I was passing by a woman at church who asked if she could talk to me. It sounded casual, so I thought she was going to ask about photography, shoes, or something else totally random. Wrong. She was on a mission to bring me down.
She started off by saying, "You're lucky I didn't find you when I first found out about this because I wouldn't have been able to exercise self-control..." This was immediately after a Bible study on self-control. I thought she was teasing so I causally chuckled. Wrong again.
I'll spare you the details, but she was all riled up over a photo of her that was printed in our church pictorial calendar. I'm the unofficial photographer of the church so I spend the entire year snapping photos of things that happen at church functions. At the end of the year, I submit all those photos to the church secretary who chooses enough to fill twelve pages and creates photo collages for the calendar. Most people approach me, complaining that their photo wasn't in the calendar again.
This woman continued by saying she specifically told me to delete any photos taken of her when she saw me snapping them one day. This was last winter and I do not remember the conversation. Sure, that's my bad. I apologized for my error, told her I didn't remember that conversation, and was ready to end the conversation. Boy, was I on a streak of wrongness. She was not done.
She went on and on, for what seemed like an eternity, telling me how wrong I was for what I did. She said things like, "How could you do that to me?" and "I couldn't believe you did that after I specifically told you not to." She even went on to say that the photo was hideous. At that point, she crossed the line when she criticized my work.
I was still trying to be breezy and say things like, "You looked beautiful in that picture!" She is a very pretty woman. That didn't work. She told me she never allows her picture to be taken. I said the words "I'm sorry" way more times than I can count. How many times does a person have to apologize? I admitted my wrong, which cannot be changed. It's over, it's time to let it go. She still wasn't ready to let it go.
She reamed me out for well over five minutes, which is a long time to just stand there and take it. And that's what I did. I stood there, I let her humiliate me, and I profusely apologized. I was mortified. I was embarrassed. I fought back tears. It was horrible.
When I was recounting the story to my mother, who is a friend of hers, she asked how I finally got out of the conversation. I honestly could not remember how I was able to get away. I do remember getting to the exit as quickly as possible before the tears came.
The most interesting thing about the conversation was when she said, "I have a bit of a fetish about getting my picture taken." All I said was, "Yeah, it sounds like you do." It's more than a fetish. It's a mental illness.
That's one day I don't care to ever relive. I have never been treated that badly my entire adult life. Unfortunately, I will never feel comfortable around this person ever again. She's friends with my brother and parents. She doesn't have a lot of other friends and she just lost the chance of being mine again.
What should a person do in a situation like that? I handled it as best as I could, since I was completely and utterly blindsided. Now, I just keep replaying the conversation over and over, wondering what I should have done differently. I determined that I'm very thankful for my mental health. Not everyone has the luxury of being mentally sound.