Sunday, June 12, 2005
Not everyone understands just how difficult my life has been lately.
Even if they read about it, even if they send me emails, even if I leave them comments, sometimes it just doesn't sink in just how shitty I feel after having lost almost all the important things in my life over the course of a single very painful month.
Sure, I have good days.
But I am still trying to strike a very difficult balance between being independent and allowing people to gain my trust. There are many people in real life who I haven't confided in or been able to trust, so trusting people on the internet who I've never seen face-to-face, whose real names I don't even know, whose motives I don't entirely understand is a real challenge for me. Trusting people is not easy when you've suddenly become aware of just how much betrayal can hurt.
A few true stories for your consumption:
1) Last year I had two separate guys stalking me on two separate occasions. Both were men whom I was very nice and friendly to, who I went out to clubs with (with a group of people, not on their own), who I saw in the kitchen in our apartment complex, who I spoke to and drank beer with and offered to help with their English homework. Both of them went totally nutso when I told them I was not interested in them romantically. One visited me in my room on numerous occasions and kept trying to touch me until I actually had to say NO (refusing eloquently and tactfully in French can be very challenging). He demanded help with his English papers long after I told him that I was way past the point where I felt comfortable being in a room alone with him. I saw him in all sorts of mysterious places and running into him "coincidentally" was quite scary. He harrassed me with emails and text messages and told me he thought I was "une folle" (crazy) for not wanting to have anything to do with him. The other guy told me that if I wouldn't agree to go out with him, I should fear for my security. He followed me to bars when I was out with friends and wove his way through the crowd to get closer to me. I had to move across the city, into another commune, to get away from him. Since then I have what I think are understandable trust issues surrounding men I don't know very well.
2) A very good male friend of mine took some photos of me a few years ago. I wasn't naked, but I agreed to take my shirt off for some of them. I was not terribly keen on this, but I was also only 18 and I wanted to show him that I was confident and mature enough to do it. We agreed that it was for artistic purposes only, and while I'm not so naive as to think that it held no sexual appeal for him whatsoever, there was nothing at all sexual in it for me and I didn't consider it a betrayal of our respective serious relationships. He later went on a "spiritual retreat" where he spilled everything (i.e. he "confessed" that for him there were sexual feelings involved beyond what was to be expected) to his girlfriend, who is now his fiancee, and then proceeded to tell me about it by email while I was in Europe. This was a huge betrayal of my trust. I am now understandably wary about letting people take photos of me nude or semi-nude. Photos I take myself of myself are my responsibility and thus I am the only one who needs to be held accountable for their misuse. This is a responsibility I need to have in order to feel like I have any modicum of control at all over what it means for people to take and possess photos of me. Telling me to stop posting photos after I have been trying to get up the courage to do so for two years is like telling me after a lifetime of wanting to sing to get the hell off the stage for my own good.
Again, I am not independent because I want to be. I am independent because life has taught me that being dependent on people can be a very, very disappointing experience.
I ask that people try to understand where I'm coming from. I really wanted my blog to help people get who I am and how I got to be this way. But it seems to be backfiring, or else some people are just not reading properly.
At any rate, I want everyone to know that I'm sorry if I have recently been short with you, unkind, rude, inappropriate, confused, angry, sad, or generally unable to understand exactly what it is you mean and what it is you want from me.
My best quality is probably my ability to share. I told this to Emma today during an impromptu two-hour conversation we had after work which taught me a lot about her and a lot about myself. The moment I said the words I realised they were true. My instinct when I find something marvellous is almost never to hoard it, but to share it with everyone. I want to buy chocolate in bulk and bring it to work and I don't care if I never eat a single piece of it myself. I'm happy to share. I will share stories, I will share the last slice of pizza, I will share my bed, my room, my only blanket on a cold night. I will share my life with you if you'll let me.
My second-best quality is probably my willingness to forgive people. I will never, ever forget that you've betrayed me, but I will forgive you. I don't expect people to give me the shirt off their back just because I would do it in their place. But I do expect them to forgive me when I hurt them, especially when I have done it inadvertently. It is our greatest capacity as human beings to forgive others. It is really the least we can do for each other.
I say this because I feel my life has been following a disturbing pattern lately. For every person I gain in my life, I seem to lose another. I can't abide by this. My efforts to make people like me seem to follow the Law of Diminishing Returns - the more effort I expend, the less they want to have anything to do with me at all. Nice girls must really finish last.
If my life went the way I wanted, I would get to come in first once in a while.
As always, thanks for reading.