OKAY so I am going to wind up talking about M.M.E. (if I can, considering how long winded I am) because I don’t really want to THINK about It more. I got a bee in my butt about It because I turned down a speaking gig I wanted to avoid It. And that made me mad at myself, for letting it GET to me. But …whenever I am in Its presence It does Its best to covertly make me feel as small as possible. It worked.
Around it, I helplessly revert to the awkward, socially backwards, outsider, geek, weirdo 13 year old I used to be, which is, incidentally, the last time I can remember another human being setting out to be so systematically awful to me in such petty, ridiculous ways. It laughs and acts like I am INSANE when I try to talk to It about Its behavior directly, it is OVERTLY mean whenever we have been in private or with Its inner circle, and when others are around it is SO charming and delightful that no one notices It taking little digs at me or shutting me out.
I won’t sink to It’s level, and it is never OVERTLY cruel to me in front of witnesses. It is clever and VERY VERY VERY GOOD at this. I feel I am not It’s first. I am NOT good at these kinds of games, and do not wish to become the kind of person who IS, so I end up feeling….that sick pit of the stomach feeling and creeping away ASAP.
SO… giving up the gig ALSO made me very, very, very mad at It.
Now, in the comments, many of you best beloveds earned the name by wondering how someone could POSSIBLY hate me. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!
That is SO sweet, and THANK YOU, but LORD I can be irritating. I am the walking definition of high maintenance. I have a big, loud personality, and sometimes I clash with other loud people, and sometimes I click with other loud people, in which case we join forces and become SUPER LOUD and then lots more people hate us.
That’s normal. I myself meet people I just don’t like, period. They just rub me wrong. Some people just smell wrong to me, and I smell wrong to some people.You can’t be BFFs with everyone, and when I meet a person I do not care for, my policy is to be polite and to NOT invite them to be my BFF. Or even to lunch. If I don’t like someone, I still can be respectful and kind and remember they probably don’t like me much either. I can still work with them.
People like to hang out with their own kind…I like the ones who get my jokes, who are interested in the things that obsess me. I like animal people, game people, and people accept me as I am, with all my many many many flaws: my easy weepery, my forked, blazing, flashes of black lightening temper, my FLEET of neuroses (and here fleet is an understatement – I have THE SPANISH ARMADA of Neuroses) .
Also I have a HUGE amount of personal dignity, combined with a tendency to be HILARIOUSLY physically ridiculous. I run into things and knock stuff over and fall down and crash into walls and spill and break stuff, but I HATE to be laughed at for it, because I am so genuinely self conscious about it. My gracelessness feels like—a HUGE Jimmy Durante stule nose. There is no way not to notice I have it, but it hurts me if you point and laugh.
Ever seen a cat try to jump up on the table and miss and hit the wall with a smack and slide down it? HILARIOUS! But if you laugh, the cat goes all tail lashy and stalks off and won’t speak to you for three days? That’s me exactly. Except I am not a cat, I NEVER make the jump, I ALWAYS hit the wall. SO. My friends have to pretend not to notice a LOT of potentially hilarious things.
RELATED DIGRESSION: I used to feel VERY VERY sorry for Scott for being married to me. Because if *I* was married to me I would now be in prison for stabbing myself in the face.
I am DIFFICULT and SO bat-crap crazy that a goodly portion of my every day is spent running in panicky circles, crapping crazy bats. But you know, I have known him a LONG time, so I met all his girlfriends. I came to realize, looking back, that I am his TYPE. If it hadn’t been ME, it would have been some other artsy-fartsy-P.I.T.A loon, and SHE might be even crazier and not love him properly or understand how SUPER GREAT he is.
ANYWAY, to un-digress, my point is, not everyone is going to like me. And I can be thoughtless and bull-in-a-china shoppy and I can run people over in my mad enthusiasm for whatever bizarro thing I am feeling madly enthusiastic about, which changes every other living second causing hairpin enthusiasm turns.
But the thing about My Mortal Enemy is, I did not have TIME to irritate it. It hated me before it knew me. It had decided long ago. Sad thing is, I was EXCITED about meeting It. It has a rep for being lovely and kind, and I admired its work.
Like, our paths first crossed at a small dinner, where I was seated with only It and two people it already knew. I had brought my favorite book by it, hidden in my capacious purse, hoping to ask if it would sign it. After that dinner, I put that book in the trash on the way out, unsigned.
When I was seated at Its table, beside it, It said a cold hello, then put Its elbow on the table, turned away from me, and proceeded to engage Its friends there in charming, rollicking delightful banter. I was shut out and ate mostly in silence. I tried to join the conversation, but It never let me in. I said maybe four sentences in twenty minutes, and then went to the restroom. When I came back, all three were laughing a little, in a way that said plainly that they had been talking about me.
“We’ve been talking about you,” It said. “We decided that you must have had a VERY happy childhood.” It said this as if having a Happy Childhood was like having infectious scabies.
Everyone laughed. I smiled uncertainly and stammered out that I supposed I had.
And THAT, best beloveds? Was the high point. That was the nicest It has ever been to me. Endless, ongoing needling every MINUTE we cross paths, where I always feel dumb, and pushed outside, and the butt of secret jokes.
I TURNED DOWN A SPEAKING GIG I WANTED OVER IT! Nice money, too, and that would have been good to have. Upshot? I am SO SO SO SO MAD at It.
But madder, I think, in the end, at me.
For letting it GET to me. For letting it win. I let it win. I let MEANness win. I let 13 win. I let my own insecurities win. And I know – this is AWFUL, but honest – I know if I come up against the same choice, take a gig that puts me in a place where I have to work with It or just stay home, I will probably let It win again.
I can’t take the heat, so I let It have the kitchen. Bleh.