Seeing Red and Spitting Fire

Sometimes, people say things that can push our Seeing Red buttons so hard that their words crush the limit of our patience, obliterate our brain-to heart-to-mouth filters, and make even the most self-composed of us rage and curse until we are spitting fire. Many times, the seeing red button pushers do the deed without understanding what their words or actions have provoked. Most times, the ones being pushed to do the fire spitting don’t realize that no harm was meant until way after the flames of the outraged have been snuffed out.

Examples:

1. I said to a friend, “For me, spending thousands for a wedding ring is stupid.” She went off on me in such a way that I could barely recognize her under the screaming. I was even called a name that rhymes with witch. Several times. The words arrogant, taste-dead, cheap and judgmental made it into the outburst, too.

We didn’t speak for a while. I called her a week later. When I feel that a fight affects someone I care about more than it affects me, I kick pride in the teeth and apologize even if it’s not my fault. Don’t get any ideas, my Wicked Luvs, once the issue is resolved, I make sure to point out to the friend that he or she acted like a dumbass.

Anyway, I told her that she was a tad deaf. She missed the fact that I started the sentence with “for me.” I don’t think that getting an expensive ring would be stupid for her. She really loves precious stones. I like stuff that speaks to me, even if it’s a chunk of sun-hardened dirt that a dog pissed on. On the other hand, I would probably sell a foot and three fingers if the money would get Benedict Cumberbatch to read the Harry Potter Series aloud to me. My friend laughed, and said, “Yeah, that would be stupid.” I wasn’t bothered by her comment. I don’t expect her to understand how a voice can make a story completely new for me.

2. The other day, a friend told me that she thought children with special needs needed their own learning space. They shouldn’t be integrated with the general student body. She believes that their inability to keep up—and teachers having to wait for them to catch up—would negatively affect the learning experience of the children who have no special needs.

I exploded. I was even crying on the phone. I think I said that teachers who feel that way are just lazy; that a society that puts a child in a box for twelve years and then “releases” him or her into a world he or she has never had the chance to interact with is worthless, unrealistic and damn selfish. The shock alone would set the child on a straight path towards failure… I went on and on. But my friend was patient. She apologized, tried to calm me down, and in the end we agreed to disagree and moved on.

It was unfair of me to go off on her in that way. She didn’t know that I have seen a child being put through this kind of situation, and when he was sent into the workforce as an adult he lost control of his emotions and of his life. She didn’t know that even now I’m seeing the children of two dear friends having to suffer through this nonsense, and that their lives are hell because of the way the school system (their teachers in particular) treats them. 

3. Last week, after a friend posted a highly offensive end to Father’s Day meme, a holiday that according to her is oppressive to women, I said that “We don’t need to disgrace other people’s views, philosophies (or holidays!) in order to support our convictions.” Another friend said she agreed with the meme because Father’s Day was difficult on her and her family, since the ones they used to celebrate on that day have already left this world. All the in-your-face celebration made things harder on them.

A second friend said that having lost the ones who used to make Father’s Day special for her was no reason to try to take the joy away from others. If anything, said this friend, we should feel happy for the fact that there’s still love in the world. The friend who agreed with the meme replied with anger, justifications and insults. I was lucky enough to be on Facebook as the comment was published… I deleted it.

Her “anger, justification and insults” were clad in heartbreaking grief, so I sent her a private message. We exchanged emails for a few days. In one of the messages she said that she felt a bit silly for having issued the insults. She was just so upset with her situation and angry at what losing someone she loved to a terrible death was doing to her and her family. I told her that I understood. And that I’m sure that the person who left the comment had not aimed to hurt her, but was just sharing a self-truth.

Wondering why I’m sharing all this? Of course you are; I know the size of your curiosity is only rivaled by the magnitude of my narcissism. Worry not, my Wicked Luvs, for I shall spill the beans. The friend I mentioned in the first paragraph got married a few months ago. Last Sunday, she left me a rather… incensed message in my voicemail. Her words suggested that I was flaunting my to-be-married happiness in some kind of mean effort to tell her I told you so. She closed her pronouncement with: “…choke on all your red until you spit fire.” I loved the imagery in the words, hence the title.

