aqua fortis

Thursday, August 02, 2012

WFMAD Day 2: Exorcising Old Demons

Today’s Prompt: You know that toxic relative or former friend who makes (or used to make) your life miserable? Write out dialog in which you finally tell that person what you think of her and why. Do not hold back. Do not edit yourself. Do not worry that anyone is ever going to see it. Just write!

Today's Write Fifteen Minutes A Day prompt is a huge challenge for me with respect to my decision to post my 15 minutes publicly, on this blog. It has to some degree affected my choice of person, and I will be keeping that person's name anonymous. The "do not edit yourself" is a tough edict, too. I hold back all the time. I edit myself all the time.

Enough justification and procrastination, I suppose. Here goes my imaginary dialogue with someone, a former friend, who devastated me emotionally a number of years ago. We will call this person Irving, since I don't actually know anyone of that name and I have no particular associations with it.

It's actually more of a monologue. Oh, well.

So much time has gone by, Irving, that it almost feels pointless to open this up and let my feelings back out. I was young, probably too young to realize what was going on and too inexperienced to make the right choices about our relationship. Too inexperienced to realize that things went too far and would ruin our friendship. So I accept some culpability for what happened, for not stopping things when maybe I should have known better. And I try to understand, from the perspective of years, why you acted the way you did, why you pushed me away when all I wanted to do was help and be there for you.

I was so angry with you for years. I was devastated, gutted, furious. I knew I'd done the right thing in ending the conversation, our last conversation, with the words "I guess that's all we have to say to each other, then." More or less those words, anyway. I didn't like the way you'd made me feel, were making me feel. Like it was my fault. Like I was, in a sense, the other woman and our friendship wasn't what I'd thought it was. I shouldn't have let you kiss me. I shouldn't have been so credulous, so willing to believe that it was okay to do what we did because I thought our relationship was something special and that this was just a part of that something special.

But how could I not believe? I was so confused that summer, so tentative and anxious and you reassured me, made me realize I had reason to feel good about myself, made me feel self-worth. You encouraged me. You made me feel stronger. And then you broke it all down, you stopped caring, you didn't want to hear about it when I was depressed and things started to get difficult to take and I needed my friend so badly. And I knew that you were having problems too, and I wanted to be there for you during that but you wouldn't let me. You said, "you won't hear from me for a couple of weeks, and don't try to call." But I was worried. I did call. And you got angry. You got pissed at me for caring.

Part of me, a loud part, is saying Who really gives a shit? It was 17 years ago. We were both basically still kids, barely into adulthood. I don't really know if that gives you a pass, though. Sometimes I have dreams about you where things are okay, where we're friends again, but a part of me is still angry. Not just angry at you, but angry at myself for letting me lose myself in someone so much. Angry at myself for believing some of the wild things you said because I trusted you too much. You made me want never to trust anyone to that extent again. From my perspective, it was a betrayal, no matter the extenuating circumstances. I wish we'd both done things differently.


Before I finish, I just want to note that my friend and fellow writing group member Yat-Yee is also doing the challenge. Yay! Go, us!


tanita✿davis said...

>> I don't really know if that gives you a pass, though.<<

I vote "No."

I'm not doing these exercises on my blog, but, maybe I should? Anyway, I enjoy the challenge of creating dialogue, which means you finally have a chance to answer back...

Sometimes it is frightening to let yourself get that into someone else. I step back from myself even now and ask, "Why am I giving that person such power over me?"

Still don't know...

Anonymous said...

Good for you for writing on the prompt today. I couldn't get into it. I am happy to see you taking the challenge. I am as well.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Oh, great, Jone! Glad to hear you're doing it, too. I've unfortunately had the occasional toxic person in my life, so it was just a matter of choosing which one I was willing to vent about in semi-public. :)

T: I made the decision to post my exercises mainly out of guilt at not posting on this blog very often, and out of wanting to make something real out of it somehow. I do so much fussing over what to post and what not to post--and I usually decide NOT to post, and I don't know whether that's doing me any favors either creatively or mentally...The decision is yours, though, obviously.

Yat-Yee said...

Your reasons are good ones for posting your snippets here, even the one that is guilt-related.

Thanks for the shoutout. I'm still doing the non-public thing and am choosing to write *about* what I'd written on each day rather than posting what I actually write. Maybe I'll get braver down the road.

You think we can win some kind of prize by going in as a whole writing group?

Sarah Stevenson said...

Ooh, that would be cool. :)

At the very least, we'd all be writing a bit more than usual! I think it might be good for me--I got a new short story idea/snippet this morning while I was brushing my teeth.