This is a really personal post but I’m going to write it anyway because I’m angry right now and I’d like to imagine that the internet cares even if no one responds to the entry.
Two years ago around March/April, I had a falling out with two friends. Fallout #1 happened when I told my friend that I was kinda annoyed that she was so attached to her husband, she couldn’t do anything without him. I didn’t say it in those words, but that was the bottom line. She once canceled lunch with me because his lunch break opened up and she wanted to visit him to give him food. I didn’t mind at the time because I understood. We all go through this: prioritizing your significant other over friends, because that’s what we emotionally-driven lovesick fools do. I’ve done it; I’m sure you have too. But there were other incidents like this, and I called her out on it. You live with the guy and you do everything with him 24/7 on the weekends…spare some lunch time with me?
Because I deeply offended her by pointing this out, her response was, I felt, extreme. Instead of honoring our 10+ years of being close friends by at least hashing it out with me, she immediately decided that this drama that I created was not in her best interest and terminated the friendship. A snippet of her parting words were that she also no longer wanted to be privy to an issue I most vented to her about. Let’s call that issue CDS.
Very shortly after this, CDS caused Fallout #2 to happen. This time, I also decided to be honest (and civil) with a friend and tell him that I was not comfortable with a situation whereupon he was getting involved with CDS. Instead of honoring 12+ years of being close friends and at least hashing it out, he stopped speaking to me.
Are we no longer allowed to be honest with our friends? I miss heartfelt conversations with old and new friends where we could talk about intimate issues.
The fact that these two incidents happened back to back really fucked me up. Somehow it intensified my high standards and expectations of my remaining friends and my perception of friendship in general. Though I never voiced it, I became critical of every innocent slight or lack of communication. I became jealous of other people’s friends and wondered why my own friends couldn’t be “that loyal” to me. What I didn’t notice was happening was that I began to become extremely hard on myself as well. Because of the two fallouts, I did the opposite of being honest and vocal: I internalized EVERYTHING. Even worse, I also could no longer afford to commit innocent slights, and if I did, I would swim in an ocean of guilt for fear of losing and offending. “Sorry” became ubiquitous like breathing.
These days, I have been trying to fight “sorry.” I’m also trying to fight being offended when “sorry” is not offered to me (unless the situation really calls for it). If I am being honest the way some bloggers bravely admit that they have an affliction, I am a motherfucking angry person a lot of the time because my parents are dysfunctional and it’s a lot of energy to undo that juju, and I can’t get my head out of my ass. Like Kristen Bell, I care too much and I wonder why the world doesn’t care. I am a people pleaser who wonders how people can be so selfish when the real issue is that I’m mad that I was groomed to not think of my own needs so I’m jealous that other people have the ability to give themselves permission to take care of themselves.
I was bullied heavily as a child. I wish I could say that I have fully recovered from having soda bottle caps lobbed at the back of my head every home room when the teacher stepped out. Or being picked last for team things in a very mean way. Or watching at the corner of my eye as I’m walking down the stairs that someone was silently giggling to another and pantomiming kicking me so I could have a nasty tumble. Every time I read in the news that some poor kid kills him/herself because of school bullying, my heart hurts because I know how it feels. I watched the movie Flatliners with utter fascination and a swell of hope as the universe offered a nightmare of retribution to former bullies. That universe even killed one of them. Huzzah! I still think of those bullies today and, though I’m no longer actively angry, I wouldn’t mind running into them in the street and seeing them eat shit on the pavement and chipping a tooth (or more) or get bird poop splattered on their head. Even worse, I wish them a host of diseases and STDs. In the unlikely scenario that they attend Bullies Anonymous and seek me out for atonement, I would like to sucker punch them in the face.(**This is my current mood which calls for imaginary violence. I’m more humane on a different day.) Did you know the consequences of your actions? Of course you didn’t, you stupid little shits. Kids are mean.
Angry tangent aside, I value friendship — true friendship — HIGHLY because of this. Friends are not trading cards to me because I needed friends when I had so few as a kid. I heard a podcast recently about bullying, and the victim of bullying (now an adult) said that she came to a realization that her bullies incessantly bullied her for the smallest thing because it helped THEM bond. It was they who got to forge the friendships because the thing they had in common was to bully her. When I look back at it now, I think it was a huge part of why I became the punching bag. Let’s all make fun of the girl whose clueless parents cut her hair into a bowl shape and wears boys’ Ninja Turtle sneakers because her parents forced her to wear hand-me-downs.
Now that I’m getting older, I am seeking to be a better version of myself. I’m seeking to not lick old wounds when I am reminded of them. I don’t want to ruminate. I want to progress and evolve. I think I have done well for myself. I’ve honed academic and street smart skills. I have real friends who are amazing and just really good, smart, funny, and kind. I have an exceptional husband whom is generous and has my back.
But my friend fallouts as an adult hurt very deeply because of my psychological conditioning. You are told in magazines and media, and by mentors and old people that as you age, the quantity of friends you have fall by the wayside. It’s the quality that sticks around. It’s so true and it’s so painful.
Friend breakups hurt as much, and sometimes more, than romantic breakups.
I am currently thinking of a few people whom are so terrible with the upkeep that is required of friendship. I have been honest with them about my disappointment that I am the one calling, texting, hello-ing. Evolve!! I know life gets in the way! Can we fight this as the human race marches towards automating everything with hyper-socialized technology?
I just want friends for dinner.