Communication is one of my things. One of the themes I’ve been talking about with my therapist is the issue of not being heard– of saying something I think is plain, and either not being taken seriously/second-guessed, or feeling like my opinion just doesn’t matter or register, and then the person with whom I’ve been talking goes and does something that’s the exact opposite of the thing that I said or otherwise shows that they weren’t interested in/weren’t listening to the things that I said. It’s enough to reinforce one’s feelings that one is crazy, either that or really fuck up one’s sense of self-worth.
The thing is, though, there are some people with whom I have no problems talking, and they not only hear the things that actually come out of my mouth (i.e., the words that I say and which I mean when I say them, and yes, I know, epistemologically and psychologically can we ever really know the whole of what we mean? no, but we can put the truth we have hold of into our words) but seem to discern all the unspoken emotion behind them. There are people who get me. Sometimes it’s even the same folks who at other times are like brick walls, and I start to wonder– did I actually say those words aloud, or is it really their problem, not mine? Then again, there are people I’ve known hardly any time at all who also seem to get me– and that makes me angry at the people who don’t because it gets my pride up. It makes me feel like– what’s wrong with you, that you can’t just listen to and believe in the words that I say? I always know that there’s more there, but the first line of hurt is wounded pride and the feeling of so-and-so gets me and they don’t even have to love me.
In any event– it’s a thing. And it’s a theme we’ve been discussing because of how I react when I’m not feeling heard (and ergo, with some, not feeling loved).
The details of who, when, and why aren’t pertinent, except that this week I was extra touchy.
Today, I was working in the Religion section, preparing a bunch of books to be returned and others to be moved. There was a man probably not that much older than me browsing New Age, and he made a joke about a particularly gravity-prone book falling off of the shelf as I was shifting stock from one bay to another. We joked about ice cubes and “jumpers” that always head straight to the floor when you empty the tray, and then he returned to his browse and I went back to work. He then made some comment about how he sometimes felt silly browsing these particular books. I’m not personally into Tarot or crystals, tending myself more toward a liberal-social-Buddhist-cum-Quaker view of the world, but… more things in Heaven and Earth and all that. And I believe in the power of books, if nothing else. So I made some comment about how books were nice or important when they could help you find not just information that you were missing but confirm a thought or idea you’d been having but in which thought you were alone– and then you find out you’re not, it’s such a relief that you’re sharing that thought at least with the author, if not anyone you know in your immediate life.
He got really intent on me and started asking me if I had always been that intuitive. NGL, it weirded me out just a bit, but he seemed harmless (100 lbs, soaking wet, gay as a Mardi Gras float which shouldn’t be a safety factor per se as a gendered assumption but hey, there it was) and he’d been nice and polite in conversation up to that point (plus helped me chase a toddler back to her mom) … so. My philosophy, Horatio, all of that rot. And he starts to tell me that he thinks that up to this point I’ve understood and known lots of things but other people haven’t believed it– or haven’t wanted to for their own reasons– and that I’d backed off from insisting that I was right because of that doubt.
It freaked me right the hell out and when he started asking me questions I deflected. He just got more perceptive and started saying more things along those same lines until I could feel myself turning red and he backed off– verbally, I was still up on my ladder and he was still six feet away– and said he was sorry, but he just thought that I should know and he’d stop bothering me. I said it was OK because, well– if it wasn’t, it would be, and he just smiled and said– “I think you need to tell yourself that more,” or something to that effect. He then headed off with an offhanded smile because his phone rang.
Was he just another harmless bookstore crazy who happened to push my buttons on a bad day? He’d been browsing the row of books about “How to tell if you’re psychic.” Was he something more?
Does it matter?
It’s OK, either way.