It was one of Adam and mine’s mutual friend’s birthdays. Adam messaged the friend to check if I would be attending, and my friend intentionally said he didn’t know, knowing that I was going because he wanted to see some drama.
That’s how Adam and I ended up at the same party on a Friday night. It was the first Friday after starting my new job, and I was celebrating. After spending over a year applying to publishing jobs, I had succeeded. I felt confident and proud of myself. I had worked so hard, sleeping on a couch for two months, leaving my family behind in LA, so many internships, so many applications but I had done it. I had gotten an entry level publishing role at one of the best academic publishers in the world. I had persevered – and I didn’t use any connections. It was my passion and my love and my hard work that had gotten me the role of my dreams. I felt so optimistic about life, I felt like I could do anything.
I had a wonderful dinner with my two friends, but I was anxious the whole time and could barely eat. I just kept drinking, and then we went to the bar for the pres. We were just chatting, when Adam and his friends arrived. My friend who I had confided in about the situation went up to him without my knowledge and said, “You’re an asshole. How dare you treat Sammy that way.” I didn’t see her do this, but I saw them talking. I was avoiding speaking to him, but I told myself, “Sammy you are a grown up, you can’t ignore this” and so I walked over to him, and said hello.
He began to attack me. “Now everyone thinks I’m an asshole. You shouldn’t have written that post.” I was so nervous to speak to him, and I’d known he was coming, so I’d been drinking a lot to calm my nerves, and my head was spinning, but I had to respond. I felt so anxious, the knot in my throat, but he was looking at me, and I had to respond.
“Do you know the difference between ser and estar?” I said.
“You mean Spanish? Yea.. but, “
“Well when I said, “you are an asshole”, I was using estar. Ghosting me was an asshole thing to do, but you are not an asshole. Ser and estar.”
He nodded a long, but he was clearly upset. Even though he had definitely been an asshole, he was in denial. I like to assume that his mother had told him so many times how good he was that he could not process that some girl had said otherwise. But he had been an asshole, I refused to invalidate my own thought.
I like to define my terms, so even though official dictionaries say otherwise, when I call someone an asshole, I mean
asshole: (noun) a person who has treated you like you are stupid, when you are intelligent and deserve equal treatment and respect.Literary Pixie Dictionary
The worst part this exchange is that I really liked Adam. I thought he was an interesting and good person, he was sensitive and a good listener, but he had disrespected me – and I was not going to put up with that.
I tried to stand up for myself, but Adam continued to attack me and say that I was crazy for publishing what I had written. As soon as we arrived, I excused myself to the bathroom, closed the door, and cried. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Sammy, it’s okay. He was an asshole. Your friends agree. He made you cry, but you must hold your head high.”
On my way out of the toilet, I ran into my friend who had called him an asshole for me. I said, “Thank you for stand up for me. I wish I was strong enough to say that to him”. She hugged me.
I took a deep breath, and went into the living room. Then I met Het. I felt something weird about him when I first met him, but I decided to ignore it because I try to assume the best in people. I asked him what he wanted to be, and he said a poet, and because of that I trusted him. I thought he was a fellow sentient being.
I will regret that moment for the rest of my life. I have learned the hard way that just because someone says they are a poet, doesn’t mean they are one.
Read the next post, “Why Not to Drink Tequila”
Check out the rest of the blog posts from how to value your own thoughts.