Sadly, on more than one occasion, people have given me the impression that my feelings are inferior to theirs. This rant is for all of those people.
I was at a small get-together recently and I was talking to a friend of mine after not seeing each other for a really long time. I was telling her about the guy I was seeing and how he had made a remark that really upset me (he basically called me a slut, just with nicer words). I was contemplating on what to do, whether to confront him or to end things… you get the idea. Back when we were still close she was always the person I went to when something like this was bothering me and she has always given me honest advice. So when I asked her for her opinion I was a little taken aback by her blunt answer: “You know, other people have real problems and you’re just whining on about this guy who isn’t even officially your boyfriend. I’m failing a class, just had a huge fight with my boyfriend and got dumped by him. Honestly, you have it really good, so stop complaining.”
All of a sudden I felt stupid for feeling the way I felt. To be honest I just felt like one big joke – clearly her problems were bigger than mine, it was wrong of me to be hurt by one tiny little comment. I went home feeling like an oversensitive bitch. It was not until last night when I actually replayed the event in my head that I realised how wrong it was of a) her and most importantly b) me:
a) Making me feel like crap for getting hurt is not how friends should treat each other. Yes, I understand, you’re having a hard time too, but just because you think your problems are more relevant than mine, doesn’t mean that you get to treat me like the chewing gum on the sole of your shoe. Maybe you think it’s stupid that I am affected by something so small but don’t make me feel worse than I already do. Don’t give me the impression that I am a moron for actually having enough self-respect to not blindly accept every shitty thing thrown at me and for actually giving a damn about myself. If something doesn’t sit right with me then how come you get to tell me what I should and shouldn’t feel in certain situations? Just because you would react differently, it doesn’t mean that there is a right way to feel.
b) She was my friend and I genuinely really wanted a second opinion on the matter but how did I end up feeling bad when she was the one that acted inappropriately? Instead of being offended I actually apologised. I told her that I was sorry for overreacting and that I was stupid to make such a big deal out of it. I am still so mad at myself for that because it gives people like her the impression that it is okay to degrade the feelings of others. I should never have to apologise for the way I feel, especially when it comes to friends. I can’t believe that her opinion mattered so much to me that I got blindsided by it and didn’t stop to think about myself.
I have come to realise that friends (the really good kind) are very hard to come by. If this has taught me anything, it is that I should hold on to the people in my life that stand with me and support me, no matter how ridiculous my problems may be. Nobody has the right to tell me that I am dumb for reacting the way I do, for being upset in certain situations or for caring about things. If someone tells me that it’s wrong then they are basically insulting me, my personality and the way my mind works. I can’t suddenly decide that I won’t get upset if a guy I am seeing slut-shames me. Nobody can tell me that my feelings are invalid. It’s like making fun of a guy because he has a high-pitched voice – he was born with it, it is part of him. Don’t make him feel insecure about something he can’t change.
So really, this rant is a thank you to all of the people who have made me feel stupid for being myself. Thank you for showing me the opposite of good friends, thank you for making me realise that you are self-involved and really just don’t give a shit about me. Because without of this epiphany of mine who knows how long it would have taken for me to notice that I need to cut people like you out of my life. For if you don’t accept me, then I certainly won’t accept you as a friend. I won’t stand for being treated like that any longer. And you, dear reader, shouldn’t either.