Apparently, after a 14hr workday, don’t watch the last presidential debate between an unfazed monument to articulate, scathing preparation and a belligerent tube sock. Oh oh the preparation isn’t articulate or scathing oh I’m describing her presentation not the preparation oh really. How about you sit and think about your need to correct every little fucking thing, ok. (I already PSA’d with how I watched the debate. Obviously I’m into scotches now. Whatever your face is in a bad mood.)
Anyways, I shot my wad yesterday. I then attempted to write about it in a post that I think tried to be about how maybe I’m an introvert. And then today opened with eight shades of side eye and a lot of variations of mansplaining from every which where, so that was tons of fun and then I worked for nine jillion hours.
I should have had a meltdown somewhere in there. I mean, back to back shenanigans on top of general social fatigue typically means I’m roughly one off remark from scream-spewing actual moist turds from my gullet and onto the landing pad of human failure.
Instead, my day switched course between my first class and first rehearsal. A friend of mine messaged me to ask if his comments on my post were ok. I hadn’t even really confronted much in the thread; it was super early when the thread happened and I just left some vague emoticon as a symbol of my general iffyness. If he had chosen to overlook the entire thing, it would have been absolutely legit.
Instead, he out of nowhere messaged to ask. And, counter to most of my instincts regarding speaking to men about damn near anything, I up and told him exactly how I felt.
*background: this friend is one of my favorite writers on current issues. When I thanked a writer bud on here for his ownership, I mentioned that he was one of three that I knew who publicly claimed ownership in the face of ‘locker room talk’ and all its insidious subsets. This friend who messaged me was the first friend to claim it. He is usually the first to step up. He…I dunno. I trust him more thoroughly than is at all typical for me, with anyone, let alone a guy. So, when I told him, there was more risk. I cared more. I didn’t want things to get tense and frayed and yucky.
He spent the entire convo hearing exactly what I said. I didn’t have to repeat or rephrase a damn thing. He volunteered how he might have veered off and how he could have avoided it. When I offered ways for it to be my fault too, he refused to share, not out of some bullshit idea that he needed to protect me, but because he respected my feelings.
He respected my feelings.
You know, I cannot even type those words without crying because it is such a godforsaken rarity in my life. To not have to argue the validity of my upset, to not have to justify my hurt with a chemistry experiment and 17 geometry proofs, to not immediately question the legitimacy of my perception regarding my own goddamn feelings because it makes someone else uncomfortable.
I thought about that exchange all day today. It took me away from other exchanges where I had no perceived value. It enabled me to go from event to event with a sense of relative calm and focus that I definitely wouldn’t have had otherwise. I took it with me into the viewing of tonight’s debate, and it stayed, a kernel of unblemished empathy in a roiling fog of presumption, power, and self-righteousness, huffing huskily at the horror. Reminding me even as our humiliating losses pile high around our intermittent attempts, that there are kernels, and husks, and the willingness to do better.