Dose of Harsh Reality


 (Photo courtesy of depressionam.com)

Not feeling terribly good about myself tonight.

Several months back, the new wife of an old friend confided in me that things weren’t so hunky-dory in marriage land.  I told her that if we were going to talk about it, I would need to let him know we were communicating, which I did.  But I didn’t tell him what we were talking about or ask his side of things and that was wrong.  He feels betrayed, and I can’t blame him.  I’ve seen this guy at his best and at his worst.  I’ve been on the receiving end of both from him, but I didn’t give him a fair break and I didn’t question the authenticity of some of the things I was being told (which, it turns out, were not altogether accurate).

Suffice to say it blew up in my face.  First the new wife got mad at me and cut off all communication.  That, of course, has led to a rough time between this friend and me.  Today I sent him an apology.  I’m grateful that he was kind enough to write back right away.  We haven’t returned to our old relationship (and might never — thanks to me — which, if we don’t, will be all my fault and a source of deep regret), but at least we’re talking.

I’m embarrassed.  I’m regretful.  And I feel like an ass.  I’ve done a lot of soul-searching recently over why I did what I did when I did it and it’s not a pretty sight.  It’s no fun shining a bright light on some of the darker, uglier parts of my psyche.  Some of what I did has its basis in the past.  I know we don’t altogether ever “out grow” our past (I mean, it’s part of us forever, right?), but I need to work on not having such a knee-jerk reaction to things.  I need to not feel that I must be accepted and liked by everyone I meet.  I need to not try to be there for everyone who needs a shoulder.  I need to be able to offer sympathy (or even empathy), but let other people work out their own problems.  And I need to learn when to just back away gently.

As I told my friend, I am a work in progress.  Some days, the sculpture looks pretty good.  Today, I wouldn’t mind taking a hammer to it and starting all over again.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Anger, Betrayal, Challenge, Change, Essays, Melissa Crandall and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dose of Harsh Reality

  1. pam woolsey says:

    Melissa,
    Don’t be so hard on yourself! You were put in a no win situation,, sure things may be strained for a while, but a true friend will forgive! It starts with you… Forgive yourself and the rest will follow

    • Wise words, Pam. However, I have to own up to my share of the responsibility in this. Yes, I was not given entirely truthful “facts,” but I chose to put myself in that situation in the first place. I have to own my own shit, as it were.

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