time I'd discussed the topic at length, ever. My conclusion? We should do this more often. I wrote one entry already. Read post #1.
One of the joys to living in a dorm with thin walls, as I did my freshman year, is that you could innocently eavesdrop on whatever conversation topics your neighbors chose to shout about. Yes, I mean shout. After all, inside voices are so pre-school.
Anyways, one exchange (“conversation” hardly feels appropriate) was particularly memorable because I had never heard the word “sucks” so many times in a 30-second period. Apparently, some guy had screwed up. Big time.
He sucks. Oh my god, he SUCKS…..[pause]….. HE. SUCKS. ….[pause]…. Sucksucksucksucksucks. He sucks more than anyone ever has. …[pause] SUCKS!
Though I couldn’t stop laughing that fateful fall afternoon, I can hardly criticize my neighbors’ attempt to articulate the dynamics of what was clearly, wait for it, a sucky relationship. It would be hypocritical of me. As a junior, 3 years later, it can still be hard for me to come to peace with relationships, platonic or not, that just feel and turn meh. Maybe they hurt. Maybe they sour. Or maybe it’s nothing you can identify. It just feels off.
Cue the wisdom of Gary Glass.
“The language I use for that is failed vs. ended relationships,” he told me. “I define a failed relationship as one in which a person didn’t learn anything about themselves, or about relationships. There was no growth. Other relationships, there is learning about myself or the other person. It ran its course, and it ended. But these are clarifying. They build a sense of resilience because they hurt, and you heal from the hurt.”
So to all the Dukies out there who might feel in a funk: Just remember, no matter how much it may sting, that relationship you’re hurting from was hardly lost time, so long as you grow from it.
Let yourself hurt. Let yourself learn.