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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ships Passing

Recently I have been contemplating the way that friends move in and out of our lives.  Some people, maybe acquaintances more than friends, seem to try to force their way into my life, giving me grief or causing me a deep rooted need to find my own place and space.  Some friends are steady and strong, sturdy platforms on which reliable and well maintained friendships are built.  Other friends fade away over time, leaving merely memories and not much more.

In the end, the friends I have the hardest time with, at least internally when I’m trying to find my emotional footing, are the friends that pop in and out of my life without warning.  These are the chaotic whirlwinds that come and go… here today… maybe never to return… or back again in a blast of trauma, drama or other excitement.  It seems lately that I have a lot of whirlwinds in my life, and while their returns can be exciting and invigorating, it’s hard not to be wary and frightened of the damage that they will leave behind when they once again abandon me to my own devices.

Oh sure, I know a huge part of this has to do with my abandonment issues.  I have a hard time accepting that nothing is forever.  I have a hard time dealing with the fact that people do come and go and even if they could all stay, I wouldn’t have room for them all, at least not in the way I’d like.  Still.  It’s really hard for me when people I care about, love, cherish, and really rely on just one day disappear without a trace, or worse, come back and expect to pick back up without a whisper of why they left me standing there alone.

Friendships with me are always complicated.  I’m a complicated person.  I make things difficult for my friends, especially in the ways that I seem to throw it all out there, when in actuality I’m holding back a whole lot more than I’m showing.  I demand attention.  I insist upon devotion.  I silently expect certain courtesies and rules of conduct that other people may not understand or see.  When I am let down I act irrationally and because I’m so busy trying to put up an “I’m okay” front, I never stop to explain things or try to pick through all the tangles so that things can be smooth and clean again.  These things I know.  So it’s really no surprise when after awhile, I have arguments with friends.  In a way, it’s always been my way to “test” the friendship waters, though not always a conscious test.  If I have a fight with a friend and we can come out through the other side without too many battle scars for one or the other of us to end the friendship, I can once again feel safe and secure.

But what happens when there are too many battle scars and a friend (or myself) is forced to say goodbye?

I’ve a friend with whom years ago I had a very, very ugly fight.  It was heart wrenching at the time.  Worse, I can’t even really fathom now any more than I did then why the fight even took place.  We mutually decided to go our own separate ways.  I’d like to say I never looked back, but trust me.  I’ve looked.  I just never did anything about it.  It seemed like a “clean break” was the best way to let things heal, but let me assure you, a “clean break” is going to fester if there is poison in the wound, no matter how quickly the break is made.  I often wonder if there ever truly is any such thing as a clean break? 

Regardless, I let this friend go.  As years have gone by, I assumed she had no interest in being in touch with me again.  In some ways, I felt spiteful and hurt and angry… most certainly betrayed.  I was able to see a lot of the hurtful and hateful things that she had done to me along the way (though I admit freely I was blind to anything I may have done to her.)  When I recently received an email from her, I was not only shocked, I was dismayed.  I find that now that I am faced with an opportunity to perhaps change our standing, I don’t know that I want to.  I’ve built up too many years of hurt and resentment and it doesn’t feel like I could ever get over it.  What’s really screwed up is that, well, part of the reason I was so willing to let the friendship go all those years ago is because I felt like I was the one who was always reaching out to her.  It seemed like a very one sided friendship, one I didn’t feel was worthwhile to pursue anymore.  To have her reach out for me, now, after all these years, it’s a bit, well, surreal, but not necessarily in a good way.  It’s getting those ice skates you wanted all fall and winter in the heat of early summer.

What leaves me even more leery of the situation is the fact that yet another friend who very often pops in and out of my life spent nearly a month in regular contact with me, leaving me feeling as if she were finally going to stay and not pack up and leave me in the night as she had so many times before.  She had contacted me through MySpace (odd, that… I can’t even find myself there most days, so I’ve no clue how everyone else in the world manages to find me) and I thought that for certain it would be a sure way through which to continue communications.  Email addresses can come and go.  I may have had the same for nearly a decade, but I know not all folks are the same way, especially if they rely on work for their email or internet connection.  But geeze, MySpace is freaking free and it seems to me that you have to do something pretty fucked up to lose access privileges entirely. 

It never occurred to me to get a phone number or an address.  She never stays put long enough to be able to use those means to contact her.  Besides, I’d been let down too many times, called too many “wrong numbers” to want to live through that disappointment again.  So when I logged in to MySpace to view a recent message from yet another “long, lost, friend” I was shocked and disconcerted to see that all of the messages from my friend had a big error message type thing with “THIS USER HAS BEEN DELETED” or whatever.  No goodbye.  No excuse.  No reason.  No way to contact her.  Just gone.  Again.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I know that there are some very valid reasons for friends to part ways… for a time or forever.  One such friendship recently was rekindled when someone I thought had abandoned me contacted me and explained that he honestly just had gone through such a traumatic time in his life that he needed a moment to stop and assimilate all that had happened and rebuild himself from the ground up.  It never occurred to him that he was building himself up and away.  He merely thought he was steadying himself so he could be the friend I deserved, the person he wanted me to see, not the broken shell which he had become.  While I understand that, and on some level can relate to that more deeply than I would ever fully admit, it was still hard not to cry and scream and stamp my foot and shout, “But you left me! YOU LEFT ME!”  I am learning that the friendship I share with him was well worth waiting for.  I have always loved him, but when I see who he has become and how he has blossomed, I think it was worth the time he spent “underground” building roots of his own.

Still.

I wonder how I can deal with the comings and goings.  How can I accept that for every spring there is a fall?  Why do I take these things so personally?  Which friends do I readily accept back into my home, my heart, my head with naive openness and unlimited graciousness?  Which friends do I turn away because, well, frankly they don’t offer me that steadfastness I really do treasure and need?

I haven’t decided yet.  I may never truly know.

Posted by Liberty on 11/08 at 11:40 PM
Posted under: See-ThroughNaBloPoMo

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