As a reaction to school yard bullies, there is a dark recess in my psyche where I can retreat if I’ve tried and failed all possibilities to make a relationship better.

The route goes a bit like this:

Enter one of the following cul-de-sacs, right off the intersection of Painful and Annoying Drives:

Oh, you don’t want to return my calls? You’ve stopped looking me in the eye? You won’t have a constructive conversation on how I’ve made a mistake, but you’ll tell everyone else? You’re convinced I’m trying to steal your boyfriend/thunder/power?

You take, yet when it comes to giving, you are only able to offer an excuse.

African map


Well. From here, you’ve got a few navigational options. You can ride your bike in circles around that nonsense and soak it all in, let it change your perspective on how the world works, and question your value.

Or, you can retreat.

Upon retreat, there are three options:

1. Go Forth and Multiply Street.

This involves a good bit of fist wagging and vulgarity. You never really feel better once you’ve headed down this path. In fact, your words often come back to bite you.

2. Try, Try Again Boulevard.

This requires forgiveness and the elusive ability to forget. However, this route only works if there is willingness from the other party — or the street loops you right back to the cul-de-sac of rage.

Instead, see option 3.

3. Apathy Ave.

Apathy Avenue is my least traveled path, but most helpful. It isn’t necessarily constructive, but it also isn’t circuitous. I’ve discovered it takes quite a bit of journeying to get to Apathy Ave, but once I’ve arrived — there is no turning around. Once I don’t care, I don’t care. There is no emotion to be stoked. No rage. No happiness. No sense of loss. Zero weight given to others’ opinions.

Just a profound, satisfying feeling of, “I don’t care,” within which is wound a tight ball of unwillingness to be hurt any further.