Be wary of the overtly nice ones.
You’ll find a partner, they sweep you off your feet, they’re happy to run back to the house when you forgot something, they leave you text messages every morning, they give you the look that tells you they care, and then one day you find out all along you were being played. Just another victim to be preyed on.
You’ll find someone who believes in you, tells you your work is the best they’ve ever seen, they give you a shinny office, all the resources you ever thought of are now at your feet, only to discover that they think nothing of you, that all along it was an act — you’re dropped at the first sign of trouble. They now own your work, but you’re done with.
All those friendly conversations, the meals you shared, the things that you told each other that you’d never tell anybody else, all falls apart — and you think to yourself,
“How could I be so stupid”.
“How could I fall for that”
“How did I not see the red-flags”
You convince yourself you’ll be better next time, promise to take notice, listen to the friends that tried to warn you, but you’ll fall for it again — because you trust too much, and that’s where it falls apart.
Eventually you stop trusting people, try to shut them out, turn bitter, doubting intentions of anybody that comes along.
As time passes on you start to learn, it’s the people that were there all along, the ones you didn’t notice, quietly working away in the background, making sure your bed was made, making sure there was food on your plate, making sure you were able to get back up even when you continued to fail, were the ones you should’ve valued all along.
All the friends you partied with, the ones you had the time of your lives with, are now married, they no longer have time for you, their children matter more than you, their careers come before your troubles, the promises they made that they’d always been there are now just words, time has passed and the memories are long gone, fading away into a time when promises and words meant something.
You’re not alone.
You’ve just realised you trust too much.
You’re happy to give people another chance.
You’ll keep falling and keep being preyed on, because you’re good.
Good isn’t treated kindly in this world, but you continue giving it a chance anyways.
You’ve got every right to be mean, to be defensive, to be hateful, yet you continue searching.
Continue putting your faith in people.
Until one day someone comes along,
They don’t tell you nice things about you, at first they don’t make you feel all that great about yourself, you’re dismissive of this person, how dare they judge you, they tell you that smoking is bad for you, that you drink too much, that your hygiene isn’t all that great but they’re willing to help.
They tell you to clean up and dress better, look in the mirror and take an honest look at yourself you disillusioned soul.
It’s not your fault, they say.
This person has been through a lot worse than you’ve seen in your life.
Yet they don’t seem to make you feel bad about it every time you tell them to leave you alone.
They don’t ever say what “they” need.
They don’t ever remind you all that they’ve done for you.
They don’t ever tell you all the troubles of their past, or how it shaped them.
They don’t tell you that they truly see themselves in you.
They just hope that they can save you from what is to come.
They don’t leave no matter how much you try to escape them.
They make you do things you hate, like taking another look at your work and making you eat healthier.
It feels forced.
You think to yourself sometimes, where’s that person that would rather offer me a drink at this time rather than a lecture.
Where are the people who would rather party than force a lecture?
And then one day, just like that — they’re gone.
You learn that all along you meant the world to them.
You learn about the horrors they faced in life.
Of how they spoke highly of you, every chance they got — but never to your face.
Of how they’d too been cheated on.
Of how they too had been abused.
Of how their only hope in life was to save you.
How they lost their parents when they were too young and you still have yours, but can’t remember the last time you called them.
You call your parents, letting them know “Hey, Thanks for being there. Thanks for putting food on my plate. And most of all thank you for putting up with my shit.”
You realise of all the sacrifices people made, and how the ones that used you now want you back, but you’re on a different path now.
One that requires discipline, One that requires you to value yourself, One that lets you know when to draw the line, One that reminds you to humbly decline the opportunity to give those people that once used you, abused you, and discarded you into giving them another chance.
You move forward, not for your sake — but the sake of the person that secretly believed in you, stuck by now through thick and thin, cleaned you up.
You owe to them, if not to yourself — to do better.
To move forward.
To be brave.
To stop searching for affirmation.
To stop falling for the trap laid out by people who prey on kind souls.
You’ve learnt your lesson.
You know you’re stronger now.
You know that it’s not the ones that call you every day, tell you they love you repeatedly, or buy you flowers who always stick around.
They’ll leave, because you’re no longer the life of the party — you get in the way of their fun.
Only then do you look around and realise,
It’s the harsh, cold, honest, ones…the ones that seem rough around the edges.
You realise you’re kind of becoming like them.
You’ve learnt to mask your kindness with confidence.
You’ve learnt to place your faith in people who truly deserve your time.
You’ve learnt not to judge people at face value.
You’ve learnt that there’s more beneath the surface.
You’re unmasked society.
You’ve learnt to walk away.
Most important of all, you’ve learnt to move forward.
In loving memory of all the people that helped me survive, through thick and thin, throughout all my tantrums, holding my hand and showing me I had the strength to be better.