Guilty by association…The first time I experienced something like this, I was a child. A 15 year old little girl that was trying to adjust to this new life she’d started. I’d just moved back with my mother and sister and we were embarking on our new life. I’m not sure of the events that led up to my guilty by association verdict; as I was never given the opportunity to ask. All I know is, I walked in and shots were fired. I might as well had a big red circle smack dab in the middle of my shirt. All of their hurt and anger towards my friends was directed at me. I finally got the courage to stand up for myself, thus making the decision to walk away and never look back. I left for what I perceived as a better situation. Little did I know I was trading being guilty by association to being guilty because of their association.
Guilty because of their association…No longer was I guilty because of who I hung out with, but because of who they hang out with. This means, sides are automatically taken because “I know their heart” or because “I know how they operate”. Not saying that I’ve been 100% innocent or perfect in this second situation, however it’s frustrating that I’ve never been allowed to simply speak my side without the prejudgment. If I had to pinpoint when the change started, I would have to say it was my junior year in college. I had a major falling out with someone who was like family to me and is family to them. For years after the whole incident, I had to walk around on eggshells. I mean every time I disagreed with that person or had an argument with that person, I was accused of being petty and holding onto the past. Believe me, I was hurt by the situation, I think all parties involved were. We all did stupid things, but to be accused of still harboring the bitter feelings YEARS later was mind-boggling. By this point, we’d all moved on with our lives and accomplished some amazing things. I brought that up because this was all years ago, and since then every time there’s an issue or a problem that I’m involved with, I have to go in defending myself. Not once, have I EVER been able to walk in, and present my side to a impartial judge. I try to just suck it up and deal with it. I try to look at the bigger picture and realize I don’t do what I do for them. However, there’s only so much anyone can take. Especially when it starts getting, in their words, “petty”.
It’s hard not to take it personal, when you’ve been doing something for a couple years, then all of a sudden it’s “oh that’s a problem.” It’s hard not to take it personal when they blatantly lie on you, to your face, in front of other people, and the people who heard the entire exchange are afraid to speak up because of who the other individual is. It’s hard not to take it personal when they take stories and twist them so that you look like the villain, because they have a relationship with the other person. It’s hard not to take it personal when they call you and say “we all need to talk”, then when you get there it’s “Oh I don’t have time to deal with you”. I’ve been doing what I do for YEARS, often times I was looked over, yet I still remained faithful. I’ve dealt with so much crap that I’ve had people come up to me and say “I honestly don’t know how or why you put up with it.” I’ve reached a point of utter frustration and disappointment. The pep talks are getting more and more frequent. I was talking to one of my mentors and they stated “I know you’ve been dealing with a lot, but what happened?”To be honest, it’s no one thing. It’s small things that you try to ignore, but years and years of ignoring small things can weigh on you. I’m slowly getting to the point where I’m sick and tired of being guilty….guilty by association and guilty because of their association. I don’t know what’s next and the thought of yet another change scares me.