Most of the time, my irrationality lies dormant. It sleeps peacefully beneath the placid waters of my consciousness like the monster at the bottom of Loch Ness. Those who have never seen it wouldn't believe it was there even if I had photographic proof.
The beast surfaced today. Twice. It made me cry both times.
My good friend was having a baaaad morning. She hadn't slept well for two nights in a row and had that sleep deprivation hangover: irritability, headache, lethargy, the works. She was bummed because she had so much housework to do and wanted to go back to bed instead. I needed to use her dance studio to practice clogging, so I asked if I could come over. I figured once I was there I could help pick up a few things, maybe sweep the kitchen floor, wipe off a counter... you know, the kinds of things a good friend does.
Her reply, "You can come over if all you do is practice. You are NOT going to come here and clean."
Ah... the girl knows me too well.
But an odd thing happened inside my brain when she spoke. I didn't hear the words she used. My irrational rejection filter changed the message to "You can come and practice, but then you have to leave because I have stuff to do."
Now, we're good enough friends that I know that she wasn't telling me that I could come just to practice and then I had to leave. I know she loves me and loves it when I come to hang out at her house. I know this. So why did I feel rejected when she wasn't jazzed about the idea of a maid-disguised-as-friend visit?
Fast forward a few hours to dinnertime The evening was hectic, with all six of us going in four different directions. I decided to make Dutch Babies, a quick, easy dish that uses lots of eggs, since our hens have just come into lay and I needed to use up the pasty, anemic store bought eggs to make room for the brown egg boom. I was whipping the eggs when my husband came home.
"Mmmm. What are you making?"
"Will you be offended if I make myself a sandwich?"
I stared at him with my mouth open slightly. What did he just say? This is the man who eats nearly everything I put in front of him. The list of foods he dislikes is very very short. He has always been very supportive and encouraging of my efforts in the kitchen, which makes him easy to cook for.
After several seconds of gaping dumbness, I finally found my voice.
"Yes I'll be offended! Don't you like them?!
He shook his head slowly, a hint of wariness in his eyes.
I was dumbfounded. I've known this man for Twenty-One years! How is it possible that this glaring food aversion fact escaped my notice?!
My eyes began to sting. "But... but... Your whole family loves these! I thought you loved these! Your mother makes them at family reunions, and I even made them once not too many months ago! You have never said anything about not liking them!"
He shook his head, eyebrows raised placatingly. "My mother loves them, but I've never been crazy about them."
I turned to the sink to wash some dishes so he wouldn't see the tears welling up in my eyes. Why am I crying!? What a stupid thing to cry about. Must. Stop. Now!
I felt like a fool for not knowing something so simple about my husband's food preferences. I mean, you think you know someone, and then something like this happens; suddenly the world tilts on its axis and you're left grabbing wildly for the kitchen sink sprayer to keep from being thrown off. Um... could we cut the drama please? He just doesn't like this dish. It's not like he just told you he wants a divorce. Oh, right... Right. Sorry. Uh... yeah.
He came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. His gentle voice tickled my ear. "Scrambled eggs sound really good, though."
I fled to the bathroom and sobbed quietly into a towel until the pressure in my head was bearable. Then I dried my eyes and went back out to turn part of the whipped eggs into a ham and cheese omelet. He ate, kissed me goodbye, and went to help a family move.
What happened today was not a big deal to Tom. It wasn't a big deal to my friend. But my stupid guerrilla issues made it a really big deal to me, and my attempts to talk myself out of those feelings of hurt and rejection went mostly unheeded by my inner child.
Isn't it funny how a wound seems healed, and then the scab gets ripped off and it bleeds like it just barely happened all over again?
Yeah, Real Funny.