I envy folks who have big groups of friends from college with whom they’re still very close. I have a lot of folks that I’m cool with, but only a small number of all the folks I’ve met and befriended during those formative years still hold a spot in my contacts currently. I’m an odd duck. I want to form long-lasting bonds with folks and have friendships that span decades, but when it comes to breaking down walls and revealing my true self to others…something happens.
I’m a friendship transient and I am terribly vexed at not being able to turn it off to actually forge friendships that mean something. Some have managed to slip through and stick around despite my weird ways, but relationships with others litter my past like carnage of days gone by. This makes me sound like a horrible person, but it’s not as if I just summarily dismiss folks from my life after some undetermined period of time.
I wasn’t always like this. Before*, I sought to maintain contact with folks by any means necessary. I wanted them to know they could call me and I’d be there no matter the time nor place. I’d overextend myself to accommodate others to ensure that they knew that if no one else was, I’d be the friend who had their back no matter what. Then I was burned by two folks who I considered to be my closest friends for seemingly no reason. We’ve since reconciled (well I have with one, the other I have no idea where she is), but the whole experience left me a bit wary.
I’m not one to trust easily, so I don’t like to reveal too much personal information that I would consider to be potentially damning or able to be used against me at a later date. This leads to superficiality reigning supremely in all relationships that I try to form no matter how much I want the opposite.
Lately I’ve been sitting around thinking about how to overcome this. I don’t want to keep fading or for friendships to keep drifting out to sea. I want to be able to have friends last for more than an extended season. A lot of it has to do with dispelling my belief that people often have ulterior motives for befriending me and/or just tolerate my presence.
* Before refers to a time that’s like pre-2001.
I’ve been living very deeply in the recesses of my own head since…April, I guess. That marked the six monthaversary of my unemployment and I was nowhere near where I thought I would be at that point in time. I’d thought that by then I’d be shuffling through grad school acceptances on my way to begin my Master’s work in Library Science. Then my life was forever changed on January 19, 2013 and from then everything has been in sort of a tailspin. That was the day I found out about my aunt and everything that was formerly important took a bit of a back burner as I struggled to maintain and be a pillar of strength for my cousins who were losing their mother.
Lately though, I’ve fallen down on the job and left a bulk of the responsibility to my sistercousins, my allies in this struggle. I’ve just become worn out and tired and frustrated and disappointed and generally unhappy. When I feel myself drifting to a place where I can only see negativity, my initial instinct is to pull back immediately. I don’t wish to infect the minds of others with this overwhelming cloak of grief and despair, so I remove myself. From the lives of everyone with whom I’m close. In this case, however, my desire to protect was seen as abandonment.
These kids. The ones I’d told that I would always be there. The ones who I told to call me if anything was needed and I’d do my best to provide. The ones I promised over the bedside of their rapidly declining mother that I would always make a priority. They’ve only seen the smiley, happy, determined, courageous side of me. Not the one of mercurial moods that can shift on a dime. Not the one who slips into sadness so great and engulfing that she is barely able to rise from bed, let alone be concerned with others.
I was talking to someone the other day who, noticed my pulling away, and called me on it. She said she understood that it is my way, but made me realize that it was because she and I have a bond that is a bit different than mine with others. She’s seen the other side and is not judgmental, but respectful. She explained to the eldest of the kids and he later called me to apologize. And I felt terrible. I felt terrible because he had nothing to apologize for. He was merely confused by my actions betraying what he knew to be normal.
Truth is, I’ve been so busy helping others to cope that I never truly took the time to mourn the loss of my aunt. It was more like losing a sibling than an older authority figure. We’d been in the trenches together. Our relationship was symbiotic and for that to be taken in such an immediate manner. For me not to have had a proper chance to prepare myself and say goodbye in a meaningful way? It eats away at me every day.
This week hasn’t been the best. The original first line of this post was something much more…Irvine-esque, but I changed it at the last minute. It was just something I needed to get out because it’s been rattling around in my brain for the past few weeks. Anyway, so the theme for my life lately has been the word in the subject up there. it’s just been one big ol circle jerk of disappointment. some have lead to (what i assume) is the dissolution of relationships (&i’m all fucked up behind that, tbh) and others have lead to feelings of complete failure.
i’ve fallen down on the job in a major way and i hardly recognize who i am right now. a week or so back i was talking with some friends about how unemployment allows me a lot of time to sit and think about who i am and what i want in life. all this thinking, however? has lead me to be even more paranoid, neurotic and all around fubar. Blah blah blah, blee blee blee. I’m just gonna end this here because it’s going nowhere but down.