In eighth grade, I had an unrequited crush on a girl. I had talked with her a few times and knew she had no interest in me. I'd also seen her having lots of flirtatious fun with another guy. Then she wound up dating someone one of my closest friends out of nowhere.
One night all this was weighing on me, and I almost found myself crying in bed over it. I stopped myself a second beforehand and felt horrified. I asked myself, is some girl who barely knows me seriously bringing me to tears like this? Am I letting something beat me down this badly? I didn't want these feelings of despair to crush me that easily.
Since that night, I never get that upset over that girl again. I still had a crush on her, but I never shed a single tear or lost a minute of my time despairing over her. I wasn't going to roll over and give up because of her, even if my feelings still made me feel miserable at times. Eventually I got over her and realized, as tough as it was, I was able to get through it.
Even as an adult, I've never forgotten that night that I almost cried. It was the first time I realized I was tearing myself apart over parts of life that were unfair and impossible to control, and I saw how pointless that was. No matter how terrible I felt, the world wouldn't change itself for me. I could be as victimized or entitled as I wanted, but the only outcome would be worse feelings and wasted time.
With the pandemic getting worse than ever, I've been thinking about that night more than usual. Instead of nearly losing myself over some girl, I'm almost losing myself over a shattering outside world. Even if it's for a different reason, I'm on the verge of losing to that despair again.
But once again, I'm not losing without a fight. I'll only lose after I've done anything I can to claw my way out of it.
Whether it's a girl or a pandemic, the pain and bitterness of losing aren't as bad as the pain and bitterness of rolling over and giving up.