The voicemail left me confused. I haven’t talked to this friend since she got married and moved to her husband’s native country. I phoned her to get some clarification, but she wouldn’t pick up. I called her mother to see if she had a different number to reach her. “[My daughter] hasn’t changed her number,” she said. “You should send her an email or leave her a message. After [son-in-law] asked for the annulment, she stop answering her phone. And she deleted her Facebook account.”

The mom said other things, but I can’t remember exactly what. My id was shouting too many questions, and my super-ego was screaming just as loud as it tried to tell my urges that it wasn’t proper to pump the mother for information. My ago sat back, letting her sisters pull each other’s hair. I left three messages for my friend. She hasn’t called back yet. I sent her a long email, too, but she hasn’t replied. I know she is in pain, so I decided to write this post and see if it will nudge her to crawl out of the hurt pit.

I’m not mad at her. I know we can say some pretty awful things when our perception is blurry enough to see everything in the world as an attack aimed at us. We’ve all been there (and by “we” I mean “me”). I’m here for her, if she wants to talk, scream or even write some not-so great poetry about the things, people and situations that leave us seeing red and spitting fire. And, yes, once all is well, I will be gentle when I remind her that right now she is acting like a royal dumbass. I hope she calls.

I went around the house and photographed every bit of red that jumped out at me. Then I huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed… Not even one fiery spark crossed my lips; life can be such a… (it rhymes with witch). And yes, the monkey looks creepy.

43 comments:

  1. Girlfriend, the word 'annulment' caught me... its all about her, and u know it... people hear what they want to hear... that is what I have learned... I hope word gets back to her that your 'day' was the best and that they never saw such a 'beautiful, genuine wedding!'.... I wouldn't even bother trying to contact her, it wouldn't matter anyway... she's gonna think what she wants. not worth the energy.. put it towards being happy..

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    1. It's a tough one. I know she sounds a bit out there, but she isn't a bad person. She usually strikes first, and I think she does that because she doesn't want to get hurt. The old I will leave you before you leave me bit, you know? I will leave the doors open for her, but if she won't walk through... Well, there isn't much I or anyone else can do.

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    2. Mag, u are too nice... she's an ADULT! she needs to be accountable...

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    3. I know, I know... but I still don't know all the details of her situation. Some things make us act horribly, and many times all a person needs to see is that the entire world doesn't suck to find the strength and will to change their circumstances. I will give her as much as I can. After I run out of nice and understanding... well, she'll be on her own.

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  2. Such a pity about your friend. Hoping that she is in a safe place, as many places in this world aren't, esp. for 'foreign' women. Her world is certainly me-centric. Why else would she assume that a)you knew about the annulment, & b) the only reason you would share your news is to hurt her, as opposed to be sharing your joy?

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    1. I've been wondering the same thing. I've thought a lot about this, today. I feel she wants help without having to ask for help, if that makes any sense. It seems I was one of the only persons who didn't know about the annulment. When I called common friends, to see if the had heard from her, everybody would answer with a variation of "I haven't talk to her since the annulment." I, too, hope she's save... and that if she is thinking about returning home that she can get her job back.

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  3. You can't and shouldn't dim your shine just because another can't stand the light right now. <3

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    1. I will try to console her, if she needs me too. But I will not be unhappy on her behalf. That wouldn't help any of us, would it? So you are right, no dimming...

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  4. You have mean " friends" ( over rated word ) wedding rings have brought t me more meaning after I've pawned them for a case of beer! ( several times).
    Symbols and labels can Not! take the place of soul and character, although may conceal for a time.
    You and Cutie Pie, remain unique, and shake that crabapple tree YOUR way!
    Love the red today! More red please, human blood red would be wonderful! Yes! Feeling demonic today!
    xoxoDebi

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    1. Symbols are important because we make the. So yep, you are right my dear friend. *shakes the crabapple*

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  5. Well, you know, if you REALLY want to spit fire, here's what you can do: Take a half-shot of vodka, hold it in your mouth, about 8 inches away hold a lighter, spit the aforementioned vodka out (hard, and do NOT inhale) while the lighter is lit, and voila! Of course, do this outside, or you'll run the risk of seeing a LOT of red...and orange...and yellow...and...you get the picture.

