Notes on Being Misunderstood

Notes on Being Misunderstood

Oct 13, 2021

For most of my life, I thought I needed to make sure I was understood. It was an obsession of sorts stemming from experiencing being misunderstood often.

Truth be told, my favorite songs are dedicated to the feeling. And when their songs play they reverberate through my body and I feel comforted at being seen. I feel pain too.

Honestly, I feel like I'm in a giant game of Telephone half the time.

I have an intense memory of learning to play the game. The teacher lined us up while explaining that the game would help us understand why gossip was "bad." She leaned over, whispered something in the first person's ear, and instructed us to pass the message.

She stepped back excited at the chaos that she envisioned creating.

Much to her surprise, we quietly and quickly passed the message with the highest degree of accuracy. The teacher severely miscalculated how much we were practicing behind her back. Flustered, she attempted to have us run through the exercise with more elaborate messages. Eventually, we got the clue that the message was supposed to change.

Chaos did ensue. We gave ourselves ALL the creative freedom. Soon the line broke apart with kids falling over and crying.

Playing Telephone is cute until the message is a call for help that is heard as anything other than that.

How do I find myself playing telephone with you all so often? What is standing in between us giggling as it distorts what I say and what you heard? Is it you? Me? Us? What tf is it?

The need to be understood was so dire that I found myself bending over backward to explain what my brain was saying over and over again. Parts of me had even rescinded myself to the idea that I would die this way. Most people who feel this do, or so it seems.

I was so sure of it. So sure it was ALL me. So sure this was all there was.

I think I got one thing wrong. It's important that we be understood, and understanding is a two-way street. I can't be solely responsible for the misunderstandings. Maybe you're the children standing in between me and you excited to twist my message. Maybe I've been communication just fine.

I've wasted far too much time trying to be understood. At some point, we need to have the conversation of how I could give a fuck if you grasp the concept that is me. Your understanding of me is not needed to respect the boundary I've set for you and the lack of care you've found yourself showing me.

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