Old Socks, Second Chances

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As of late, a series of unrelated events have brought me to think about second chances. To give, or not to give?

Clearly, you don’t go looking for happiness in the same place you lost it. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Albert Einstein). I mean, fool me once…

I want to be the bigger person. I want to believe in the good of others. But simply put, there are people for whom I would never ever (cue Taylor Swift) consider giving another chance to. My stalker sociopathic ex is a prime example of this. The one labelled as “The Asshole” in my phone and possibly a future topic of this column.

It’s a shame to say, but the core of certain someones will never truly change, let alone improve. And soon as you accept this reality, hesitation is easy to chuck and not looking back is just as easily done than said. Sayo-fucking-nara.

However, life ain’t a one-size-fits-all deal and the same principles don’t always apply to every situation. Relationships are, within themselves, an amalgamation of nuances in contexts and histories. As such, there are glitches in the matrix of Never Agains. Some people can indeed change for the better.

I, for one, was a handful back in my youth. I could’ve turned into another statistic. But I pulled my shit together, with time and accrued wisdom (and a couple of prayers from a concerned father). Today, I can look at myself in the mirror and honestly say, “Hell yeah, I’d totally be friends with me.”

Acknowledging our own self-betterment means we can’t ignore the possibility of it occurring for others as well. There are some instances in which you shouldn’t write off someone’s integrity permanently. We need to weight all the variables; give credit where credit is due. But how do we differentiate the exceptions to the rule amongst a bag of bad apples?

As everything else in life, little is truly black and white. It usually requires several trials and errors before having a sure-fire answer. Which is why some people come back knocking, and others are willing to open the door to them again.

We can also find ourselves in states of perpetually holding the door ajar. We like to keep our options open, regardless of whether we need them to be. Let’s admit it: we’re greedy assholes sometimes.

Second chances. You can say yes, maybe to banish the what ifs. Or you can say no, as the responsible choice or maybe as to diffuse the responsibility in case round two fucks up.

So how do you handle a blast from the past with a second (chance) agenda? Same you would an old pair of socks.

We all end up with that ONE pair of socks that never stays together, amirite? Always one missing. And what do you do? You keep the loyal one aside until the other one shows up, of course. Stick it in some dark corner of your underwear drawer. It’ll turn up eventually, probably in the next load of laundry.

And you forget about it for a while until, one day, you finally stumble upon that missing other half. The pair can be reunited at last! But wait. Now you can’t seem to locate the other one, the OG that stayed behind. Ye faithful is no longer where you thought you last left it.

Two lovers that constantly have bad timing; always ending up at the right place, just never at the same time.

After consolidating the factors behind the relationship that wasn’t meant to be the first time around, is a second chance truly viable? It’s certainly possible to let go of negativity and gravitate toward a more positive dynamic, but you can’t un-know every single intertwining thought and reservation you’ve ended up establishing about the never-before-succeeded relationship.

Unlike dirty garments, you can’t wash people clean of their shortcomings at the push of a button. It takes times, words, and the actions that back up these words, to prove that things have indeed changed (and for the better).

And after washing those socks, will they feel just as good as you last remember slipping them on? Fabric softener can only do so much. Maybe you’ll find you’ve outgrown them.

I would imagine that chemistry between two people changes on some level. Physically, emotionally, or a bit of both. Even if chemistry is present, how are you certain it’s built on true desire and not simply on familiarity?

Nobody fixes the holes in their socks anyways. Easier to just toss em’ and go to Simons to buy new ones. It’s the age-old Tupperware conundrum: we measure the benefits of tossing over the cost of replacement.

At the end of the day, should someone deserve a second chance, it should be within the context where he or she takes initiative in coming forth to make things right, and not where you have to run after them offering the option of a do-over. You don’t need to give them a map; they should already know where to go.

That said, if you’re in a situation where we’re talking about 3rd, 4th or 5th chances… Bro, I can’t help you there. But you need to start helping yourself a little better.

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