Things I Canâ€™t Say
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
My daughter posted on her private blog a list of 10 things she wishes she could say but she canâ€™t, for varying reasons, and it made me think about what I wish I could say but I canâ€™t, also for varying reasons. And why I canâ€™t say them.
Many of the important things I need to say to people, I can tell them. That became obvious during this exercise. But the ones I canâ€™t say? Not just ones I canâ€™t say (there are many I canâ€™t, wonâ€™t, and donâ€™t care Â about) but what about the ones I wish I could say but canâ€™t?
Itâ€™s not a matter of a lack of courage. Sometimes itâ€™s a matter of opportunity, Â as some of the people Iâ€™d like to say things to arenâ€™t in my life any more and I have no idea where they are now. Sometimes itâ€™s fear that by confronting someone now, their frail health will be upset. Mostly, itâ€™s an effect of emotion. Either I know how much Â the words will hurt or be denied or what theyâ€™ll Â stir up in someone Â else Â or especially Â in me when I try to choke them out. Thatâ€™s an intensity Â in Â myself that I fear, and probably makes most people glad Iâ€™m not telekinetic a la â€œCarrie.â€
My list is longer Â than my daughterâ€™s, Â but Iâ€™ve lived longer and had more things to go unsaid. So here they are, without Â naming names, and intentionally in no particular order of importance or chronology:
- I thought you were the greatest boss in the worldâ€¦ and then one day, you couldnâ€™t keep your hands to your- self. I felt betrayed by your actions. I was terrified of be- ing alone with you at the office or on a business trip after that time when you cornered me and wouldnâ€™t stop kissing me and I cried and begged you to stop groping me and just let me go. I left a job I absolutely loved because I was afraid of being raped. I could have turned you in for sexual harassment but who would have believed me? You were Â a Â fine, Â upstanding Â church Â man Â and Â a Â highly Â respected leader in the organization. To this day, I am un- comfortable wearing pants because of the comments you made about watching me walk away from your desk.
- I love you, but I canâ€™t bear being around your constant Â negativity. Â I understand Â why you are the way you are, but I just canâ€™t be Â in your space for that long at a time.
- You surprised me. I didnâ€™t expect to meet someone who understood me and liked me as I am and to find that kind of connection Â with anyone, Â ever, Â and I fell really hard for you. I didnâ€™t expect to, especially Â so soon after my divorce. It was too early to tell you how I Â felt, and then it was too late. I wish you could have been open in your feelings toward me, but I understand Â why, and you know that I Â understand whyâ€” â€œthe vantage point from which Â you Â lick Â your Â wounds.â€ Â And Â yes, Â I Â know Â that youâ€™ve had your share of fuckups and that we could make listing them an Olympic sport if you wanted, but Â those things in your nature made you very human to me, very real, and I appreciated sharing myself with someone real and that you shared so much of yourself with me. Iâ€™m not sure what it takes to stand the test of time, but my feelings for you have not changed.
- The walls between our offices are thinner than you think.
- You didnâ€™t do anything wrong. You were a good friend to me, from the very beginning. I know you were hurt that I stopped coming around your house anymore and I know I was evasive about why and you thought it was something Â youâ€™d said or done. It wasnâ€™t you. It was your husbandâ€™s propositions.
- I will never teach you the Craft. I took a vow not to teach the Craft to fools.
- I Â know Â youâ€™re Â bisexual. Â And Â I Â know Â the Â deep shame you feel for preferring your own sex. Itâ€™s not that Iâ€™m not sympathetic to your worries. If youâ€™d been honest with me, I could have been supportive and we might have had a lovely friendship. Instead, you went to tremendous, intentional, heinous Â lengths Â to deceive Â me, even to the point of costing me what I hold dear, just to protect your secret. It didnâ€™t matter if you destroyed me as long as you got what Â you Â wanted. Â Because Â of Â you, Â I struggle Â with trust issues. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
- They revived you and gave you a second chance at life. Youâ€™ve Â spent it wreaking havoc and pain. It would have been better if youâ€™d stayed dead.
