The Push-Away

I have some bad habits. I mean, yeah, sure, there are the not-so-bad ones, like leaving my shoes on the living room floor and scraping my spoon on my teeth when I eat and failing to wash my hair more than twice a week…

And then there are the biggies. One of those is my horrible habit of the push-away.


In my defense, I don’t realize I’m doing it when I do it. (Fine, it’s not much of a defense.)

Here’s the scenario: I know something bad is coming– a break-up or a fight or a stressful life change– and I don’t want to deal with it. It makes me uncomfortable even to think about it. And so, I pick fights about stupid stuff. I get grouchy and distant. I am bored. I am cranky. I do my best possible impression of a person who wants to be all alone forever and ever, and, indeed, who deserves to be all alone forever and ever.

Then maybe it won’t hurt so much when the bad thing I know is about to happen actually happens because I will have already distanced myself from the person I love, via my funk-pants shenanigans.

When Luke came with me and my family on a beach vacation a few weeks before I started my freshman year of college, I was in full push-away mode. When he got out his guitar and noodled around with it, I sniped at him for not playing any real songs. When he went for a jog with me on the beach because I forced him to, I got mad at him for making me run through the sand. We went up to run on the road and then I got mad at him for making me run in the heat. The whole week was like that– him trying to keep up with my swinging moods and me doing my utmost to make him hate my guts, all without my conscious knowledge.

Luke was a better-than-good guy, and managed to stick with me through that hellish week, and even another year after, but God, I don’t know how.

Of course, you know the ending to this story. College sucked, my whole life sucked, and I eventually dumped poor Luke. My bad habit tried real hard to make it easy for me, though, and scare him off before that ever happened.

So, if I love you and I ever start doing the push-away, now you know– I’m probably being a giant ass because I love you so much I can’t stand it.

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