One day I fell. Hard. I couldn’t get back up because as I laid there in complete and total confusion and despair, I had no way of knowing which way was up. The world hadn’t spun, it simply twisted behind its facade. On the surface all was as it always had been: people went to work and the store, they played outside with their pets and children, they ate laughed, drank, cried, and loved. But as I finally stood, slowly so as to hide my wobbling knees, looking around attenuating myself to this new existence, it became clear that the shock waves had damaged the foundation of things. All around was the sound of familiar voices hitting notes I had never heard before, people moving in much more ways to ponder, and most of all eyes lingering on me more puzzled than ever.
There you are, chatting about the past. Answering honestly questions about how you perceived things happening. Suddenly the questioner doesn’t like how you saw things and begins to argue that it didn’t happen that way. They see the most negative extreme of what you said and you meant something judgmentally void of right and wrong. In an attempt to keep clarifying, you realize that it is going nowhere and just as you are about to give up on the conversation, they throw shit at you: “Well it isn’t like you never did something stupid?”
Suddenly your eyes narrow, your throat wells up and you’re pissed. “We weren’t talking about me, sooo what does that have to do with what we were talking about?” you ask.
“I’m just saying….” the other party continues looking smug.
I try to retrace the conversation aloud with the person to figure out where I missed a turn but they are so dead set on putting me down that they refuse to map out the logic. My mind races to map it out alone before the emotion wells up enough to take away my voice.
step one: she asked my opinion
step two: I gave it to her, she seemed fine until I said that one thing
step three: I kept clarifying and she couldn’t see that what I said was just a neutral observation.
step four: the tables turned and now I am under fire.
step five: escape!
In reality I said something she didn’t agree with and instead of staying on topic, she was offended and responded with a verbal jab. I guess what I thought to be truthful common knowledge actually wasn’t. I so unknowingly offended her first and she fought fire with fire.
Moral of the story: don’t use examples that include the person you are talking to… use examples about other people instead. If they are still offended by that, then just don’t answer their questions anymore.