I went out on a whim. Beer mingled with conversation and two of my friends, which equals half of the people I hangout with in this town.
Saturday night and the harbor is alive with movement, laughter, and music. We meander down to the docks, drawn by the plethora of elderly living as if they are 30 years younger. It’s September and the evenings hold the scent of cooler weather. I can see a few stars and I find myself exhaling freely.
Taylor mentions an ex and the conversation drifts, we decide to walk along the dock to somewhere that still holds promise. We run into a familiar face, a mutual acquaintance between us three. I find myself drinking in his compliments as if they are the only liquid that can quench a thirst I didn’t realize I had.
He is loud, mostly crass, and his words flirt with demeaning. I guzzle it all down, smiling and gasping from one explicit comment to the next. We should get shots he says – I don’t disagree, just shrug my shoulders as if they are the only things I can control in this situation. To my own dismay it continues, carries to a place that crosses the boundaries. I only show my disapproval by rolling my eyes and shyly saying stop.
He lifts up my dress in front of four people. I leave the table. We leave the bar. I give him a ride home. A small whisper in my head reassures me that I am being the bigger person, more responsible.
The shame that shadows the memory is complete. I cringe, pretend the girl in my memory is not me. She is someone who I used to know 6 years ago. Surely I didn’t allow all that to take place for…. attention, the patting of my ego, reassurance that I’m valuable, desirable, wanted.
I thought I knew who I was. I know who I am. Then who was that girl giggling when he repeated, over 20 times, how nice my ass was? Today I called 2 of the 4 people I hold as friends and apologized. Embarrassed at what I was accepting and dismissing, calling it “whatever.”
I sat and thought about ‘the why’ behind ‘the what’ that night.
And here it is:
I was recently rejected. In a subtle way, one date, a kiss, hands that were held. There was someone back home; he needed to tie the loose ends with. Which, in more words meant that he was deciding if he wanted to continue his relationship long distance. Could they make it work Texas to Florida?
Key word continue…. he was dating someone else, and after pursuing me and talking to me the hours spread across 10 days, he wanted her.
My first response was thank you so much for letting me know, but my soul response was to lather in the perverse compliments of an acquaintance.
I try and soften, because I know self-talk is a powerful thing. I know who I am, and when facing rejection I run toward acceptance, whatever the means.
Everyone wants to feel accepted, and loved. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am apart of everyone and that’s okay.