Too hard to apologize

I discovered something I’m utterly useless at: apologizing! I have no problem admitting you were right; it’s just the part about me being wrong that seems to be eluding.

For the last two days, I’ve been trying to write an apology letter/ speech to my cousin. I haven’t spoken to her since sometime in 2008. We exchanged a few comments on FB earlier this year but it was more of a family-grape-vine situation and I was at our grandfathers house on her birthday so I spoke to her on the phone for a few seconds but nothing note worthy, not like we use to.

We had sort of a strange relationship. At the time it seemed perfectly normal but as I think about it now, I just don’t get it. We had practically nothing in common and she’s about 8 years older than me. I like sports and maths and 20 million other school activities and she hated most of them. She did all the things I vowed I’d never do, because I thought they were dumb… She probably felt that way about me too. I’m not really sure how we ever ended up together alone. I remember being 5 years old and playing with her twin brothers and hating how she and her sister wanted to play dolls with me when I could be building something disastrous with her brothers instead. And then suddenly my memories jump to being 12 and seeing how most of our family have picked sides.

First everyone just had ‘a favourite twin’ and then they seemed to pick one of the girls too and this went a bit further than just the four of them but somehow I remember feeling that she was being overlooked. I saw potential in her and really wanted her to see it too. At the age of twelve I found that younger kids often came up to me and thought I was so cool because I had a badge for something or other or won that competition or something else equally silly and most of all I remember how their attention inspired me to be a better me, sort of like I didn’t want to let them down. So I figured that the best way to get my cousin to see her potential was to treat her like she’d already reached it and maybe guilt her into being a better version of herself [whatever that meant]. So I gave her this present, actually it was more like 10 little presents that had their own meaning [which I spelled out very clearly]. I remember being very surprised about how excited she was about it and I guess I’ll have to use the cliché and say: the rest is history.

The fact that I’m choosing to write about how our relationship started instead of why it ended should give you an indication of how lousy I am at apologies and how hard this really is for me. We had such a strong relationship that I could literally feel when she was sad or in pain even though we were on opposite sides of the world. Then we lived practically next door to each other for about a year and somewhere in there a few things rocked the boat.

There was this situation with my mother that my cousin never understood, mainly because I refused to tell her my side of it. It’s not like I wanted her to stay mad at me, I just needed her and the rest of our family to not be mad at my mom and since I was further away, I didn’t want their sympathy vote. So I broke one of my own rules: I hate when people with hold information because they believe it’s better for you but in actual fact it’s just better for themselves. I’m probably never going to tell her what really went down; actually I’ve only told one other person by accident and using only one short sentence. Anyway, around the same time I really needed to talk to someone about my dad and since I trusted her more than anyone else in my entire life I figured she’d be the best one to go to.

As you may have noticed I tend to be melodramatic about really strange things, so like a poker player I have a few tells most of my friends are aware of. These basically tell them whether I really need them or if I’m just looking for someone to listen or if I actually want them to kick my ass and tell me to get over it all ready. So in no uncertain terms [or at least so I thought] I laid down every single one of my tells and the rules I live by. My cousin couldn’t get out of that conversation soon enough but I figured it was just her way of digesting it all. So a few days later I told her some things I have never and probably will never again, tell anyone else. She didn’t even care enough about me to listen to me and later I would find out that this was because she misunderstood the rules I told her a few nights before… so for that I forgave her after we had a fight about it and everything came to light. But the trust was still broken because it wasn’t easy for me to open up about those things.

Somewhere in that same conversation-fight she also started miss quoting me, once again proving that she didn’t care enough to listen to me in the first place. The things she believed I said also proved that she really didn’t know me at all. If she could believe that I would actually do and believe those things, then she wasn’t the kind of person I needed in my life.

She also brought up my friends [whom she’s never met] and totally dissed them. Maybe because she thought I had changed or because she was afraid of losing me but I think that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I honestly have no idea what she was thinking. She also miss quoted things from my diary[ she asked me once if she could read it and since I whole heartedly trusted her, I had no problem with that as long as she read it cover to cover] that just confused me because my opinion changes as I gain new information i.e. I grow as a person every day. I found it annoying that she was trying to defend people against things I wrote a year earlier, not knowing that I had already had that conversation with them. The fact that she drew so many uninformed conclusions made me wonder why I ever trusted her in the first place…

There was also a comment about my dad that I have completely blocked from my memory but I remember my reaction clearly. Such a strong reaction wouldn’t have come without a huge provocation. Whatever it is she said, I really want to forgive and forget but I think it’s exactly that that caused this whole mess.

Every time I see a picture of her or think of her I have a flashback to my reaction and all I want to do is shove her down the stairs. That is not healthy!!! I have never felt this way about anyone! Even Robert Mugabe has never been that hated by me…

I know this was supposed to be about me apologizing but clearly I’m not quite there yet! I wish I could just spit out those words and stop wasting my energy on this hatred but I think first I need to get over the crushing blows she delivered. I’m sorry that you have to read my psychotic babble but hopefully it’ll lead to the words: “I’m sorry” coming out of my mouth soon.



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