Tag Archives: arguments

I Lost the Battle, But Still Winning the War

There are certain words I never use in conversation because I’m not an ass, but this post requires it to make my point understood. If you know me at all, you know I mean no harm or insult by using this word here.

Anyone who spends more than 15 minutes with me quickly learns what my beliefs are and where I stand politically. I am passionate about the causes I support and have always been ready to argue my side, no matter how confrontational I think I’m not. But I’ve never really had the opportunity to do so, mostly because I surround myself with people who think like me. Okay, that sounds really weird, and while I’m a fan of being friends with people who have diverse thoughts so we’re not all bored out of our minds, I find that for me I enjoy life more when I am around like-minded folks. So when I had a chance last night to try to change someone’s mind about something, I hesitated. Could I really effectively point out to someone how they were wrong and could I bring them over to my side?

I wish I could say that I won my case, that this particular person saw the error of their ways and apologized, but I found myself up against a wall: a wall made out of a jerk who would do anything in his power to be the “bigger man.” There are some people you just can’t win over because they¬†have to prove themselves right even if they might really agree with you.

Last night an acquaintance of only a couple weeks used the word “gay” as an insult. Actually, first he called someone a faggot, then he said the same someone was gay where civilized people would have used the word stupid or silly or dumb. He was joking around with his friend, meaning no true ill-will against him, but the fact that he chose to use those terms as derogatory angered me. Trying hard to be more “Randy Jackson” rather than “Simon Cowell,” I asked him to not use those words the way he did. He looked at me strangely, like he’d never even thought about it. Then for a split second I could see in his eyes that he understood how hurtful the words could be. And then he chose to argue with me – NOT in favor of using the words as insults, but to the fact that I couldn’t possibly know that he meant them as an insult in the first place. Which, of course, was a dumb argument because when someone tells a story about something they did and another person responds with “Don’t be such a faggot” or “That’s so gay,” there’s not much room for interpretation.

And I can kinda¬†understand that if you grew up with using those words in that phrase and no one has told you that you shouldn’t and you’ve never really thought about it before, it might surprise you to learn that others, gay or straight, take offense. But unless you are anti-homosexuality, it shouldn’t insult you to have someone politely request that you not use those words in that manner. And this guy didn’t even argue THAT point – he never ONCE said that he hates homosexuals or that he thinks they are beneath him. He only argued how I shouldn’t have assumed he meant his words as an insult. Explaining to him how hurtful it is to me and to others to use someone’s identity as an insult or use a term no self-respecting 21st century ally would EVER utter made no impact.

I eventually just walked away from the conversation, not feeling defeated in the least, but disappointed in this man that I’d thought I might like as a friend.

But I did learn something about myself: when it really matters, I have no problem standing up for what I believe in, now that I’ve been put to the test.

The Beginning

A JOURNAL ENTRY. NOT A CRY FOR HELP OR ADVICE. JUST A TRUE JOURNAL ENTRY.

Mark the date.

Saturday, November 24, 2012 was the beginning. The beginning of the end. A downward slide to the bottom of the hill where there lies nothing but debris and refuse, leftovers from broken dreams and shredded hearts.

And I am the only one to blame for this slide to oblivion.

Communication is our biggest challenge. We are both too afraid of hurting the other’s feelings so rather than say what we are thinking/feeling, we just act or behave differently, hoping the other will/will not notice depending on the intent.

And it all came to a head yesterday. Little things snowballed into big things which exploded into defense tactics and tears.

Six hours later he tried to reassure me that it’ll all be okay, that we’ll work it out. Six hours of being together but not. Six hours of standing within two feet of each other almost the entire time and not saying a word. Six hours of awkward “Oh, God, this is it, isn’t it?” running through my mind. Six hours that only included less than five minutes of hand holding. Six hours of both of us doing our best not to touch the other, even when sitting in a moving vehicle crammed full of people.

Six hours later he tried to tell me that it’ll all be okay.

I held his hand yesterday about three hours into the awkwardness. It lasted about five minutes when the space we were in didn’t accommodate hand holding. When it was possible again, he didn’t try. And he was always behind me; wherever we walked or stood, he was behind me. He was “there” but not. I’m sure he was angry, mad at me, but his presence, his choosing to stay made me think perhaps he was working it out. But it’s been seven days since we kissed. At least four days since either of us told the other “good night.” Last night’s sleepover might as well have been like a distant cousin crashing at my place to avoid driving while exhausted. A total of maybe three sentences have been exchanged between the two of us in the past hour.

This is it. The beginning. The beginning of the end. And I am positive that tears, groveling, apologies and begging will only make the end approach faster. Like, “Oh, God. Is she crying again?!?” My attempts to make peace with food, to show him that I am sorry and want to be “us” again have been met with no response, nothing, like it was expected of me anyway and gratitude would be frivolous.

My heart is screaming, my soul is ripping to shreds and my whole body hurts. He won’t talk to me. He won’t touch me. IF I see him again after he leaves today, it won’t be until next weekend. A whole week of 140-characters-or-less conversations that make it easy to ignore someone, to tell them passive-aggressively that you’re done.

I am at a loss for words. I don’t know how to tell him what I’m feeling. THIS is the cause of our troubles, my not being able to communicate. We will not be alone to really talk for another four hours, IF he sticks around that long. But I need that alone time with him. We can’t fix this with my daughter around. She doesn’t need to see the end, if it comes to that, and he and I need to feel like we can say what we want without having to censor ourselves for her sake.

I don’t know what to do. I can see the end, the darkness at the end of the tunnel. I am being shoved toward it, and no amount of digging my fingernails into the walls, screaming and throwing a tantrum will make this momentum stop and change direction.

They’re laughing together. She’s watching cartoons and he’s hanging out with her. She’s going to be heartbroken when this ends.

Maybe I’m over-thinking it all. Perhaps this isn’t the end.

But how am I to know that? How am I to know what he’s feeling and thinking if he won’t stay in the same room as me, look me in the eye, touch me, talk to me? He’ll talk to and laugh with my daughter because she didn’t cause this, but he won’t talk with me? He won’t give us the time to figure this out? He won’t show me that it’s really okay? Every minute of silence from him convinces me further that this is it.

He left earlier than he usually does. He’s not feeling well. He left without really talking to me. It was a bit less awkward the last couple of hours, but I wasn’t ready for him to leave. We need to talk about this. Just saying things will work out doesn’t fix it. We need to discuss how we’re going to avoid this in the future. We need to talk about the things that led to this, we need to have a real talk. We need time alone, just the two of us. Just time to talk. And now we won’t get that. Our next time together, IF we get together, will be for a holiday party. NOT time alone.

I don’t know if I can move on with this week and push the last 24 hours to a remote corner of my mind.