DEAR AMY: First of all, I am a 15-year-old guy. Unfortunately, I lost my mother to cancer only six months ago. I tend to overthink things, and that’s why I’m writing to you. I am not sure whether I have a crush on this person at my school, or if I am just longing for someone to fill the empty space. But I think about her often, and look forward to seeing her during the day. What do you think?
DEAR UNSURE: I’m so sorry for your loss. You are too young to have to navigate through loss and grief, and yet — here it is. Life’s journey is full of sometimes very tough challenges, and this is the toughest.
I hope you have people in your world to talk to, but I’m honored that you brought your question to me. Expressing your feelings is a really good thing, even when you aren’t sure what your feelings are, or why you are having them.
I think that at your age and stage, and given what you are going through, it is natural to “overthink,” and pretty much live in your head, churning through scenarios on a loop. But overthinking can sometimes lead to a sort of paralysis, because you are thinking so much, you forget to actually act on your thoughts.
What you describe sounds like a real crush. Really, the purpose or function of this crush doesn’t matter. Are you experiencing it because you need to fill a void after your mother’s death? Possibly, but so what? This is a gift to you, because a few times a day, when you think about this girl or see her in the school hallway, your crush is pulling you toward life, and the healing powers of joy.
Enjoy these feelings to the fullest. I sincerely hope that this crush is mutual, but even if it isn’t, the crush itself is like a bud in the springtime, reminding you that — through good and bad times — life goes on, and there are moments of joy right around the corner.
Quoting one of my heroes, Joseph Campbell: “Life is a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts.” Another famous lesson from Campbell is, “Follow your bliss.” This crush is giving you moments of bliss, and I hope you will follow it and see where it takes you.
DEAR AMY: I have two old friends, “A” and “B.” A and B are very close; they don’t like a woman “C.” I’ve never had a problem with C. We all work together. Recently I invited A along to a social gathering. She couldn’t make it, so I invited C to come in her place. Now A and B are really mad at me. B sent me horrible texts, attacking me, saying that I’m unaware of things C has done, and threatening to not be friends. She cursed me out. My husband saw the texts, and so he sent B a text threatening that B should never speak to me that way again. I am sad and angry about the whole situation. We are all in our 50s, and they are acting like children bullying each other at recess. Now our work environment is tense. Can you please give me your take on this situation?
DEAR SOUP: First of all, your husband has not helped the situation. This is not his business, and threatening your friend and co-worker over a text exchange with you is not only unhelpful, but unwise.
You should draft a short email — from your home (not work) email account, telling A, B, and C that you are very sorry to have become embroiled in drama, but that your goal is to maintain friendships with everyone. Say, “I truly hope that we can at least maintain a professional attitude toward one another at work.”
Read your email several times, wait a few days (don’t share it with your husband), and if you feel it reflects your point of view, send it to their personal (not work) accounts.
This may cause a flare or skirmish, which you should ignore.
DEAR AMY: The letter from “So Distressed” distressed me greatly! She was actually considering marrying her violent and abusive ex, for the third time! Some people just never learn, I guess.
DEAR STUNNED: People who have been subjected to long-term, systematic abuse, lose their humanity and judgment over time. I’m glad “Distressed” wrote to me, and I hope she gained strength from my answer.