I joined Instagram a couple months ago, and one of the people I follow is the rapper Cardi B. She posted a video on her Instagram page where she said something that struck a chord with me. This is an edited, censored version of what she said:
"Why do you go to the pages of people that you don't like? People don't post when they're doing bad. They ain't never gonna post their problems. So why would you want to see them do good? Why? So you can get more tight with them? Eff that! I'd rather just not see the b--h!"
For weeks after I found out that the Model had used me to cheat on his girlfriend, I kept looking at their Instagram pages, even though it pained me to do so each time. He never posted any pictures of her on his page, but in his Instagram Story (which is a series of pictures or short videos that people can post, which disappear 24 hours later), he posted a brief video clip of himself at a festival...with her. They were with friends, and he didn't identify her as his girlfriend. But anyone could tell that she was, from the way that she beamed at him, so happy and in love. He had a smirk on his face, and I hated him so much at that moment that I wanted to slap the smugness right off him.
She posted less frequently on her page, but when she did, she included more pictures of them together, such as the ones of them celebrating his birthday in Chicago, or the ones of them at a friend's wedding, where she included a caption that boasted about what a good-looking couple they were. It hurt more to look at her page than his because she represented everything I would never have: a life with him. Several of her friends commented on her posts, congratulating her on her relationship, and her responses made it clear that she was pretty smug too, basking in their admiration of how great her life and boyfriend were. It all made me hate her almost as much as I hated him.
But when I saw that video that Cardi B posted on her Instagram page, somehow her words woke me up and shook me out of the heartbroken stupor I'd been trapped in for far too long. What she said made sense: why should I keep looking at the pictures of two people I hated and see more evidence of how happy they were? It didn't do anything but make me feel more alone and unhappy, and I didn't want to keep wallowing in my anger and bitterness. Not to mention, as Cardi B pointed out, people typically only post the best parts of their lives on social media, not the problems. Obviously, the Model and his girlfriend's relationship isn't as perfect as the Girlfriend makes it out to be. If it was, he wouldn't have wanted to be with me that night, nor would he have made plans to meet up with me again when he came back to College Town. Cardi B helped me realize that I was never going to feel better about the whole situation if I kept looking at their Instagram pictures. It was time to move on with my life.
Since I know that he works out at my gym in the morning when he comes back to College Town, I've changed my routine so that I only work out at night; thus far, I've managed to avoid seeing him. But since College Town is not that much bigger than Small Town and I know that he occasionally comes back to see his family and friends, I'm still afraid that I might run into him, or worse, that I might run into him AND her. I'm afraid that if I see him again, I might a) punch him in the face, or b) tell him exactly what I think of him and THEN punch him in the face. If I confronted him, he would either get defensive and act like I was the one with the problem, or, narcissist that he is, he would feel a sense of satisfaction to know that he affected me this much. I'm afraid that if I saw her with him, I would blurt out the truth about what he had done to her and me.
It's gotten easier not to think about him or to dwell on how much he hurt me, but unfortunately, he still pops up in my mind every now and then. I don't like watching romantic comedies anymore because whenever I see two people kissing, it reminds me of how I felt when he kissed me and how soft his lips were. I was going through my closet one day, trying to decide what to wear to work, and I found an outfit that I'd worn once that he loved and said I looked beautiful in. (Needless to say, I didn't wear it that day, and I tucked it away so I wouldn't have to see it again.) A friend of mine posted pictures of herself on vacation with her new boyfriend, and it turns out that they went to the same resort in Mexico that the Model and his girlfriend went to. Even just the pictures of palm trees that are omnipresent in people's social media posts right now make me cringe because they remind me of the palm trees in the Girlfriend's pictures of the vacation she took with the Model to Mexico, just two weeks after he spent the night with me.
I tried watching an episode of Criminal Minds while I worked out on the elliptical machine at the gym one night, and the sociopath in that episode had the same name as the Model. I came across an online article about a guy who reached out on social media to find a girl he'd met; all he knew was her name, and several women who shared her name responded. Her name was the same as the Model's girlfriend. I picked up an old manuscript of a story I hadn't worked on in years, and the name of the guy who my main character has unrequited feelings for has the same name as the Model.
It's easier not to think about him when I'm working. When I'm teaching, I'm not thinking about him or his girlfriend. I'm thinking things like, Why is that kid sleeping right now? If I can't take a nap during class, neither can he, darn it! or Why is that girl on Snapchat right now? Does she think I can't see her posing with cat ears? or They should really sell helmets that let you drink coffee while you're wearing the helmet, like they do with beer. I would totally wear one of those coffee helmets while I'm teaching.
That's why I've found solace through my work, and that's why I've allowed my workaholic nature to control my life and my mindset once again. In addition to the time I spent in New York City, my work has provided me with something else to think about, and it has helped me free myself of my self-destructive addiction to the Model. And I will add that despite all the reminders of him, thinking about him now doesn't make me burst into tears the way it did last summer. My heart has hardened enough towards him that when I think of him now, I wonder how I could have been so foolish as to spend months pining for a narcissistic sociopath who treated me like dirt. I know the answer to that question, but that's for another post.
That same day I saw Cardi B's video, I stopped looking at the Model's Instagram page, as well as his girlfriend's. It's been a long time since I've looked at either one, and I've felt better ever since. Any time I feel tempted to peek at his page again, I watch Cardi B's video instead to remind myself why I shouldn't.
What about you? Do you ever feel tempted to look at the social media posts of people you dislike or who hurt you in the past? Do you think it's true that many people on social media only post the best versions of their lives and edit everything that detracts from that version?
P.S. Thank you, Cardi B, for bringing me to my senses, and thanks to all of you blogger friends for your supportive comments on my posts where I obsessed over the Model.
Interview with… Adam Byatt - Today it’s the turn of Adam Byatt to sit down and share his writing with us. This is my 13th interview, and there are still some wonderful authors to come!...
1 week ago