Monday, November 05, 2007

Please See Me

I haven't been able to get this post off my mind.

I've been thinking about it for days and it has to be one of the most honest, sincere, truthful posts I've read. It speaks to me. I know how this feels.

I know how it feels to want something intensely and not to receive it, to be chosen last, to stand on the sidelines grimly watching a game and wanting so much to play but not having the ability to ask, to head back to the swings and pretend there's nothing else in the world you'd rather be doing. I know what it's like to be chosen last for the sports team, I know what it's like to have someone else chosen over you for a part that seemed yours by default, that seemed as though it had been made for you. I know what it's like to have people not notice you; I know what it's like not to exist. People assume that none of this has ever happened to me. Of course it has happened to me, far more than you know.

Can I explain the bitter mixture of jealousy and joy that you feel when someone else succeeds, a friend? How you hate yourself for being jealous and wipe the tears off your face when you go to congratulate someone else, someone whom you secretly hate for having stolen the part that was rightfully yours? Can I explain how ugly you feel, you angry you are at yourself for feeling so unkind, but at the same time there is a righteous, indignant flare of anger at everyone else for always being picked, always receiving whatever they desire, never having as hard a time of it as you do. And it's not that you want them to have a hard time, because they're your friends, aren't they? You just want them to notice. You want to scream; you want them to wake up and realize that you exist, too, that someone ought to be considerate of your feelings. You want someone to understand that it is painful for you, painful for you to be rejected, to be turned away, to be given the parts that don't matter, to be dismissed and disregarded.

But you cannot tell them, these friends of yours. You cannot tell them because you assume they are glamorous and perfect and would not comprehend and worse, you would feel like a fool for complaining to them, for whining that they do better than you. And perhaps you doubt yourself; perhaps you assume that if everyone is telling you you're not good enough, you really aren't good enough. You also do not want to burden them; you don't want their pity. You only want their understanding. You want someone to realize that you too are a person; you are a person who has been relegated to the sidelines, and not for lack of trying. You have tried and you keep on trying; you don't allow circumstances and past events to get you down. But sometimes you feel bitter and hopeless because no matter what you do it never seems to work; no matter how you try, someone else, undeserving, receives what should be yours.

And so you melt into shadow. You are quiet except for when you are prettily proclaiming how happy you are for them. And you are, you are, you twist your heart into feeling happiness while it bleeds. You feel angry for being so self-centered but you are also miserable because nobody notices, nobody cares to think about you, about what you might have wanted, about what you wish could have happened. Nobody ever considers you. You are invisible; people do not see you. And while this affords you certain advantages, it hurts you more. And you wish you had a way to declare yourself, to come out of the shadows and shout that you exist, but you feel somehow that people would misinterpret this signal as some grand and arrogant proclamation. All you want is to be equal but you don't know how to go about it and you worry about the people you already know and the friends you already have and hence you say silent, quiet, until sometimes things become too much and they boil over and after you have expressed yourself you are worried. You feel that you must apologize for what you have said because you do not know how your friends will understand; you do not want them to think that you are pitiful. Because that would hurt even more, to simply be the recipient of pity.

Oh, I have felt this too, Erachet, and so much more. It becomes so complicated, trying to navigate the complex pathway of emotions as you try to sort out what you really feel toward whom, how you can be angry with someone and love them simultaneously. You try to uproot the jealousy but you cannot succeed and then everything turns inward and this is the point where it becomes too much and you wish you could tear yourself to pieces but that would solve nothing. And nobody notices. Nobody ever notices, do they? Nobody ever cares enough to do so.

But that's where you're wrong! It's not that nobody notices; it's that we are fools, fools, and we owe you an apology, all of us but I most of all. Because I should know better, since I have felt it, too, but I simply do not see; I don't realize and when I do realize it is too late. And I try but I am never close enough; I never see things as they happen but only afterwards and then, then I cannot stop them. I wish I would have known sooner because I would have explained that we do things because we are fools. And I know you know that but that doesn't make it less hurtful, does it? We run about and exclaim over how busy we are and the lives we lead and it never occurs to us that these words can sting. We simply don't think. Or perhaps it is only me; I can only speak for myself. I don't think. I don't realize the way in which these words can hurt other people, the careless arrogance with which one can proclaim, "Oh, I am too busy" or "Oh, I have an insane schedule." It may be true but surely there is a better way to say it, a better way to phrase this. And there must be a way so that you do not feel that nobody has time for you, that people do not see you or care about you. There must be a way; it is only that I am a fool.

I wonder how many people I hurt in a day by simply not noticing.

I wish there were a way to undo it, to show people that I didn't mean it, that I didn't mean to pass them by and not to listen when they were silently asking, that I didn't mean to hurt them by laughingly discussing something that comes easily to me.

All that they are doing is saying, "Please see me."

I wish I knew a way to make them see I have.


Moshe said...

I had a similar experience when I was first applying to medical school. I would talk to medical students who would whine and complain about how busy they were, how much work they had, and how they were so stressed out. I remember thinking to myself: “don’t you realize how lucky you are to be this busy, overworked, and stressed?!?! I would give up everything to be in your position.”
I think it is so important to keep in mind that being busy/stressed/overworked while doing the things we love is a wonderful thing.

Ezzie said...

I wish I knew a way to make them see I have.


Ezzie said...

(Note: It's not easy.)

bad4shidduchim said...

Oh gosh - I just hope they don't see!