Whenever I care about someone who doesn’t seem to care as much as I do, I feel stupid. I feel stupid and pathetic when I wait for messages that never come, when I spend so much time thinking about people who probably never think about me, when I let people who I’m so unimportant to become so important to me. Yet I continue to do all of those things, not usually on purpose.
In the past, if I would’ve been able to not care, I would’ve taken the opportunity. Not caring is easier. Not caring hurts less. Not caring keeps you moving towards your goals and focusing on yourself rather than spending so much time and energy on this random other person who probably doesn’t care about you at all anyways.
If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t check my phone for messages. I would keep writing stories and dreaming and believing in myself.
If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t waste time on social media searching for hints and answers. What went wrong? Why doesn’t this person care about me as much as I care about them? Why why why?
If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have to wonder why I care. I wouldn’t play back scenes in my head over and over again. I wouldn’t try to re-create the magic. I wouldn’t over-analyze every situation. I would just let those moments be as simple as they were. As beautiful as they were.
If I didn’t care, the memories and songs and places I used to love wouldn’t start to annoy me. I wouldn’t think of a person whenever I walked a certain way or heard a certain song. I could just go about my daily life, aloof and apathetic and unaffected.
But I’ve realized that I don’t want to be any of those things. I would rather care than go through life only concerned with issues that directly impact me. I would rather care than not know what it feels like to love or care about someone, even if they don’t share the feelings. I would rather feel hurt than feel nothing.
And that’s what it truly comes down to: feeling something or nothing.
The “something” is complicated. It’s messy and painful and wonderful and amazing and awful and brilliant and annoying. It can be all-consuming at times. It can make you feel lost and lonely and unsure when you felt okay before. When you were fine on your own before.
But the “nothing” is exactly what it sounds like: nothing. Okay. Fine.
We’re okay on our own. But when we let other people’s worlds melt into our own, when we open our hearts up and share our stories, when we let other people’s stories touch us in a way that we can’t escape, we hurt and we wonder and we feel. We see something more. We become something more.
It’s never easy. Listening to people talk and reading tragic headlines and opening your heart up to new people is painful. But I’ve come to one conclusion recently: caring isn’t stupid.
I refuse to see myself as an idiot because I was honest with myself and the world. Because I let other people’s words travel onto the pages of my life and become part of my story. It doesn’t matter if my name makes it to their stories. I’m Paige. I’m learning and exploring and opening myself up to the world around me. And I’m not stupid.