Because No One Listens

April 13, 2009

When I tell people I feel like no one really listens to me, they give me the strangest look. It’s one of surprise and almost offense, as if the fact that I can even think that they don’t hear me is a personal attack. They’ll pat me on the back and tell me that’s not true. And I’ll laugh and tell them they’re right—I must be overreacting.

The thing is…I know I’m not.

But I don’t tell them how I know, because they probably won’t listen.

I don’t tell them the story of how I went to her and told her I didn’t trust that guy. That I thought he was out just to hurt her. He was older and we barely knew him. But she told me it wasn’t true—she swore on it. I kept telling her, but she stopped hearing. She dates him. She breaks up with him. And he’s still everywhere I look when she’s around. I tell her to cut him off and she screams at me, telling me I don’t understand. I don’t mention I had told her this would happen all along. Then I get a text telling me she had threatened to call the police on him after what he’d done to her and several other girls, and I remember how I saw it coming so many years ago. But I don’t get any satisfaction. Because my one goal was to make sure she didn’t get hurt—and I all ready failed that.

I don’t mention all the times I’ve sat next to her as she sat sobbing in a bathroom stall or church pew. How I’ve listened to her tell me how worthless she is, listen to her swear and curse at herself and treat herself like trash. And I sit there and tell her all the beautiful and wonderful things about her—how she brightens my life and her talent makes my jaw drop. But she doesn’t even acknowledge that I’ve spoken. Just keeps saying it over and over again—how worthless she is. And nothing I can say is good enough to change her mind. So I stop speaking, because it doesn’t make a difference. And I become the criminal when they hear I didn’t deny what she said about herself. So I just nod mutely, accept the guilt, and walk away. Because, in order to argue, you have to be heard.

I definitely don’t mention all those group outings. How every single time we go out as friends, I end up sitting quietly alone. It’s not because I don’t want to talk. It’s because I can never be heard over the other voices. Whenever someone asks where we should go, what we should do, I try to speak up. But a dozen other suggestions drown it out. Whenever I want to talk to her, all their voices push me aside. Every time I just want to be heard, his words take her priority. So please don’t ask what’s wrong with me. Because if you don’t all ready know, you don’t care.

And I would never, ever mention him. I wouldn’t dream of mentioning how his inability to hear me hurts. How whenever I try to tell him how I feel, he laughs it off. I want him to know when I’m hurting, but he just makes jokes and tells me I’m depressing. So I stop telling him how I feel, because I’m sick of being the emo girl. At least I still get to talk to him. But then he starts talking to other girls. They’re always around him—girls that are prettier and, if his reaction is any indication, worth listening to. I try to let it go, but it’s hard. Because, at one time, he did hear me. And I have to wonder what I did that made me stop being worth it.

When I tell people I feel like no one really listens to me, they give me the strangest look. But they are always quick to tell me otherwise. That they always listen, always care, will always be there for me. And I thank them, genuinely, because it makes me feel better for a moment. But, as they walk away, I realize they’re lying. They’ll be listening as long as someone better isn’t taking up all their attention. Because, let’s face it, boyfriends and teachers and that girl you idolize are way more important than me. I still appreciate the thought. But, by now, I’m just used to not being heard.

The thing is…I know I’m not.

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