Wednesday, January 2, 2013
You feel like somebody, even when you aren't.
That's how I started hating her. It is terrible to admit, but honesty is my policy these days--whatever the cost. She always had a way of making her friends seem important. We rose together through vulnerable ages and vulnerable times--a group of us spent hours together in and out of the hallways of our academic youth. I marked her as my equal, as someone with the same values and sympathies. But as my disdain for vanity grew, her vanity flourished. I never saw it coming.
She betrayed me in the most gradually painful way possible. Her eyes deceived me, and her words were passively cross. At one time, I could recall every detail of her being, from the color of her eyes to every piece of her wardrobe I wish I possessed. We laughed together and loved together. We began to feel as though she could do no wrong. She was the lamb in the pack of wolves with whom we were all too enamored to eat. I spent hours confiding in her everything I felt, and she seemed to have felt it, too. But her agreeable nature betrayed her much as she would later us.
When I noticed her first real flaw, I was stunned. We forget that the ones we love can hurt us, no matter how much we think them incapable. It is an obsession of mine to observe people. Our flaws may make us who we are, but her flaws were devastating. She worried about the first impressions, but never about the effort needed after introductions became too formal. “Deceptively caring,” is the best way to describe her; she longed for others to believe she was caring more than she longed to care. Until that moment, I believed I had a friend to validate my disenchanted thoughts on the world and humanity; until another side cross-examined the situation. What I hadn’t realized, until that moment, was that was her way out of any conversation: If she agreed with what someone said, it was much easier to seem like she was fitting in than being someone with a personality.
Her moral fiber was weak and easily twisted and knotted by the entanglement of arguments and threaded manipulations spouted by those around her. When I realized she was nothing more than a pawn, I realized something even more sinister about her: She never intended to be anything more than a pawn. She enjoys the consequences of being agreeable more than the exerted energy required to formulate one’s own philosophies and determinations. She had us fooled because she played the game well, but she’ll never do more than play the game. Life is “Candy Land” when she doesn’t have to do much to get by. She wasn’t a thorn in my side, aggressively reminding me she was there. If anything, she was a thorny vine slowly choking me, depriving me of air and proper thought, with small needles carefully piercing my flesh to reveal the bright red and cold blood beneath my flushed complexion. I have always been cold to the touch--a byproduct of observing people. Her hold on me caused the viscosity of my blood to thicken. Its presence remained long enough to stain my skin. And I mistakenly carried her with me instead of rid myself of her sooner. I did exactly what others in her life had done. She refused to make her own decisions and rather hoped for the best in the decisions of those around her.
She could have become something worse, had she found the wrong crowd; I don’t think she would have minded, either. If she can blend-in, she is nearly invincible from attack.
Eventually, I played with her lack of personal stance. I rolled her dice and moved her further along the board without her permission. I was something more than “caddy;” I was vile. I manipulated whatever I said to see her reaction--to see how deep the hole, her words dug, could get. She did not care if she slunk further beneath the soil, and eventually it was amusing to not just me anymore.
Social media struck her like a chord; a place to be someone different. The façade she carried with her was now superimposed, publicly online. She "followed" and "added" everyone she had ever seen to her rosters, even if the person she knew was merely in passing. She knew almost nothing about them, but she could control what they learned about her. She spent hours editing her photos and meticulously updating her "followers" on her day-to-day business. There were things about the “old her” that I missed, but I knew I would never get back; we watched from our own screens as she transformed herself and became obsessed with herself. She forgot she was only human. She was more worried about her autobiography than what people truly saw. She had limitations, but when she signed online, she was limitless. She was somebody--somebody who did not blend-in. She felt like somebody, even though she wasn’t. She was nothing more than some person with blood that ran as thin as water.
I am not bitter, and that is not I seeking validation in strangers connected by cables and invisible fibers. That is me exercising honesty. But it would be dishonest to say I am not still astonished. I play the role of a cynical being well, but a few manage to fool me. My wounds haven't healed just yet.