    As for your friend, I agree with Kalei's Best Friend there - she's going through a horrible time right now with the annulment and so it's all about her and her emotions. Any joy she sees in another is going to be perceived as an affront to HER. And yes, she's being a dumbass.

    Shine on, you crazy diamond. Don't drown in the red of another - wipe it off and glow! (Well, unless you like rubies, that is.) ;-)

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    1. I wonder if I can get rubies as a reward for fire taming...

      Right now, I'm actually worried about her. I can't understand the behavior, so I'm thinking that she might be able to use some help. If she answers my emails and phone calls, great. If not, well... there isn't much to do.

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  6. Maybe it's because I'm Canadian and we're all very polite and buttoned-down, but JEEZ you know a lot of emotionally volatile, judgy people, Magaly! I hope everyone calms down. Only the best to you on your upcoming Big Day!

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    1. I know at lot of people in general. Most of them are completely stable and all around awesome. I think that it's just that the bad things stick out more. For instance, today, a stranger gave me a beautiful umbrella, a Marine Vet gave me his lucky hat, I was running late to an appointment and all the lights were green, I was expecting to hear some terrible news about my hip and they weren't a third as bad as I thought they would be. And I have a man who adores me and I adore him back. And a best friend who will drop anything she's doing if I need help. Yes, there is a lot of awesome... It's just that the bad seems to take a lot of space.

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  7. Woah! You've had a lot to contend with!! I'm so sorry about the way your friend has treated you. I know she's in pain, but her impulse to lash out and insist that you must temper your joy because she is suffering is horribly self-centred. We all endure times of heartbreak in this life... that's what makes the moments of happiness so precious. Trying to rob someone else of their precious moments of happiness, just to find company in misery, is so wrong. :(

    As for friend number 2... I have a LOT of personal experience with that attitude and for anyone who holds that opinion, I say there but for the grace of *insert one's own deity/deities or philosophy here* go they. The idea that children, who through no fault of their own have extra challenges to deal with in this life, should simply stand aside so they don't inconvenience their more fortunate peers... well, I have hot, angry tears in my eyes right now. :(

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    1. My Piano Man and I were just saying that this week has been totally full of crazy. But there has been so much good, too. The good makes the bad not so strong.

      I, too, have a very difficult time understanding friends whose opinions feel so terrible to me that I can barely make sense of them. They are easier to understand when I think that in their heads my views look just as insane...

      I'm sorry this made you cry. Or maybe I'm not. I will be sorry the day most of us don't cry at this kind of situation aimed at those who don't have the tools to change the world by themselves and for themselves.

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    2. Oh, I've shed many tears over the years because my son (now 17) has an autism spectrum disorder and I'm very, very familiar with the attitude expressed by your friend. My boy is clever, funny, loving, does well academically at schooll, and has won his high school's prize for community service for the last 2 years, but... He only spoke in echolalia until he was five and had a lot of struggles with pragmatics and language nuances in primary school. I had plenty of teachers and parents suggest he should be in a "special" school, and that I shouldn't "inflict" him on "normal" kids. My baby knows how much he is loved, but he also holds on to plenty of sadness over the way he has been treated, which makes me heartsick, so my blood tends to start boiling when I hear people's prejudices on this subject. :)

      But to happier things... I hope the crazy lets up a tad so that you and your sweetie can enjoy all the euphoria and elation of this special time! ❤ ❤ ❤

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  8. When some one is going through something, anything that is the opposite to what they're feeling they seem to take personally. It never enters their mind that it is not about them. Your happiness is your happiness not her pain being magnified and rubbed in. Your wedding is your wedding - too bad hers failed but you shouldn't put a lid on yours because hers ended up a mess. She has probably realised she's being a selfish, self centered dumbass and that's why she's not contacted you back, likely she's embarrassed. If she reads the comment section of this blog she'll certainly get the 'the whole world doesn't revolve around you honey' message.

    You keep on with your keep on fabulous Magaly!

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    1. When things get better for her--and we all know they will--we will reread this post with a glass of wine in hands and laughing at how ridiculous she acted...

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  9. I feel sorry for your friend. If she gave up everything, moved to a foreign country, to be with her husband, only to be sent packing after a few months - that must hurt like hell. (I kind of wonder why she didn't turn up merry widow instead.) Under circumstances as these, our first instinct is to lash out at anyone who is hurting us, even if they are acting completely innocently.

