“You used to be special.”
That’s what he said to me.
He went on to explain: “You used to be a singer. You used to sing every weekend.
“Then you wrote a book. You were obsessed with that book. You even got good responses from editors and agents. And then you gave up.
“You used to be special, and now you’re just…”
My brain immediately finished that thought. Now, I’m just nothing.
And I could form no response, because it was the truth. I was nothing. I’d stopped collecting accomplishments that might validate my pathetic existence.
In terms of reasons someone can give you to explain why they don’t want to be with you any longer, ‘You used to be special’ bites in a very specific spot: your sense of self. It’s not even really an insult to your pride, it doesn’t smear your reputation or attack your character.
Instead, it preys on the fact that you can never truly see yourself as others do. And that perhaps the person who has seen you at your worst and at your best is simply telling you what others don’t have the courage to.
You used to be special.
The complete obliteration of self-worth in five words.
The reason this still causes my brow to twitch when I think about it is that I dislike the idea that we’re all special little snowflakes. We’re not. Trust me, I know a few snowflakes who should’ve melted when they hit the ground. There are a tonne of freakish things that make me different, but we’re all kinda freaky in the comfort of our own blanket forts.
There is a theory that you can choose the way you want to feel, and reverse engineer your goals from there. And this makes perfect sense to me.
Special is useless. When I get up and greet the day, I don’t make plans to feel special. I want to know what I can do today to experience joy. To feel connected and authentic. To be kind. To be inspired and inspiring. To be vibrant, enthusiastic, curious and open-minded.
To love. To feel loved.
To be grateful that I now can see that I’m much more than special.