Houston We Have a Problem
by Korie Houston
Houston we have a problem. It’s the lies we tell to comfort ourselves and others. The desire for answers but not knowing the reality. Is closure actually attainable or is it just a fantasy? I’ve tackled authenticity, heartbreak, and now I want to dive into what it means to put yourself back out there and to live on the edge of rejection.
Being within this community, I’m confident that so many of us have lived the same lives. Some of the same experiences leading to formative decisions about who we are and why we do the things that we do. But what does it mean when those choices come at a cost? The inevitability that you’ll hurt someone you care for. Do you believe in closure? I’m not sure I do anymore.
Those conversations when deciding to end something that has run its course come with so many challenges. Asking yourself questions like, “Do I want to see them hurt?”; “Did I rush into this?”; and, “Is it me or is it them?”
I would rather hear honesty than be comforted by empty words. I’ve been broken up with, ghosted, and led on in my time, and I have a plethora of stories I could share. Getting out of the mindset that all responsibility falls on my shoulders is why I don’t truly believe in closure.
Story time: This time you’re getting two tales – one old and one new.
I briefly dated a man, we’ll call him Elfbar, on account of the one time he casually decided to ask my friends in the most “bro” sounding voice, “Do you vape?” It was a wild time back in 2014.
For all intents and purposes, I genuinely cared about this man. He was witty, interesting to connect with, and an all-around nice guy. That being said, nice doesn’t stop them from breaking your heart. right? We were seeing each other for two months before he had an emergency one night after work. He had accidentally inhaled something with peanuts, and he was deeply allergic. I didn’t hear from him for about two weeks after a little stint in the hospital.
Well, lo and behold, he was back on our favorite cesspool Grindr, with a new addition to his bio: “not into black guys.” Obviously, that stung. If you thought this story was over, it’s not. He reached out to me a few months later because I had left a necklace at his place. Spoiler alert, I never saw that necklace again. He asked if I wanted to go to dinner, so he could talk and explain himself; I said sure, name a time and place. We set a date, and on the day of said date, he sends me a Snapchat of him and his new man. I just wanted my necklace back; the same way Damian from Mean Girls wanted his pink shirt back. Closure who?
As you can see, I’ve never had the best luck in dating. Which brings me to my next story: A man who runs swiftly towards his next step while simultaneously running away from his problems. You could use that to describe me, or to describe a man I dated who I won’t coin a nickname for, because I do think he’s a genuine person and I believe in the best version of him.
We met at Number One on Fifth on a now particularly infamous evening in my friend circle, due to the people it brought in and out of my life. To speed this process up, he was just getting out of something, and I should have known better than to think it would end up better than it did. I wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted, and he wasn’t entirely sure of what we were doing. But the chemistry felt real, and the emotions were sincere. It just wasn’t the right moment, and I was inevitably ghosted.
As we know from my previous story, I have a tendency to leave things behind in men’s homes. Why, you ask? Because I’m incredibly forgetful. We spent almost a month trying to find a time to return my items, but we didn’t try that hard, if I’m being honest, and we finally met up to have that “final” conversation. It just made me think, what was the point of this? Did we need to start something that would never be finished? For whose gratification, his or mine? I was left feeling bewildered, and wondering, was it me?
One of these stories happened when I was 18 and the other happened when I was 27 turning 28. Almost a decade apart and in that time, I’ve lived a lifetime of highs and lows. Why don’t I believe in closure? Because in both conversations – one I led and the other I allowed – it felt as if I was just told pretty things wrapped up in a bow before opening the package to find it was empty. You’re free to challenge me with your own ideas of what closure means to you, but all I’ve gained from a lot of these situations is acknowledging time and energy went into something that wasn’t fruitful.
If you asked me several months ago whether I felt that I had learned any lessons from these situations, I’d have said, “No, f**k all of these people,” but the truth is, I’ve learned a lot about what I need and what I want. Continuing to prioritize myself and my desires is above all else more important than losing myself to a situation that’s not worth the time.
I think I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to gain a sense of closure to navigate why I don’t believe in it. It’s ironic, isn’t it? I need to find a way to end a chapter on something that at times feels like it is never ending.
What helps you find a sense of finality through heartache?
I found it through giving myself a chance to just be me. If I’ve learned anything from my poor dating choices, it’s that people sometimes lack the courage to tell you the truth out loud – whether it’s the usual cliches of “We just want different things” to “I need to find myself, you deserve better.” Those sentences are not realistic in the world we live in, people need to be honest with others and themselves.
When hearts are on the line what do you find acceptable?
We don’t live in a world of absolutes, but one thing I’m certain of is that closure should be what you make it out to be, and not what someone else defines for you. –Korie Houston is a local social justice advocate. Reach him at [email protected].
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