A Nasty Game of Telephone

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When I was younger, I hated playing games. I was so afraid of losing. Being a loser. My insecurity would get the best of me and instead of taking a risk on winning or losing, I would forfeit the game completely. However, I couldn’t escape game time at church or school. And what game did the teachers always suggest?

Telephone.

I may have been too young to write more than my name and I may have only just mastered the art of drawing the perfect circle, but I could figure out that a group of kids my age will never make it to the end with the correct sentence in a game of Telephone.

Years went by and games at school went away. Then, I went away from school. I went through a rough 6 years. I made relationships and most of those were torn apart. I finally reached my breaking point. I stood (broken and somewhat lifeless) looking at my past and was so confused by it all.

How did I get here? Why did all of this happen? Why do I feel hurt/angry/scared/alone?

I decided it was time to turn inward and search for answers and insight. Fast forward ten months. July 14, 2011. I am sitting in a coffee shop (guess which one!) thinking over the last few months and how far I have come. I am mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually stronger than I have ever been. There are still BIG problems in my life that I am working on but I am finally to a point where I feel I can share with you something that I have been too ashamed to share up to this point.

I have made so many friends since moving back to Missouri 3 years ago. SO MANY! And I love all of them. However, I didn’t always think I did. Because of events I experienced, I was incredibly messed up. I didn’t fully realize my (negative) potential until about last August. I had become a person that none of you would want to be around. The friends I had made and (in a lot of cases) worked with were the targets of my horrible malevolence. I retold secrets. I exaggerated faults. I gossiped. I insulted. I neglected and manipulated. In short, I played a nasty game of Telephone with my friends most personal parts of themselves and their lives being the sentences spread around from person to person. The sickest part about it was that I justified it all because in my head I was the victim. Those friends hurt me and I was nothing to them. Anything I did couldn’t possibly hurt them but I sure would try.

HORRIBLE, RIGHT??

I know. I now feel like a criminal at times because of it. Thankfully, one of these friends called me out. I was shocked that it affected her at all. Once that shock wore off, I saw how hurt she was. Then, I realized that she wasn’t the only one probably feeling this way. I became embarrassed. Then defensive. Then ashamed. I finally realized that I had become the loser I was always afraid I’d be. I was losing much more than a game this time.

I started apologizing to everyone I could think of that I had talked negatively about or to about another. I no longer cared about what they had done to me. I just knew I needed to apologize for what I had done to them. I wrote down a list of the things I wanted to work on. I started on that list. Then, after a few months, I wrote the girl who I had considered my (former) best friend. That was hard. I missed her and hated that she distanced herself because of my actions. So, I told her these things and, thankfully, she accepted my apology.

A few weeks went by and we moved to Joplin. Instead of getting a “normal” job, I met a couple and started cleaning for them. Then, I assisted with their business. This gave me more time to work on my photography but more importantly, myself. Then, the tornado hit.

I could not believe the devastation around me. The horrible tragedy I had been a part of. And I had a home. I had my boyfriend and my family. I had my life! I had been spared. As thankful as I was, I couldn’t help but think over the past couple of years and how horrible I was. I wanted to hug each person I had wronged and tell them how sorry I was and how much I was wrong. And then I received an email from the girl who had shoved my behavior in my face and made me see the reality of who I had become. It was short but so powerful. She told me how thankful she was that we were ok and how worried she had been when she found out what had happened. Her genuine concern and thankfulness that we were ok was so evident. I cried. I wanted to give her the biggest hug. In that moment, I realized it was finally time to write her back to tell her what had been happening with me since her first email. So, I did. It was longer than I thought it would be and I had the biggest butterflies flying around in my stomach. But I finally said I was sorry. I finally made things as right as I could.

I waited for a reply, only half expecting it. Within hours, I had received it and I finally felt at peace. We weren’t quite friends, but we were ok with each other. I felt as though a fog had lifted and I saw that those “faults” I saw before paled in comparison to the woman who had the character to take the first step toward reconciliation.

If you are still reading, kudos! I know this post is long but it is so important for me to write. Why? Because it all leads up to me saying I am sorry.

Yes, I am apologizing to you. And to everyone else. I can’t possibly know on my own who all I affected with my actions and words over the past couple years. I have tried to reach out to everyone and apologize personally but I know I missed some of you. So, to you… I am so sorry. I hope you know I am genuine. If you want to express concerns, please email me and I will try my best to make things right.

And to all of you who may not have realized that all of this going on… You still deserve an apology! I am very sorry for bringing more negativity into the world. Day to day life is so tough in a lot of ways and I have no right to make it worse. Please forgive me.

To everyone: I am sorry for everything I repeated or shared that was negative, inappropriate, or private. I was generally full of it the whole couple of years. Not saying that it was all untrue. In fact, I can’t remember most of the details of all of it. Just do me a favor, if you can, and disregard anything I said that fits into the above categories.

I hope you all can accept my apologies and see that I have changed a lot for the better! I feel really good about sharing this with you all. I have wanted to for a few weeks and now just feels right. I have noticed some really mean comments being posted and actions taking place that are alarming. Not to me, but to those around me. The saddest part is that they are coming from some of the sweetest people. I realize now what it is like on the other side of the fence and so I couldn’t refrain from sharing this with you any longer.

If you are one of the people pouring negativity upon others, please stop. It is not only hurting those you are directing your aim toward, but those of us who know and love these people. Eventually, your behavior will even hurt yourself.

Pour positivity into the world and you will most likely get positivity. If you don’t, keep walking. There is no need and not enough time to waste yours on making others feel bad.

I truly, sincerely love you all. I am thankful for each of you. I hope to never make you feel bad. All smiles and laughter for you from here on out (as much as I can help it). :)

love, erin

(Photo source: http://www.eyeshadowlipstick.com/2136/blue-telephone/)

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4 comments
  1. Liz said:

    I am so proud of you. For being honest, true to yourself and unashamed. I can relate to this and I know the weight that is lifted off of you when you choose joy instead of hate. I still falter every now and again because hey, I’m human, but its comforting to read about other people’s personal journey’s. Love you lots; I’m so glad we are friends.

    • SO glad we are friends as well! I can’t wait to meet you! And yes, I feel so much better after sharing this. :)

  2. Kimi said:

    you are an incredible person. saying sorry and learning faults is one of the hardest things anyone can 1) realize that they need to do and 2) admitting that to themselves and to other people. one thing that has helped me deal with other people and how they do things is – you can not change how other people are, you can only change your perception and how you let it affect you. it is easy to get caught up in other people’s lives because we are afraid of dealing with things in our own.
    i know we have only met 1 time and have chatted a few times, but there is something very genuine about you and i hope you stay honest to yourself moving forward.
    if you ever need anything, please let me know. i wish we lived closer together so we can hang out and do crazy photoshoots!

    • Thank you so much! I appreciate all that you said! And there is nothing that says that we CAN’T do crazy photo shoots. I do have the ability to travel. ;)

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