It’s a little hard to tell this story in the proper sequence. I suppose the way to do it is in a series of three posts: a first (this one), in which I give a slight overview of all that happened; a second [link to go live a day or so after this post does], in which I present what I had thought was happening, what I hoped would happen; and a third, in which I share the denouement, the way things went down, in detail.
This being the first post:
Tamora got in touch with me. It had been a while. I was excited. Like, really excited. I was so excited that, rather than just make a plan with her, as she suggested, I wrote about my feelings, about my hopes, about our correspondence thus far. And here, I stepped in shit. I wrote something that really, really landed wrong. Which Tamora told me. And then, my apologies all fell flat, one after the other, each made her feel worse. The culmination of it all was Tamora calling me a “narcissistic asshat.”
I’ll be curious to hear others’ response to this, to hear whether others think I am a narcissistic asshat, or if there are other takes. Of course, it doesn’t matter. I am a narcissistic asshat to Tamora, and that makes me sad. Not just because it means I can’t have fun with her, but because, well, notwithstanding all that just went down, I do still like her, and I feel really shitty that my words felt so terrible to her. Unrelated: I fucking love the insult, and have had a great time collecting images of narcissistic asshats, using a variety of AI art-generating engines. A post for another day. For today, this single image will have to do:
I’m not defensive here. On one level, I can’t possibly deny that my words were insensitive. Her reaction is dispositive proof of that. On another level, I have no interest in defending myself: Tamora entered her recent interactions with me hopeful, cautious, but excited; at the end of it all, she was pissed off and hurt. That just sucks. I wish it weren’t true, and I feel awful.
And just to engage, briefly, with the name she called me: narcissistic? Sure. I mean, I have a giant blog. Of course I’m, to some degree, narcissistic. In this particular instance? Again – I think I’ll mostly defer to her. Her experience was that my apologies were just “apologies,” that I was deflecting, denying, and patronizing. I’ll be curious to see, as I revisit our exchange, just how much I agree with her. I don’t intend to be defensive when I say, truthfully, that I didn’t intend to do, to be, any of those things.
But it’s no consolation. I hurt someone I like, and I feel bad. :-/
So: next up, the offending post I wrote. And then, after that, my account of what all followed my sharing that post with Tamora.