I’m thinking over so many situations and memories are fast and furious. None are painful enough where I panic, but it’s not comfortable sitting here, either. There are physical reactions to every feeling, good or bad.
I think about what really happened in terms of the friend getting in my way. The underlying message was “I care about Sam more than I care about you.” I would have handled the entire situation differently if this friend had ever met Sam, or if the conversation was over hurting her directly. I let it go, and for her to keep bringing it up was reinforcing the tape that someone who wasn’t even in our lives anymore was more important than me. I figured if it was this important a hill for her to die on, then she had no business being friends with a blogger.
When Sam hurt me, ironically I only wanted Dana… and not because we were married. We were best friends for nearly four years before that, so she’s dealt with every heartbreak in recent memory except her. So, sometimes she was the face in my head when I was writing, just telling Dana “the audacity of this bitch.” It was a comforting image of something truly traumatic. Having a relationship end before we really knew what was up, and not because I didn’t want to figure it out. I was summarily dismissed.
If you text message breakup, be glad I didn’t post a screenshot on reddit so that Buzzfeed could write an article about it. I’m not applauding my less bad behavior, I’m saying consider the source. My girl had built something with me over a few weeks and trashed it in ten seconds. I didn’t stick around for the other side of the story because she said she thought it wouldn’t do any good and I, for once, agreed and moved on.
I recognized ahead of time that I could put too much energy where it wasn’t wanted for way too long… or I could trust that something else would come along and not dwell on her any longer than I had to in order to function.
By writing about it and getting angry, I let go of everything. I processed a three week relationship in the proper amount of time it takes a normal person instead of constantly torturing myself over what went wrong, nitpicking myself until I couldn’t get up.
What I wanted from my friends on the ground is what I got from my beautiful girl… that Sam didn’t deserve me and then she said something mean….. then said even that was too kind. I do not even condone cartoon violence, but her being irate that someone had hurt me helped more than anything else. I didn’t need her to get angry with Sam. I wasn’t even angry with Sam. I was hurt. Letting her get angry was easier than getting angry myself, because it folded me back into the love of my friend and how much they cared about me vs. pouring energy into feeling miserable that Sam left.
When I think about the differences in those reactions, what friendship is to me becomes clear. In the story we’re creating, we live and die for the main characters. Loyalty is key. If you care about the impression I’m giving strangers more than you care about me, it’s not our story anymore. That probably is a rebellion against being a preacher’s kid where everything was all about what other people thought.
I can tell you from listening in on adults’ conversations and having an excellent memory that people have thought I was weird and frighteningly intense since I could walk. People are going to think that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, no matter what allowances I make to fit in. I have spent a lifetime hearing people’s real opinions of me when they think I’m not listening, and the preacher’s family is a constant topic of conversation. I learned early on that people were going to say what they wanted whether I played the game or not.
So, in the end I chose “not.”
Feeling constricted as an adult was familiar, but not comfortable. I still haven’t lost the feeling that everyone is watching no matter what I’m doing…. That even when I’m with friends my own age, there’s going to be a narc somewhere and it’s going to be interesting politically.
God is God, yet churches are full of humans.
And if we’re going to talk about being human, I am extraordinarily good at it. Sometimes I think of my blog as teaching other people how to do life right by seeing someone else fail so many times in front of them.
It is so much better than trying to please everyone and still having them say the exact same things.