I had a tough night last night, full of ugly crying and “friends” who, despite my requests for them to stop, kept mocking me. For the record, this was over how I pronounced “poutine” (in the correct French-Canadian accent), which is stupid. But it was only accentuated by everything else I’m going through, which they are also aware of. I have a zero tolerance for stuff like this, especially when I’m vocal about the fact I’m not enjoying their “jokes.” On top of it all though, I got accused of being “too sensitive” about the whole situation.
First of all, let me be clear. I don’t mind jokes at my expense but when I don’t, I make it clear that today is not the day for it, and I expect the behavior to stop. When it doesn’t, I get angry.
Second, I think it’s important that I have feelings, which is where this “sensitivity” thing comes in. I don’t think it’s a fault to be a person sensitive to others intentions. Last night it became less a light-hearted interaction and more a malicious, virulent and poisonous one as it went on.
The worst part for me was that I had already ordered food, I was at another friend’s poetry reading (which I didn’t get to enjoy because I left) and I just wanted to enjoy a night out. So I had to actually sit there and listen to them continue while I waited for my food. Eventually I quietly asked the server if I could just have everything boxed up and to settle my tab. He had witnessed the exchange too and obviously felt bad – the feeling was written on his face – but said nothing, only “no problem, I’ll get that taken care of for you.” Before I left, my friend who was doing the reading ran up and asked me, “is everything okay?” I was already starting to cry and just wanted to get out of there, so all I could manage to get out was “I just need to go.” It was so brusque and hasty and inward, a burden of unknown circumstances she ended up shouldering simply because I couldn’t bring myself to elaborate. And still haven’t been able to.
I received a text as I was walking home from one of the people who were mocking me. “We love you. Sorry if we were annoying. The night is still young, please come back.” I was so angry I didn’t want to go into detail texting her back, so I simply said, “nope, I’m done.”
I brought my food home and stuck it in the fridge and then headed out for a walk. Mostly I just ended up on the steps of the statehouse, where I sat and stared out onto the empty lawn. Earbuds in, music on full volume, I watched the odd car pass down the street below as I thought about the situation carefully. Had I just taken it the wrong way? As I thought about it more and more, I realized that I had a justifiable right to be mad. If I had said nothing, I wouldn’t have a right. I expect people to be perceptive but not perfect. Because I had vocalized my feelings and they went on, ignoring my requests to stop, I felt like they had violated an unspoken contract of friendship- that you will respect that person. That you will respect their needs.
I’m not a perfect person by any means, but I have enough self worth and self respect to realize that I also at least deserve respect from others. And when I don’t receive that, I feel like that contract of friendship has been breached. After a few hours, I sent her another text.
“I’m sorry I’m not willing to sacrifice my self worth for your entertainment.”
I can only do what’s right for me. My current circumstances have made that glaringly obvious. And maybe in different circumstances, I would have been okay with the jokes. Maybe if I wasn’t already dealing with a bunch of other stuff, I would have had an easier time of brushing it off. Last night it all came together in a wild, corrosive experience that left me feeling incredibly unworthy of love. If someone makes me feel like that, I have a hard time forgiving them.
But for now, I’ll just keep mulling it over.
love was a country we couldn’t defend.
gregory alan isakov