Skip to main content

There's a gap in between

So I was a dick last night and actually hadn't meant to be, for once. 

So my friend posted a video from his birthday in which his dad playfully wished him happy birthday with a little sign. Super cute, really; I frankly loved it. But in teasing about how the sign revealed my friend's age, I may have referred to his father as "dis bitch".

Read "may have" as "did".

My friend brought this faux pas to my attention with a graceful and simple and unaccusing assertiveness; realizing my bad, I immediately owned it and apologized for it in what may have been my most mature and honest apologies ever. He forgave me, and all should be well.

But I'm still very mad at myself. My head is all a jumble over this. I'm pretty angry with myself, and I'm angry for being angry with myself. I can't seem to let it go and move on. And I'm mad at myself for a bunch of reasons and in a bunch of ways. Trying to sort those out and find an honest, sober appraisal of it all, and maybe even learn something important from this, has proved just as frustrating.

I'll try to break down what's running through my head, maybe even sort them thematically into groups. As I said, my head is a jumble over this, so likely this post is going to read pretty rough. I feel bad, both for the particulars of this situation and for the broader implications and lessons I still need to learn.

I don't know all the details, though ultimately they're arguably irrelevant as my concern boils down to unhealthful things like people pleasing and such. I don't know if my friend's dad or family saw my comment and were outraged or offended; I don't know if I created some awkward situation for my friend; I don't know if my friend caught it and performed immediate and admirable damage control (ie, deleted the comment) before it went further. But does that really matter? I mean, as a people pleaser, I'm terrified of people not liking me or even, gasp!, being mad at me. And though these are strangers, it still worries me. A devil's advocate here might argue that as they're strangers their feelings shouldn't matter to me, but that seems rather harsh and rude.

I think that that is precisely a matter of boundaries, my great social nemesis, which is at the heart of all this anyway, I think we'll see.

I'm also worried by this because I adore this kid. I think he's a great, sweet guy, and a good friend, though I hardly see enough of him. So of course I'm worried my frustration with myself is just more people pleasing--that I feel bad less because what I did may have been wrong than that my friend may be mad at me for it. That doesn't feel terribly healthy either.

One thing that really bugs me is how obviously stupid I was and am. Who the fuck calls a stranger, nevermind their friend's father, "dis bitch"--and moreover in a comment on a family gathering/event/birthday/whatever? Like, what I said is bad enough on its own but the situation exacerbates how idiotic and rude it was. And, of course, beside the boundaries I shat on in making that comment, my guilt is itself evidently part of further issues with boundaries and other issues.

Part of me thinks all of this is silly; part of me is petrified. Part of me thinks I shouldn't feel bad at all, argues some bullshit about freedom of speech or being true to myself or some such drivel. Part of me is afraid if I'm still fouling up with boundaries like this that I'll never learn, that I'll drive away everyone I care about, that I'm too socially inconsiderate and crass to be functional. Part of me wants to be proud of how I ultimately handled it; part of me sees in this situation a microcosm of all my social failings and is profoundly disappointed. I do this a lot. I ignore obvious boundaries and social niceties, and while often it's just part of my humor--and hopefully charm--too, too often it ends up damaging friendships. And I'd really rather not do that anymore, but can't seem to stop.

I'm trying to be mature and sensible here, but it's hard enough already without it being all shifty/slidey in my head. I can't seem to get a minute of assessing any one aspect of it without my brain being distracted to another and then another, and never feeling settled about any one part of it.

Goddamnit. I'm making way too much fuss about all of this. Because of course, it isn't just about this thing with my friend and his dad. And I can't tell if I should be focusing on that more to find some resolution about it, or if concerning myself with the broader issues is in fact better for the lessons I might take away from everything, or if I should be worrying myself so much about any of it.

Grr. I think I should talk to my sponsor and some of my AA folks to get myself out of my head about this. Cuz I'm pretty stuck in there right now and it's not helping.

So this was productive. Sigh. I'm gonna go ahead and stop while I'm ahead, here.

Comments

Other things that might interest you...

This moment: A tattoo.

So I read Mrs. Dalloway in high school, and it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I'd ever read. One passage in particular, very early in the book, hit me hard with my first experience of the sublime, and stayed with me—and led at last to my first tattoo.
In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.  (Emphasis added; full paragraph included below. From the full text of the novel as made available by the University of Adelaide.)

The paragraph this is from, the 4th paragraph of the novel, is the 1st passage with the stream of consciousness the book is famous for; although self-limited here, the flow is no less gorgeous. In the passage, Clarissa is walking on a street to get those famous flowers herse…

QP: Changes to come, I hope.

My grandmother passed away about 2 weeks ago. I hope to write about her more soon, but for this moment, I want to speak briefly about where I'm at overall: Her passing has led me to reevaluate aspects of my life because I'm realizing that the status quo amounts to just wasting my life away.

(This is another "quick post," which means it's a short update that I likely didn't edit and revise quite as much as the more "thoughtful" pieces I aim for. I say this because I'm self-conscious and worry that you, my reader, will judge me!)

I'm up in Boston and have today and tomorrow off, and I want to spend at least a portion of each day figuring out (some of) my life. I say this fully aware how often I've variously done so before: asserted a need for change, described how I was going to do it, made an attempt, then fallen off in the follow-through. I'm honestly not sure what to do about that, though. It frustrates me now just as much as ever, e…

A Valentine's Special.

Yeah, I'm one of those guys who's never really been with someone around Valentine's. I am sometimes baffled how other people manage these things--and why I can't. To be fair, it's probably as much my not trying enough and trying too hard as it is anything pariticularly wrong with me. Like, I know I don't get myself out there enough to meet guys and when I do it's probably compensatory and usually flawed from the start.

The other question is--why does it matter so much to me? Evidently it seems like something I want but something I'm scared of, too. It may also be something I'm just not very good at. I'm secretly timid and fearful of most confrontation and directness. For all my communication skills, I always seem to chicken out when it comes to talking to guys in a healthy, sustaining way. I'm a dreamer who wants something nice badly enough to stick to something for the concept of having it more than the reality of dealing with it; I want to…