Bad Goodbyes

Did you ever notice the pattern that usually surrounds goodbyes when you are the one leaving?  The days building up to leaving are usually hectic due to packing or organizing for whatever reason you are leaving such as a new job, new house, new country or just a long trip.  So the goodbyes always sneak up on you because you haven’t actually stopped to think about how the change will affect you and your relationships to those you are leaving behind.

Today was my last day at the campus I teach at as I am transferring to a new campus closer to the city center and it definitely snuck up on me.  I’ve been so busy with packing my apartment and finishing up my classes (and a last minute change of schedule which is oh so common in Korean business practices) that all the sudden it was my last day, my last hour with the students and co-workers that I had spent the last year with.  I never had time to reflect on how much I’ll miss them.  Some of my co-workers I was close to and I know I will see them again, but the students I’m sure I will not see and I had no idea how attached I had become to some of them.  But in the moments of goodbye, I chickened out.  I always do.  I run from goodbyes.

My fear of the unstoppable emotions that happen with goodbyes goes way back.  I remember when I was about 8 years old, I was living in Florida and we had a lot of loved ones come to visit us.  Somehow I developed the habit that every time I went to the airport to drop another set of relatives and friends off, I had to take my orange sipper, which looks like this:

For some reason, when I had one of these with me and I sucked on it, much like a pacifier I suppose (I never realized how much like a pacifier it was until now!…wow, that’s sad), it would prevent me from crying.  Suppress the urge, suppress the emotions.  23 years later, I still wish I could bring them along for all my goodbyes.

I think the fear of goodbyes comes from the fear of not being able to stop crying.  I mean it’s not as hard when you know you’ll see the person again, but when you know you won’t and that chapter of your life with them is now over…I just can’t handle it.  So I brush it off, smile, laugh, make awkward statements and run like hell.  😀

Please try to control your urge to be proud of me, I know it’s hard.

Not to mention once you start to cry the person you are crying over wants you to stop crying before they leave, which only makes it worse.  It’s like the children getting dropped off at kindergarten.  They keep crying until the mother is finally out of sight, then once she’s gone, they can put it aside and focus on something else.  My ex-boyfriend did that to me once when he was going back to his country.  He wouldn’t leave until I stopped crying and I wouldn’t stop crying until he left.  It was a looonnnggg night.

I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get over this fear of really letting myself be emotional in goodbyes.  I move often and I will tell you it doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you do it.

On that note, saying goodbye to one of my favorite endearing students today reminded me of a Carlos Vives song that was one of my first favorite songs of his called Carito.  For those who don’t know it, it’s basically about a man reflecting on the bond he had with his English teacher and how sad he was when she left.  I loved this song long before I became an English teacher, but I always wanted to have students who missed me that much.  It’s a cute song.

May all your goodbyes be good ones…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1cruzdelsur
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 20:58:24

    Letras muy emotivas. Las despedidas tienen un sabor amargo, algunas más, ya muchas veces sabemos que con esa persona amiga que dejamos pasará mucho tiempo hasta que la volvamos a ver…
    Buen post…, aprecio que eres una persona con muchos sentimientos, eso es bueno¡


  2. Trackback: When you say goodbye to kids « Digital Ballpen

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