Ever heard a certain song or came across a specific scent that makes you feel sick when you recognise it? Maybe it was something you associated with an ex or a ‘friend’ that ended up stabbing you in the back. There’s a lot of things that I personally find hard to associate with nowadays due to the bad memories / feelings surrounding it and so I avoid it at all costs, but what I’ve realised lately is that I do it to myself.
Subconsciously, I’ll blame someone for ruining something for me e.g. a song I used to love that I now can’t listen to because it reminds me of them. In my head I’m thinking it’s their fault, which is sort of true, but also…not really.
A lot of the time (this might be just me, I don’t know) I’ll associate things with people, even though that person is unaware. For example, I might hear a song and think wow, this really relates to my situation right now – and subconsciously I’ll attach it to a specific person. I could then grow to hate that song, in the sense that it makes me feel sick / anxious / sad when I hear it because it makes me think of the person and that time in my life- I then can’t listen to it because it reminds me of them, even though it’s completely my own fault because I was the one who associated them with it in the first place – that person probably doesn’t even know the song exists.
The idea for this post came about because I took a jacket out of my wardrobe the other day that smelled of a certain perfume I used to wear when I was seeing this guy and instantly I felt sick and threw it in the wash. I then realised that I haven’t worn that specific perfume since because it fills me with so much anxiety and sadness that I can’t bear to wear it anymore, anytime I catch a whiff of it I feel sick. Is it the guy’s fault that I can’t wear my favourite perfume anymore? No, not really. Am I subconsciously in my head blaming him anyway though? Yeah.
I need to find the difference between avoiding things because they genuinely relate to something that happened in my life, and avoiding them because I myself have subconsciously associated them with things that I consider to be bad. For example, if I drove my car off a bridge (sorry to be dramatic) and a certain song was on the radio at that moment, chances are I wouldn’t be able to listen to it again afterwards because I’d be so traumatised from hearing it, on the other hand, if I was going through a breakup and a new TV series had started and I began watching it, I’d then class that series as a bad thing because every time I saw a clip of it or heard the theme tune I’d automatically think to myself, ‘that’s what I watched when I was going through my breakup’ and therefore, I probably wouldn’t be able to watch it again afterwards, meaning I’d ruined it for myself.
A lot of things have been ruined for me due to the latter and I was thinking to myself today…whose fault is it? Is it the other person’s? If I went on holiday and spent the whole time angry and sad because I’d fallen out with someone…is it their fault that my holiday was ruined? No, because I allowed it to happen. I allowed it to be ruined for myself, I was the one who went to bed early and spent the whole time miserable. Yes, I’d fallen out with someone, but they didn’t ruin my holiday – I allowed the feelings from that argument to stay with me for the duration of it, and that’s where I have to draw the line.
Take these 2 scenarios…
1). I wear a dress on a first date with my boyfriend of two years, he cheats on me with my best friend and we break up. Now I hate the dress because it’s significant – I wore it on our first ever date and can no longer bear to look at it as it reminds me of what he (and my best friend) did to me.
2). I wear a dress on a first date with a guy I was really into but we drifted and no longer speak anymore. I can’t wear the dress now because it makes me miss him which in turn, makes me sad.
I am the type of person that will always feel worse over scenario 2 than scenario 1, I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I’m nostalgic and emotional…but scenario 2 is the reason for things being ruined for me 99% of the time – and for what reason?
I think it’s because it’s not necessarily associated with a bad memory (rather a happy one) and so it just makes me sad, it makes me miss something I used to have, it reminds me of a time I wish I could go back to and therefore, I don’t want to be reminded of it. I think that’s why I find it so hard, but if I ruin things for myself every time I’m sad about something…I’ll end up with nothing that makes me happy anymore.
I even find it hard to drive past places that I used to drive past with other people, it makes me sad and I can’t look and therefore I’ve again, ruined it for myself. I’m a person that remembers absolutely everything and it’s exhausting when sometimes you wish you could forget. But for me, there’s no escaping it.
Is it my ex best friend’s fault if I can’t drive by our favourite place anymore because it reminds me of when we used to spend time there? If she ruined our friendship by sleeping with my boyfriend then probably, yes. She’s classed as a bad person in my life now so she’s ruined that memory for me. If she moved across the country and we drifted so we no longer speak anymore then no, probably not. I’ve done that myself – I’ve ruined that experience / memory for myself.
See the difference?
I get sad and anxious about a lot of things, and a good 80% of the time it’s because I personally have associated it with something that I think of as bad and so therefore, I’m ruining it for myself; it’s no one else’s fault but mine.
The world begins and ends when I say so; I need to stop allowing things to be ruined so easily just because my brain likes to associate them with things I’d rather not remember. You know that thing when you go through a breakup and then can’t even look at a water bottle without crying because you remember that time when your ex drank out of one 3 years ago.
Yeah, that’s me. I need to get over myself.
It actually gets to the point now where I’ll stay away from certain things that I love because I just think if I do this now, if I listen to this now, if I wear this now, if I share this with someone now…it could get ruined, and I don’t want that. I’m scared of embracing the things I love because I’m so fragile and know how easily I can ruin things for myself in the click of a finger. How crazy is that!
Note to self – Let bad memories be bad memories, if your boyfriend did cheat on you then go ahead and burn the damn dress, but if it reminds you of a guy you dated for 2 weeks that you no longer speak to anymore then keep it, wear it out again to replace the memory you associate it with. You love that dress Chlo, don’t ruin it for yourself. Of course, if it makes you feel better to still throw the dress out then do it. I’m all about doing whatever you need to in order to feel happy and okay again, but don’t let this be a rule for everything, stop ruining beautiful things for yourself, stop being scared to embrace the things you love because you know how easily you can ruin them. Change it. You decide whether you feel sad about it or not. You decide how you get to feel. Wear the dress, put on the perfume, listen to the song, drive by that place. If someone else hasn’t ruined it for you, don’t ruin it for yourself. Stop turning happy things into sad ones, stop associating it all with sad times in your life. They don’t have to be sad and neither do you.
“Stop thinking about everything so much. You’re breaking your own heart”.
All my love,