Played Like a Fish

There’s a Cats Laughing song called “Signal to Noise.”  I think Emma Bull wrote the lyrics; anyone who knows for sure is free to confirm or correct me.  But there are times that those lyrics bounce right back into my head.  Here’s the first verse:

Drinking coffee, have to stay awake and think of you
Aching awfully, knowing my perceptions aren’t true
If you were what I’ve made you, not as your acts betrayed you
How could I keep away?
But things still lead me on, a word and then it’s gone
What lives here and what’s stray?
Tell me please, what’s signal and what’s noise?

And that is exactly where my head is tonight.  Yet again, I’ve discovered that someone is not who I thought they were, and it wasn’t in the pleasant sense of, “You mean you really are Superman?”  It was more like, “You really don’t have any respect for me, do you?”    It’s the realization that I made up a persona and hung that persona like clothes over a skeleton of reality.  I really liked person I made up.  But that person doesn’t really exist.

So.  Sad and feeling rather stupid.  Suckered again.  Oh, dear.  Not a major relationship in my life, so there is that to be grateful for.  Still, it’s a disappointment.

I tend to take people at face value.  I believe what they tell me about themselves. After that, it can take months or even years before it dawns on me that things just aren’t adding up.  None of this makes sense . . . oh.  Unless you were not being truthful about statements A, B, and D.  Then it does work.

So, while this is not a life changing event for me, it is one that makes me once more evaluate my ability to judge character.  And to downgrade it even more than I had before.

Am I going to change?  Become more cynical? Dissect people? Be wary on first meetings and cautious about who I befriend or let into my home?

Nope.  I intend to go on believing the best of people until they prove I’m wrong.  I’ve found it’s a lot less work.  And I don’t enjoy being cynical or suspicious.  I don’t like me when I’m that person.  I’d rather be too gullible a thousand times than cynical and hard when it wasn’t called for.

I don’t even get confrontational when I find out I’ve been played.  I simply tend to withdraw.  I re-sketch the person in my mind, getting much closer to reality and then I reorder the relationship.  I don’t think I’ve ever really tossed anyone out of my life; instead, I tend to reset the orbit to a more appropriate level, and carry on as before.  There is almost always something to like about any person; might as well hang on to the good stuff and let the rest slide away.

And there is, as they lyrics suggest, an element of personal responsibility in these things.  Often I am the one who has slipped the person into the mold and then assumed it fit.  Only to discover later  that it did not.

“If you were as I made you, not as your acts betrayed you . . .”

Maybe that’s why I enjoy character creation so much. Writing friends who I know from the heart out, people who are indeed exactly as I made them up . . .



8 Responses to Played Like a Fish

  1. I think that ‘real’ people are seldom as coherent as your characters. Rather good people, rather not so good people. Also, regretfully, rather petty 🙂

  2. From the glimpses you share of your life, I’ve always thought you were a good person. I’m sorry that someone lied to you. Obviously I don’t know the circumstances and how much was involved.

    I always wonder why someone does this kind of thing. Do they hate their life so much they have to make up a new one? Are they desperate for your friendship and fear rejection of who they really are? Or do they just have some twisted idea of what’s acceptable to do to others?

  3. And here was I, thinking that song got your attention simply due to the ‘cat’ reference in the title 😉 !

    Still, you have reflected my own often-thought thoughts exactly here and, while it’s always a sad day when we make such discoveries, I am glad to hear you aren’t going to let it affect your Hobb-ness 😀 !!

  4. well, what I’m pondering here is (in one way at least) did a person deceive me, or did I deceive myself?

    How much of the disappointment should be put right at my own doorstep?


  5. Ahh You know it’s funny. Here I am up at 1 am thinking of the same thing. (After finishing the fool’s fate I was left in an emotional fervor that just couldn’t be contained.) Like you said in your novels; People are never who they truly are. Every moment of our lives we don a mask and expect other’s to like us and accept who we are without even knowing us truly. It really saddens me that humanity as a whole has fallen to such a faithless stupor. No one trusts anyone else deep down and we always end up hurting others with our own selfish motives. That being said, I appreciate that there are still people like yourself. It takes courage to take someone at face value and most of all to believe that there are still people out there with honor. So to answer your question: it’s never your fault for trusting someone and him/her betraying you. Don’t ever lose hope. Just as the fool, keep on loving regardless of flaws and unreturned ardor. It’s the only way this world will ever become better. ~gavri’el

  6. Hello Robin,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    Did the person deceive you, or did you deceive yourself? It is a hard question to answer.

    I have experienced something that I’m reminded of when I read this entry and in my situation I think the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Both are possible.

    In some ways people are complex individuals, in other ways we’re incredibly simple beings. I’m sorry your friend let you down 🙁

    I have a favourite quote I swing about every now and then, which is apparently from Mr George Washington:

    “Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”

  7. Hi Robin 🙂

    I enjoyed this insight into your understanding of yourself. Now I see how you can be so tolerant of people that I dismiss so quickly. Wish I could be as patient!

    Call me cold hearted, but if a person is intent on causing hurt, I feel little remorse in evicting them from mind and sight. No matter how amiable they may be at other times…once that evil side is shown, I can’t forget its existence.

    Which is wronger? I rono! 🙄