He told me he would, and then he didn’t.
He told me he’d meet me for coffee at 6pm at the coffee shop down the street. I waited for ten minutes past, allowed him the benefit of the doubt, then gave him an extra twenty because maybe, traffic. But he never showed up. No call, no text, no apology for standing me up and putting the friendship on hold.
He told me he couldn’t wait to come to town and see me. That we’d hang out on Monday after his meeting. I was nothing but excited because we planned to spend the night merrily eating and adventuring and catching up like friends usually do. Monday came around. 3pm, no sound. 4pm, still no sound. 8pm rolled around, and still, no sound.
He told me he wanted to take me on a little journey to the secret spot on top of this hill, the place where he goes to think and rest his soul. We planned to watch a silly chick flick, grab some Yogurtland froyo like we normally do, then head to a location apparently only he knew. An hour before when I was on my way to meet him, I got a message via text saying he forgot he promised to be with his mother at home that evening. Maybe he did, but I later found out that he had spent the rest of the night with another girl at Disneyland where he proceeded to fake propose.
I used to make up excuses for people like that.
The ones who would make detailed plans with you, then flake for some unknown reason without any real explanation. The ones who would tell you sweet little secrets and proceed to inform you they had never told anyone, but they actually had told everyone. The ones that would whisper all the things you wanted to hear, but essentially they felt another way and wouldn’t tell you out of fear. The ones who’d promise they’d be there for you, but would then turn the opposite direction and flee when the moment came. The ones who would convince you time and time again that you mattered to them, but when you really needed them to show up and remind you of that, the seat that had been saved for them next to you remained empty.
The thing is, I’ve always been one to give another the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time, I still do. But honestly, there’s only so much one human can take heartbreak after heartbreak, disappointment after disappointment.
I think some people would argue that it’s all about expectations. I would argue that it’s all about being a decent human.
I used to make excuses for people like that. I would tell myself that they were just too terrified to love when in actuality they didn’t really want to love. It’s that simple: You just didn’t mean as much to them, as they did to you.
Dear world, I’m exhausted.
I’m exhausted from being lied to with half-truths and no disclosure. I’m exhausted from hearing all words and seeing no actions. Because I really don’t do well with empty promises: It rips at my insides. I shut down. I push back. And I run as far away as I possibly can. Truth is that I’m just trying to protect my heart from breaking a little more every time I let a little of it go.
I’m tired of people not showing up, and offering lame apologies that are not acceptable apologies at all.
It’s been killing me all weekend, processing through all these emotions that decided to suddenly make an appearance. Anxiousness has been oozing out of my pores. I have tried everything I know when I begin to feel this way: taking strolls on the beach, driving up the mountains, and playing every musical Jesus worship mix I own on repeat while talking to God—just me and the homie, with me asking all the questions just hoping to hear at least one of the answers or maybe just to get a sneak peek of clarity. I’m entirely sleep deprived. I’ve prayed until my mouth has run dry. I’ve cried until my pillows were soaked. And I’ve spent hours upon hours confiding in friendship. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
If I could say one thing, it would be that I’m absolutely terrified of people not showing up.
That’s why most of the time I confirm coffee meetings at least three times before they actually happen, and check up on dinner plans multiple times throughout a day. I’m afraid of people saying one thing, and then actually meaning another. I’m skeptical of people reassuring me that they will follow through with an action because there are deep inner voices that scream, telling me there’s a chance it won’t happen.
I wish I were tremendously wrong, but it’s fact: The human race is a fickle race.
I don’t want to be left stranded there in the cold, alone and broken—all because someone didn’t have the capacity to hold and protect my heart or the courage to just show up.
So when it comes to love, I am nothing but petrified. But what makes it most frightening is that I don’t know how to do half friendships, or the one-foot in one-foot out kind of deal. Homegirl don’t play that game. I invest (and sometimes too much to a fault). Because it’s sewn into my skin: I believe in loyalty and honesty, and I believe in commitment.
It’s a constant word. A word with great meaning this generation seems to have lost sight of. You see, it’s more than just about some idealized happily ever after. It’s saying to someone else, “Hey, I’m here. Even if this is the last place on Earth I want to be standing right now, I’m here. And I’m here, with you and for you. I am showing up to win your heart, to protect your heart, and to expand and develop and evolve this relationship. And more than anything, it’s to show you that I’m not leaving. I’m not backing out and shrinking out of this.”
I will always say this. We’re human. And we have the option of shrinking when someone falls apart or things get extremely tough. But just because that happens doesn’t mean that a person is not loveable. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean that someone is disposable. We’re just not meant to walk away and throw in the towel when a person hits the floor.
The sun is charged to rise and show up in the sky every morning. We’re charged with showing up for people when they need us to.
Respond to those texts, respond to those emails, and answer those calls. Because at one point or another, I think we’ve all wanted to feel like we could be at the center of something—we could be at the center of a good love story or maybe we could be at the center of someone else’s universe. I guess that’s what love comes down to. They’re actions, not words. There should be no debate of who to love or where to love and when to love. It should be everyone, everywhere, and always. It all comes down to these questions: how did you show up, or did even bother showing up.
As for me, I hope love is evident in all the things I do—in the ways I say, “Hello, how are you?” and in the time and attention I give you. I hope love is evident in the things I push aside in my calendar and the ways I shift my schedule around so I can be fully present. I hope I am showing up the ways that I want to see people show up for me, so that you and me, we can experience times where we just stay soaking in those moments a little while longer. I hope love is evident with how I respect myself, as well as others. That it is evident in the friendships I have and will have, in the apologies I make, and even in the messes I make.
I hope me showing up will make minds wonder, and that I am able to represent a Love that will sometimes be unexplainable beyond words.