I spent 7 hours today proof-reading the Chinese dissertation and I’m worrying about it in case I completely change her meaning and arguments. Its written in English but some of it seems to be via google translate, hence me having to reword off phrases like’ frantic pairings’ and ‘daily telegraphy’ (that one was The Daily Telegraph). I could have been out in the sun, and I got pretty frustrated but paid work is supposed to be toil and trouble.
Aside from this, I have been cornered twice by my own good manners and inability to be rude today.
A friend of mine dated a depressive and existential guy for about a year, who stole her confidence with his complaining, his coldness and his insults. With my help and support she managed to get away from him and has now been with a new guy for a year who’s love. Her confidence is all back and she looks like the happiest girl in the world.
But…. her miserable, intense and needy ex is doing the same Masters course as me, and today I got an email from him informing me that he is my knight in shining armour and that my every wish is now his command…
Thing is, I like him in some ways, ie in a friendly way. We are on a similar level with our research tangents so studying with him will be very stimulating. But I don’t want any more than that, and he’s only 30, so why he’d be looking at me I do not know. Anyway… I had to choose between ignoring the email or replying, and in the end I replied in a platonic fashion about nothing he had said.
Then I realised that facebook was informing me of a birthday. This was of an older guy who is very odd and creepy, fancies me, and persued me with such intensity and focus that I became stressed and uni then banned him from contacting me. 2 weeks ago he sent me a long email saying he missed me and offering art equipment for my daughter. I ignored than one, but ignoring a birthday seemed too rude.
So at 11.30 pm, much against my better judgement but worried I was being excessively cruel, I posted ‘happy birthday’ to him. I actually secretly hoped he’d slip in a field and fall in a cowpat but you can’t put that on facebook.
In my life, I’m not very good at saying ‘bugger off!’ and therefore I start to gather unwanted attention.
The reason though is that social things can be so massively painful for myself. I remember 3 years ago, I was so secretly in love with my best mate, a guy, and I was so lonely and had no other real friends. My birthday arrived and as expected, I didn’t get any birthday phonecalls or texts, and my kids were at their dads, so I was sat alone in the house. But I was fine because I knew my beloved best friend would wish me happy birthday. Finally it reached 10pm and I’d not heard from him, and this made me incredibly ill. The pain was absolute, all I could manage was to curl in a ball on the sofa, arms wrapped tightly around my head, suffering beyond words, trembling, unable to move. It truly was agony.
So I wasn’t able to ignore this guy’s birthday because I didn’t want anyone to be in the level of pain I was in on my birthday 3 years ago. I find I do tread on eggshells around people, protecting them, out of empathy, because I know just how much social pain I experience when it hits me. Social pain is a searing pain that utterly floors you, and its far far worse than physical pain.
Sorry for rambling. I bet the guy hadn’t even noticed anyway.