So yesterday’s post provoked a wee reaction.
Girls reached out to me: “Men and their double standards” followed by “but can you blame him?” Guys reached out to me: “That is just how men are wired. Sucks. But you can’t blame him.”
Y’all. Never said I blamed Beaut. Just said I was dismayed and saddened by what I perceived to be a flattening of his regard from me: going from a fully dimensional, complex person to a simple product of my sexual conquests or lack thereof. Did I blame him? No. I just regretted observing what I deemed to be an inevitable reaction from him.
He called me last night, getting straight to the point: “I just read your blog post. Woman, you seriously believe I think less of you because back in the day, you slept with Flingster?” Yes, yes I do – you said those words in my blog post, you did. “Yes, of course I did, but then we talked and we were good, no?” Not really.
“But when you say that things have changed? What has changed? What makes you say that?” A bunch of little things, an accumulated impression.
“Woman, didn’t I speak to you on the phone earlier today, and things were normal?” Umm, I guess.
“Woman, don’t I text you almost every day?” Well, yes. “And I warned you that I am busier now, not glued to my phone anymore?” Yes, yes you did.
“Didn’t I invite you to join me to the movies on Thursday, and YOU turned ME down because YOU were busy?” Yes, you did. “But if I invited you, that means I wanted to see you, right?” Umm, yes.
“So, explain to me then. Why do you think I think less of you? What part of my behavior has changed?”
You know when you try put into words a gut feeling, and you hear your words and they sound bat-shit crazy? I tried. I gave it my best shot.
Your texts are hellos – there isn’t any substance anymore, like there used to be. If I don’t ask point-blank questions, you don’t offer anything. You stopped sharing anything of yourself. Some of my texts go unanswered – I hate being the double texter, but I do it anyhow. I tried talking to you this morning about my insecurities but you were stuck in a basement with no reception, and a crazy echo, and I was in a public area, embarrassed to be shouting into my phone, and every sentence spoken needed to be repeated, because I couldn’t hear you clearly. Then you had to go, and I didn’t hear from you all day. Yes, you invited me to the movies, but honestly, it sounded like a last minute after-thought, and sitting side by side in a movie theatre isn’t exactly how a strong friendship is sustained.
Just kidding. I didn’t manage to be half as articulate, too busy choking on my crazy sounding insecurities, embarrassed that my paranoid brain had spiralled out of control. All I could manage was:
I get what you are saying, but I really felt a decrease in your attention. I might be paranoid, I get it, I acknowledge that the evidence to justify my feelings is weak, but my feelings were real.
Then, “Ok, well if writing it made you feel better, that’s good. But can we agree – this is all in your head?!”
Most of me agreed. Part of me, though, wondered if that isn’t what a perfect manipulator would do – make the girl doubt herself, and feel crazy. Then I felt very ashamed, because Beaut has never been anything less than honest and straight-forward with me; a standup friend. But my paranoid brain reminded me that a smooth guy would make me believe that: the art of lying is to make the other person believe what they want to believe. Maybe he just likes having me hanging around, to boost his self-esteem, and he doesn’t actually care about me like I’d like to believe he does? Its plausible.
My normal brain agreed with Beaut because from a practical standpoint, now that I have shown just how ugly my paranoid anxiety and insecurities can make me, only a true friend would stick around. So really, this will sort itself out eventually – either he will be around, or he won’t. My normal brain bets he will, my paranoid brain is practicing saying it told me so.
We moved onto other topics, with Beaut telling me a dating breakup saga of one his girlfriends, and concluding with regret, “It must suck to be a woman.” Why? “Because women all seem to be crazy during breakups. I’ve been involved in and heard of too many stories where a normal sane girl loses her grip on reality and turns into a psycho. I can’t continue to believe that these were all isolated incidents. I think women are predisposed to be nuts.”
Y’all, I tried to restrain myself, to physically push the words back into my mouth, but I couldn’t stop myself. I asked him if he included me in that class of crazy women.
He wisely responded that nope, of course not.
My normal brain viewed his answer as proof he is a good friend. My paranoid brain concluded he was obviously was lying since we’d just had an entire conversation about how I imagined the end of our friendship – aka crazy talk – so therefore he must be lying about everything. My normal brain said good night, and I passed out, exhausted from all this emotional ping-pong.
I’m aware this is a semi-funny anecdote. And I am aware that I just exhibited the most stereotypical female behaviour EVER. But most of me is freaked out at how loose my grip on rational reality is. Just because I am aware of the tricks my brain plays on me doesn’t mean I am capable of preventing them. I get caught up, am miserable, and helpless to stop the self-inflicted misery. It is even more uncool that sometimes, like this time, my paranoia impacts other people, subjecting them to this unnecessary drama.
Part of me thinks my therapist was wrong, and nope, I don’t yet understand how to navigate the adult world on my own.