They never cared when I shared about myself.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Not really a hard day for me, a bit annoying but hey- cheap chocolate. But I was just thinking about the general disdain I’ve seen, for Valentine’s Day in particular, as a “straight holiday”.
Michael was queer. They were in a queer relationship and they called themself queer, a lot. (In order to protect their privacy, unfortunately I’ve been calling them Michael rather than their chosen name. But I don’t want them to read what I write about them, nor to hear about it from their friends.) Valentine’s Day 2014 (or was it 2013?), they made a post about having watched a movie with their partner, a movie I googled and later watched because of that post. And when I discovered, while watching, that one of my favorite musicians had a song in the movie, I was delighted.
I hurried to send Michael a message- the movie was great, I watched it because of them, and one of my favorite artists had a song feature prominately in it! I was excited, I wanted to talk to them about it, wanted to know where they’d found it! (Now that I look back, it was probably on one of the lists of “queer movies” that tend to circulate on that site.)
They never answered that message.
Later on, months down the line, they began to post about that artist. How they’d discovered his songs, how they loved this song or that song. Excited once again, I sent them messages, eager to talk about my less-than-popular favorite, to know which of his songs was their favorite, to give recommendations. I’ve almost never had someone to discuss his work with and at the time, the idea that this person I respected so highly was intoxicating.
Again, they never answered most of my messages about him. When I shared a music video he’d made, they shared it too. But that was it. They never really talked to me about him.
I don’t talk to Michael anymore. Several times, over our two/three years of speaking, I asked if I was a bother. If my frequent messages annoyed. If I was an issue. And while it seemed like they cared, sometimes- they responded to some of the things I shared, supported some of my opinions- they never initiated conversations with me. They never tried to be a part of my life.
We ended on bad terms, and that’s a post for another day, or possibly never to be written. I’ve complained about that split enough elsewhere. But I still look back, at all the things they refused to answer, and wonder why I never realized how little they actually cared about me and what I had to say.
I was really young when I met them. I was just beginning to understand who I am, just beginning to use language to describe myself properly and exploring what I wanted and who I wanted to be. And while they didn’t take advantage of that in the more common understanding- we were never sexual, never partners, they were always in a monogamous relationship when I knew them- they shaped a lot of how and what I thought, intentionally and with abandon.
So many of their messages were corrections. When I complained about feeling feminine in necklaces, when I love to wear them, they sent an aggressive message declaring that necklaces don’t have gender. When I used a particular hashtag to organize something, they told me it was racist then sent me a rather rude admonishment to figure it out myself when I asked for clarification (they’re white, by the way). I stopped using that hashtag. It got to the point where I wouldn’t post certain things because I didn’t want to see them yell about it.
I haven’t spoken to them in nearly or over a year now. I couldn’t tell you- I don’t keep track of the date we stopped speaking. What I know is, they untagged me from everything on their page. What I know is, they blocked me on multiple sites. What I know is, they never cared about me.
And that’s what hurts the worst, at the root of it. I spent years, literal years, pining for this person, not for a romantic or sexual relationship, but wishing for their approval, their respect. I wanted to have a friendship with them, but I doubt I ever had a chance. For several months before we stopped speaking, I regularly had panic attacks whenever I got a message on the site we both use, because I was so scared they were correcting me for yet another thing, even though I was desperate for them to speak to me. We actually stopped talking during a discussion where I asked them to please stop correcting me all the time, because it reminded me of my abusive mother. (“I’ve been called abusive for my opinions before, it fucked me up. Feel free to unfollow me.”)
Now I have an opportunity to visit a family friend in the city they live in, and the last time I was in that city, I had nightmares about running into them at the supermarket. I had panic attacks imagining I would see them on the street. I was terrified, even though I enjoyed my stay with the family friend for the most part. Just being in their city terrified me.
They never cared about me. They never cared, and they never said, and they never let me know that. I’m not sure what I was to them, but it wasn’t who I wanted to be. I didn’t matter enough for them to respect.
I’m not nostalgic. Looking back, I can’t remember why I liked them so much. But I’m wary of people I want to know, now. I’m wary of getting to know them, because most of them have given me similar signs, of disinterest and disrespect.
Maybe I’m done with squeezes. One day, hopefully I’ll meet someone who doesn’t hurt me just for wanting to know them, to be liked by them. But I think I won’t pursue my current squeeze. They remind me too much of Michael’s behavior and disrespect.
Whoever you’re spending the day with, I remain yours,