This weekend I spent some time with friends whom I haven’t see much the past few years. We have started to reconnect and it’s good to have them back in my life. I’m happy they are all healthy and doing well and truly enjoy hearing about where life has taken them since we last were close. As we would talk memories bubbled up good and bad. Some were confessions of guilt, while others were simply the reminiscing of childhood memories.
We were around the campfire drinking wine and enjoying the evening when the topic of our language teachers came up. Most of us had taken German and a few Spanish. I felt compelled to share, for whatever reason, an awkward and uncomfortable moment that I had with one of the German teachers. For me, the day it happened I felt a mix of shame, embarrassment, and trauma. I didn’t mention it to anyone for a long time. After I was finished explaining what happened a few women confirmed, “I could see that” or “doesn’t surprise me.” Yet one comment stung and has troubled me.
“I don’t believe it.”
It wasn’t said in the way you would respond to seeing a magic trick, it was said as if I had told them third-hand gossip. Would someone really think I would lie to disparage a teacher I used to have? What motive would I even have for doing something like that?
While the event that I told my friends about was of minor significance to all the awful things that can happen in a person’s life, it did leave a scaring impact on me. I was a predominantly reserved student and any socialization that wasn’t portrayed in cartoons or kids shows I wasn’t at all prepared to deal with. I had complete faith and trust in teachers, especially those that my peers likewise trusted, so to have one of these teacher’s break that trust was frustrating.
To hear the word’s “I don’t believe it” brought all of that frustration back because what I heard was, “I don’t believe you.”
No wonder women are prone to hiding abuse, harassment, and neglect. Are there people who really see the world as black and white like this? Obviously my friend knew both parties and decided that in knowing me less than this teacher, I must be wrong. I never said the teacher was a terrible person, nor did I display any anger or resentment. I wan’t asking people to ruin their existing relationships with this teacher to jump “sides” yet, a friend felt I was spinning a story.
I love people, but sometimes I really don’t think I understand them.