Life, as always, has a habit of getting in the way, and as I’ve had a rough a week, here is an in-depth answer to your burning question:
Sweet, salty or bitter?
I wouldn’t call myself a good person. A nice one, sure. Anyone can be nice. But good? Goodness is entirely relative unless you’ve been blessed/cursed with a halo of it around your head marking you for sainthood.
Good is a choice people make and have to keep making with every decision they act on and with every thought they entertain.
I try to be a good person, and that’s the least I can do.
But whether people see that is a different thing altogether.
I try to be thoughtful, considerate and kind to others whenever I can so yes, some people would say I’m sweet. To those who know me just a bit better, I’m best described as the nicest mean person they’ve ever met because sometimes the filter for my internal commentary switches off and I voice the sarcastic, petty and as my generation refers to it “salty” thoughts I amuse myself with.
As for bitter side, I do best to hide that well.
Not everyone can face the reality that someone who appears as if they’re harmlessly nice or quiet, has a side that stains the image.
For me, it’s because, through my upbringing in a conservative Catholic and Filipino household, outward feelings aren’t exactly celebrated, particularly the negative variety. And while they may make allowances for my male counterparts to express jealousy or anger, the womenfolk are expected to be all that is demure.
My bitter side, regardless, is an ugly thing that I’ve learned to keep even from myself.
I mentally talk it out: “No, they probably didn’t mean to treat you like that”, “You probably misunderstood” or the famous, “You’re just being dramatic”. The only thing this achieves, by the way, is to make me feel worse.
Something happened earlier this week that probably isn’t a big deal, and in hindsight, five years from now, I probably won’t think of it again but:
I received an email from my college that they copulated after much complaining the year before, about having a graduation for my class of roughly twenty-four (though whether it will include the students of other departments, I have no idea. I did go to a beauty school after all, and some departments only had six-month programmes). In any case, after feeling salty the entire year previously due to the utter waste of time my final year at college was, I wasn’t interested in attending. It wasn’t like it was mandatory, and I technically had all my qualifications already, and a job to boot.
The problem only arose when I got a message from an unknown number asking me if I was going.
Realizing it must be a girl from my class, I just answered no.
The cajoling began, the half begging-half berating tone I associated with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in over three months, let alone have her new number saved.
I admit I was annoyed. She couldn’t even ask me how I was first? What I was doing? Three months previously we had applied for the same job. In our class, eight applied, and I was one of the two that didn’t get accepted. Beyond asking me the afternoon of, where I disappeared to after I got rejected, I hadn’t heard from her at all.
But I tried to shake it off. That was almost the same thing that happens with my best friend. We only ever tagged each other in memes throughout the month, and only when something happens do we text one another to talk or to make plans. It wasn’t unexpected that this was how my other, albeit less intimate friendships, were.
I’ve always been accommodating so I just asked her jokingly who else she was trying to get in our class to go.
Two others, and one of them she didn’t even like.
She was quick to catch on to my deflecting.
I told her that I just started at a new job. Being a beauty therapist requires working shifts, weekends and public holidays. Out of a month, I get about eight days off to physically recover, mentally unwind and catch up on chores.
I told her that since I was new I didn’t want to ask for a day off I didn’t actually want. This first-time graduation ceremony by my college wasn’t all that important when weighed against the targets I have to reach, the debt I accumulated and had to pay off, the managers and co-workers I still had to prove myself to. So I said no. A rare thing, especially regarding her.
She was one of the few friends I thought I made in college, and I’ve never really told her no before. I usually always caved when she started giving me the cold shoulder. But I couldn’t this time, I couldn’t afford it in terms of resources.
So she told me that she was sure my “boss” would let me. Implying what? That I don’t really have a “boss”? That my priorities are wrong because surely my “boss” would let me have one of my very few off days to attend something I genuinely have no interest in going to?
I was pissed.
Maybe it was an overreaction, but it seemed so much more offensive when she wasn’t doing it my face like she usually was; when I didn’t have her physically there to remind me that, “I’m the only friend you have around here”.
The bitter side came out, and I told her that I didn’t have time for such nonsense things. I’d rather make money for the day than be at the college, I felt, wasted an entire year of my life in. After all, I didn’t have anyone else there to see that day besides her, did I? Nobody else I was friendly with had shown interest in the graduation a year before, and even if they did now, they had jobs they had started too, if facebook was to be believed.
Her only response to my outburst was “okay Angela”. After pushing and pushing, and not taking my refusals before?
I felt like I was being dramatic, and stupid, and unnecessary, and I suddenly remembered how often she made me feel that way.
So now, as I write this, my bitter side is having its moment because I always knew, really, how weird it was the way she treated me, and how I allowed it because she wasn’t wrong, not really…
I relied on her for two years as my friend. We were partners for practical classes together. We helped each other out in the classroom and outside it. We vented to one another. We helped each other during exam season. We prepared for that job interview together.
But as I reflected more and more on our friendship, I started to notice the patterns – whenever there was someone better, I’d be the second choice; whenever we vented, I very rarely did it for long because to her every one of her past boyfriends and ex-friends were “crazy”; that whenever girls in class (specifically one incident) got catty towards me, she wouldn’t really defend me, and when it came to imposing her ideas on me (such as graduation) she wasn’t above making me feel like a toy she had grown disinterested in, and promptly threw away.
I’m bitter because I’ve known all of that for two years, and every time I made excuses for it.
Because she was my friend, not realizing that I wasn’t really hers.