You know, people tend to use the term over thinking as a one off or a write off. “Oh you’re just over thinking it.” Which actually, in most cases, acts as a dismissal. Something to say, “just get out of your head and go for it. Take the job, take the leap, date the guy, whatever the situation, stop thinking, and go for it.” And as much as I’d love to say it’s not that easy, that’s a write off too, because it’s not about easy – it’s about fear, it’s about coping for past trauma, and it’s about avoiding. But most of all, it’s about instinct.
Lately the narrative surrounding first impressions has been taking a turn. Most of us were raised to think that someone who we meet, who gives us butterflies, is someone we should pursue, but now people are saying “if they give you butterflies, run.” And the idea behind it is that lasting relationships make you feel safe and butterflies are this exciting high that our bodies get used to and then depend on. So when things calm down, we get bored and we bounce. And aside from internalized and externalized misogyny I think this is also why mothers tell their daughters not to sleep with a guy on a first date. Because the truth of the matter is, they’re either interested, or they’re not – and anything that happens in between is just grey.
Let’s talk about the grey
I can’t say where I developed the ideology that love is transactional. That dates should be reciprocated with something more than a thank you. That getting someone in your life and keeping them in your life means sacrificing parts of you to fit or compensate for parts of them. And I can’t place where I gained the impression that I owe so much more to a world that has chewed me up and spit me out, than I do to myself – but I fight it every day. And on days when I decide not to, where I decide to try to break the cycle, I quickly end up back at square one fighting a mind that’s trying to anticipate a dozen outcomes just to avoid the one or two where I get hurt.
So, in short, it’s exhausting being me.
But it’s also exhausting being right… On any given day I’d guess that a minimum of 50% of my thoughts are comprised of replaying conversations I’ve had (either during that day or anytime in the past should those memories be triggered) or curating what I’m about to say next or talking myself out of saying that thing because it would create all kinds of problems. Another 20% is tangents which means another 10% has to be allocated to reeling myself back in. Leaving a very generous 20% to play with but realistically it’s more like 15% after you take out anything related to tiktok.
Look, this isn’t minority report, my brain does not have a special algorithm that allows me to predict the future because if it did I’d probably a whole lot better off . I guess what I’m trying to say or even just emphasize is that 50% of my time goes to stuff I can’t control, 30% is distractions, 15% is realistically just in the moment people pleasing and the last 5% is a god damn clock app. And while I am completely and perpetually aware that these numbers are completely fictitious my point is that I’m now questioning my sanity as much as I’m grappling for control.
Accepting yourself and your thoughts
That said, lately I’ve been turning my own narrative. I’ve been trying to put myself out there and work with my emotions rather than control them, especially when it comes to relationships. And this isn’t a sign of me giving in, or compromising or lowering my standards to fit what life looks like for traditional 25 year old over-thinkers.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying to develop my own sort of butterfly effect (not the one with time travel), working with nerves and fears and instinct. Working on ways to better support myself and those around me by understanding that ideals I developed growing up, and the basis for my relationship experiences are just that, a basis. A basis, rather than a hard and fast rule.
Look when I started this blog I didn’t know much more than I do now. But I did value myself a lot less than I thought I did compared to now. Things I used to settle for, the attention and money I used to chase because that was what I thought made young people great — none of that matters as much as it used to. And that’s incredibly freeing.
See I used to think that I owed the world everything. I’d spiral down to the belief that I had to chase my fathers name and I had to make my own and that I had to be so fiercely independent because I wanted respect and I don’t know, power? Long story short I got trapped in intrusive thoughts and now I’ve turned certain parts of my overthinking into an asset. And I’ve done that by accepting myself and my crazy too.
The moral of the story
Look, at the end of the day no one knows you better than yourself (and maybe your best friend) but at the end of the day you can’t sacrifice you to please the them (men, women, mom, or dad) because even if your mind is dark and even if you have to replay moments to understand – it all helps you grow and make better choices than you did yesterday and hopefully today or tomorrow or next week you’ll trust yourself more.
And, if you can’t trust yourself everyday, then think about it this way – Even if this life takes a village, it’s up to you to build the home that lets those people in. So be brave enough to let them in but never for a second apologize for being you to be more palatable for them.
In other words, don’t doubt you, to please them. (You know, like the title says)