Pride, Fear & Snapchat
Author: Natalie Samoylenko
As a twenty something I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m a little frustrated. I think most of us are. At the moment I feel like I’m stranded in a weird space between two polarising throes – pride and fear. You see, I’ve noticed a pattern in myself; I tend to get close to a person I’m seeing and all of a sudden it’s as though someone’s flicked some kind of switch, the light’s too bright and I’m out of there before either of our pupils can even adjust. They don’t know what they did; I don’t know what they did; heck, I don’t even know what I did apart from run! As much as I recognise that this is unbecoming of me… It scares me too. Am I too proud? Am I too afraid? What’s the matter with me?
I stumbled across this train of thought after I had reconnected with someone I had been seeing but bolted from at the beginning of the year. Months had passed without correspondence and, to be truthful, I remember feeling unstable and unsure about us. Did we connect enough? Did we talk enough? What if it was just sexual? Long story short, I was invited to a few personal events and had decided that it was ‘too intense’ and that I didn’t ‘want a relationship’. I withdrew from someone who was innocently accommodating and interested and, staying true to 'avoidant' twenty something style, I became distant and reserved. I coerced a fizzle by not responding to messages and snuffing communication. When I look back on it now I feel disrespectful and ignorant; we all know it’s a shit feeling to be ghosted and in this case I didn’t even have a particular reason. I knew it was completely internal, but I hit the ground running away so fast partly because I wanted out, but also because I didn’t want to face the reasons why.
It seemed like I had surgically plucked out trivialities to bolt with; I amplified my concerns and used them to justify a ride out. At the time, my feelings were painfully real; genuinely, I’d concluded that in no capacity was this person for me…
I had been circumventing reminders of this person at all costs until one day, almost half a year later, she added me on Snapchat (how millennial, I know – you giggle now, but in about 100 years I promise you this will be an introduction to a period love story). It was a pleasant surprise and she was unexpectedly lovely so I asked to catch up. When we saw each other again I’d felt like a fool; the familiar attraction I had for her slapped me across the back of my head in a pang of regret. How could I have convinced myself so persuasively that retreating from this person was the right thing to do? I mean, it could have been, but what I grapple with now is that there is no concrete proof of this. Essentially, I hadn’t explored the notion of being with this person enough to come to a proper conclusion about it.
I had made so many assumptions about what I thought she wanted from me, instead of asking. I had concerns about us, but I never voiced them because I thought it wouldn’t be worth it; we weren’t in a relationship so what was the point?
Now more than before, my pride suffers from the fact that it’s too late. It’s not to say that I’m certain that my decision was the wrong one or that staying would have been right. I really don’t have a clue. I want to emphasise that the outcome of this relationship is not the point. What is more poignant is the fact that I can’t say for certain how our connection could have progressed or ended had I given it more respect and consideration at the time. When I had the option to make a more measured decision, I was too caught up in myself and the repercussions of what I presumed were definite outcomes to relax and enjoy the time I had with someone who was actually kind of lovely.
Photography by Charlie Atkin.