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 The Mirror, our author thinks he has found a female extremely similar to him. He provides her a shoulder to cry on, but when he attempts to use his shoulder, he is met with (you guessed it) rejection. You Asked For This is a tale of the writer getting what he wanted…sort of.
[Some thoughts and feelings I shared with her before the main letter:]
One of the most troubling things to me has always been the fact that that which matters most to me tends to matter little (or not at all) to others.
This could relate to my passions as easily as it could my problems. It makes one feel very isolated from others.
I dunno. I get sick of being alone, but moreover I get sick of feeling lonely when I am supposed to have so many friends. It is for that reason that I tend to isolate myself. A loneliness borne of being alone is far easier to cope with than a loneliness in the midst of others. Does that make any sense?
[These go largely ignored for a few days, then I lay this down about a week before I ship out:]
Haha, I’m terrible. There is something about me that does not want to share the good things about myself, only the terrible ones. Like, the past few days, I have been writing again and it has felt awesome and I have been really proud of it and it has felt great.
But do I tell you about this? Nah.
I only feel motivated to get in touch with you when, out of the blue, tonight, I get in a huge fight with my brother and pretty much feel like I have no family left in the world. I only want to reach out to people when I’ve been crying for two hours.
I am sorry for being stupid that way. I know very well why I have few friends, why those few friends barely tolerate me, and it is because I have a terrible habit of putting people in a bad mood. Part of the reason I don’t share my writing with people, for instance, is because I’ve tried to in the past only to have people shoot me down over it. I mean, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it happened and it hurt and so I stopped sharing it, but, you know, that’s just an excuse I use to justify being negative all the time.
Sorry if I’m rambly or transferring my BS onto you. I don’t mean to. I just, I’m just really conflicted. I wish I could be in kindergarten again, I really do, where it is perfectly okay and not weird to just say to someone “I like you, let’s be friends.” I wish I could feel like that again, where I could just say “I like you, wanna hang out?” Where things are that simple. Because the reverse side of that is, in kindergarten, kids either said yes or they said no. If they said no, maybe you cried for a day but you got over it and you made other friends. What seems to happen now is, people are afraid of saying no (for a good reason, they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings) but instead do something far worse, which is to lead people along and make them believe that everything is fine when it’s not.
Haha, look at me, I apologize for being rambly and shoot straight off into a ramble… ugh…
What I’m getting at is, what I’ve meant to tell you for a while, is just, I like you and wanna be your friend. I don’t know why I have such a hard time saying it. I think you are fascinating, really interesting, I really truly do, and I’d like to get to know you better and talk more (and would have liked to hang out with you, back when that was possible), because I think you’re a good, worthwhile person. You know? That’s what I’d like to do, why I’d like to do it.
For a long time, I guess, I’ve just been so afraid of ultimate rejection from people, and so afraid of doing things to make them not like me, that I set myself up for the kind of situations I hate. When people don’t start talks with me, I assume it is because they don’t want to talk to me, and I leave them alone – sometimes forever. There are some people I have not talked to for years, literally, because of that. I stopped starting conversations, they didn’t start any, and we just stopped talking. So I secretly put people through all these BS tests to try and figure out if they really like me or not and really want to be my friend or not and… it’s all so stupid and short sighted and blah.
Part of the reason I really like you is because I think you feel the same way about honesty as I do. And if that’s the truth, if you really feel the same way about honesty, then I think we could actually be good friends. But we just need to be honest. So I’ll be honest with you (am being honest, like really honest, right now). And just please, you know, return the favor, even if it means just telling me no. Please please, whatever your response is, please please make it honest. Because if you tell me that you also want to be friends, but you really don’t want that, I am going to try and be your friend and invest myself emotionally into something you didn’t really want, and that’ll be bad for both of us, because then I’ll be around annoying you all the time, and when I finally realize that you don’t actually want to be my friend it’ll hurt a lot more after a big investment than it would relatively up front by you just saying “nah.”
If I sound like a broken record, sound like I keep pushing this honesty thing and not listening to you (because I know you said once before that you want to be honest) I’m sorry. I promise this’ll be the last time. I’m just so worried about you actually being honest, and want to make it clear that honesty is a good thing, will be a way better thing than dishonesty – because I had someone tell me that before, that they were being honest. In the absolute worst situation to lie in – in a relationship. They told me they were being honest, you know, and were telling me that they loved me and all that, and next thing I know, she’s admitting to not being honest, to not meaning those things, and I found out she was cheating on me and… it was bad for both of us, really bad, and far worse than if she had just been honest.
So again, sorry if this is all rambly and annoying. But I am going to take your next response and operate on the assumption that it is completely truthful, completely honest, no matter what the consequences. That way I won’t ever bring this up again. So I hope that you will be honest. I think you will be honest, actually, otherwise I wouldn’t even be asking – but, there you have it.
And if it turns out that you’re sick of me, tired of me being weird all the time, that’s fine, but I just want to thank you for putting up with me as long as you did, because even if we haven’t been the best of friends or anything, I have enjoyed our conversations and you’ve been really helpful to me in times when I needed help, if you know it or not. (That was a long sentence.) Which is why I want to be friends with you, you know, feel like good friends – which I think can only happen on a foundation of mutual honesty and trust and all that jazz.
I’ll shut up after this: all I want is for us to be honest, that’s it. Whether we have good things to share or bad things – I don’t care, as long as we’re honest, and I’ll try to share things that excite me and make me happy in addition to bad crap like tonight. There, that’s it, that’s what I wanted to say. If you’ve managed to read this far, thank you very much.
[At least her response, below, was honest, as I asked:]
“Ok. I don’t want to be rude or anything. But I really do want to be your friend, but there will be sometimes that I really don’t want to talk to you. I hope that makes sense. I also hope that didn’t sound rude. I honestly don’t know what else to say.”
[Then I say:]
That makes perfect sense, and you do not sound rude. Thank you.
This is all a result of me being seriously screwed up when I met you, and me being really stupid and over-complicating everything. I can elaborate, if you want.
[And that’s the end of that. I’ve since rarely talked to her – mostly just to help her out with her romantic problems, but never about myself.]