Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Words Linger... Day 118

Here's a facebook status I recently put up when I looked back on what happened earlier in the previous day or, more accurately, how a brief conversation made me feel and the questions it surfaced in me. "Words linger...but for how long? What effect does it really have on a relationship? How do you really know how a person feels?" (I corrected the word affect into effect here. Cheating sometimes rocks!)

The best response, advice, guidance, and words of wisdom I could've received. "You ask them, and trust what they tell you is true. Without trust, there is no relationship anyway. Words can linger for a long time and can ruin a relationship without proper communication and clarity." It gave me something more to think about. And they say guys don't communicate. Of course, it's easier to express this than live up to it, but I believe that when someone has the insights, intelligence, and awareness of this, there's wisdom through experience. There's something powerful about that, and I can't help but be receptive to it.

No words can be truer. Everything my friend shared is dead on. Of course, it's much more difficult to maintain this integrity but most worthwhile things are. It's interesting because no matter how complex the concept behind it is, the advice is straight forward yet incredibly thought provoking. It put me in a state of mind to look deeper than I had anticipated to when I wrote what now appears as something profoundly passionate than the casual intent that naturally manifested into a meaningful expression hidden in my subconscious.

My friend's "Dr. Phil Moment of the Day" was probably brought out under the assumption that I was suffering from romantic troubles, but I wasn't referring to a romantic relationship. I was talking about the dynamics of a friendship; a relationship exists in friendships. Once you vocalize something and the words escape your lips, they're no longer your own and belong to the ears that catch them. There's danger in that; a risk is always involved. It's an unavoidable reality, so I have to be careful and conscientious about who I exchange words between and about what contents to divulge in.

This is the case, be it a stranger or someone you care deeply about. But the relationship you have with that person complicates things and affects how you should proceed. My once friend former boss has openly been deeply caring, compassionate, and loving while secretly being dishonest, sabotaging, destructive, and manipulative, artfully concealing his dark side in an attempt to overcome it through an albeit well-intentioned but distorted approach that was toxic and damaging to many of the lives he encountered. As I saw his candy-coated layers of kindness slowly peel off and progressively unravel an unrespectable side of him, I was paralyzed by this transition more than anything.

Instead of being the daring and vocal underdog advocating for what I believed in, I was processing the shock of this earth-shattering reality I wasn't ready to accept, that his capacity to be one of the best humanitarians in the world that would make me hand select him as one of the best people I've ever known is equaled by his ability to be destructive, a quality he practices on a regular basis. I began noticing signs of it long before he truly exposed his real, complete identity. But I blinded myself from what I desperately convinced myself was inconclusive. Because there was no irrefutable evidence, it was nothing more than speculation and arguably an undeserved one considering the friendship we had and the side he portrayed for so long. Some of the time I was able to see into his darkness because of what's inside of me, not because of what he did. It was at the time, quite accurately, nothing more than an interpretation.

I chose to dismiss and disregard my suspicions even when it didn't sit well with me and I could feel my intuition disapprove of my decision. I may not have been ready to accept and see things for the way they were, but if and when it happened in a way that was undeniable, I'd be forced in a position to take a stand and do it, as unwelcomed as it would've been. It's as though I knew it was inevitable. But until that breaking point took place, I ignored what I felt was going to be him ultimately exploiting and misusing people through a means of tactful deceit and manipulation. It was partly through my silence and absent actions that two girls who mean a lot to me now were taken advantage of and unaware to them at the time gave up other opportunities under a false impression. While his misdeeds isn't a responsibility I'm meant to be burdened with, it still weighs on me as though it was my own doing.

Just because I wasn't ready to accept him for who he is doesn't mean that I would've been willing to believe the beautiful lies if evidence did more than elude to the tragic truth. I just didn't know enough yet. Of course, my friendship with him left me in a compromised state of mind. But there honestly wasn't enough proof to indicate or suggest his final actions.

In life we never know enough to make fully informed judgments until an event unravels, so all we can do is draw on our past experiences, let it shape our opinions, and listen to our intuition. Even the past doesn't portray our future actions; it can give us insight but only the future knows for sure what the next outcome will be. Each experience resonates in all of us, though. How we choose to let it affect us and what we do with that information is at our own discretion. Experiences flavor our souls.

Not everyone has the same flavor palette. But I'm not here to season myself to the preference of others. I want to meet my own standards for approval. I don't want my fears and disappointments to make a coward out of me and define who I am for me. I want to do what feels right and learn from the experience of doing something that felt wrong. I had to make what wasn't an established sense of mistake to realize that I'm willing to take the chance and risk what I think is necessary and feels right. I don't know if it's the right thing to do or not, but I think it's important to express myself.

