“Weird. I didn’t get both of your messages.”

teenage engineering pocket operator

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your story. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better. – Bird by Bird, Anne Lamotte

Edit: (May 9, 2020) I recently learned some helpful information while listening to Unlocking Us podcast with Brené Brown. The latest two episodes included a discussion with Harriet Lerner, titled, How To Apologize & Why it Matters (part 1 and 2.) It made the person understandable to me. I had no idea about the correlation between arrogance and low self-esteem. 

Even though I’m speculating, I no longer feel confused. I now see it from a new perspective and am so grateful. I don’t feel hurt by it anymore. Instead, I feel concerned for the person who misbehaved. I hope they choose to focus on healing. It takes time and effort, but it’s a lot like grabbing hold of a life preserver before drowning.

It’s not easy to hang on to the preserver while climbing out of peril, but it feels so much better than drowning. The only thing I can do is pray for them and hope they summon the courage. 🤞🏽

I debated about sharing this and decided to go ahead. (There’s plenty of evidence to back up what I’m about to share, but I’m withholding the name by choice.) I recently emailed a podcaster who expressed interest in being a rapper or music producer of some sort. I thought perhaps some audio equipment might be helpful in learning and asked if they were interested. (I’m a hobbyist level music producer who is presently obsessed with synthesizers, drums, bass, and guitar.)

I offered to send some Pocket Operators (handheld synthesizers) and books, and they accepted and asked me to email them at another address. (I feel foolish for not recognizing the red flag in the alternate email address. If it registered, I would have realized I was being fucked with and ceased contact.) And then the shenanigans continued. My silly ass emailed the dismissive address, all excited, and in response, I received a physical address to send the equipment.

I only had a medium prepaid USPS box which I filled with six Pocket Operators, already in cases, extra batteries, a small mixer, and cables. I included a printed out page with a photo and a link to this blog. I sent it out Priority USPS (with tracking.) I got a text alerting me it was delivered, and followed up by checking the tracking online. Yep, delivered.

analog setup

I waited a week, expecting it might take a bit before they could let me know it arrived safely. After that, I emailed again, inquiring as to whether it was received. I had another package ready to go with more equipment and some books but wanted to be sure the first one made it before sending it. I never heard from them again. It’s been several weeks.

I thought I was making a connection with a fellow music lover who was just starting to create. I went in with expectations of a friendly acquaintanceship and ended up hurt, confused, and ghosted. I don’t care about the loss of the items, as giving them to this person was my intention. What bothers me is how I feel about it. I feel foolish like I failed at a coolness test or something.

M said this person gaslighted me. If I failed the test, why did they resume contact at the other address and accept the equipment? It feels like it’s their way of telling me I’m a piece of shit who deserves to be mistreated and ignored. It feels like they rejected me as a fellow human, and went out of their way to hurt me. I have no idea what I did wrong, which is likely why I allowed this person’s misbehavior to upset me.

It took me a bit to forgive them, which alarmed me. I felt like a dork who gave away my name, address, and blog URL* to an ungracious stranger. Nevertheless, I managed. I don’t listen to the podcast anymore. While parenting myself through this unfortunate situation, I learned a bit about performative behavior versus sincerity. It can be pretty subtle, but in this case, I believe it’s too much benefit, not enough doubt. I had to adjust my bullshit detector.

person

I talked to my (new) therapist, M, and a few friends while processing. I’m grateful for this lesson and information about behavior. Hopefully, the next time I encounter someone whose imaginary self-image trumps decency, I’ll walk run away unscathed.  ✌🏽💜

*When I realized I gave my blog URL to someone I no longer want to connect with, I unpublished most of it. I forgive, but I also take notes and measures to protect myself from hurtful people.