Friday, February 14, 2014

Dear Person Who Made Me Feel Bad About Myself Today:

Hi there.

I hope you’re happy. I hope in your quest to ruin whatever hard-won equilibrium I’d obtained was satisfying, that it made you feel good.

I wonder if you sensed my discomfort during our conversation, if you knew I was on the brink of cracking. I wonder if you cared.

This was supposed to be a pleasant first meeting, an introduction. We were supposed to get to know each other, to examine our history and goals in search of common ground as we forge ahead together.

You were not supposed to come at my neck with your rapid-fire style, pinging from one subject to the next, heedless of my answers. You were not supposed to sit there unsmiling, your narrowed eyes finding me lacking with each unsatisfactory reply.

We were supposed to be allies, comrades on the same side.

Now I don’t know if I trust you, wondering if I can learn to like you.

Even now, hearing your voice grates on my nerves as I spill my soul onto this page. I want you to go away, to pack up your condescending cart of unfulfilled expectations, and hit the bricks.

I want you to know what you did.

But to do that, I would have to acknowledge how deeply your words hurt. And to do that, I would have to ignore some difficult truths.

To wit, I should probably pause to admit my current emotional state isn’t entirely your fault. Were I satisfied with my progress in your area of inquiry, your reaction would not have bothered me. I cannot blame you for my preexisting guilt, for my secret shame for dropping the ball and being fresh out of hands with which to pick it up.

I suppose I could use your query as a friendly reminder to move this issue to the top of my to-do list. Were I inclined, I might solicit your help in the matter, considering you a resource and partner as I tackle it. And maybe, just maybe I should view your questions as proof of concern not criticism.

And truly, I know you lack the power to “make me” feel bad about myself. No matter what you said or did, if I feel bad about myself, that is totally on me.

But that doesn't let you off the hook completely .

Or does it?

I mean, what does it say about me if my self-esteem can be dashed by someone saying or doing the wrong thing? Can I really consider myself a fully actualized woman if the world controls my mood and self-perception? Does requiring such delicate handling from everyone around me make me an adult or an adolescent.

Hmmm.

Perhaps this post needs a new title.

Dear Person Who Made Me Examine Myself Today:

Thank you.

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