24 October 2013

Too Hard to Know

When I was 18, I was an open book.

Literally anything you could think to ask me I would answer truthfully.  I was flattered that anyone might take an interest in little ol' me.  I was na├»ve, careless to a fault, physical, and flirtatious.  I was...well I was happy.  Completely fucked in the head, but I spent my days and my interactions with a grin on my face.

Then a number of people told me they couldn't care less what I had to say.  I had too many problems, or too much to say, or maybe the subject matter was just unimportant.  I was given a piece of their minds.  I was told to give it a rest, to stop being an idiot, to let the big kids talk.  I was told, "What now?" whenever I said hello.  I was given, over and over, the intentional impression that it was time to shut up and let someone else speak.

So, because my attention to what the people around me want is obsessive, I stopped talking about me.  Not all at once.  Not overnight.  Not just from a couple of regrettable interactions.  But eventually I got the picture.

Words still come out of my mouth, but I am most comfortable when I am getting you to talk about YOU.  There's no way I can mess that up, come off as offensive, say too much, or regret anything.  Plus, it helps people - everyone loves to talk about themselves.  I do best when I am listening.  I hope I make people feel comfortable in sharing.

For that, I've been called manipulative, closed off, mistrusting.  I've been called a bad friend because I don't share enough.

I can't win for losing.

I don't know where the line is.  I have never seen this line.  I just know that I am so focused on making other people feel comfortable that I will spend an entire conversation fretting over when I should throw in a relatable anecdote, if I should let it continue to be just about them, if I am nodding my head too much, and fearing, with an overwhelming, all-consuming terror, that they will ask about me.  I will spend a whole discussion steering away from me.  I will spend EVERY discussion steering away from me.

It's a skill, I'm telling you.  I have had four hour long conversations in which I did not say a damn thing that was on my mind.

Because this is the double standard I live by:

Anything you want to share with me, you can.  Nothing is too weird.  If you want to talk, I'm here.
My business is my business and no one else's - nobody needs to know it.

Maybe it's the people I have selected to confide in over the years.  The people who wanted to use me to get off and would hear anything I had to say as a prerequisite.  I don't do that to people.  I don't listen with the end goal being to use and leave them.  I couldn't.  But the people I've told everything to took those secrets and ran, just as soon as they had what they came for.

Maybe it's just the way I operate.  Maybe after so many years of hurt and struggle to get where I am now, I grew too thick a shell, I overcompensated.

I'm not sure what it is.

The only person I do tell everything to, the only one I am comfortable with telling the ins and outs of my skull, is my husband.  Imagine my heartbreak when he doesn't want to hear it.  When he calls me crazy, stupid, or a cunt.  Can you feel it?

This is the lesson to be learned.

I cannot have friends.  Nobody wants me.  I am broken in a big way, and it is too much for anyone to handle, whether I keep it to myself or share.

In the words of my husband - it's me.  Eventually, I piss everyone off.

I would give anything for a normal, boring life with normal, boring friends and normal, boring conversations.  I would move planets to get that.  I want it with my entire heart.

For now, I'll just be quiet, in this quiet room, with no one but me in it.  For one more night.