    Nevertheless, don't feel bad about being over-the-moon happy for your wedding - the two of your deserve all the happiness that fits inside your smiles. Maybe it is the best for your friend to keep her distance for a while, until she has figured out what she wants to do about her situation (and where to hide his body).

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    1. Your first paragraph describes my main reason for being so patient right now. I can't even imagine how she's feeling... She left her job, her family, her country and now this.

      I won't be unhappy on her behalf, I love myself too much for my inner-selfishness to allow so behavior. But I will be here for her (with a large black bag, a shovel, and some ice cream).

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  10. Wow. These are the kinds of posts that I love (the most) reading on your blog. So much emotion, so much humanity, so much Magaly.

    And I adore the snapping-a-shot-of-anything-red-I-come-across! I might have to borrow that idea. But of course, I might have to make it purple.

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    1. I can't wait to see all the shades of purple!

      And these are my favorite kinds of posts, too. Their themes illustrate what Magaly Guerrero's Pagan Culture is all about: being witchy, being human, being...

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  11. Magaly, you shouldn't be concerned with this right now. Okay I take it back I mean to say I WISH you didn't have to be concerned with this right now, during this particular month, but I suppose relationships are what life is all about. So many fiery strands all woven together, eh? Spit fire, indeed.

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    1. Indeed. Life will happen in her own way regardless of what we try to do to changer her. All we can do is be as happy as we can while we adapt to her whims. *spitting fire and cackling madly*

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  12. I too feel sorry for your friend, not because of her circumstances, although they suck, but because she doesn't have the emotional maturity to see the world as a whole not her own personal whipping person. To be as old as she must be and not be able to carry on in a mature fashion is sad.
    And you know how I feel about differently abled children. It is okay for people to have different opinions than I do but they also need to be wearing their armor if they speak out on the side of ignorance. But once again that is me.
    Shaking the crapapple tree and enjoying every single moment between now and forever is all you should be concentrating on. I too am surprised that you have friends with such "icky" attitudes. BUt I know that you are kind and wise and always allow the other person the opportunity to be authentic. Just a shame that you are not afforded the same, always. xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. Sometimes we have to become old and mildly decrepit before we can slow down and grow up. Let's hope it won't take her that long...

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  13. Wow. I have many opinions on this one, but, I think I'm going to put them away. I see things through the eyes of a person with a parent who says things like this and I feel I had clouded judgement.

    On the other hand, Benedict Cumberbatch's voice........great GOOGLY MOOGLY that man could talk me into just about anything, I think.

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    1. While I typed this post, I thought of certain friend going through hell just to get her boy to take a high school graduation picture and barely being able to deal with the school... sometimes people can't smell the rot before the corpses are piling up in their backyard.

      *giggles thinking about Mr. Sherlock's voice!*

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  14. Hmmm...not going to say too much about all this except....a friend doesn't shit on another friends happiness, no matter how hurt they feel in their own life. <3 XXX

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    1. I agree. But people tend to come in so many different forms and have so many different opinions... that sometimes I wonder how the world hasn't exploded with the energy exchange.

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  15. each to their own as far as wedding rings go. my plain band cost less than $50, no engagement ring. but I understand spending on a ring far more than spending $30,000 - 50,000 on a wedding. jewelry holds value and can be turned into cash if need be. all that money on an event is gone forever.

    and I don't understand...if father's day is oppressive to women then mother's day must be oppressive to men. nobody seems concerned about that. oppression is oppression.

    I tend to agree with you about the special needs kids. this is related...when my kids were in school, they were in the Vanguard program where all the smart kids went to they could be taught at a higher lever. but some of the regular school teachers didn't like it because they felt that taking the smart kids out of the classroom was detrimental to the others who had no helpers or role models their own age.

    your friend is not much of a friend if when lashes out at you for sharing your happiness. did she not do the same prior to her wedding? and if she did not personally inform you of the annulment how did she expect that you knew. sorry she's in pain and you are a better person than I. I would not be nearly so understanding if a friend attacked me out of the blue. in fact that did happen to me, someone who I considered my best friend at the time sent me a letter with a long list of grievances and and basically told me to never contact her again. so I didn't. then about 10 years later, she contacted me via FB all how are you, watcha doin', and didn't we have fun all those years ago. I was polite and did a little catching up and eventually asked her why she contacted me (with nary an apology or even a reference to how she frog marched me to the door and kicked me out of her life). when I brought it up, she was incensed that I was still hanging onto that, that she didn't even remember writing that letter (which somehow just made it worse, she hurt me deeply and didn't even remember) and then she blocked me. not just unfriended, but blocked me. It was OK. I did some heart searching before she did that and discovered I really had no interest in renewing the friendship.

