Blog: Dealing With Hurt
(originally written 6/24/14)
Sunday afternoon, as I consorted with my daughter and cousins, someone knocked on my screen door.
The knocker: a twentysomething male with an ample plate of tasty-looking spaghetti in his grip. He was offering it free of charge.
Having never laid eyes on this man before, I politely refused and sent him on his way.
Though I've never personally had the privilege, some people like to welcome newcomers to their neighborhood by showing up at their door bearing grub. But those people traditionally smile, introduce themselves, extend a verbal welcome, and are generally pleasant. They don't just materialize, fail to identify themselves, blurt "Want some spaghetti?" in the manner of a coke dealer and then disappear into the shadows.
Or maybe I'm just old-fashioned.
Still, Spaghetti Man's visit carried upside—it served as a tailor-made opportunity to show my daughter how to handle strangers bearing gifts. Like many youngsters, Josie is a very trusting girl and I am simply trying to prepare her for the world at a young age. It's a world full of people who are not to be trusted—even if they seem really, really nice..
For me personally, trust doesn't come very easy.
I've been lied to a lot, even tricked. I've been let down too many times by too many people to count. I've had people completely misrepresent themselves to me, and not find out until much later who I was really dealing with. Excuse the wussiness, but...many of these experiences really hurt.
They played a role in sending me to the funny farm for eight days back in 2012. They affect me to this day.
I don't "let in" many people anymore. Almost none. With very few exceptions, my guard is locked in the "up" position—in relationships, in friendships, professionally.
I've disassociated with solid people over the years for no other reason than they seemed poised to "crack my exterior"—the risk of pain was not worth the potential reward of opening up, being the real me, letting the guard completely down.
Then Shannon—that's an alias; I don't think she'd appreciate me using her real name—came along. We met once a few years ago, didn't see each other for deep, then became fast friends when our paths finally crossed again. She was extremely nice to me, so obviously I didn't trust her. However, as the months passed we got closer and closer...hammering out a small chip in my exterior.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think I may have even developed feelings for her—something I thought I was no longer capable of. You know, trust, wall, blah blah blah.
Then she disappeared. Just quit speaking to me. No warning or explanation whatsoever. She was just gone, ignoring any attempt I made to contact her. For a time I even feared she'd been murdered, but that was quickly (and thankfully) disproved. After about a month of futile attempts at contact, I just gave up. Shannon stayed MIA. In time, I more or less forgot about her...until recently coming across a photo album in which she is still prominently displayed.
Everything came flooding back...including the mopes over losing her.
Over the weekend, I shared my mopey Shannon tale with some buddies—the first I'd told anyone about what happened. They urged me to try one last time at reconciliation. So I did, via e-mail. (She's not great with returning calls but she'll only miss an email/text if she's dead or in jail.)
Working not to sound pathetic or desperate yet needing to convey the void she left, I stated how I missed her and was sorry for whatever I did to chase her off (apologizing when I did nothing wrong—at least not intentionally/knowingly—goes against everything I stand for. Which gives you an idea how much she'd come to mean to me.) But if she didn't respond, I'd let her go once and for all.
Gotta let her go once and for all.
I've never been dumped—as alluded to, I've always ended things before the other party could—but I can't imagine it feeling much worse than this. I loved this person. I trusted this person. She'd become a very close friend. And she tossed me aside like an empty soda can for no reason I can identify.
The whole ordeal has saddled me with troubling thoughts, ranging from "Maybe if I just wait for her outside her work and talk to her" to "I'm gonna call her every day until she answers, damnit!" Fortunately, I'm no psycho stalker and those thoughts are only fleeting.
It sure does hurt, though.
I suppose the first thing I have to do is junk that photo album. Just gonna toss the whole thing cuz no emotional good can come from laying eyes on the (numerous) images of her inside. Which is a shame—there are pix of my trip to New York in that album. My group was pissed that day because Cooperstown wouldn't show up in the GPS. But I'm not here to talk about the past.
Whether I really did or said something that would warrant termination of our relationship and am just too dumb to realize it, or whether the gods are repaying me for all the relationships I've ended, or whether this girl was pulling a Skillz by hurting me before I could hurt her, or whether she is just a scumbag who never gave a damn about me at all—I'm gonna have to move on while accepting that I may never know the truth.
I've thought about what I would do if she just emerged out of the blue, genuinely remorseful for her actions (or more accurately, inaction) and wanting to reconnect. Would I listen? Would I forgive her, at the risk of being burned again?
I just might.
Then again, I might just dump a plate of spaghetti on her head...