“There’s some of me in you.”
~J. F., Blade Runner
Friends. Yeah. Looooaded subject for this chicky right here. So much so that i don’t talk about it. It is, perhaps, when i feel the most vulnerable. I had no friends growing up. Not really. I was rarely allowed to hang out with other kids after school, and hey, i wasn’t asked that often. There was a time in grades 7 and 8 when my mom was trying to appear more normal, so i actually had a few friends to sleep over, but that was about it, i think. We couldn’t usually have anyone over because our house was a pigsty. And the bigger my mother got, the worse the condition of the house.
With the exception of 2yrs in a big city, the rest of my secondary schooling was done in small towns, where i was quickly branded weird, and was always either close to, or at the very bottom of the social ladder. When i finally escaped the back and forth hell of school and home, i went to work in another town. There i was able to turn my attention to making friends. I wasn’t very good at it, but i made 2 very dear friends that accepted me and we bonded, i think in part because they were broken inside in some of the same ways. I lost one of them while trying to please my religious community. I’d give a lot for the opportunity to apologise to her and the chance to make amends. I’ve had a few best friends since then, but they’re all gone now. One i hated to leave behind but i had to – the only friendship i’ve ever walked away from, and it pains me to this day. Another one was based on a super-sick dynamic, and so when she got mad at me and stopped talking to me, i stopped kissing her ass like i’d always done and the friendship was over. The last was a terrible betrayal that still hurts but i think i’m better off.
That last one made me crawl way up inside myself and i haven’t been that close to another person outside of my husband since then. It’s been a tough job, this figuring out who i really am. You read in books and hear in love songs about the woman who’s a study in contradictions, and it seems so romantic. You ask my husband though, and he’ll tell you that an ambiguously ambivalent woman will test a man’s mettle. It’s not romantic at all. My parents taught me on the one hand that we were better than everyone, and that i was on this earth for a special purpose. But that purpose seemed to be as the receptacle for all their anger and hate and diseased emotions. That makes for complications where any future relationships are concerned. I was told by more than one friend that they were moving on because there was a certain level of intimate connection that they craved, but of which they didn’t think me capable. And they were right. There were others who dropped me because i was unreliable. I might show, i might not. Can’t fault them for that, either. Then there were those who got fed up with being the only one who initiated contact. Totally accurate. I’m terrible at keeping in touch.
I want human connection, but i’m terrified of being rejected. I have a long history with rejection, i don’t care for it and i’d prefer to avoid it if it’s all the same to you, thankyouverymuch. So i’m a let’s-hang-out, now-piss-off kind of person, and who has time for that? It’s not fair to you. Besides, my last couple of attempts at making close friends were brutal. I was terrible at it. I’ve been stripping down to who i truly am under all the protective barriers and the brokenness, but i’m still not ready for prime time. So the only people i hang out with are my husband, my kids, and my grandkids.
I don’t know if i’ll ever be a people person again. I mean, i love humans. I love y’all soooo much, but i’ve got a lot to learn about how to be a genuine, true friend. I’m gonna have to start with myself and the family i made, because y’all can be some heinous assholes. I’m not well enough or strong enough yet not to take all your shittiness personally. I’m looking for rationality, normalcy, and above all, balance.
I’m truly fortunate to have my Little Crooked House and the man-thingy and my lovely young men and their families. And i also have an online group of friends that has sustained and even saved me, more times than they know. I know some folks scoff at such relationships (and some are pretty scoffable… scoff-worthy… whatever, scoff off), but they are an integral part of how far i’ve come. A group of friends i’ve had for 10yrs, that accept me for exactly who i am and where i’m at, even if i don’t have a fucking clue who or where that may be. They’ve been a safe place for me to talk about things, to work things out, and to try on new ideas and parade them around and see if i like the fit. The internet and the friends i’ve found here have been both boon and balm for my horn of plenty-crazy. So, wherever i land on the social spectrum – i’m covered.
Love and Peace,