Words Get in the Way

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Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you

I’m sure we’ve all heard this particular bit of wisdom or some similar variant.  In theory, it sounds good.  In practice, it is total BS.  Words can and do hurt.  They leave scars that can be deeper and longer lasting than any broken bone.  In some ways, the broken bone is preferable.  At least you look hurt and you’ll get the requisite amount of sympathy.  Nobody is going to say “get over it, it was just rock”.

When words do their damage, you’ll hear that from others.  “Don’t pay attention”  “Why do you care what they think”  “You’ll just have to grow a thicker skin”  “Why are you so sensitive” “You’re just overreacting” and on and on.  From my personality exploration, I know I’m the type that can perceive slights when they aren’t there and I do have a tendency to take things too personally.  So I have to temper this a bit.  But even that is problematic.  If I pay too much attention to the feelings the words dredge up, then I can go overboard and see things that aren’t there.  If I tell myself I’m overreacting, then the whole self-hating comes out.  Why am I so sensitive after all.  Balance in all things although it is difficult at times.

In this case, it isn’t so much hurt as total confusion.  And that confusion just causes me to think and analyze and assess and guess as to the true intent.  But I spin off so many possibility as to the deeper meaning or even if there is a deeper meaning, it makes my head spin.  It also took what was a great lesson and turned it into a big head game.

I wish I could remember the full context but last week, Z was approaching the music booth and made a comment like “Are we going to get to see Wall do a Samba”.  (You’ve probably guessed by now that I substituted Wall for my name since she’d have no reason to call me Wall)  Well, I can blow that one off.  I’ve done a couple of Samba group classes and it isn’t the dance for me.  Its fun but the combination of hip movement and bouncing is just too much for me.  Hip movement because I don’t want to and the bouncing hurts my knee.  Still, I don’t know what prompted her to make that outburst but as a one time thing, it was no big deal.

Last night, Kid T and I were working on the open Cha-Cha routine.  It was going well but there was a part that was a little difficult and we were insanely focused on getting it.  There was a Cha-Cha playing but she just put it on random and shuffle and had the music down very low.  It was enough so we could hear the beat but couldn’t hear the lyrics.  Just enough background noise to supplement her counting.

Well Z was on a lesson with another student and they were doing Fox Trot.  She comes over to change the music to Fox Trot which is fine.  We didn’t really need it and we had been using it for awhile so it was only fair to let them have a Fox Trot.  Did I mention that Kid T and I were supremely focused on the routine.  I still don’t know what song was playing but I guess it was some kind of R&B song that Z didn’t think was my type and she decided to let everyone know.  “He’s dancing to THAT?”

A.  We’re dancing to a beat.  The song wasn’t loud enough to hear.  I had no idea what the lyrics were saying.

B.  I guess she figures I’m a hair metal guy from the 80’s and that’s all I listen to.  Not true which is just another sign she doesn’t know me at all.

C.  Why the hell did she care and why did she decide it needed to be broadcast to the entire studio.

She walked backed to her lesson making a couple of other totally inappropriate “jokes” about me and the music.  They were said loud enough so I knew she was talking about me but not loud enough for me to hear enough to respond to.  I’m pretty good at comebacks but I just looked at Kid T and shrugged.  I had no other way to take it.  And this is not like she’s joking with me.  No, she’s making a joke at my expense.

Now, since I’ve analyzed and replayed this moment in my head many times (Yes, that’s just what I do), I have no idea why she decided to take a shot at me.  It isn’t like we were engaged in conversation.  She was on her lesson and we were on ours.

In searching through the various options, the most benign answer is that this is just free association from an extrovert with no filters.  I’m certainly capable of stream of consciousness stuff where my mind bounces from one topic to the other in what appears to be random leaps but I always can explain my chain of thoughts.  The difference is that I write this stuff down and she just says the first thing that comes to her mind.  I would like to believe that this is all it is.

Still, we have no relationship at all and that appears to be a mutually acceptable solution.  I don’t speak with her and she doesn’t speak with me.  At group class, she sometimes gives me a little shot but that’s group class and she’s taking shots at all the males.  The group class is pretty much stream of consciousness where she talks for basically the entire time.  So I expect that in group class.  When we are on separate lessons, it is a bit distracting.  OK, it was quite a bit distracting.

But, having put this down, it does just seem that it is random babbling from someone with no filter.  Even with that, there is the question of whether she was trying to be hurtful or actually though she was being funny.  I’m still on the fence on this one.  I do suspect it is more likely a very poor attempt at humor and that I’m just sensitized to how we ended and how she acted up until the break-up.  When I became convinced that she couldn’t really stand to be in the same room with me.  That feeling, right or wrong, is still what I assume her motivations to be and that she just couldn’t resist slamming me just for the hell of it.

Well, I’ve mostly convinced myself that there is no “there” there.

On the other hand, “Once is happenstance.  Twice is coincidence.  Three times is enemy action.”

We shall see …..


  1. Wall – I still think Z is reaching out to you in the only way she knows how. One of the things I learned when I taught gender courses was that men and women TEND to use sarcasm very differently. Many men use it to bond with each other and they understand it that way. Women TEND to take it literally and feel insulted. As we all know by now, sex and gender are two different things. Z may have a very masculine brain in comparison with other females, and you may have one with a dash of the feminine in it – which is a good thing. Biological males and females who relate easily and intuitively to typical specimens of the opposite sex are known as bridge-brains. They make excellent partners in hetero relationships and tend to have happy marriages. If Z’s style is too (typically) masculine for you, she’s going to grate on you. I’ve noticed a sweet, thoughtful, care-taking note in many of your posts. Maybe you hit the bridge-brain jackpot!

  2. I think she’s reaching out or trying to get your attention in some way too. After my first teacher and I had our falling out, he would try to make jokes when I was in the studio for a lesson with my current teacher. They weren’t appropriate but similar to how we used to joke around when I was his student. One night when he seemed to be paying extra attention, I asked a friend who worked at the studio what his deal was. She thought it was him trying to apologize without actually apologizing. Kinda like “I’m joking around like before, so we can forget about all the drama.”

    1. Ok that seems possible. So far, I’m doing my best to ignore the comments or shrug them off. Maybe I need to fire back and see what her reaction is.

      1. I would add that regardless of what you choose to say, the crucial factor will be your intention. If your goal is to attack her, she’ll get that. If It’s to open the door to re-engagement, with a subtext of “I’m not afraid of you,” she’ll get that, too, and respect you for it. I would wager Z has been mistaking your tendency to respond to her salvos with silence for weakness – I doubt she’s read up on introversion.

    1. Actually, to be fair, I need to say that you are just hearing my side of the story. And, I certainly don’t want anyone to actually get punched. But, I do really appreciate the support !!

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