(Sorry Italians, the following might include parts that could be tough to read for you and I apologize in advance.)
I remember being a kid, and like a lot of others I’m sure I was told not to leave anything on my plate. Pizza was a special treat we didn’t have too often, and I remember this one time we were in a restaurant with my mother and my brothers. I got ordered a grown-up pizza that time and was really proud of it. Mind you, I was still a toddler of sorts back then – no way capable of eating it all (…so wish that would still be the case…).
So I ate the outer crust first and slowly made my way to the center only to realize there is no way I could eat that. I was full. I remember it because my mum made fun of it; how sad it was I had started from the outer parts and had to give up before getting into the really good part. Sure, maybe not the most traumatic of a childhood event but something I still remember even today.
And here’s why you are hearing about it now! I started from the outer parts because that’s what I was told to do. That’s what everyone else was doing as well. But! I hate the outer crust. I cannot stand it, it is sooooo dry, has no flavor unless it’s been partly burned in which case it just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, and it’s a waste of stomach space; space I could use for something that actually makes me happy – like the warm, welcoming, center of the pizza.
Took me a long time to understand it was ok to start from the center and eat the outer parts last, or even leave them completely untouched. What a life-changing moment that was!
And here’s how it relates to people! See, some people are just like the outer crust of a pizza, aren’t they? You tolerate and deal with them because you think you have to. Because others do it too. Because the society expects you to. But here’s the thing: If they take up your mental space, if they bore you to death with their dryness or leave a bad taste in your mouth with their assholiness, if they take up your energy and resources away and prevent you from focusing on something you actually love and want to focus on, then; fuck them. Say no, block them, ghost them, walk away.
And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t fall into the trap of what is socially acceptable and what is not. Don’t force yourself to deal with people you don’t want to, especially if there is no real reason why you should, like a matter of life and death, or the end of Italian civilization. And it’s not about you being an asshole (as long as you aren’t), it’s about you respecting your own mental health and boundaries. It’s about you focusing on and leaving space for the warm and welcoming people in your life; the ones that make you happy.