I was laying in my bed staring up at the ceiling, my switched-off phone in one hand and tears in my eyes. I could see the rain pouring down through the window, I was lying there immobilized because I couldn’t move, there was water in my house because of the flood but all I could think about was “Has anyone texted me?” “Did anyone notice I haven’t been online?” “Does anyone care?”
I switch on my phone for the 10th time that day, the time read 10:27 and I had a 15% charge remaining, I turn on the Data, hoping I’d be bombarded with notifications, but there were none. I head over to Instagram telling myself something must be wrong with my phone surely someone must have texted me, well the little voice in my head “Nobody cares” was right! I was left on seen. My absence had raised no questions. I constantly tried to tell myself that just because my friends didn’t text me didn’t mean they hated me or that they didn’t care. (For the sake of context my friends were privileged enough to have avoided the floods) Was I more sad there was water in my house or because I felt lonely? I have no idea. I realise it seems pretty silly whining about not getting texts from friends, but was I being too selfish to expect a simple “How are you?” text.
I have always been one of the YOLO people. I wanted to have fun and enjoy life without caring about the next day. I may have even been too irresponsible in the past. But I guess being confined to my bed all day somehow put things in perspective. It made me want more, to go the extra mile, to stop being average, to stop depending on others for my happiness, to stop having the fear of missing out.
I wouldn’t really call it a life-changing moment for me. My fingers were itching to press on Instagram, still holding on to the hope that there would be some message from someone, well there was. Out of the many friends I have, one of them asked me if I was okay. At that moment that strange hollow in my stomach and the voice in my head disappeared. I had a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. Happy tears this time. I came out of her chat and started opening my other chats it was just a bunch of reels.
I am by no means trying to vilify my friends. I am someone who lives by this quote, throughout my life I have always thought about this quote before any decision I made, “Everyone forgets the 99 good things you did, they only remember the 1 time you made a mistake.” It would be unfair from my side to keep holding on to that little thread and weaving negative thoughts in my head, while I can think of all of the good times I have had with them. However, the little voice in my head is back and now it is telling me “Do not be dependent on others for your happiness.” So even when things got back to normal and my phone was fully charged, I refused to open Instagram.
I ghosted my friends for the rest of the week, they weren’t important messages anyway. But I was not ready as yet to put on a mask with a smile and pretend I was okay when I wasn’t. I do not want to explore the ethical dilemma of ghosting someone but I’d like to believe I wasn’t wrong for prioritising myself. Ghosting was hard given that I practically lived on Instagram, but the need to let go of other people’s expectations which includes being okay with others not understanding why I am doing it and even being termed as a “bitch” by others was helping me fight my temptation. Maybe ghosting is a form of compassion as well, self-compassion.
I should feel indifferent, but all my life I have lived for validation and human gratification so much so that I have forgotten to hold on to the things and people that truly matter. I am used to pondering over things left unsaid, going in infinite loops of if I made the right decision by pushing people away and prioritizing myself. Guess I’ll know the ending only if I start, it could be a painfully bitter one full of regret or one with self-found happiness.
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