What hurts me the most

Published 27, Dec, 2012

In one of his most popular posts ever, Christopher Banks on what the twitter hashtag #WhatHurtsMeTheMost tells the curious about the human condition

Hashtag trends on Twitter are a bit like an episode of Prisoner: a mixture of pathos, camp, genuine emotion and absolute rubbish.

When I saw #WhatHurtsMeTheMost trending in Australia last night, I had to click to see what people were saying.  What interested me was how many times the same themes recurred.  Here are five that stirred something in me.

#WhatHurtsMeTheMost when someone makes you feel so so so special, but turns out they’re like that with everyone else

I was talking with friends over the weekend about the spambots that used to pop up in dating chatrooms and start a conversation with you, managing to get out two or three generic opening sentences before inviting you to some membership site to rip you off.

There are also real-life spambots. People who know how to use their charm and wiles on the vulnerable and make them feel special.  Those of us naïve enough to have been taken in fall very hard when we realise that we weren’t that special after all, but simply were victims of patter.

Of course, that’s where we go wrong, and why we end up falling so hard in the first place.  If you’re placing so much value on someone else making you feel special, then you are in for a difficult road in life.  You have to be able to survive on your own, and as clichéd as it is to say, you have to be able to love yourself.

#WhatHurtsMeTheMost : Seeing the one you love, love someone else.

There’s a heartbreaking song on Pet Shop Boys 2006 album, ‘I Made My Excuses And Left’.  It tells the story of a man at a party, and the hush and awkwardness that falls over the room when his ex walks in with a new man.

Each of you looked up, but no one said a word

I felt I should apologise for what I hadn’t heard…

And clumsy as I felt at stumbling on this theft

to save further embarrassment, I made my excuses and left

Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is hard.  Sometimes you can just get to a point where you think you’re past it, and something will unexpectedly get you – moments like the above.  One from my past involved being out at a function and heading out to look for a friend that I had deep feelings for, only to find him kissing someone else passionately in the corner.

I quietly withdrew into a pit for a while, until I was rescued by some other friends.  I never told them or anyone else what was going on.  It wasn’t the right time, and I was too embarrassed.  Sometimes you want to move on, but an emotional switch in your brain just won’t let you.

#WhatHurtsMeTheMost seeing someone in your family cry

My grandmother on my father’s side of the family died when I was around, maybe, ten years old.  I didn’t quite understand what was going on at first, having thankfully had no experience with such things.

I remember my parents going round to her house mysteriously one morning, and I was aware of there being some vague concerns for her wellbeing.  I was left with my grandparents on mother’s side, who lived next door to us.  The first I heard was the phone ringing, Nana answering, and exclaiming in a shocked voice: “When did she die?”

A few days later we were at the funeral.  We exited the chapel at the end, and I watched my family go to pieces, Mum and Dad included.  It was the first time I’d ever seen them cry, and it wouldn’t be the last.

As a selfish child only could, I remember feeling like I’d been put on a liferaft and pushed out into the ocean. I was confused. Parents aren’t supposed to cry. They’re supposed to fix everything and make it alright.

My Aunty Colleen noticed me and came and hugged me, then I cried. I wasn’t crying because my grandmother had gone. I was crying because I realised I wasn’t alone.

#WhatHurtsMeTheMost I cant go back in time to relive the best moments of my life.

I don’t know whether the person who wrote this was being flippant or serious, but I feel very sorry for them if it’s the latter.  Stephen Fry in his first autobiography “Moab Is My Washpot” talks about feeling suicidal as a teenager and writing the line “my whole life stretched out gloriously behind me”.

We can go through life thinking that our existence is like oil in the ground: that eventually we’ll reach a peak and thereafter the returns will be diminishing.  But we’re not provided with a script, and have no way of knowing what is around the corner.

There are no best moments of your life, only best moments in your life thus far.

As my friend, artist Christophe Jannin, says when asked what his favourite drawing is, the best is the one I have yet to do.

#WhatHurtsMeTheMost standing on a plug

Self-explanatory. Hurts like a bitch. Don’t leave things in such a mess.  It’ll always get you in the end.

This post originally appeared on Christopher’s own blog BiPolar Bear here