Last month, I was chatting with a friend (N from this post) on Instagram. I said to him, “I wish you’d talk more.” I wanted to be able to talk more, something which is getting rarer these days because N is extremely busy.
His response? “You can wish for it. No one says it’s going to happen.”
Owww. If my emotional state had been strong enough, I’d have responded, “And no one is saying it’s not going to happen.” But immediately I burst into tears. All throughout the day there had been this nagging feeling eating away at me; I don’t know what it was or why it was there. I had tried to calm it down by playing the violin and cross-stitching and drawing–didn’t work. I’d thought talking to a friend would help, and instead I ended up a sobbing mess.
Now, I don’t want you to think that N is a mean person. He’s a good guy, and I knew at the time that he didn’t intend for it to come out that way. Later I learned that N was not himself when he said that because he was running a high fever. But I couldn’t help crying. It continued till the next day, midmorning. That day N apologized to me, and I happily forgave him.
Some days afterward, it was I who unintentionally hurt N. I won’t go into how that happened, but I could tell because when I said sorry, he would not respond.
“I’m sorry,” I said for maybe the sixth time sometime later.
I took this as another way of saying that N was still quite angry and he had not forgiven me. It was the second time I had hurt a valuable friend very badly, only this time it took days longer to be forgiven. It was the worst experience of my life–even worse than actually getting hurt. The following day, N told me that even though he was still mad, he didn’t hate me. Knowing that somewhat relieved me, but not very much. The situation eased out considerably the day after that, and I do not think N is upset with me anymore.
But as a result of these two situations, I’m terrified that no one actually wants to talk to me and everyone is secretly against me. I know it’s not true, but many times I feel tempted to hack into the phones/accounts of people close to me so I can see if they are talking badly behind my back. N reminded me, “That’s a federal crime and you could go to jail for that.” Which, of course, will isolate me further, so I’m not going to do that. Why does the fear remain? I suppose it is because most of the conversations I have in person are not very emotionally satisfying; not more meaningful than small talk. I was nicknamed Martin Luther King Jr. by my friends because I keep saying to them, “I had a dream.” However, this statement is not made in the context of working towards a goal for a better society (which MLK illustrates in his famous speech). It’s more of this: “I had this crazy dream in which Donald Trump became president and issued an order to start making Tiger Balm ointment from the extract of circus tiger cubs who lived on an outrageous mixture of crushed marijuana leaves and heroin and cocaine.” Funny stuff, yes, but not very deep. I wish I could have more meaningful talks in person like before.
I also worry that I’ll hurt someone close to me again and this time I’ll lose the person as a friend. Fortunately the people I have badly hurt are still my friends. I think that if this happens another time I won’t be as lucky.
As I said before, I want someone to talk to in person. Actually, now I know that there are many people to talk to. My platonic life partner, my sister-by-choice, etc. But because of my fear of hurting someone close to me, I am steadily getting more and more afraid I will say something that will hurt them. I have two fears, both of which are essentially of being lonely, and in these fears I’ve only become lonely myself.