Do you ever really know someone?

Matthew Hussey

It’s been a busy, busy week and while I’ve been knee-deep in homework, primary research, writing and copy assignments, and the Indy 500, I did come across something on one of my social networks today that caught my eye. It made me ponder for a real minute as I stared blankly out my office window and wondered about him—living somewhere out there, miles away with a solitary mindset; scared and childlike in his behavior, always reacting from fear and treating those who care about him like they’re nothing but characters in one of his video games.

While we had a six-year relationship firmly rooted in genuine friendship, the way he treated me at the end of it is something I often wonder about. Will he treat others the same way? People rarely ever change, that much I know and have accepted. Though I’ve forgiven him completely and fully by following a path of grace, it’s hard to forget the pain. It’s hard to trust yourself some nights because those broken shards make you wonder about the character of people. It makes you wonder, do we really ever know someone?

After the way he treated me when things weren’t going his way, I saw a side of him I never imagined seeing. Ugly, heartless, cold, and incredibly shallow. Arrogant too. A real piece of work treading Mr. Potter territory. Of course, for the other person involved on the other side of the equation—talk about blindsided due to living under a rock (or just being a halfwit). Of course, they are no different and react in their own exaggerated ways due to the constant dread of living a life like their parents. (Side note: While some women speak about “the decency for fellow women,” there’s one in particular who is a fucking nut-ball of hypocrisy and so afraid of turning into her family of bungles that she took back a cheater a month after discovering his affair and decided to spread those shanks to have a baby for the validity of their love. As her partner says it’s “obligation” and “just makes sense.” So, yeah, decency of a woman…)

However, with regards to him—Tom, Mr. Potter, whatever he so shall be called, what is it, really? Who is he, really? When he wrote me a letter back in March, I didn’t know what to think of him. Every feeling I ever felt came pouring back like a dam. Especially after the whole debacle last fall. But it begged the question, was he truly cruel or truly my friend?

In life we talk, laugh, and cry, but do we ever know what goes on behind closed doors? Behind the curtain of every conversation there is a complication, a half truth. And behind the laughter, there are weak smiles and sighs because how in the world could she guess right about you in that moment of living (and loving). And behind the tears, there are a mountain of painful memories that care to be left alone. Truth is, people keep secrets, hide behind facades for years and it makes you wonder, can you truly know someone? After all, think of the couples who are unfaithful. Some affairs go on for half a decade and their partner is none the wiser. We claim “love” and prove commitment through various measures like vacationing or having babies, but maybe we just don’t know people. Humans are weird. It’s hard sometimes for us to even figure out who we are, let alone others.

Knowing someone is a complex situation and as he knows best, a two-way street. I still feel in my heart I know him even if he presented a Mr. Hyde version to me. One where he doesn’t care, he tries his hardest to push me away. But knowing someone like him means knowing him at his worst but realizing that his best is still visible through some pattern. And knowing him at his best proves that his worst is insignificant. I guess I could interpret it this way because I’ve always been vulnerable with him. That said, never mistaken vulnerable for blind. You actually see better with a bigger, more fearless heart.

Life and its relationships are a hard equation to crack. As it is, life is limitless and infinite in its possibilities. What will happen today? What will happen tomorrow? “Are things going to work out with me and my life?” If we can’t figure it out for ourselves, how can we ever figure out people? Patterns, angles, tones, we have the power to create them all but it will never truly prove who we are unless we are vulnerable.

Despite banishing me into what felt like an eternal exile, a part of me feels deep down in my gut that he was (and is) still someone who cared. Sending him emails every month, I often felt it in my core that they affected him most positively. I use to believe he would be reading them more than once, cherishing these messages—regarded as bookmarks to our friendship that contained informative bits about my life, anecdotes about adventures in a new state, and so much more. It’s crazy to say out loud, but I dreamed last month he was still reading them, going through messages at odd hours in the day but he doesn’t ever admit anything when it comes to him being exposed. So my gut is nothing more than a vessel to indicate when I’m hungry now.

It would be remiss of me to say that I’ve found my own footing through healing in these blog posts. It’s given me great perspective to just “vent” and be open about my experiences. It’s also made me so much more mindful. Moving past frustrations and future anxieties, writing (and chatting with my nearest and dearest friends) is a gift I would never trade for the world. Nor one to regret. By engaging in cathartic writing, I’ve also felt I’ve become more emotionally intelligent with regards to my emotions and those of others. I guess, I’ve become more self-aware of what I want without giving into fear of abandonment or settling for something I know I’m better than—and much more stronger than too. Perhaps at the end of the day, the people we only ever really know are ourselves.

Or at least we try.

{Image Credit: Matthew Hussey}
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4 comments

  1. Well said. If someone has been that mean to you though think about how they treat the people directly in their relationship. It’s like you said people don’t change and it’s true. In terms of the sidenote that is horrible if a couple goes into a relationship trying to save it by having a baby. I have no respect for people like that. It’s selfish.

    I hope you’ve been well. It’s been a while. How are your classes going?

    1. Hey Ryan, it has been a while! Classes are going well, thanks for asking. The summer semester just started so I’m looking forward to these next two months with my dozens of textbooks, haha!

      I agree. People don’t change, no matter how much they try. It’s sad that some will go to such extreme measures to save a relationship by integrating a child. I find that heartbreaking because the child doesn’t deserve to be in that toxic environment of hits and misses, or eggshell walking.

      1. When I was married it was just the two of us constantly living in the eye of the storm. It was difficult but we knew never to bring in a child. I think it’s about being strong in yourself too. These people who hurt you are not strong on their own so how can they be strong together? This guy sounds weak and has no clue what he wants either. There’s such a thing as compromise to make a relationship work but if you don’t know yourself first and hold respect for your own dignity you compromise it all and that leads to resentment.

        Summer classes!?!?! You should go out and have fun! No one needs to stay in doors with the weather so nice. ;)

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