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    1. I'm right with you. In all of it. And I think that if I had not been so totally high on happy right now, I would have not have the patience to deal with my friend's questionable attitude. I hope she reexamines her ways and what she has done there is still time. For is she comes back in months trying to pretend that nothing has happened... well, I'm sure my reaction will be very similar to yours after your former friend contacted you via Facebook.

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  16. I hope your friend reaches out to you and talks to you. You are right, we all say things at the "heat" of the moment, that we don't mean!
    Big Hugs ;o) Getting so excited for you ;o)

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  17. Never understand why friends what others to be like them, I'd be bored shitless if we were all the same, I never got an engagement ring, and Big F spent $150 on a wedding ring, he bought it from a Celtic Shop in Brissy, not even a jewellery shop, just bought this celtic love knot thingy about a year into our marriage, said it was my wedding ring... I said Ok, think if he'd given me a $10,000 gemstone in a claw setting I would have realised he wasn't the man I fell in love with, and I never, ever, have valued people, love or anything else by how much people are willing to spend on you... as in, you love me $150 worth, therefore what we have together is F-all ;) I so apologise for being MIA especially when I find out you have been getting shit thrown at you, I think/hope it is because your friend is dealing with their her own issues & not because they really are angry at you, just really angry. It's strange, but I think your sprinkling of your happiness is actually beautiful, it makes a day brighter when I can feel the glow of a friends joy xoxox

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    1. She was just upset. And probably looking for a justification for feeling more upset. I've heard from her family and her husband--she emailed me a short message. She's in trouble and she's embarrassed and she doesn't know how to fix it. I'm hoping she finds her way soon, if not life will get really difficult for her.

      On a totally girly-earthy-dirt-lover note, I think you'll love our rings. They weren't expensive, they are perfect for us and they make us grin. You'll soon see why... ;-)

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  18. I agree about the ring, for me I would prefer a downpayment on a house. I want a ring with a semiprecious stone, anyway, they speak more to me than diamonds and also there are less ethical issues.

    I went to a school where we had a special class for the intelletctually disabled children who really could not keep up, but they spent lunch and recess with everyone else and made friends with them. I often found that the children in my year were kinder from dealing with these children, and it made them better people. Kids who I found quite shallow and bitchy sometimes could be so sweet when talking to and befriending the intellectually disabled kids, I think it was a great lesson for both.

    I have had friends in the past who went through bad times, and although I was there for them during those times have cut me off, perhaps to try and delete all the memories completely. I am ok with that, I forgive them. I hope your friend will recover from her pain!

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    1. Laura, we think so much alike. If that kind of money was available (without taking out of a retirement fund or something), I would probably want to redo the bathroom, or the kitchen, or find a way to have a bigger garden... So many ways that kind of money would make me glow.

      The dynamics when it comes to children living with disabilities are as diverse as for children who are ahead of their age group. I believe that they should probably have an extra class that addresses certain issue (i.e. dyslexia, genius IQ...) but separating them can be murder.

      And I'm all about forgiving when no harm was meant...

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  19. Magaly, red is the color of love and rage.. is it so that we always hurt someone we love because we care too much? or unable to explain what we actually feel? I had a very stressful weekend, I made some choices and understood some things. The main is that I won't let anyomne to harm my baby, that I will be happy inspite of ANYTHING! Even if I have to put my pride inside, okay, deep inside myself...

    Hope you are doing fine. Take care!

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    1. No one should ever be allowed to hurt hose we love (especially if the loved one is a babe). I hope the ones who even hinted at such atrocity got the message: Mama will poke their eyes out! And then go love her baby. ♥

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    2. P.S., Hope this week is better, dearest Anna.

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