There was this boy. His name was Alan.
I really liked him. He was smart and cute and a genuinely sweet person. We went to the same school and often were paired near each other because our last names both began with the same letter.
I liked Alan a lot, but, being nervous, I didn’t know how to show it. So instead I was competitive with him, always trying to out quiz, out test, top him in whatever way I could (academically).
Then, one day, we got our quizzes or tests back, each person called to the front to pick up their piece of paper. As I walked back to my seat, my seat right behind Alan, I saw he had scored a 92 whereas I had scored a 93.
“Ha! Beat you!”
I quickly shoved the piece of paper in front of his face and pulled it back. I smiled, sitting behind him.
That day, during break, a teacher approached me. She asked me to never speak to Alan in that way again. She was, indeed, speaking to me on his behalf. He’d spoken with her about how much that moment, and other moments I can’t (or rather don’t want to) recall upset him.
We barely, if ever, spoke after that.
I was devastated. Not only did this boy, who I really liked, not want to speak to me, I had actually hurt him.
I was eleven.
Now, the incident:
I have a friend; we’ll call them Bic.
I like Bic, a lot. We’ve hung out quite a bit, but not lately because of our jobs. Both of us have been incredibly busy, to the point that Bic had to cancel on me twice, and I have to schedule a week in advance. So, I’ve been peeved.
Bic randomly texted me this past Friday, and we chatted briefly over text before I asked if I could see them prior to my leaving to attend to Dirty Things. Once again, no good. Bic had plans with a another friend that evening.
And then this happened:
Me: I’ve decided to stop worrying about/editing what I say to you.
Bic: Its a shame you felt like you ever had to.
– Um yeah… “It’s a shame” (fixed your typo) is a condescending phrase. Please reframe [sic] from using it in reference to me.
* Wow. Sounds good. Enjoy your night.
– I like you, and I don’t want to be hurt by you, so please be nice.
* Are you kidding me? Me be nice? I’m being condescending? Fixing my typos? We are clearly on different pages at the moment.
– I know you didn’t mean to be, but it felt like you were talking down to me. Since I don’t want to be hurt by you, and I know you don’t want to hurt me, I thought I should speak up. You’ve used that phrase before and it stung then, too, but I didn’t say anything. (And my fixing your typo was a bit bitchy; I’ll own that.)
About seven hours later…
– Sorry I was bitchy earlier. I was… frustrated, and took it out on you. For that I apologize.
So… yeah… That happened.
When I like someone, and I don’t get what I want, be it small or large, occasionally I get miffed, and my inner 12 yr old boy comes out.
I lash out, feeling completely justified at the moment, but then incredibly sorrowful later, after I’ve realized what I’ve done. I apologize, and we move on…hopefully, assuming I don’t lash out so badly whomever is in my cross hairs has not been so offended or hurt that they don’t want to talk to me again.
I still feel bad about what I did to Alan, and it’s been eighteen years.
The last time I remember this happening, before Friday, was when I was a freshman in college, going out with friends on a Saturday night to play pool. My best friend invited a few guys along, one of which was absolutely gorgeous. Like disarmingly beautiful. Quiet, but engaging.
As I drove him home, with two others chatting in my back seat, he inquired about my music. I was playing Maroon 5 (judge me as you will), and he said it sounded nice.
I don’t remember why, but I lashed out, saying something to the effect of, “Do you actually like this? Cause I don’t want to talk about it if you’re not actually interested.”
Yup. I said that. Did it then, and did it again.
Not five minutes after I opened my mouth, I knew I had fucked up. This awesome guy had shown an interest in me, and I blew it.
With Bic, we are friends. I’m open to us being more than that, but life is getting in the way, stoking the fires of my inner 12 yr old.
I’m wondering when, or if, I’ll ever grow out of this. Maybe, someday, I’ll learn to not snap because I happen to be in a crappy mood and don’t get what I want from a person I like.
And, hopefully, it’s sometime soon, before I, you know… lash out at anyone else I like.
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