When is embarrassment sad for the one not assaulted with the initial insulting words? I have been asking myself that question for the past couple of weeks as I experienced a foreign reaction to a public outburst of a once very close friend of mine who consciously made the decision months ago to disengage from our friendship of over a decade without any explanation or motive.
Apparently, she just did not want me as a part of her life any longer. I did not like this, nor did I understand how such a close friend could possibly end a friendship with no apparent reason. However, Michelle Ventor once said, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.” So, I had no other choice but to abide by her wishes, hoping one day I would figure out the reason.
It had been several months since my dear friend parted the sea. We hadn’t spoken or e-mailed or even wrote a text. My only hope was that she was well and happy.
And then I saw her arrive through a grand door of a holiday party of a mutual friend. It wasn’t her presence as she entered the room that set her apart, as she is an attractive woman, but it was the sight me that made her stop dead in her tracks, loudly questioning my presence at this affair in front of the invited guests, most who knew neither of us, some who knew both. “Stacey, what are you doing here?” I immediately looked up feeling the hairs on my arms begin to rise. My heart sunk deep within. My reaction was utter shock, but my voice seemed to have some kind of unknown quiet patience about it as I spoke firmly and replied, “I was invited.” She retorted, “by whom?” And once again I explained that I was a guest of the hostess.
I could feel the blood in my veins run into my cheeks, as I turned red with embarrassment. I gathered myself together, still calmer than I would have ever been months ago and excused myself to the guest bathroom.
I had never thought of myself as a truly “deliberate” enemy to anyone, except myself who has worked endlessly on developing a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Moreover, instead of feeling the angst of who is to blame, I focused on the cutting sounds of a woman’s angry words to me, having no awareness of how I could have made her so very upset that she would be willing to seek me out, and display such an ugly side of her personality.
I couldn’t help but feel a sinking pain in my own heart within my chest at the behavior that implied more of a sadness about this woman who saw my appearance as a cause of such misery to her that she decided to display anger, only directed at me, at a formal event of someone whom she once was a friend.
Trying not to cause an upset for others, I continued the calm of one who had a friend with whom I sustained a relationship, and thanks to her unfortunate outburst at the sight of me, I solemnly became stronger. Funny, attacks with no communication are what I had been fighting off since childhood. Did I hit a rewind button?
Beside the pity I felt for my former comrade, I had a thought that perhaps I was now the cause of a beautiful evening being upset. However, the true shock of my new, reclaimed self-esteem came when two mutual friends, including the hostess, came to my rescue as I gathered my composure in the bathroom. Support. They cared. Once again I had a new experience brought into my own life. So, I still ponder when is embarrassment sad for the one not assaulted with the initial insulting words? It’s when one is the assaulter of the words themselves.
These are the lessons in life I am learning now. I understand that this is the time to let go of the things and people who do not bring joy, and hold onto the things and people who do. Losing one friend suddenly brought three other beautiful friends into my life. Yes, people do come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. But for me, I don’t think I really need to over analyze the changing of the seasons.
I can’t say I enjoyed this situation, as being uncomfortable and on one’s bad side is not my idea of a fun time, however, the lesson of true friendship is what I gained. And I realize it really was a great party. I even got fabulous food ideas for my next soiree!
Thanks for an inspirational evening in more ways than you will ever know, dear hostess and friend of a wonderful holiday party.