The Emotional Kind

by Jane Moneypenny

One of my first friends here was a guy named Greg, a tall, incredibly attractive laid-back guy. He was friendly, open to introducing me to people, taking me partying and helping me adjust to my new life in Austin. We even discussed working on some freelance projects together. Then, out of the blue, he started snapping at me when we were competition in Houston a few weeks ago. Confused and upset, I suddenly felt like I was back in the years with my on-and-off again ex. Not a good feeling. His tone of voice, his comments and look on his face were so similar that I froze up and didn’t speak to him for awhile.

While trying to put my feelings into words in one of my self-over-analyzation sessions, I came to a startling realization. Those 6-7 years of really f-ed up relationship/friendship/co-dependency was considered emotionally abusive. All this time, I had never put words to the situation. I wasn’t blind to the fact it wasn’t right and the whole situation was a bad habit. But like any of those draining relationships, I was so used the horrible ache in my chest that I couldn’t imagine life without it, no matter how much I wanted it gone.

Then I went through a wide range of emotions from anger to embarrassment to shock and relief. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was being dramatic. But the more I thought about it, the more I remembered all the instances he was cruel to me with biting remarks that left me insecure and cut-down to nothing. Comments about what I was wearing (I didn’t dress like a real girl until recently and it continues to be a struggle since I have no fashion sense), about any guy I was hanging around with that he didn’t know (I’ll spare y’all the harsh wording), etc, etc.

He was my best friend and in the beginning, we were attached at the hip and told each other everything while laying in a hammock under the stars. But that’s what those kind of relationships are like, right? Filled with amazing memories of things being SO good that it hides the crap underneath.

A large part of this revelation is feeling stupid for not seeing it as emotional abuse earlier. But, as hard as that is to come in terms with, I know, without a doubt, that I’m stronger now for getting myself over that and starting new.

So when Greg spoke to me like that, it hit a nerve. And it’s happened a few more times since (mixed in with super friendly instances – why are guy so bipolar?). I let it pass the first few time due to the stress and exhaustion of the competition weekend and backed off quickly from our friendship. But when it happened a few more times this weekend, I had to rethink a lot of issues and considered confronting him. His attacks and criticisms were so hostile and personal, as if my very personality and being offended him. And it’s JUST towards me; he’s his famous friendly self to all others.

A mutual friend thinks he misunderstood my friendliness and eagerness as liking him romantically and having a lot of girls after him often leaves him unsure how to handle them (he IS a bit vain). So what now? It’s in my nature to have the conversation, but my friend talks haven’t gone well lately and any discussion around feelings (even if non-existent) is incredibly awkward, especially with a new friend.

Whatever the outcome is, I’m strangely relieved to understand the past better now and hope I will continually remember so I can keep my head up now and in the future.

***This is my one and only mention about tomorrow’s big historical election:

I’ve never been big into politics. It’s never really interested me, even when my closets friends worked in campaigns and could lecture for hours on their views. This election, of course, is different. Either way, history is made and no matter what party you vote for, it’s an exciting time. Growing up in a very Republican Louisiana, attending the formative college years in swing-state Missouri (where I voted absentee) and now residing in a very liberal city  (Austin) in a strong red state (TX) has definitely given me perspective. I wish I could say I understood the issues more, but I do know enough to stand strongly for Obama. It’s not that I consider myself affiliated with one party or another, but I’m more sure than ever, it’s time for a change and I think he’s the one to do that. That, and Palin terrifies me a bit.

What baffles me are people my age and generation who aren’t registered to vote, especially for this election. Today, I was talking to a friend and found out she wasn’t registered or even understood that it was a 5 minute process. So please, if you don’t know, ask or read or google! In the age of the internet, knowledge is so readily available to eliminate ignorance.