Recently, a friend of mine wrote a story, or maybe told me about a story. I don't remember which; in the end, it doesn't really matter. It was a good story, or at least I liked it a lot which in my small corner of the universe means the same thing. We talked about the story, and then the subject went away.
Some time later, he wrote the story, or edited what he'd written before. He posted it to a mailing list we have in common. I read it there; it wasn't what he'd described. Most of it was, but the ending was different. To me, it wasn't as good as the original. It felt... robbed, or cheated. The ending seemed inappropriate. When he asked me what I thought, I told him as much.
I think he expected me to like it more than the original. I think he got very upset that I didn't. He said some things to me that I don't think he understands hurt me. They made me feel small and unwelcome, that I didn't know what I was doing. I know he'd never say these things to me and mean them like that, or even if he meant to tell me that, he would never try to hurt me with such things, but this time, they did. I felt that I had been asked for an opinion, and when I gave it and the explanation of why I thought what I did I was told I was wrong, and that hurt.
I thought that would be the end of the situation, and I wanted to just drop the matter. It didn't happen that way. I saw people praising the new story and its wonderful ending. I heard people on IRC discussing the story. I didn't feel I could re-state my opinion. I didn't feel I could leave. I didn't want to stay. I felt trapped. I felt unsafe.
Jessie asked to see the story. I sent zim a copy, thinking I could at least discuss it with zim. Jessie had never seen the original. Jessie thought the ending was brilliant, and zie pointed out an interpretation of events that had never even entered my head when I read it. I felt, for a few very brief moments, trapped in my apartment by my own mate. I never want to feel like that again. I spent six years feeling that way.
None of this is anyone's fault. None of this is anyone's responsibility to fix but mine. I don't know if I can fix it, though, and therein is my trouble. I felt this way at Anthrocon. I've felt this way to lesser degrees at the Bashes I've attended. I don't know how not to feel this way when I'm in this kind of situation. I don't know what triggers it, only that I could describe scenarios in which I know it will happen. All I know how to do is avoid those situations, but then to some degree that means I'm shutting myself out of life, and that's the last thing I want to do.
I was flustered all the way to work this morning. I told Jessie last night that I just wanted to put all this behind me, but this morning I couldn't. I'm writing this here hoping that by the time I get done, I can.