Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Empathy and the Art of Listening

It's been a rough couple of weeks. (When isn't it, you ask? High maintenance anyone?) In addition to the rough patches Mr. Zips and I have been going through, there's the hormonal imbalances of yours truly, Napolean's in town, I have to have surgery in a few weeks and, oh yea, I don't have an empathetic friend to speak of.

To recap: this week was much better for Mr. Zips and I. Probably because I finally got "My Dear Aunt Flo" this week. Only about three and a half weeks late. So, there were many tears but also some serious emotional sharing and heart opening. So, we're doing good.

Napolean is in town again and that means my mornings are in danger. He is a man who does not understand that you do NOT talk to me before I've had my coffee. And so, yesterday, he corners me and starts talking about DECORATING the FUCKING OFFICE before I've finished my coffee. So, I graduated phi beta kappa magna cum laude and have seven years industry experience (and the awards and merits to back it up) and I'm picking out dried flower arrangements. Because you know what will help us sell more enterprise software? An office that looks like a B&B.

I got a call today from my doc's office. Results from last week's procedures came back and we're not happy. So, on April 27th, I get to go under the knife. OK, technically laser, but it still hurts. A LOT. Plus, I won't be able to have sex or exercise! for two months. How horrible is my life. (The only thing that makes this feel better is that I told Mr. Zips and his response was to tell me, "I'm sorry I caused all that Cancer. NICE!)

So, the point of this whole honking post. I have a friend. (Are you shocked?) She's going through a rough time. And I've tried my best to help her, listen to her, support her. But these last two weeks, I've really -- REALLY -- needed a friend. Not only to listen to me, but to hear me. Not best me with a reaction of, "well, you're problems are bad, now let me tell you about mine." And that, in the long and short of it, is what I've gotten.

I shouldn't be surprised. Every person I've ever tried to talk to - friend, parent, lover - has "one-upped" me. I have a headache, they have a brain tumor. I had a bad day, they had a bad life.

But, for some reason, I'm really hurt by this recent turn of affairs. I've become passive-aggressive in my emails to her and that makes me dislike myself. But I can't bring myself to put myself out there for her again. Not after getting Jack in return. I know friendship isn't tit for tat, but I really -- really -- needed a friend to listen. Just once.

And, this, dear readers, is what you get when you have one overtired, overworked, hormonally imbalanced female who's had two rough weeks in a row. Sorry.