The uncertainty of having no communication with someone whatsover was really disconcerting… but now that I’ve had the opportunity to talk to her, it has hopefully helped both of our comfort levels. For a moment there, the tension really rose again between us when I discussed my viewpoint that a warning and redefining of boundaries should have been enough to avoid termination of half of my shifts (the half that were in her department). But then, I made it clear that out of respect for her discomfort, I was going to set aside any effort to file a further complaint about their decision. I still feel that I had a legitimate complaint… but there will be other shifts opening up for me in other departments to ensure that I’m still a full time employee, and I didn’t want to cause her any more grief than I already had.
Basically, I overestimated the depth of our friendship and the level of trust we had built between us. I thought that we could share anything with each other and still be "okay"… I’ve had cases before where someone had unreturned feelings for me, or I had unreturned feelings for them, and even though it created tension, we ultimately were able to resolve it. Sometimes, this was just pure luck… but other times, it was because we had built a complete level of trust, where nothing said or done can violate the sense of unconditional love even if it creates discomfort of whatever nature.
In this case, that building of trust apparently hadn’t happened for both of us. That complete level of trust was there on my end, but not on her end. We had talked before about many deeply personal topics… but when my poem raised for her the realization that I had feelings that went beyond the scope of friendship (friendship as defined by social convention, that is), I crossed a boundary that I had not known still existed between us. And since I know she’s had a hard life, my guess is that this triggered some of her defenses in a very profound and very uncomfortable way.
I feel very sorry about that. I’m usually very good at understanding people’s comfort levels, but this time I made a tremendous blunder. Since she had talked to me about personal issues, demonstrated the physical comfort of a friend toward me, discussed her and my respective libidos in the presence of a coworker, etc., I figured that we had reached at least a certain baseline of mutual comfort and trust. I knew that she wasn’t looking for that kind of relationship from me… but I thought that it was at least something that she would feel marginally comfortable talking about, and that she deserved to hear about it in the interest of full disclosure as a friend. If I had known that we hadn’t reached that level of friendship yet where anything and everything is open to discussion, then I would have just not shared this poem with her and probably not even shared my feelings until/unless she seemed more ready. My heart is filled with a great deal of love in many forms and flavors, and sometimes I hide it from the world simply because I know that it will make people uncomfortable. In this woman’s case, I thought that I didn’t have to hide anything from her… so, once the depth of these feelings became clear to me, I shared them. But clearly, we hadn’t reached that level of trust yet… and unfortunately, some people never reach that level of trust, so it was incorrect of me to assume that we had reached such a trust without explicitly discussing trust itself with her. (Note to self: I suppose I should discuss trust with all current close friends.) As much as I try to be the eternal optimist, I doubt that she will ever reach that level of trust with anyone in this lifetime, given what has happened to her in the past (and now the present, I suppose) and how she is responding to it in the present. So, even though my trust of her good intentions is restored, I doubt that I’ll ever trust her enough to share my personal confidences with her again, unless we communicate specifically about the trust issue and she shows signs of understanding and reciprocating my desired level of trust.
Anyway… there was still tension between us after the meeting, especially since I made a point out of the fact that I believe I’ve been treated in an unprofessional manner. But there was also at least a glimmer of reconciliation — enough to leave me believing that my work life will be more comfortable from this point forward. Hopefully hers will be too…
Now that I’ve got the biggest knot of this whole tangle behind me, it’s time to move on to other aspects of my life and trust that time will heal all wounds. For me, the healing will start with rest! My adrenal glands have been pumping furiously ever since all of this started to go down last Thursday, leading to irregular sleep patterns, irregular eating patterns, irritable bowel, and a host of other symptoms. The only things that were able to quiet these for the past week or so were spiritual songs, time spent with friends, and quite a few Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.
So, with lessons learned and wounds mending, it’s time for me to draw this entry to a close… feel free to let me know what you think, either in the comments section or in private.