When the Last Word Becomes Unnecessary

Vanessa Torre

It’s no longer a comfort. Closure is our own making.

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Sometimes, I have a touch of an attitude problem. I can get a little mouthy. If I’ve been hurt, it’s hard to keep that in check. Fortunately, the wisdom of a few years trained me well in thinking before speaking. At this point in my life, it’s become barely thinking and not even remotely speaking.

I used to have such a heavy need for the last word. Always. I’m a talker. I figured if there was something to say, by God, I was going to say it.

My need for the last word was not steeped in power or control but more the need to understand and be understood. Those needs frequently required being granted an audience to be heard.

I write about a lot of women’s issues and the comments that show up on my articles can make the mind reel. When they first started coming in, I felt compelled to respond to them. All of them. I either felt misunderstood or flat-out attacked. Feeding this demon only makes it bigger.

After a few months of circling around and around arguing with people in my comments section, I ran out of steam. It wasn’t good for my mental health. What’s more, it never got anyone anywhere. I never changed someone’s mind or felt more understood. I just felt worn out and foolish.

I realized this applied to other areas of my life, as well. Many times, I’ve had more conversation than was necessary when I should have simply walked away.

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Dating taught me to handle rejection gracefully and with a grain of salt. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s as simple as that. Someone making that determination for themselves is not an act of aggression against me. It’s someone exercising their preference. It has no bearing on me as a person.

Three of the last four dates I went on resulted in the guy texting me and me realizing nothing was going to be going any further. One guy took a promotion and would not be relocating to my city after all. Another had his position eliminated and was going to move to Texas. Another just didn’t think there was that certain spark.

I had words. I had a lot of words. I don’t buy that in the span of 72 hours a guy lost his job and acquired a brand new one and was now two states over. I can’t even remove my clothes from the dryer in 72 hours. Let’s be real.

Part of me really wanted to call him out on it. Part of me was curious. Part of me just wanted to play along and ask questions. In the end, the part of me that won out was the one that didn’t care about it beyond those 30 seconds.

The only response he got was, “Okay, thanks for letting me know. Best of luck.” I hit send. I deleted the message and then deleted the contact. Done.

Certainly, there have been a few times that rejection has stung. I’ve wanted to lash out. Hell, I have lashed out. It’s a childish but understandable response to being hurt. That hasn’t served me well. I end up looking like an angry crazy person.

Having the last word has never once helped me to feel better about the situation I’m in or the argument I’ve having. It’s not on the shoulders of someone else to give us any kind of closure or peace of mind. We have to find that ourselves.

There is a great peace I find in just letting go and walking away. Saying nothing is the relief. It’s required self-acceptance and self-discipline but I feel far calmer about conflict and hurtful situations than I ever have. I find solace in letting my silence speak for me.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ
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