There are many periods of reflection in your twenties and you never know exactly when they’ll strike. I can only assume they become more frequent and unexpected as you get older, but I’m almost 26 and I’ve finally gained enough experience to have some particularly interesting things to muse over, like really muse over ..
I went for a long run yesterday morning, and thanks to Spotify and its quirky playlists, I was arbitrarily offered a playlist entitled ‘Hangover Friendly Singer Songwriter’ – was I hungover? Not at all actually. Is the singer songwriter genre my go-to genre for working out? Never. But something about the bright sunshine and brisk November wind made me crave something a little more soothing than usual – something like the sappy opening credits of an indie flick. A track called “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” by A Great Big World came on (I’ve never heard of this band before) and I hate to admit it, I felt emotional in that moment.
Hey, I’m allowed to be. And so are you. Whenever, however it happens. A lyric in the song is, “Oh, we left it all unspoken – Oh, we buried it alive and now it’s screaming in my head”. When you’re a few kilometers into your run and it’s cold and your lungs are burning but you know you still have to turn around and run back home, all you can really do is think to pass time. So I thought about that. And it made me think about closure.
I’m not looking to get all Carrie Bradshaw on you, but it’s a subject that I often find myself reflecting on. What is closure? Is it something real – and is it really something satisfying? That is to say, when a relationship ends, is it something we truly want or something we just think we want?
Relationships can end unexpectedly. Relationships can end horribly. They can end smashed and mangled and unsalvageable and a lot of the time, they end confusingly. Most of us have experienced that. A while ago, a relationship of mine ended in what can only be described as .. disastrously. And it didn’t make sense that it ended. (Ha, when does it?)
I was heartbroken, and angry, and betrayed and did absolutely nothing to deserve the treatment I received in the last leg of that relationship. But for some reason I was on a personal mission to find this mysterious antidote – closure. I even called his friend and demanded answers. Demanded closure. I vividly remember dragging my tear stained self out for dinner with this friend, and we chatted and chatted and tiptoed and ran laps around the elephant in the room but did I get closure? Absolutely not. He couldn’t provide that for me.
Because closure is an excuse. It’s an excuse to prolong the inevitable. It’s an attempt to add a cushiony layer to a doomed and thorny situation. It’s a defence mechanism. We like to think of it as a beautiful wax seal that folds your relationship up in a tidy white envelope and stamps it closed – but it’s a mirage that we chase and never actually get to. No matter what is said likely won’t mend you. ‘I don’t love you anymore because ..” Ouch. “I do love you, but..” Ouch. One of the healthiest things I’ve done is accept that it’s a crumpled up envelope and that’s just what it is. And believe me – it took a very. Long. Time. I’m still sad. But I’m happy I’m not looking for answers.
This closure thing is an extension of you – an investment of your passion and energy – being wasted on someone who had no problem being careless with your heart. I begged for closure from someone who left the country and never told me, and didn’t tell people I existed. Why does that behaviour deserve an extension? Or justification? It doesn’t. It rarely does.
Maybe this is all opinion and maybe this is all case-by-case, but I’ve learned that asking for closure is like giving someone (who doesn’t deserve it) quite a bit of credit – a chance to deceptively redeem themselves. If you need to grieve, grieve. It’s healthy. But you can’t go back and ask for answers from the dearly departed – so don’t expect it from a dead relationship. THAT WOULD TAKE A MIRACLE. MAGIC.
Or go for it. Just don’t listen to an acoustic singer-songwriter mix on a Sunday morning and you should be fine ..