What is Dead Men Tell No Tales? It is a selection of (hitherto) undisclosed, private ruminations and epiphanies. Most take the form of (slightly) edited letters to unnamed recipients, but some have been scavenged from the depths of private journals recently rediscovered. Over the next little while (however long it takes – days, weeks, months, years?) I’ll be posting them in episodic fashion for the reading pleasure of my nonexistent audience.
In A Shot In The Dark, our young writer (his loneliness depression-enhanced) seeks comfort in new company. Having met an intriguing local girl online and grown somewhat fond of her over the course of six months, he spills some of his inner broodings to her. Met with initial acceptance, rejection loomed its ugly head shortly before he parted for boot camp, and conversation with her dropped off the deep end (this termination of contact coincides interestingly with a discussion the author shared with one RF, but that is a story for another time.). Below is some of the juicier bits of correspondence. Needing some time to clear his head before boot camp, our author takes a two-week long vigil free of internet communications, and upon his return, explains himself. Without further ado:
You flatter me, miss.
As far as my inner meditations go, I was brooding as to the circumstances that led me to my current juncture.
Well, it all began about two years ago as my junior year was starting. I was coming off of a fresh betrayal which hurt, and had been trying to figure out who I could trust. At the time, I erroneously concluded that I was too judgmental and didn’t give enough people enough of a chance. So I spent the majority of my time trying to go out of my way to be pleasant, helpful, sociable, and that sort of thing.
At the same time, things on the home front had been terrible as usual (I will not bother you with the details – suffice to say that I am miles away from home living on my own as a result of the circumstances there).
Fast forward – I had been accepted to a college out of state, but my parents failed in their duties to get some financial information to the federal government in on time. As such, I was unable to attend. But by that point, I had become so emotionally invested in getting out of my house that I started seeking alternatives – my buddy here in Utah said he could put me up for a bit while I got a job so here I am.
But all those friends I had been trying to make in school? All the people that promised to stay in touch? They never tried contacting me, and were always “too busy” when I would try to call them or write them. As was par for the course, my only confidant was my long-standing friend Kai.
Recently, on this fabulous facebook site, old “friends” from Bellingham finally started adding me and asking what had been going on and that sort of thing. I was, of course, a bit skeptical – my contact information had remained the same the entire duration of my exile here. When I would share some of my feelings with them, I would just get judged: I shouldn’t be feeling that way because so and so, or everything was just in my head.
One person in particular sort of bothered me because she wouldn’t leave me alone and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She wanted to be my friend no matter what (which is just kinda weird) but she did the same thing – judged me, misinterpreted things I’d said, other fun stuff. I pointed out that I had tried to get to know her back in Bellingham but she kept telling me she was “too busy.” She tried to guilt trip me by saying that she had been going through her own problems, and if I’d taken the time I could have seen that. (I proved her wrong and she apologized – there was no way I could have “seen” that because we barely knew each other and she hadn’t give me the time of day.)
I’ve since shown her that I can, in fact, be a good friend full of wonderful advice, but I still receive the same judgment and sour bed to lay my feelings in from her. And what I realized, Ms. M, was that I had framed the problem inadequately. I had not been too judgmental in the past – I had just not understood myself sufficiently. Having now gained a lot of understanding and being more in touch with my feelings, I realize that I am very complicated, and frankly intimidating or confusing to others (and not altogether pleasant). I had been sharing my emotions with people incapable of being understanding and receptive towards them, which is bad for both parties.
From my limited conversations with you, you seem to be very intelligent. I get the sense that you could probably see where I’m coming from. I don’t mean to be depressing and I don’t mean to be moody or sour or anything like that. But if somebody asks me how I am feeling – and because honesty is a virtue that matters to me – I answer honestly. I don’t like to delude myself, and I feel more comfortable (and sane!) in a sadness which is real than a happiness that is illusory and fleeting.
I hope that I haven’t told you more than you were looking for, and apologize for any discomfort I may have caused. But that is the essence of what I realized. I am not alone due to failures from within – granted, I have my flaws that do need ironing out at some point – but rather as a conscious response to failings from without. I just plain do not feel comfortable or “right” having friends that I can’t trust with my feelings – which is why I have two friends and keep everyone else at arm’s length. It’s… different, I know, but that’s just the way I am.