A Sudden Sense of Reeling

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.

It was one thing to have the recent online attacks, the vicious ones focusing on my religion, confirmed today as coming from a woman I  worked side by side with and considered  a  trusted  friend…years  ago.   We’ve  grown apart. Her  recent  shenanigans  don’t hurt—I’m  agitated but  I’m relieved to discover this now before partnering on future  business projects or volunteer  work with her and wasting  my time and  money.  But we were friends years ago  and not recently,  and she really  has no clue what’s happened in my life over the past five or more years.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

By the end of the work day, my mind’s been chugging along,  processing  things  while I carried  on my normal workday. Something very old and unexpected bubbled up during the day, and now? Now I’m pissed.

When you get a good review on a book, you feel validated. Then you forget about it.

Get a  bad  review  and  you  remember  every  word.

Even years later. I think most writers are like that. Yes, it’s just one  opinion, but you so want everyone to love your baby and call it pretty.

But this happened a long time ago.

When some  of  my  first  book  reviews  showed  up online, there were two that troubled me, mainly because they were downright mean. One ridiculed my beliefs even though the book had nothing to do with spirituality. The other clearly hadn’t read the book and focused on elements in the online  cover  blurb  and drew  conclusions about the story that were wrong—which reading the first few pages would have answered.

The reviews  were  prominently  posted.  I  remember reading them and wondering who I’d pissed off because they were    out-of-line     mean…and yes, some             reader- reviewers can be quite mean, but this really set the standard in those days. Both reviews  were anonymous  and used similar language that told me they were by the same person, and by a fellow writer. There are certain terms that readers  just don’t use, but writers who are used to critiquing or judging contests certainly do.

Those terms stuck in my head. So did another phrase I’ve rarely heard in my life, but was prominent in the re- views.

Today I seemed to dip back in time, to years ago, in a rather  sudden meditation  that  was  more  of  a  flash  of memory mixed with  Etheric interplay. I was sitting in a room with this woman and others,  listening to her talk, listening to her use writer  terminology,  the same  as  in those reviews.  I specifically remember  this. As she was talking, not facing me, a watermark of those old reviews played behind her like a faded, waving flag. The conversation shifted to a bit of gossip about someone she disliked and in response to the news of this maligned person, she uttered her trademarked phrase that she saved for anyone she truly disliked. Except when she said it, she turned and looked directly at me in this impromptu meditation, as if she could see me back in time with her.

The same usual phrase in those reviews.

The words jarred me out of my meditative flash and I went reeling backward in my chair. I was so stunned. Of course. I used to hear that phrase from her all the time, yet when the mean reviews showed up, I never connected them with her. Why would I? She was a friend. We sat across the table from each other on a regular basis and shared ideas and efforts.

But with the end of the day comes the realization that she  badmouthed  me  often,  to  friends,  to  strangers,  to people online. I now understand little tidbits people tried to warn me about over the years but they all backed off when I mentioned that this woman was in my circle  of friends. Maybe they knew I wouldn’t believe them.

I’m wondering now if she disliked me from the first time we ever  met and agreed to work together  or if it started only when our religious beliefs diverged.

But what pisses me off is not that she’s declared war on me and  my like-minded kind in a public but anonymous way, but that she was  already actively engaged in guerilla tactics so many years ago when I was working by her side and always gave her any help she asked for, even if her frequent asking was sometimes enough to be a joke in my family. I guess I  expect such tactics from people who don’t like me or even from people I’ve grown apart from, but not from people I called friends, during the time they called me a friend to my face.

This a friendship  that I thought  had quietly slipped away over the years. I don’t regret losing it. It was gone a long time before I knew it, if it was ever really there at all.