Saturday, April 09, 2005
Choking On That Jagged Little Pill
It's usually when I'm lying in bed at night that I have a few epiphanies of sorts. Right after putting my kid to sleep last night and observing him in that peaceful state, thoughts came flooding in once again. In the dark, I was pondering on a recent scuffle I had with someone. We had exchanged a series of nasty words via IM, and one thing led to another. Shortly after, I had done something out of anger. Realizing my lapse in judgment, I worked up the nerve to apologize to the said person. Initially, I was thinking about just letting things blow over and act like nothing happened. But then, my conscience and embarrassment was gnawing away at me so much that I couldn't bear NOT to patch things up.

So I went over and made the first move and explained my side, the reasons behind my anger, and of course apologized. Hostility gave way to understanding on both sides, and mutual admissions of guilt were exchanged. All in all, it went well. We were cool after that. But what was keeping awake was the fact that I was so determined to fix things with that person. Looking back, I made the first move because I couldn’t bear to see another breakdown of human relations occur in my life. These recent years, I’ve become familiar with the bitter aftertaste when you end up creating a chasm of misunderstanding with a friend or family member. Prior to those recent years (college onwards), I never knew what it was like not be on speaking terms with someone you were previously close with (with the exception of a couple of the neighbors I grew up with).

Sure, I had spats with my playmates as a kid, but those were trivial and petty; everybody goes through those while growing up. But when I hit college, I realized what a nauseous sensation it was to be estranged from someone you shared good times with before. I couldn’t stomach the feeling of someone hating you for whatever reason. The most probable reason why I’m still bummed out about the rift between my college blockmates is that I put my pride on the line. In the name of reconciliation, I hung my self-esteem out to dry so they could wring it out for what it was worth. But what did I get out of it? Nothing, except a hefty dose of conceited, backstabbing goodness. I put myself out there and they didn’t even have the decency of talking about what happened (well at least not to my face). If their beef with me was so bad, why didn’t they have the balls to say it in front of me?

To this day, some deep, buried part of me is still pissed off. Why? I had put myself out there and tried to be as honest and frank as possible, even if it was difficult. I had admitted my shortcomings and earnestly tried to be a civilized human being. Still, that wasn’t enough for them. For all the courage I mustered up to talk about sensitive issues, I just got burned in the end. Adding insult to injury, they acted like we were good friends again and like nothing happened when I met up with them several years after.

Right at that moment last night, it just hit me. After all these years of reflection, it’s apparent that there’s really nothing wrong with me. I had messed up, but not that bad. If they couldn’t find it in themselves to at least acknowledge my initiative then that’s their problem. With those thoughts, I can breathe better now. I’ve probably known it all along, but now I can freely say that I don’t need their goddamn approval. Not anymore, fuckhead spineless little shits.

So going back to my recent fracas, it just occurred to me that I wasn’t going let that happen - NOT AGAIN if I could help it. I was extremely relieved to know that my apology was accepted and that we could be on good (NOT just speaking) terms again. This time, I was actually applauded for what I did. I mentioned to the person that I know when I’m wrong, and that I couldn’t bear to see another relationship in my life go sour. I was told to my face, “it takes a man to do that”. Whew, that felt good. I guess I still have a scrap of decency left in me after all.

There is one other person I’ve been meaning to send an email to. After all that talk about being brave, somehow I can’t bear to talk to that someone face to face for now. Let’s see how that one goes.