I know I can tell myself it’s just a thought and all thoughts are delusions so they don’t mean anything and all that shit, but the truth is words hurt. And sometimes they are permanently damaging. All grown-ups know that.
Everyone knows what they say to someone is powerful: words can be blamed for eating disorders, substance abuse and suicide.
All adults know words can hurt, but some adults still want to hurt me.
And I’m not over-reacting when I say I will not be the same person because of those comments.
You give your number out like confetti. You want to be loved too much. You’re just trying to fill a void…
And then one other “piece of advice”: “Just always be yourself, Raquel.” If he meant it ironically, it didn’t come off that way. And it was hard to take Terry seriously telling me to “be myself” when he had just spent the last fifteen minutes tearing me apart for being who I was.
I love you, I thought. Doesn’t that count for anything?
“Why aren’t you showing me any empathy?” I choked back tears (a few minutes later I would break down and ball, Terry still on the line, emotionless).
“I just don’t have any empathy for anyone,” he replied.
“I don’t have any empathy or compassion left.”
And then, “If I could just offer you one last piece of advice: don’t ever second guess yourself.”
“That’s rich,” I said. “Coming from someone who just finished saying he doesn’t have any empathy or compassion for anything or anyone.”
“Oh, ok, well I have empathy and compassion for my family, but that’s it.”
And it was as if he’d slapped me – I wasn’t part of his family. Just like that, I was kicked out of his inner circle and for no rational reason.
That’s when I balled.
“It’s just time to move on,” he said coldly. “Goodbye.”
“Ok,” I said meekly. “I love you.”
He got angry: “Raquel, this is no time to say that – what are you doing?”
This was the one thing he could not tell me to do.
“I’m allowed to love whoever I want, Terry.”
“Ok,” he relented, still angry. “Bye.”
Terry is wrong – you shouldn’t always just be yourself. And you’re cutting people short if you expect them to always be themselves. Sometimes you need to be bigger than yourself.
I take good care of all my personalities: Public Persona, Fearless, Crazy, etc. I vacuum seal them so they don’t yellow and I space them 1 inch apart on the rack – because you never know when you’re going to need one of them, sometimes at a moment’s notice.
If I was only ever Myself, I could never rise to the occasion. How would I ever heal from this or other traumatic experiences? I need to dig into my closet and pull out Courage from time to time in order to survive.
I know Terry won’t apologize for what he said. But I need an apology to move on, like he suggested. So I, donned in Courage, am going to apologize for him:
“I am so sorry, Raquel. I know I was mean – and I can’t offer any excuse for that,” Terry says sincerely in my head. “It wasn’t fair. Whatever I was going through, I had no right to assault you with my words. I wanted to make you feel small. I wanted to win. I wanted to prove to you – and to me – how strong I was to make you break down. And that was an awful, low thing to do. And I regret it. I feel terrible. I feel shitty about how I won my space from you. The shittiest part about it is it’s actually really lonely. It’s a lonely place proving to everyone how strong you are. I’m not ready to quit being lonely – and your openness makes me angry. It makes me so angry, Raquel, I hate you. But please know, I don’t hate you. I just see the parts of me I hate reflected off you. God, that’s messed up. Why can’t I love how much you care about me? Why can’t I love period? I am so, so, so sorry. If I could love you without hating me, I would. Believe me, I would. I’m so sorry I need to be alone. I am sorry.”