The voice of a ghost singing words a quarter-century old recently pushed me to make a difficult decision.
Okay, I suppose that’s explaining it in an overdramatic way. Let me back up and explain. A couple weeks ago, Irish musician Dolores O’Riordan died unexpectedly. Ms. O’Riordan was best known for being the lead vocalist of the band The Cranberries, who had three big hits in my late teens. At least that was my extent of Cranberries knowledge over the years. (I should point out, though, that as friends started posting Cranberries music on social media as tributes to Ms. O’Riordan, I found a couple more of their songs that I recognized.) They weren’t one of my favorites back then; I was mostly neutral toward their music. I always liked the song “Dreams,” although I don’t think I ever knew the title until maybe five years ago when I was expanding my collection of 90s music for making retro gaming playlists. I had completely forgotten about “Zombie” from some time in the 90s until seeing someone perform it at a karaoke bar in 2015, but that is a good one too. The third song of theirs that I remember, however, was definitely my least favorite of the three, and ironically, those are the quarter-century-old words that I’m writing about today.
I hate trying to interpret song lyrics, because I was always bad at interpreting poems in high school English class. But the way I’m reading this one seems pretty straightforward: the narrator has been treated badly by a significant other, but her feelings for him still linger.
So what does that have to do with me? I may not have been treated badly, or treated others badly, in the specific ways described in the song lyrics, but I understand that sense of feelings lingering from both sides. And I did something about one side this week: specifically, the point of view of the other character in the song, not the narrator. I called someone I met on Christian Mingle and told her that I just didn’t feel like we were clicking. It’s hard for me to do that, because I often can’t pinpoint a specific reason for it. She didn’t do anything wrong, but I just didn’t really feel like she was someone I could see myself spending my life with. And I didn’t want her to have to feel like she was wasting her time with me. And as much as that hurts on both sides, I think that’s better than pretending to make something happen when I know I’m not feeling it and stretching the heartbreak out over several months. (This makes me think I should link to another relevant song here, this one not having any direct Cranberries connections, but it does use the word “linger” in the same context – by the way, I saw this band live for the third time last week, they didn’t play this song but it was an AMAZING SHOW!!!)
I’m wondering if there are other lingering issues I need to deal with (double meaning, issues related to old feelings lingering… lingering issues of lingering, if you will). In this case, I’m more like the other perspective of the song, the narrator dealing with her lingering feelings for someone who doesn’t care for her in return. In particular, I have a lot of people I’m still in social media contact with whom I’m not sure if I should be in contact with anymore. Some of these are people I knew in the past who mostly just post angry political and/or anti-Christian stuff that I don’t agree with. Some of these are people whom I’ve had various issues or hurtful experiences with in the past. Some of them are acquaintances from certain social circles who are just arrogant jerks. Most of the people in question here I have at least unfollowed on Facebook, so I don’t have to think about them any more than necessary, but that begs the question, what purpose would it serve to unfriend them completely? If I don’t see these people anymore in real life, and I have things set such that I don’t see their posts on social media, is it necessary to take any more steps?
It might be. It might help me find closure in my mind and put a stop to the lingering (there’s that word again) issues once and for all. But, as I’ve said before, maybe I’m overthinking social media here, but I find it hard to cut people off like that. If you are my Facebook friend, that means there was a time when I wanted you in my life, and it’s hard to let go of the hope that we’ll never be close again. But maybe it’s necessary to let go of that. There are people that I once hoped to be close with, but realized that I didn’t want to after all once I saw what they were really like. And there were people I was once close with, but then they changed, and my hope is that I might once again someday be close with who they were before, not with who they are now.
So I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for how to deal with these situations. But it’s something I should be thinking and praying about. I need to take care of myself, and it isn’t healthy to let people linger in my life who are causing more harm than good and probably won’t change.