It's time for me to tell my side of the story of this past week and weekend. But before I do, let me just fill you in on some things I've learned about listening from school and my work.
Be quiet. When you immediately jump into a conversation in which someone is trying to talk things out and give your infinite fountain of advice and knowledge, you come off as insensitive to the issue, and are basically telling the other person that they are not worth your valuable time. You are telling them to grow up, get fixed, and move on so they no longer have to deal with your issues.
When listening to problems my friends have or even the kids I work with, I don't say a word for a while. At least I try not to. I listen to what they're saying. I also listen to what they're communicating through body language or tone of voice.
Along with listening comes asking questions. Asking questions shows that you are indeed interested in what they are trying to say. Ask questions to get at deeper roots of the issues or to clarify confusion in your mind. It shows that you are invested in their well-being.
Now then, here is my story.
This week has been hard for me. It's been a very emotional week. I began my weekend really hoping that seeing my friends would help me feel better. I kicked it off by hanging out with a gay friend from work. We simply watched a movie and snuggled. It felt good to be close to someone again.
Then we went to a pizza party. At first I really didn't want to be there. And that feeling was confirmed by someone who in a failed attempt to get my attention and flirt with me, decided to make fun of me. I felt like I was back in elementary school.
The party continued with me feeling like I just didn't fit in until one of my best friends showed up. For the rest of the night, I stayed by her side and felt my mood lift. She loves me no matter what and has stayed by my side through a lot.
Then it was time to go home. My mood dropped again once I left the comfort of my dear friends. I felt alone.
The next day I had a date. It was wonderful and he was a perfect gentlemen. We toured Salt Lake City, had intelligent conversations, giggled at seeing cute boys, and shared personal stories to get to know one another.
So the date was perfect. Until he went home. After he left I received a text saying, "well I had a great time until reality set in." Um...what? Oh right, the reality he was referring to is the fact that I don't want a relationship. Now I had made that point clear before we met for our date. But I guess our date confused him.
The general conclusion of the conversation that followed is that I am a player and that I'm stupid for not wanting a relationship. He then told me we could only be friends from afar for a while. I did my best to explain that I never meant to hurt him and apologized profusely. But, he wasn't going to change his mind. End of story.
So I turned to my friends for comfort. Then the crap hit the fan. Now, this is what I feel like my friends told me. Actual reality and my perception of reality tend to separate when I'm upset.
Most of my friends didn't listen. They said I'm sorry and that was the end of our conversation. There were two who did what I said in the beginning not to do, they through their infinite knowledge in my face hoping something would stick. It's incredibly irritating when people assume what's worked for them is right for me.
One friend told me he wished he had never gotten physically involved with me. Um...ouch? Ya, major blow to my self-esteem. He also told me that every guy I've basically ever come in contact with feels played by me--they would die for me, and all I want to do is use them and move on.
Then came another friend who also has infinite knowledge and wisdom. He told me the way I build relationships is stupid. He let me know that I will forever be alone at the rate I'm going. My biggest fear = always being alone.
At this point I was numb. I couldn't feel anything anymore. I was planning on going to another party with this friend #2 but really didn't feel like going after that lovely little message.
I went with a friend who came up from Provo to keep me company. I was in tears the whole way there and was absolutely silent the entire night. Loved the whisperings going on around me instead of people just asking me what was wrong. Ya, that's good times.
I finally got to leave the party. Friend #2 felt like a total jackass for what he said to me earlier and wanted to talk with me today. I told him straight up to leave me alone and stop pretending like he cared. He did so.
There was only one friend who kept talking to me during this whole process. This was friend #1 who told me I use everyone. He was having a rough day too and while attempting to warn me in an effort to save me from more heartache, I felt like he attacked me on an incredibly personal level.
We talked a lot this morning. I told him that I feel like I'm trapped on an abusive relationship. I don't know how to open myself up on an emotional level and I use being physical as a way to feel important and loved. If I am wanted for my physical looks and features, I feel good about myself. Twisted, I know.
We also decided that most guys I hang out with are ready for a relationship and when I'm physical with them, they get confused as to why I'd do that when I claim I'm not ready.
So, I still don't know how to open myself up emotionally. I am committed to my friends. But I have a hard time believing that they are committed to me. I have too many walls up to believe that they would want me as messed up as I am.
It is a defense mechanism for me to take things in an attacking fashion. It's easier to maintain my belief that I can't ever be loved than for me to start to believe people may actually care for me. In my mind, it's better to expect the worst than to hope just a little for something better and have those hopes dashed to pieces. And the latter has happened to me far too many times.
I really don't know what else to say. I want to be understood. I want to feel loved for just me instead of people wanting to fix me first, and once I fulfill their expectations, then they'll be happy with me.
I am going to try to be more open to emotional intimacy with my friends. Right now I have no idea how to do that but I'm hoping as time passes, it will simply naturally evolve.
To those who I feel have personally attacked me, I hope you understand more of my thought processes now as to why I assumed it was an attack. I am sorry for my automatic reactions.
Thank you to those who keep trying. Hopefully I can make you happy with me one day. That day is not today. I hope it will be soon.