In little over an hour from now, “The Bachelor/The Women Tell All” will air on ABC. This is the point, in the grande process toward “The Final Rose”, when all the jilted bachelorettes get to descend upon their alleged suitor with every grievance and moment of humiliation he’d brought to bear on their public life in a rush of female vilification that approaches the attack of a flock of buzzards. I, for one, on a night like this one cannot wait to be a mere spectator.
My online counselor and I had just completed our session. I’d asked him to let me read aloud to him from one of my blog posts, “Pedigree”, because I wanted him to know about something that had “happened to me.” To my mind, the incident about which I had written had happened to me, not because of me.
When I finished the read, I looked up at him. His face was contorted. He looked down, and shook his head. Then, he said that he felt like acid had been thrown at him. He called me snotty. He said I sounded, no; he actually looked right at me, and said it: “You’re a mean bitch!”
” It’s no wonder”, he added, “that you have so few friends!”
He also kept rubbing his forehead. It could very well be that he’d had a headache even before I signed on. If so, I am certain that it was made worse by my session, a fact that I would give him by way of compassionate concession. But, I realized that now I would be spending the evening processing that somebody who got paid to counsel individuals in the realm of human behavior had just called me a snotty, mean bitch.
Perception sometimes informs the agony of life.
I repeat: I’d asked him to let me read the blog post aloud to him, because I wanted him to know about what had “happened to me.” ; the incident about which I had written had happened to me, not because of me. He, on the other hand, insisted that I had behaved very passive-aggressively by starting the conversation, and aggressively by writing the follow up piece.
The community of psychologists and their corollaries’ consensus goes that, deep within the tangled mess we often see when we go inside, a fragile, tender child resides. We are told to fully see that child, to embrace that child, and to accept that child. That child is innocent.
At that moment, I felt like somebody just tore the skin on that child and inserted a poisonous penetrant. Psychic pain is not lost on me; in fact, in my trek through the jungle toward self-realization, I have become quite familiar with the sensation.
Where does one go, and what does one do, when one is told that others see, in the self we are trying to accept, only a snotty, mean bitch?
My first impulse is to shut down. In moments of extreme trauma, rather than act out emotionally as is my characteristic wont I simply go unresponsive. I sit very still. The muscles of my face cease any movement. I hide in plain sight, hoping that any and all external influences will retreat from their threat to my well-being.
But, being a seasoned, post-menopausal woman, I do have other options. I could take a hot shower. I could eat something that contains heavy creme and organic unprocessed cane sugar. I could meditate on those whom I love, or those who, over time, have offered the sincerest form of love.
Indeed. Even a trained counselor can have moments of lapses in humanity. Even those whose livelihood depends on the trust of the precariously healthy can make missteps. Forgiveness is the most magnanimous of traits. Time to employ it, with fervor.
Denial is only a temporary comfort. There is no place to really live in denial. Defiantly insisting, particularly at the top of my voice, that I am NOT a snotty, mean person serves nothing and nobody.
Having recently confessed, also in print, my total failure as a loving human, I’m hoping for further illumination. Perhaps the belief that we bring our own misfortune, that we invite our own misery, is worthy of contemplation tonight. I’d thought that opening the counseling session with a preamble about never having been trained in the social arts would carry some credence; apparently, when one asserts oneself in print, all bets are off.
Here’s hoping that the study in sociology presented at 8:00pm will purge me of any and all notions of superiority over others that my writing implies. After all, if one stable, otherwise healthy guy from a loving, supportive family can handle the challenge and condemnation coming at him from 25 angry females, an aging, single woman who struggles to remain relevant among her peers can certainly survive the perception of one man.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 3/7/16 All rights those of the snotty, mean bitch who wrote the piece. Back off, minions.
(there. I hope he’s happy.) (!)