So this has been the main complex rearing its head for me over the past few weeks. Something happens, I experience emotional overwhelm and when I drill right down into it – I feel unwanted. Disposed of. Refused. Rejected.
It doesn’t matter if it’s to do with the timeframe in which someone has or hasn’t responded to my message, if someone cancels on me last minute – or if I’m just in my bedroom on a Saturday night secretly feeling like a loser for having no place to be.
The last incident to trigger these feelings was a date I was supposed to be having with someone who had previously cancelled on me. We had eventually met the week after – me having the grace to forgive the initial hiccup – and had gotten on with each other pretty well. I feel like I was led to believe that this person was truly interested in me, my music and the things I had to say. So when he suggested we meet again for a drink in two days’ time, I was obliging.
But he left me hanging on for a couple of days without responding, and, again, cancelled at the last minute. That day at work, the day we were supposed to be meeting again, was difficult. I tried my hardest not to check my phone and resisted the urge to message him again – convincing myself that if he gave a shit, he’d make that obvious. But I was checking my phone. I was that girl. I even brought it up with a couple of my colleagues, trying to understand it. Trying to understand why someone would ask you out and then ignore you for two days after and leave you wondering if it was actually going to happen or not.
I got the message on the way home from work. No, he wasn’t going to be able to make it. My heart sank. I knew it. I looked frantically through my phone for a song to listen to that would soothe the ache that had started to spread through my chest. I managed to find exactly the kind of thing I was looking for and walked home in a daze.
Let Down by Radiohead probably would have done the trick too.
I know it probably seems a bit dramatic. Like, of course I don’t love the guy. I don’t know him. But it’s about the feeling of disappointment. Of wondering. Of hanging on. Of looking forward to something – namely the excitement of alcohol loosening inhibitions and allowing lust, electricity and unspoken intimacy to arise in a darkened room – and having those heady dreams shattered. Of not being sure if the way in which someone is treating you is reflective of your worth or not. Of feeling that maybe there could have been some potential there, if only the universe would orchestrate things in a way that wasn’t difficult and confusing.
Also, I was attracted to him. And I’m sure there has to be a female equivalent of “thinking with your dick”.
So there I was, trudging home listening to Led Zeppelin, followed by Pink Floyd – so I must’ve really been sad because I don’t listen to Dark Side Of The Moon unless I’m really miserable – and feeling like my heart was submerged in tepid water. I spent the evening drifting in and out of dehydrated sleep, then woke up really early and started to imagine a session with my counsellor.
Where had the feeling come from originally? When do I remember feeling like this before? One particular Mother’s Day comes to mind.
I must’ve been 8 or 9 and my Dad and I were visiting my granny. My Mam was working that day, in a chippy about a ten minute walk from there, so I was to go along with her handmade Mother’s Day card and present that my Dad had helped me pick out. A nice house plant if I remember right. So I headed over there, excited to give her her gift, but I didn’t get the response I had expected.
The memory is pretty blurry but what I do remember is that she wasn’t happy to see me. I don’t think she even took the gift, I’m pretty sure I walked back with it. Bearing in mind, I really don’t think it was busy in the shop at this point. The main message was that I was inconveniencing her. She was pissed off that I’d dared to visit her at work on Mother’s Day to give her a gift and a handmade card. She avoided my eyes and treated me like a wasp she was trying to get clear of. I remember the feeling of shock, of confusion – of my existence and my efforts being completely disregarded and rejected.
I walked back to my granny’s feeling a cruel kind of miserable.”Dy* face was just grey,” my Dad has said to me when he’s recalled it. How else can a child process that other than: “there is something wrong with me”? She was in one of those black moods that I’ve seen time and again the morning after another night of binge drinking to oblivion. In that headspace, she is callous, cruel, hostile and unable to consider anyone but herself. I hope I never respond to my child from an emotional space such as this.
“It’s almost fucking unforgivable,” I murmured to myself this morning when I was going over all of it in my head. How do you heal from it?
At the moment, I’ve actually been out of contact with her for around a week – the longest in a very long time. I’ve intuitively felt like I’ve needed some space. I feel as if I’ve slowly slid back into a position of feeling emotionally responsible for her and that I’m expected to give emotional support that I simply don’t feel able to at the moment. I’m angry, I’m irritated, I’m confused, I’m resentful. I feel guilty. I don’t really know what my next step is but I want to be able to communicate some of this to her kindly. I can’t handle another “are you OK” text when really all that does is make me feel worried about her and whether she’s okay. God, I’m sick of it.
Thanks for reading.
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx
*Shetland dialect for “your”