- I love you so much, but sometimes it just hurts to be around you. I know youâ€™re in hell, but there is nothing I can do. Only you can fix your problems. Iâ€™m sorry that life is so awful for you. I canâ€™t make it go Â away. I feel guilty because I know you need me to bolster you, yet the more Â you depressed and needy you are, the less I come around because it just depresses me so much.
- I still donâ€™t know what happened. You said it was what I Â wanted, Â but Â it wasnâ€™t. Â You Â saw Â only Â what Â you wanted to see and made the pieces fit the image your own insecurities called forth.
- You are just about the sorriest excuse for a husband, father, Â and man that Iâ€™ve ever known. Except for yourÂ mommy, Â youâ€™ve Â never Â done anything Â for Â anyone other than yourself. I know about the women and I know about your crimes. The statute of limitations has run out, but Â youâ€™re still guilty of every manipulation tactic in the book. You donâ€™t care who gets hurt as long as youâ€™re on top.
- I respected you as a teacher and leader, and yet, when you had a question about a rumor about me, you jumped to Â conclusions. Â You never asked me. You lectured me from afar and put me down. You were willing to Â believe Â the Â worst. Â Then, Â when Â the Â rumor was disproved, you expected Â things to be like they were again between us. I donâ€™t respect you anymore, as a teacher, leader, or a person.
- Iâ€™ve seen you when you didnâ€™t know I was looking out the window. I know youâ€™re faking your injury.
- I wish youâ€™d been stronger. I wish that you hadnâ€™t been so weak that you couldnâ€™t stand up for me. You seemed so supportive Â but when faced with the opinions of leaders in our field, all you could do was ride the fence and hang me out to dry. I know that you betrayed my confidences in an effort Â to gain a better Â position Â with others and that you violated your own ethical code when- ever it suited you.
- I wish that on the first day we met, I hadnâ€™t told you exactly Â what my hot buttons Â were. I gave you the perfect tools to hide your lies. I made it easy for you to use me.
- Would you pleasepleaseplease change the song on your cell phone or turn it down or off or something? Or maybe just tell Â your kids to stop calling you 20 times a day? I know you way outrank Â me, but I can hear your phone Â through Â 3 walls, and if it goes Â off Â again, Â I just might crack, rush into your office, and slam the annoying thing against the wall!
- I want to trust you, but every time we talk, the subject somehow gets back to my investments, the size of my house, and how much money I makeâ€¦or how much you think I make. Can we have just one conversation that doesnâ€™t revolve around materialistic concerns?
- If you persist in hurting people I love, I will make sure you never see them again or have any contact with them again.
- Iâ€™ve Â seen Â bad Â mothers, Â but Â youâ€™re Â among Â the worst. I canâ€™t believe the things Iâ€™ve heard you admit to doing for fun to mess with Â their minds. You have great kids and they deserve better than you.
- I know that you were a couple months shy of re- marrying Â when Â you called me, wooing me as your business partner and the whole time trying to string me along like you loved me until I signed the contract. I didnâ€™t buy it. There was something in your voice, if not any of your many promises, that gave me the feeling not just that you were in a relationship but that you were getting married that week and you needed to close the deal with me first. I couldnâ€™t explain it then, but the intuition was so strong that I never signed a contractÂ with you to yoke me into your life on your own terms. My intuition was only a little off. You didnâ€™t Â get married that week, but you did take your Â bride-to-be Â on Â a Â romantic Â little Â tripâ€”where Â you called me from Â to make Â sure Â I didnâ€™t back Â out Â of the dealâ€”and as your daughter later said, you married a few months Â thereafter. Iâ€™m glad I listened to my intuition. I tells me youâ€™re a liar and Â always have been, and that Iâ€™ll never let you back into my life.
Some of these, I may eventually get to say when/if I see the person again, but most I canâ€™t say because theyâ€™re heavier Â emotions Â to Â deal Â with Â and they Â have Â conse- quences not just for me.
And for most of them, theyâ€™re better left unsaid.