Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A "Meltdown," A Letter, and An Epiphany

I had a bit of an epiphany today.  It came in the form of a weird, noticeable sense of knowing, and with it came a feeling of relief and release.  Of course, it is a lesson I already know, and try to practice, and don’t always succeed most of the time.  So today’s…sensing is noteworthy.

If you’re on Facebook or Pinterest or anything like that, you notice all the photo memes that are posted and reposted.  There are very common themes in the “don’t waste your time on people who don’t want to be in your life” and “Let go” categories.  We all know these.  I know these.  And still I find myself struggling with them on some level, in some form or another.

THE “MELTDOWN”:  I made a new friend.  We had a great time for a while, texting every day, and then hanging out together.  One day I did not hear from him. And (I’m somewhat ashamed to say this) I sent one of those cliched, needy, stereo-typically female, “Why haven’t I heard from you?” letters.  I know, I know BIG mistake!  I have no defense other than it was just a bad day for me.  I had a special friend who died last October; and that particular day would have been significant for us.  We hung out, texted/talked every single day, and one day after a message that said, “It is not time to worry yet,” the texts and calls STOPPED.  He was gone exactly one week later.  Suffice to say I was a teensy bit emotional when I realized what day it was. (Ha!) I reacted.

The response to my letter came a day later.  It was simple, downright condescending, decisive and cutting.  Extremely well done, I have to say:

            “I did not respond right away because I was floored at your message.
It is unfortunate that a busy day at work for me equals a meltdown on your end.”
(Can we say “OUCH!”?)
Of course, my first reaction was to respond in kind, which I did. Immediately. Basically a short note, “I’m used to hearing from you daily. I’m sorry you can’t understand…” blah, blah, blah.   I was PISSED. Lol.  I admit I overreacted with the initial letter, but I was surprised to get such a harsh dismissal from someone I thought was a friend. And it was a dismissal.  I haven’t heard from him since, and it’s been a week.  I even sent a short “I am sorry. Can we talk?” text that has also been ignored. I’m sorry, but NOBODY is so busy they can’t respond to a text with a simple “yes” or “no” (even just a Y or an N).

Of course, you can all imagine now what I’m feeling.  I’m hurt.  Hurt that I obviously don’t matter enough to a supposed friend to be treated…like a human being.  And, I am angry.  In the “You’re so much better than me that only you can have a bad day?” and “Who the fuck do you think you are that you can treat people like that?” way.  I went back and forth (another Libra trait) between hurt and anger.  A little.

(To my girls: STOP LAUGHING!)

I realize that my letter to him was a reaction to my own baggage, and I’m assuming his (what I consider extreme) response was also some form of reaction to something in his own history.  Nobody’s that much of a prick, right? I have to believe that. I need to believe in the good in people.

THE LETTER: Two days ago I was in angry mode.  I wrote a very angry letter.  My way of saying “If you are walking out, let me slam the door behind you.”  It was a good letter, I thought.  And when I realized writing it out did not make me feel better, I contemplated sending it.  I consulted my Mastermind Group.  My girls, my support, my guidance, my friends.  I’m so very lucky to have them in my life. One of them said she wouldn't stop me from sending it.  So I asked her, are you not stopping me even though you think I’m an idiot and are just, as my friend, allowing me to be an idiot? (I love them all!)  Another actually called the letter hurtful. That actually gave me some pause.  My own feeling was that for it to be hurtful, I would have to matter, and if someone could cut me off that fast I obviously don’t.   Yes, it was a tad heavy on the sarcasm (!), but I did end it on a somewhat positive, “I don’t hate you” note; she said that was like cutting someone’s throat then handing them the towel to wipe up the blood.  She also said I would get an A+ in Snarky Speak (as an editor, she herself is no slouch with words; I have to say I was a little impressed with that praise!). She also asked if I really wanted to ‘put that feeling out there’.

I had already had doubts about sending it, anyway.  Her thought that it was hurtful stopped me from sending the letter…temporarily, anyway.  Give it a few more days, I thought, even if I didn't understand anyone needing that kind of time to respond to an alleged friend’s idiocy.

I wait a few days more.  Nothing.  And I wonder why I’m so angry and hurt.  I have so much more important things on my plate to worry about.  Was I just focusing on this to get my head out of the real life challenges?  It wasn't like we’d been best friends forever.  Obviously, it hit an insecure nerve in me.  Do I matter at all?  It also hit a pride nerve that I’m always surprised by when it rears its head.  I didn't deserve that condescension and dismissal.  No one does, on a first strike. I would never take that road first.

You know, I get that kind of angry when I’m driving and I see someone driving with the “I own the road” rudeness.  We’re not supposed to be like that. I try not to be, why don’t you?

I know I can’t control the actions of others; I know I can’t force someone to like me.  And still, the unfairness of all of it really gets to me.  It wasn't even like I initiated the friendship in the first place.

THE EPIPHANY: So now, still with no response or human acknowledgment, I feel another ‘letter’ coming on.  And during a two and a half hour drive, the words are forming in my head.  My friend’s comments about being hurtful in general and getting back what you put out are also sneaking in my thoughts, between the not-as-snarky-as-in-the-first-letter lines of my mental letter.  I was trying to be fair and not hurtful, yet not wanting to come across as ‘needy’ in any way.  And all of a sudden I got this intense feeling and clear realization that I was putting hurt and anger ‘out there’.  Because of something as silly as hurt feelings and pride.  The childish response of ‘I want you to know you hurt me, even if you don’t care.’  It was a very physical feeling of a weight being lifted off of me, and I realized that I really don’t want to put that kind of negativity out there, and that is exactly what I had been doing.  And that realization that I really don’t want to be hurtful in any way stopped the mental letter-writing dead.  And I felt good. And then none of it mattered.  It was a truly amazing feeling.

(I really wish these things would happen more often and a little sooner!)

There will be no letter.  There will be no more attempts at communication.  There are no more feelings of hurt and bruised pride.  I did have a great time, for as long as it lasted.  That really is enough.