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The Saturday that everything changed.

W e had a soccer game this morning. We were tired and sweaty, but this angel wanted to watch the most special boy in his life play ball.

After fighting with a broken ATM, I finally had to borrow money from a lady to pay $6 a piece to get into this game! We were late and stressed and I felt out of place as usual at these places knowing everyone has heard about me.

My son stayed by the dugout the entire time. His eyes never left this boy he loves so much. My son stood by the group and ran to you as soon as he was were dismissed! His grandma snapped this picture fast.

We never got the chance to talk to the boy though. You made sure of that. You positioned yourself between me and him and ushered him off as soon as his grandma finished with the picture. I said hi to you and your family. I was ignored. I just laughed it off. It’s hard to hurt me, but it’s easy to hurt my son.

You see....you didn’t hurt me. You hurt a 6 year old and a 10 year old. They don’t understand. Neither do I, but at least I expect it. Because this isn’t the first time I was treated this way.

It. Is. Every. Single. Time.

The first time you heard my name, you dug up my work history, my income, my speeding tickets (yeah, there’s “a pile” of those.) You found out who my sons family was, and you started problems between them and me. You wrote down my license plate, and started saying I was places I was not. You made up rumors about me. You lied. You ignored me in person when I said hi. You’ve sent me things you’ve kept from the time you were with my husband (who does that) You’ve called the cops on me the one single time I said something back to you in one of your snarky texts (and they laughed after I told them the truth about the text argument.)

You’re bitter. You’ve set me up. You’re mean to me. You set out to hurt me. I smile and say hi, knowing I’ll be rejected. I never knew the hate that could come from a person until I met you. This is all new to me. I grew up in a household that was respectful to all outside family members and friends. I didn’t know how to deal with this. I kept pushing forward, plastering on a smile and speaking when I saw you.

I don’t think people know how hard it is for me to do that in public. I’m so socially awkward it hurts. Sometimes it pains me to have a conversation. It’s harder than anyone knows, but god I’ve tried in the last few years.

Today, that changed. You hurt my son. You tried to steal my joy. You didn’t get to me like you wanted, but you hurt him. I’m choosing to break up with my need to be nice to you...My need to make everyone happy and get along. I choose to make myself happy, and that includes removing negative people from my life.

Yeah, you read that right. I’m breaking up with being nice. I won’t speak. I won’t come around unless I have to. I’m a ghost from here out. Trust me when I say, that’s easier for me!

From here out, around you, I’m unapologetically the person I need to be. And I hope that makes you uncomfortable.

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©2019 by Brittany Tarkington