When I do express myself, words linger and resonate in the minds and hearts of those who listen. How long will it linger for? How long will it linger for in my friend? When the thoughts marinade and he realizes that I'm divulging experiences that contaminate a person's perspective about a stranger who may not deserve such distrust that I'm validating through past experiences that may not be relevant in the present, will it taint how he sees me? Will his frustration towards my over sharing deepen his disappointment? And for how long? Is this how he feels? How does he really feel? Deep down I know he knows me well enough to know that I'm a good person and sees that my intentions are true, despite his approval of it. But when I can sense and feel what he feels and it weighs on me, it's easy for me to wonder, "How do you really know how a person feels?"

And how will the words I expressed today to a stranger linger for? How will it effect the relationship she has with her co-worker? She considers him to be a good person, but he's never spoken ill of their boss, while two strangers divulge an abundance of incriminating information against her boss. And one of her informant strangers (me) is evidently good friends with her co-worker. Is this going to make her question his integrity and quality of nature? Will there be an unspoken tension and distrust that arises because of what I addressed?

How will this effect the relationship she has with her boss? Has it opened her eyes to something real and unknown to her because our fears and prejudices shouldn't be hers to carry? Maybe the boss has decided to treat his new employees with the professional integrity we were denied because he learned from his mistakes. So maybe we polluted a relationship that was toxic-free with our own personal vendettas. Maybe we gave her reassurance to a gnawing feeling of wrongness that plagued her, and she was given a warning I denied the girls. That's what she says, but how do we really know if that's the truth? How do we really know how a person feels?

The advice given to me is a good one to follow. The truth is that some of these questions can't be answered honestly as they may change over time. Maybe the answers fluctuate, alternate, or are undefined in its conclusions. Who knows? As for the stranger, it doesn't really matter to me. I feel that it'll linger in her because what was revealed to her today was eye-awakening. Even she probably won't know or understand its effect it'll have on the relationship she has with her co-worker and employer. She expressed how she feels already. And my friend's right. I have to trust that what she told me is the truth. What else can I really do?

This mostly bothers me because I hate this ever-building conflict in me. I don't know if divulging incriminating information is the right thing to do. That's why I have to trust my intuition, something my friend just encouraged a couple days ago. That's what I did. But I still don't know if it was the right thing to do or not. And I hate that ever since I became empathetic that I can sense the feelings of others, some energies are stronger and stay with me for longer. It makes it difficult for me to establish how I feel through the midst of emotional debris. I could feel how he feels and sometimes it's powerful. I know he strongly dislikes what I did. If what I did wasn't wrong, then why do I feel so guilty? Is it because I made a mistake? If I made a mistake, there's nothing I can do about it now.

What's most difficult about this situation is that I don't think there is a clear sense of right or wrong. It's subjective. And gray areas aren't my strong suits. So my insecurities make me question if I screwed up. I trust my friends' judgment, and he clearly disapproves. But that belief system opposes my own. Or at least I think it does. It's more like this confused confrontational tone that's overcasting me.

I just hope I don't discover that I made a mistake because actions have consequences. I know that all too well. My friend heard stories about how his current boss, my former boss and current nemesis, has been repeatedly deceitful to numerous people to notice an undeniable pattern. But my friend's too trusting and willing to give people opportunities (even when they don't deserve it and it puts him at risk) to walk away and protect himself because then he'd be making a decision based on the experiences not of his own, and he wants to leave with something that's his. I respect, support, and carry that same perspective, but I execute it very differently. I take certain experiences and make it my own in a way he doesn't. So I can walk away confidently, while he has to see things through.

Even though his approach and philosophy is mutually exclusive to mine, I encouraged him to see things out not just because I want him to stay true to his identity but because I'm hoping that the boss will demonstrate remorse and behave with a level of professionalism that his employees deserve. Better late than never. And yet here I am warning a stranger about this guy the day I meet her. If I'm that openly divulging information that'll make anyone run away, the boss will never have an opportunity to prove himself as a better man. Then why encourage my friend to see if the boss became reformed? What's the point? The other reason why I suggested my friend stay with the company was because I thought the boss has changed a little. Then, I shouldn't be bringing up the past.

Of course, this lady can choose to stay, but that's highly unlikely. It's not like I didn't know that when I began running my mouth. But that's just it. I didn't make an uninformed decision. Whether my decision to express myself was right or not, I hope everyone involved realizes that I did what I felt was the right thing to do and it wasn't something I did out of resentment, hatred, or revenge. Deep down I honestly believe that everyone knows that, but I worry that people think the worst of me. I know I have one of my friends support and the lady appreciated our insights and sharing our experiences with her. As for my other friend, as long as he realizes where I stand and why I did what I did, that's good enough for me. I deliberately isolated myself and sat alone with my thoughts before I proceeded to divulge anything.

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