It’s the new year and I’m back to wondering what the hell is going on with me or the people around me. I guess some things don’t (and shouldn’t?) change.
First, there’s some history. Over the last few weeks, I have gotten feedback that I’m overreacting to things, taking them too personally, sometimes even to the extent of friends wondering if I’m secretly crushing on the object of my ire. It was pissing me off because in the process of psychoanalyzing “why” I’m saying something, “what” I was saying was getting lost in communication.
The things I was overreacting to? Just everyday stuff.
Kosta and I and a few other people had made plans to watch a film together. Despite trying to get the few people to commit to a time and a place, it wasn’t working out thanks to everyone’s crazy schedules. The only thing that kept getting cemented stronger, in the face of all our failed attempts (and the fact that by now most other people had already seen the film and weren’t keen to do it again), was that we would see the film together.
And then Kosta went and saw the film alone. He didn’t tell any of us that he had. And when I wanted to make another plan for the same film, he said he wasn’t available – because of work or some such. Now here’s the thing that pissed me off. If I hadn’t found out – from another friend – that he had already seen the film, I would have continued to shelve my plans because I’d have waited for him to be a part of the group.
So the twin-pronged issue was that not only was watching the film more important for him than watching it with me and others, but also the fact that I’d kept my plans on hold meant little to him. As he said, “You’re just pissed because I didn’t give this one plan as much importance as you did.” Yes, that’s exactly right. If someone I consider a friend doesn’t give me as much importance as I give him, then there’s an unflattering readjustment required in the friendship equation. And that’s annoying because it makes me feel stupid about over-committing to a relationship.
Then there was Alex whom the last time I communicated with was at a weird yet fun evening with another friend, Tee. We were all playing mini-snooker and, amidst drinks and laughter, decided to ruin each others’ games by using all possible tricks of distraction. One time, things got a little out of hand and Tee crossed a line (or so I thought) and tried to kiss me. The reason that was strange was because we were just friends, he was married and everyone knew about my weird limbo-relationship with Alex.
In any case, when I backed off and asked Alex, “Tee just tried to kiss me. Should I be worried?” Alex said, “Well, you were trying to make him horny right?” And just like that, I became – not his friend, not his weird-relationship-girl, not the person who needed to be reassured but ‘the girl who asked for it.’
That really hurt. Over the next two weeks, I silently pulled back from him after letting him know that he had said something unforgivable. In the two months since, he hasn’t asked me even once why I’ve disappeared from his life or if there's something that can be done to fix things. He has asked our common friends a few times, to the extent that they’re trying to patch things up between us (like in junior high) – but never once has he attempted to breach the wall. And I’m pissed off about that. I’m pissed that he hasn’t had the balls to ask me a question the answer to which he may not like, but may save a friendship. I’m pissed that he picked passivity over actively fighting for me. And when I discovered that he had “unfriended” me on Facebook, I was pissed (and really amused) to discover that he was in fact a 12 year old girl living inside a 40 year old body.(As for Tee, he and I had a grown-up conversation about that evening. Turns out that I was probably mistaken and that it was never his intention to strange me out and that he was sorry if he had. He even added me on Facebook. Yay.)
Then there was Aztec, the boy-turned-man with whom I've been friends for the better part of six years. During this time, I've gotten to know him as a sensitive person whose personality has been tempered by facing gruesome life realities at a very young age. Dealing with a chronic weight problem, watching his father die, living with a mom who's an extremely accomplished thespian have had an impact. After a recent brief and confused period of transition between us, where we both grappled with the "Could we be lovers?" question and came up empty, things have fortunately gone back to normal.
Except for one detail.
Every now and then, I find him to be unnecessarily sarcastic or patronizing to me. It's usually among others, even among friends, and often unprovoked. The other day, he went on about how people (some of them are my friends) are offering him unpaid jobs and how he goes for meetings and spends hours with them knowing that nothing is going to come of it. He was extremely irritable about it and I told him to just say no, and to certainly not factor in my friendships with these people into his decisions. His response: "Right, and you know everything right? Why don't you tell me what this is really about."
Erm... I thought I just did..
And amidst all the nonsense with friends, I have a showdown with Mom at the end of a week-long holiday. The crux of the issue? I recently discovered that she is a control freak who tries to control how I behave by emotionally blackmailing me with the possibility that she will have hurt feelings. Okay, I get it.. all mothers do that. It's a required lesson in the mom handbook. But the thing is - because I see this happening, I have developed a strange immunity to it. Earlier when she would burst into tears while yelling at me for some reason, my heart would break and I would be determined to do anything that prevents tears. Today, I see it as something she does whenever she is faced with a direct emotional confrontation. And boom! the hold of emotional blackmail hold gone.
But now, given that I'm bored by the tears and wait for her to finish (10 seconds) before I continue with my point, my mother's next strategy is to dismiss everything I'm saying because "You're being so immature!" or "you're clearly dealing with a lot of unresolved issues and taking it out on me" or "what is all this really about?"
And I feel like screaming, "Can't you hear me? I'm telling you what this is all about!" I'm exhausted.
I'm tired of dealing with grown-ups who think that being adult means they have to be right. I'm tired of armchair psychoanalysts who believe they've read / heard / seen enough to deal with the "real problem" and how my spoken words are merely a foil for deeper issues. And I'm particularly tired of friends taking those calls because it's disrespectful, patronizing and reveals more lack of trust in the fact that I could really be an adult who does know what she wants. They're better than that and it's disappointing when they don't act it.
But right now, I want a hug from someone who gets it... and isn't trying to repair me.