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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Things That Turn Me Inside Out

When I chat with people, I usually leave our words behind when we say good-bye--which isn't to say I don't continue to think about our conversations. But I rarely recount them to others, and I don't think I've ever talked about them in my blog. Today, however, I had a conversation that stays with me in an unpleasant way. I can't shake it because it reveals truths about who I am...things I'd rather not address. Trivial things of no importance...except to me. Honestly, the way this came about was innocent. The person talking had no idea that the things said would have dual meanings, or would stir old feelings of resentment and anger. But isn't that how it always is? The things that strike closest to home are said ingenuously...and how could the person speaking possibly understand that his words would have a deeper meaning that the one he intended?

It's difficult to explain exactly what happened. Perhaps I'll start with the conversation bits, and move on from there.

Samantha (quoting Conrad): "Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness, knitting black wool as for a warm pall, one introducing, introducing continuously to the unknown, the other scrutinizing the cheery and foolish faces with unconcerned old eyes.
Delightful Friend: gotta be one of the more telling lines in literature
Every time I knit or see women knitting, I think of that
Samantha: Do you knit?
Delightful Friend: I have in the past
I had to learn for a play I was in
Samantha: I have awards for my knitting--don't tell anyone. I don't do it anymore.
Delightful Friend: My dear! Is there anything you can't do?

There's too much sarcasm there--and I wish I'd said nothing. I hate the fact that I'm uncomfortable that I shared in the first place. I feel that gnawing need to retreat and hide. I don't understand why I feel shame about this. Perhaps because much of what I have learned to excel at has been under the auspices of my overbearing mother. Perhaps because even though I'm good at it, truthfully, I hate knowing how in the first place, and I don't know why. It's frustrating and I don't understand.

Delightful Friend: How can you even stomach talking to me, I have to wonder sometimes
Samantha: I don't understand why you would ask that.
Delightful Friend: Well, I mean, you've withstood so much in your life ... have been so strong under pressure ... and here I am squishing like a grape in the winepress ... squelch ... and yet you don't even get mad at me...

My first impulse is to feel sick at the thought that anyone would ever believe that I would judge his life against my own. Perhaps if I had chosen everything that has taken place in my life (and, of course, I never would), then there might be some sort of bizarre, sick heroism in it. But since I didn't, and I don't consider surviving heroic by any means, there can be no comparison. The things that trouble each person are as large and difficult to him/her as the things I have been troubled with in my own life. It's like saying because I can't run a marathon today, the six miles I ran are pointless, which is deceptive and untrue. For me, six miles is a marathon, for it is all I can do today.

My next impulse was to feel that I was a fraud. Somehow, I've given the impression that I'm some sort of martyr or weird paragon of suffering. Truthfully, that's as far from the truth as anything can be. I've had bad things happen to me--but other people have, as well. It's not like I want to be held up as the cereal box kid for surviving sexual abuse. In truth, there are only two choices in a situation like mine--live or die. I chose to live, which doesn't make me amazing, just stubborn--or perhaps too cowardly to follow through with an act which could have stopped the pain I continue to feel today.

Finally, I just felt sad--sad that my friendship is not acceptable on a normal level--that I can't share everyday troubles and burdens belonging to someone I love, without inspiring guilt. I felt sad that my friend's knowledge of me impedes him from seeing me as just another person, offering a shoulder when he feels down. I wondered if I can ever share my past with someone, without it altering how they feel about me. I just wanted to be someone who understands, who wants to help, who wants to cheer up and give love to a friend.

Delightful Friend: Wow, look at you.
Samantha: I can't--no mirror. What?
Delightful Friend: Thine avatar...thou remindest me that I must need changest mine
Samantha: Oh..I forgot I put that one up. That's my metaphorical image.
Delightful Friend: a hott woman wrapped in money?
Samantha: A painted lady worth $1
Delightful Friend: how is that metaphoric at all?
Samantha: That's how it feels after what has happened to me. I'll take it down.
Delightful Friend: Oh, I see...don't take it down if it means something to you
Samantha: Well, I put it up when no one was around--just forgot to take it down--silent venting.
Delightful Friend: :) Does it help, silent venting?
Samantha: More than you know.

Nothing left to say. Except, maybe, I don't know how to feel in my own skin. And I hate finding that out in casual conversation. I also hate the vulnerability that comes as I realize after all these years, I still don't know who I am.


  • At Friday, October 06, 2006 7:59:00 AM, Blogger Elbow said…

    Tell me who this person is, and I will personally take them out. No one messes with my Samantha...NO ONE!

  • At Friday, October 06, 2006 2:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Samantha, I hope someday I'll meet you in person so that I'll stop feeling like such an intruder every time I comment on your blog.

    Regarding the first conversation, it's not unlikely that your friend is judging him- or herself harshly, not thinking that *you* are going to judge. It's hard (for me, at least) to remember not to measure oneself against people one admires. And there's a lot about you to admire. That doesn't mean that you should feel like you can't have normal friendships with people. Some of us just need to learn that other people's abilities (whether to do crafts or survive hardships) don't make our own inconsequential. (I like your comparison of the six miles and the marathon.)

    Sorry. That was a longwinded way to say that it sounds to me like your friend lacks self-confidence.

    Anyway, I'm sorry that you were sad.

  • At Friday, October 06, 2006 2:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Also, ummmm, is there any way that you would post pictures of your knitting projects? Or maybe descriptions? I'd love to see them.

    I like knitting, but really, my abilities are limited to scarves, and even then, I'm dropping stitches all over the place. I much prefer crochet--it feels more manageable and less easily damaged. I like to see what other people make, though. It gives me hope that maybe someday I could knit something bigger than a scarf and have it not turn out ugly and grandma-ish. (I want to knit a shawl; I expect that it will be particularly difficult to find a non-grandmaish pattern.)

  • At Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:49:00 PM, Blogger Rebecca said…

    Being the daughter of a psychologist, it's my totally qualified opinion that people just feel guilty for feeling bad, no matter what it's about. Then we look around for the reason we feel guilty and we're like, "Oh look - that problem is worse than mine. That's why I feel guilty - my problem really isn't that bad." We see another problem that would be worse than ours if we had to endure it - and don't realize that other people maybe couldn't deal with the problems we have. Is that making sense? Probably not.

    I'm 27 and almost every day I have a panic "how can I be 27 and not have ANY IDEA of who I am?" moment. And sometimes I look in the mirror and I'm surprised because that person doesn't look like ME. Maybe it's a really well-kept secret that nobody knows who he/she is, or feels comfortable in his/her skin. Maybe the people who do are the freaks.


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