“Arguments stain me.”
“Relationships that do not end peacefully… do not end… at all.”
— Merrit Malloy
You know that feeling you get when the words that are coming out of your mouth (or fingertips) are absolutely the ones you want to use because you are certain they will carry your intended and true meaning to the person waiting at the ready to hear/read them… yet you are also aware — with just as much certainty — that no matter which words you use to convey your message, there is the very real possibility that they could be completely misunderstood/
misheard/misinterpreted by the person listening to/reading them as soon as they come out?
This is what my day has been like today.
And I cannot win in this scenario.
Ask anyone who knows me what I just said, and they will tell you exactly what I just said. They may laugh. They may roll their eyes. They may smile and say, “OMG… you are such a dork!” And, within that instant, I will know and be satisfied that they have interpreted every syllable correctly, the way it was intended to be taken. They won’t be offended. And it may not even register in their heads as information that should be retained for more than three seconds. All will still be right with the world. No doom and/or gloom in sight.
But ask someone who hasn’t known me for long (or, at least, doesn’t know me well) how they feel about what I just dared myself to say to them and, regretfully, my meaning becomes (unconsciously perhaps) entirely altered; they run it through whatever language/emotion/communication filtration system they have in their heads — and the system skews and rejects it. Right then and there, I lose. Immediately. And permanently. Because they filter it into a place where (I’m guessing) they see me as being absolutely out of my mind — despite the fact that five milliseconds earlier we were looking at life together through a happy, shared, similar lens.
And the only reason why I can imagine that even happens is because, somewhere along the line, they knew and experienced someone who was out of their mind… and I have managed to inadvertently remind them of that person. And now, even if I’m just still the same old me and not the crazy person… I will, henceforth, be forever considered crazy.
It’s scary. And sad. And makes me think twice about where they got their filtration system… and whether or not it’s worth taking a chance on them understanding me some other day. :-\ [I would like to think that all personal communication filtration systems (including my own) are worthy of, and open to, receiving a tune-up now and then.]
But… I get it. I do. I’m not blaming the listener/reader for not understanding me. I know what it’s like to get something entirely wrong… to be put off by something I don’t understand… to elicit a response I wasn’t expecting from someone… to have someone look directly at me and say one thing and mean another — on purpose, not even because I was personally filtering it into a weird place, but because their intention was to manipulate me.
I know what it’s like to have someone spread rumors about me and how challenging it can be to rise above them. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of feelings or thoughts or experiences that I don’t want to receive or feel or think about or experience — because they’re simply coming from (or being shared by) the wrong person. I know what it’s like to be rejected because I’m the wrong person.
I know what it’s like to completely lose faith and trust and hope in someone. I know what it’s like to blame someone for something they didn’t do — and to be blamed for something I didn’t do. I know what it’s like to sneak out the back door to avoid someone who’s coming in the front. I also know what it’s like to go looking for that person just to catch a glimpse of them to remember why I wanted to avoid them in the first place, or to finally stop avoiding them and face them with forgiveness and understanding.
I know what it’s like to turn someone down even though their intentions are good, knowing there was a time when I thought I wanted them. I know what it’s like for that same person to retaliate by taking you apart piece by piece, just because they didn’t get their way and they don’t care about you enough to just let it go.
And, admittedly, I have even sent certain people out of my life on purpose because I couldn’t figure out how to keep them in my life. In fact, I couldn’t figure out if they even wanted to be in my life, or what role they wanted to play. (Being an “all or nothing” kind of girl, this creates a bit of discomfort for me — especially if I care for someone who doesn’t care for me.)
So instead of us just staring blankly at each other for all of Time, I let them go. I release them from my orbit… because:
When I hold onto someone, it’s forever, and deep and meaningful to me.
And I know that’s too much for some people.
So I let them go. I send them away. Or I turn my back and walk in another direction. And leave my heart behind.
[Yeah… I know. 😉 I’m working on fixing this character flaw. Still… at some point, I suppose I had hoped someone would put me out of my misery (of their own accord) and say, “Umm, hello… I would love to be held forever, deeply and meaningfully by you!” 🙂 ]
And I do know what it’s like not to want to hear or read what I’m hearing or reading. ‘Cause then I will actually have to filter it… and possibly confront it… or deal with it… or be “weirded out” by it — or I simply won’t know what to do with it at all. So I will throw it as far away from me as possible. Even though no harm was ever meant. And no expectations were ever expected.
I understand. Completely.
And I do realize, now that the damage is done, that I shouldn’t have said what I said to someone who doesn’t know me well enough to understand my meaning within the span of three seconds… for the simple reason that they haven’t had 365 days x multiple years’ worth of interactions with me to filter my language through. That was my mistake. And it was huge. And damaging. And I’m sorry about it. (If I could take it back, I would… and rethink it… and replace the destructive negative with a cheerful positive. But what is done is done.)
What I forgot at the time, is that they haven’t spent enough time with me. So they see me the way they want to see me — perhaps the way their worst fears about me must have looked to them from afar the day we first met (for example, from across a crowded room). And they hear me the way they want to hear me because I can’t possibly be heard any other way — they are using their own ears after all, not mine. And they react accordingly.
It’s just the way things are. And, again…
I understand. Completely.
I just wish it wasn’t so.
And I’m not even allowed to wish this.
“… now I know how Joan of Arc felt as the flames rose to her Roman nose and her hearing aid started to melt.”
But… I refuse to go through life being afraid of telling someone how I feel about them, unless I have bad feelings or no feelings at all. You don’t have to like me, understand me or reciprocate my feelings. But… if you ask me to tell you what I want from you, I will — and I will have only one answer for you… (the truth).
I have hopes and dreams and desires just like everyone else. I don’t always express them. Or, if I do, my timing may be completely off. But that doesn’t make what I feel illegitimate or illicit. It only seems to make it part of my history, instead of part of my future.
I lost a friend today, and it is heartbreaking… because I’ve lost him before, on more than one occasion. And I miss him every time.
Semi-Related Reading: He loves me, he loves me not. Uhh… I think.
Good night and sweet dreams to all. 🙂