Dear Someone: Doggone It, People! Like Me!

Dear Walker,

My ex and I have a lot in common. We both live in the same town, we’re both musicians, we both share some of the same friends… But unfortunately he is really not a fan of mine. On his newest album, there is a song about me (which is actually a very good song) and it’s certainly not the nicest. It actually really bothers me that he thinks those things about me, because to my knowledge, I haven’t done anything that merits that kind of hating.

And the strange thing is, he’s a very nice guy. Very friendly, personable, kind, and a very talented musician. He was a great boyfriend when we were dating. But now, because of his really not liking me and the mean song on his album, people are convinced that I’m a terrible person. Some of his friends posted mean things on my Facebook, and I can’t go to some of my favorite venues to play because his friends run them.

I know I really shouldn’t give a fuck, but I do. I can’t stand it when people are mad at me, especially when I’m not even sure why. I was not a terrible girlfriend. I baked him a birthday cake and got him tickets to see his favorite band. I was struggling with depression, which got worse, and I wasn’t very into our relationship anymore. We hadn’t been dating very long when I realized I was still not over another guy that I dated, and that it wouldn’t be fair to him to continue with the relationship. I was completely honest with him. I asked if we could be friends, and meant it, because he’s a cool guy. He wasn’t a fan of that idea.

Now, a year later, I really wish we could just start acting like adults and be friends, or at least somewhat polite. I’m really not sure what to do. How do I convince my ex and his friends/followers that I am, in fact, not the devil? I’m afraid it’s going to hurt my music career. I mean, Jesus Christ, why can’t everyone just get along.

Sincerely,

Ex of male T Swift

pup

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Dear Ex of Taylor Swift,

Are you familiar with the Lucinda Williams song, “Metal Firecracker” from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road? On multiple occasions over the last 16 years, hearing this song at the right time has caused me to ugly cry in my car to the delight of drivers all over the United States (and France, summer 2008!)

It’s not just the lead guitar line, Steve Earle’s harmony, or the perfect structural utility that makes it so effective, but how purely she expresses heartache without any rancor and bitterness. We never find out what happened exactly. We never get a good sense of how long ago it happened. All we know is that they had a relationship and now they don’t and all she wants is that he not tell everybody all her secrets. Here’s the kicker: You can make requests of your exes but they’re under no obligation to fulfill them. THATS WHY THE SONG IS SO FUCKING SAD. Her request is modest but this motherfucker might already be out there telling everyone about her past, her fears, her insecurities. It might be why she wrote the damn thing. It’s one of the saddest songs I know. (Honorable Mention: Dolly Parton- “I Will Always Love You,” Willie Nelson- “Last Thing I Needed The First Thing This Morning,” Violeta Parra- “Gracias a la Vida,” Jacques Brel- “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” Badfinger- “I Can’t Live If Living Is Without You.”) I’ve purposefully not linked these songs so I don’t ruin your chances of having a good day.

The hardest part of breaking up is how the person is suddenly not in your circle of trust anymore. How this person whom you shared yourself and part of your life with is slowly turning into a stranger. When you’re the one doing the breaking, it is your decision and the onus is always on you to be the bigger person. You’ve established the new boundary so respect it.

While your ex-boyfriend sounds like the kind of guy I would start talking to in a bar and then lie to and say I was going to smoke a cigarette so I wouldn’t have to waste time with him anymore, he doesn’t have to be your friend. You’re only fueling his bitterness when you try and force your friendship. You did him a service by being completely forthcoming when you dumped him. If he can’t handle it after months then that is on him.

I understand how hard it is to let people hate you. Christ, it takes a lifetime to perfect, but do not waste your time trying to make people like you who do not. The second most important group of people to not waste time on is people who dislike you on behalf of their friends.

This is a superficial and base form of affection. How can you have a deep relationship with someone who’s still throwing sand at the playground?

Truly, it’s the work of a lifetime to be okay with others not liking you. You said yourself that you know you shouldn’t care. Now, you’re learning how hard it is.

As Dylan hath told us “dont look back.” It will get you nowhere but wrapped up in your head. You made a good decision to break up with him. Now follow through on it. I recently learned this is part of a famous Satchel Paige quote “dont look back something might be gaining on you.” When you start wishing that your ex was your friend, visualize a powerful tornado following you that if regarded for too long will pick you and dump you somewhere in the past that you can’t change but which smells like a pile of fermenting trash juice. Dont look back.

I wanted to make you a playlist of triumphant jams. I crowd-sourced answers for you using social media. Only one person gave a jam that I would consider actually triumphant, but all the responders were so enthusiastic that I’ve compiled them into the beast you will see below. I would like to note that I almost only put “I’m bossy” by Kelis and “gotta be” by Des’ree. Be well and write good songs:

-W

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