You Really Don't Wanna Be Chill
On the train the other week, Samantha said something to me that's been on my mind since. 'You're so chill' Chill. It's a funny word. A word that's been used to describe me quite a lot in the past few years. I find this hilarious because I know that contrary to popular belief I am deeply, fundamentally and inarguably unchill. Ask my family.
From a young age, I've been obsessive about everything I've wanted. "Infuriatingly stubborn" was what mum would say. If I want to follow that diet I will learn to cook and ingore everyone's advice until I successfully eat well. If I want to finish that essay, I won’t eat, sleep, socialize or leave my room until it’s completed in exactly the way I wanted it. And if I want to get to know that person, I will go after them mercilessly, using whichever social tactics are available to me.. I have no chill about what I want. I only have chill about the things that I don’t want.
And I firmly believe that we are all this way, to varying degrees.
Some people are a little more neurotic than others. Some are neurotic about most things, whereas others (like myself) are just neurotic about chosen things. But here is what I know for sure: Everyone’s unchill when they want something.
I'm chill about some things – where I live, what I wear, my plans for the day. But other things I'm very unchill about. I’m not chill about school. Or money. Or the future or the people who I love and am loved by. If real emotion is invested, I care deeply. Introduce me to someone who excites me and my chill goes out the window. It’s this way for all of us, whether we want to believe it or not.
And perhaps that is the exact truth we all seem to be failing to acknowledge.
When someone you care about - whether it's someone you consider a friend or your significant other -is treating you in an entirely ‘chill’ fashion – texting back sporadically, giving off an air of indifference, speaking to you one day and then ignoring you the next, this is probably not the product of a society that forces us to act chill. This is also not a product of the person being an entirely laid-back human being. More likely than not, it is the product of them just not being that into you. We are most chill about the things that we don’t care if we lose – it occasionally hurts to understand this, but it’s true.
When someone really likes somebody else, they have no chill. Our most basic evolutionary instincts ensure this. We are physiologically aroused by the people we’re attracted to and every part of our nature compels us to pursue them – regardless of our gender or sex. We don’t forget to answer their text messages. We don’t bail on our hangouts last-minute. We don’t fail to initiate times to see them because we’re just too chill to do so. We do all of those things when we don’t care. And if we did care, we’d do something different.
If someone really likes you – and I mean really, genuinely likes you – they won’t be chill. And they won’t want you to be chill either. They’ll want you to answer your messages. To say you’re free when you genuinely are. To show up when you say you’ll show up and to admit to how you’re actually feeling. When someone actually thinks you’re the bee’s knees, they won’t want you to take two hours to answer your text messages. They won’t want you to pretend that you’re busier and more important and less invested in them than you actually are because they’ll want your reality, not your shiny, public persona. They’ll want the all of you – every last, unchill bit.
The truth about feigning ‘chill’ is that as soon as you feel like you have to do so, you’re already fighting a losing battle. Anyone who wants you to be a less invested, more laid-back version of yourself is someone who just doesn't care that much about you. And is that really the kind of person you want to go after?
I'm guessing it’s not. I'm guessing you've been dealing with ‘chill’ people for so long that you've forgotten altogether what it is like to be with someone who cares.
So here’s your reminder:
When someone gives cares, they will not want you to be chill. They’ll want your nerves. They’ll want your energy. They’ll want your text messages and your attention and your presence. They’ll want you right there next to them, with your senses all heightened and alert.
Because the truth is, the words ‘chill’ and ‘indifferent’ are entirely interchangeable in our society. And having to tone yourself down, scale yourself back and limit what you truly want in order to fit between the lines of someone else’s indifference is never a burden that you should be placing on yourself.
I never really want to be chill. I want to be alive and feeling and dreaming and I want to go back to being so obsessed about something that it's all I think about for weeks.