Fakes, Frauds & Phonies
"We're all assholes."
Regarding humans, I'm constantly torn between feelings of deep love & acceptance and a gut-wrenching abhorrence. At first glance and arm's length every person I meet is captivating to me in some way. They enter into my existence accepted as a blank slate... A magically interesting, beautifully flawed being of incredible potential with a deep & different backstory to be heard. Because of this widespread and unbiased acceptance that I harbor, my soul has the tendency to open itself to people who are more than undeserving of my time & energy. It has been all too often that this love that occupies its space in me has been to my detriment. We've all had a friend/lover/relative deceive us, someone who made up rumors about us in order to stain our character or to cover their own, someone who kept their mask on just long enough for us to let down some walls, someone who spent time quietly searching for the soft spot in which they could bury their knife. Albeit highly uncomfortable and at times all-consuming, the real conflict arises in our decision on how we deal with these situations. Upon this I reflect.
Just recently I opened my heart to a girl I believed was searching for acceptance and nonjudgmental love. We had met the year before and although she was very intense she seemed sweet, genuine, and somewhat of an open book --- which I admired. The next year when we reconnected, she was having family issues while simultaneously dealing with the tragic loss of not one, but two great loves in her life. She was in a rough spot and I wanted to give her my support. I asked her to stay with me for a few days and we became even closer through the following weeks.
A few months after she left to go back to her hometown, a mutual friend approached me with some harsh news. He'd been seeing her comments on my posts calling me her "sister" and gushing about how she loved and missed me so... It bothered him to see me so blindly entwined in a "friendship" that was deceivingly one-sided. Turns out she'd been spreading adulterous rumors about him and when he confronted her about it she denied it and deflected her indiscretion unto me, blaming me for the rumor she'd created. In disbelief, I continued reading their conversation in which she went on to slander my character, trying to throw me under the bus to save her own lying ass. Was it for attention? Lack of self confidence? Need for drama? I couldn't wrap my head around why somebody would willingly sabotage not one, but two friendships. Bombs were going off in my head & my heart.
Without notice or confrontation I ceased all communication with her. Better I knew the truth in silence, especially since I had no desire of fixing a friendship that had so clearly been built on a rickety foundation.
She returned later that year to stay permanently.
Honestly, I was conflicted with her sudden appearance --- I had not considered what I'd do if she returned. It had been so easy to ignore from miles away, but now it was unfolding at my front door. I decided that I would stay true to my essence. I was not mean to her, but not fake either. I didn't gush at her arrival, nor did I give her the same gossip treatment she'd so generously given me. I haven't opened my mouth to warn others of her weak moral fiber or tried to ask my friends to choose sides. Since I naturally have a warm character it's quite obvious when I become cold with someone. I am highly aware that my hushed decision to keep her at bay with the cold shoulder without a chance at reconciliation may have me coming off to our mutual friends like I'm the one in the wrong, that I have an unwarranted bad attitude towards her or that I'm pulling some mean girl shit. I've even felt a noticeable shift in my place in the social circle, and to be real, this whole situation has me a tad fucked up. It is so hard waiting for karma to work its course, for truth to reveal itself, but ultimately I have to love my reflection in the mirror every day and be comfortable with the private thoughts that pass through my head as I lay in bed every night. I trust the high road will be more satisfying in the long-term, eventually leading me out to the light.
Like the situation above, sometimes these types of fraudulent people merely create uncomfortable social situations for us. Others are more sinister, they take a piece of us with them when they leave. I worked for a man over the period of a few months who slowly built up my trust. One night after work he drugged me and I woke up hours later completely naked in his bed with no recollection of how I'd gotten there. We'd never so much as kissed before, so you can imagine my shock and terror when I finally came to. I immediately confronted him about the nonconsensual situation and as he sat uncomfortably hiding his phone, I demanded he unlock it and give it to me. Lo & behold he had stripped me naked and taken pictures of my unconscious body. In his gallery I saw 3 other nude, comatose girls before I deleted my photos and ran out the door in a complete adrenaline-fueled panic attack. I went straight to the police station to get a rape kit done. They never got back to me so... I guess no news is good news.
Besides this being a very obvious tale of deception, it goes on even further to illustrate the horrible tendencies of human nature. This story is one that I've been told that I should keep under wraps. When I opened up to a very close friend about what had happened to me he advised me, "You shouldn't tell anybody else. You don't want to be seen as the 'poor girl' who was drugged and violated." Then he continued on to tell me, "Don't make your problems everybody else's problems."
Good friend, eh? Pffft.
You know what I say? Fuck that. I haven't been the same ever since that night. I experience PTSD triggers, have severe trust issues, and the part that might possibly be the worst of it all... feeling completely alone, suffering in silence. After many years have passed, I've slowly started opening up to certain people. To be honest, most of those times have been alcohol and emotion-fueled. But I no longer choose to live in that shadow of silence. I shouldn't be shamed for speaking up. And now that I've typed this out for anyone & everyone to read, I have willingly revealed a deep scar that I was always trying so hard to hide. I understand that this is not an easy or comfortable topic to discuss or even hear. Well guess what --- it wasn't easy to go through, either. Through this public confession I am not looking for pity. I just want to be free again. And you know what they say about the truth...
By no means am I writing this post from the standpoint of a martyr. I am not under a delusional spell that I'm a perfect angel who has never done any wrong. I am highly aware of my shortcomings and I could name a few times I've done/said something that I'm not proud of. Nobody can make the right decisions all of the time. Point is, I know when I've messed up and will openly ask for forgiveness and/or be honest about it when confronted. We all have ugly in us. My own sweet grandma told me, "We're all assholes." She couldn't have been more correct. I think the greatest necessity is looking at ourselves under an honest & non-judgmental light, finding those ugly parts, fixing the parts we are capable of fixing, forgiving ourselves, and striving to be the best version of ourselves every day. Sounds cliché, but to put it simply: try not to be an asshole.
Flies are drawn to the brightest of lights.
After all my human-induced heartache, confusion, and many years asking 'why' and 'how', the best answer I've come up with is that flies are drawn to the brightest of lights. When you shine, inevitably there are people who will want to steal it from you. People who think that by dulling your glow, they themselves will illuminate. People who will do absolutely anything to hold a piece of you in their hands. Do not let them cage you. Do not let them diminish you. Do not let them impede your beautiful soul. Be more aware, love more, trust less, and keep your eyes open. You don't always get treated the way you treat others, and not everyone has the same heart. It's how you react to these people and situations that shapes your true character. Even when you find yourself in the midst of Shitsville, never forget that you are the only one in control of your life & your happiness. It's your decision whether or not you build a home there. Choose wisely, friends.