Amy came over early on a Thursday, she wanted to drop off some fruit for me, which was super sweet of her.
I was running around, trying to get ready for my workday when I heard the front door open. “Hi,” I shouted to Amy, from the bedroom, “Help yourself to whatever and I’ll be out in just a minute.” “No problem, take your time,” she said back and I proceeded to finish getting dressed for the day.
It was a warm summer day and all the windows of the house were wide open. As I walked into the living room, I smiled at Amy, who had helped herself to a cup of tea and was sitting by the front window relaxing.
I was wearing an a-line, tan coloured summer dress, with white and red flowers, patterned all over it. It was one of those brilliant finds; a dress I paid eleven dollars for, but looked much, much more valuable than its price tag value.
“Thanks for the blueberries,” I said as I rinsed them and put them in the fridge, “they will go great in tomorrow’s smoothie. This is honestly such a sweet surprise and totally unnecessarily kind.” I said as I turned around and faced my good friend.
She smiled and slowly took in my outfit. “Are you wearing Spanx?” she asked, changing the subject from fruit to figure.
“Nope,” I said as I filled up my travel coffee mug, “this is all me in all my glory baby,” I joked as I packed my lunch. What an odd change of conversation, I thought to myself, but tried to ignore it; I was adamant to keep the conversation light and cheerful.
Amy was quiet and then asked, “Are you going to wear a blazer with that dress today?”
“Yup,” I said as I put my lunch in my bag and smiled at her, but getting a bit irritated with the focus on me, “I am so sorry I cannot stay and chat, but you relax and enjoy yourself. Watch some television or enjoy the deck please, I have to get to work before nine for a meeting,” I said as I walked towards the entrance.
“Hang on,” she said to me quickly, “come back and show me the blazer you are pairing with the dress.”
I internally sighed, glanced at my watch, and walked back to the living room, where Amy was still calmly drinking her tea by the window. She slowly took in my outfit, now with the added white blazer, seemingly unaware of my time-sensitive rush before finally saying, “Hmmm…I would have worn a red blazer.”
I looked at her, said nothing, smiled and left for the day.
As I walked towards the train, I could feel it, the anger bubbling up. I tried to push it down, but pushed right back, unwilling to not be acknowledged. I did not want to be angry at her, but I was and I hated myself for it.
I loved Amy’s kindness, generosity and company, but I loathed this other part of her. This part of her, which crept out, from time to time, which was mean, spiteful and conceited. I never understood when and why she said these mean things, but her words always stung, which I am assuming was her goal.
What else could her goal of that comment possibly be? Other than to demean me in some manner?
The entire day, I kept replaying the events of the morning and hated myself for festering on it.
After my morning meeting, I had to vent over a coffee with a friend about it. I was so frustrated with the conversation because I felt that there was no reason for the comment she made and I felt that if I had just refused the offer of the damn fruit, the whole situation could have been avoided. When I reflected back though, Amy never asked if she could come over, but rather told me she would be over to drop off the fruit for me, so I really never had the chance to refuse or change the plan.
I kept arguing with myself throughout the day; telling myself I was being too hard on her, and that she was simply giving me her opinion. She was nice, hell, she came all the way over to drop off some fruit, and that is an action of a nice person.
But…..there was something about her…she liked to appear superior in certain ways. She always needed to throw her two cents into a conversation and give her unsolicited advice, as though she knew better than me about any topic we may be discussing.
Should I talk to her about this? I thought to myself, but I quickly admonished the thought. I knew exactly what would happen if I did that. She would label me dramatic, act overly shocked at how I reacted and pity me for even having a second thought about the whole thing.
“Oh dear,” I could imagine her saying, trying to soothe my (seemingly) fragile self, “You take things too personally.” I could just see her face of superiority if I considered being honest with her and I could not deal with that option either.
Should I have said something snarky back? No, I chided myself, that just makes you as ‘mean’ as her I thought.
Then why does this bother me so damn much? I was frustrated and uncomfortable. I wish the interaction had never happened and the only way I could see to ensure that interactions, such as this one, occurred less (if at all) was by limiting my time with Amy.
I felt bad, but it was the only option I felt which would work with least resistance.
As time went on, these comments, though regular for her became less and less of a regular occurrence in my life. I saw less and less of Amy and though we had very close social circles, which made it impossible for me not to ever see her, I did not see her one on one at all anymore.
She mentioned it to me once; how she wished we were closer. I considered telling her why I would not risk that with her but decided against it. It would only add fuel to her fire and could easily go in a direction I did not wish for it to go in.
Honesty is not always the best policy, especially with someone who is constantly trying to prove that they are better than you.
Sometimes, people think comments that are meant to poke fun at someone else are harmless, but they are not. The age-old saying of ‘If you do not have anything nice to say, you should not say anything at all,’ goes a long way to keep your relationships in the up and up.
Perhaps she is dealing with her own issues and making comments like this help her (temporarily) feel better.
I have said some pretty ruthless stuff to people over the years, but when I reflect back on the comments I have said, I have realized that they were all made during times in which I was not dealing with my own pain.
“If you don’t heal what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.”
Every single day I promise myself to never bleed on anyone else again, for a wound they did not give me and it can be tough, but the latter is worse. You cannot go around being mean to people and expect them to stick around and be there for you.
When you do not deal with your pain, you inflict pain onto others and perhaps that is what Amy is dealing with, perhaps not, maybe her issue is something entirely different, I am not really sure.
All I know is, is that she has always seemed keen to have a relationship with me, but through her own actions she has made that a difficult road for me to willing to want to continue walking on.
Perhaps she has had time to reflect as to why we have drifted apart, perhaps she does not care, perhaps she has wrongly assumed that I am not giving her the respect, attention, and energy she deserves and blames me entirely for our distance.
Regardless of what she thinks about the matter, all I know about myself is that I no longer wish to harm or hurt anyone around me with my words. I have tried to pay penance for the past, but sometimes the words cut too deeply and I was not able to win back certain relationships, which I take full responsibility for. I never cease to reflect on them because they are lessons which were learned (the very) hard way.
I have also learned that I will not allow others to bleed on me, from cuts I did not inflict them with. Sure, I have hurt others, but allowing myself to be a victim will not take away the pain I have caused others and will only add to my own.
Perhaps Amy will reflect one day too. Perhaps one day, when she looks around and realizes that there is no shoulder to cry on or person to lean on during times of struggle it will dawn on her that her words created her world. Perhaps she never will and will always think we are all selfish people who abandoned her.
The moral of this story is, unless you are Anna Wintour, shut the fuck up about how others dress because, in the long run, it could be the demise of something much greater than the colour of a blazer. Mean jabs, spoken simply to make you feel bigger than someone else will get you nowhere good and usually somewhere pretty lonely.