Since I’ve gone running into the waiting arms of the people I trust enough to share my inner world, I’m still taken back that the network functions the way I wanted it to because I didn’t think it was possible. Many people will say I’m outgoing and warm but they’re also kept at arms length and trying to force past my boundaries has catastrophic results. Perhaps more difficult than gaining my trust is maintaining it: I have high expectations of those I let in and though I am always available to socialize or use my energy to help a falling friend, I set the bar to my privacy even higher. Mostly, I need years to evaluate someone’s worthiness and mettle before I begin confiding little things like a childhood event, good or bad, that shaped my view on society and its participants. I still believe that words have meanings, that the ones you love (who are not blood related family) deserve three chances to prove themselves, judge no one the way you would not judge yourself, true friendships will stand the test of time and distance and how it’s impossible to love someone else if you don’t love yourself. Thus, years can pass before I see and spend time with a great friend. We pick up where we left off and there are no grudges held about the infrequent communication: we exist in the moment and we’ll take it away with us when we part. I know many people would not tolerate a friendship that functions like that and some fall off the wayside so, it’s a pleasant surprise that I gauged my friends correctly. Neediness/dependency are attributes my friendships do not have. Appreciation, honesty and integrity definitely are some of the building blocks required of my friendships as well as my romantic relationships.
I would say I floundered from elementary school until the end of junior high in terms of developing a rapport with other girls. I didn’t understand the touchiness on certain topics (like Backstreet Boys vs. Hanson), the unnecessary gossip and cliques, the judgement based on clothes/material goods, over-emotional reactions and so on with the same list that confuses guys, I guess. It’s always been easier to befriend a guy and that worked just fine for me until the hormones kicked in. It took only one instance for me to realize the danger and unfairness of leading someone on (back in 8th grade); suffice it to say, I learned to make clear to guys just meeting me (in HS through college) where I stood and whether or not they should bother pursuing a relationship with me. Unfortunately, guys have the same hearing problem girls do when speaking to their crush: only everything they want to hear gets through, period.
It’s a good gamble that out in the wide world, people mean something to someone. They should not be discarded as objects one cares about until a newer, shinier person comes along or simply on a whim. I know I’m guilty of dissolving relationships and walking away from friend(s) or partners, but that only ever occurs after many attempts and hard work to save and preserve them. It seems pointless to pull someone into your life, share happy to painful and thoughtful to upsetting moments over many years and then, drop all of it. This is especially true of romantic relationships where extended family and friends meet and welcome/accept (maybe not immediately but eventually) your significant other and new, mutual relations develop: it’s a web where lines can be traced back to the center, two spiders happy as clams. It also means things get sticky and messy upon separations/breaking up but just like a web, it can be rebuilt with some effort. Caring for someone else, entrusting that they’ll protect and nurture your heart, sharing secrets/vacations/moments in time, building a life together, refining communication skills after a bad fight, these are all monumental to a relationship. Precious, fragile and vulnerable aspects of loving someone and being loved in return. How many times can a person be expected to climb up the steep hill of forgiveness and compromise? As many times as the other half is and should be brought to a stop when the balancing scale tips to one side.
My friends can and do sing the song inside my heart back to me when I’ve forgotten how. They remind me of my positive traits, my strengths and literally help me back up when I’ve broken down in tears, when I’m afraid I’m losing control. Without prompting, they know what I need and will stay the night if asked, allowing me to curl up until I find my center again. Experience shows that this heartache, like the ones before, will pass. It might take longer than I’d like since five years of Beck made a deep impression and the painful mark is still fresh. However, I’m reminded that I’m no less attractive or desired: twelve hours with JP proved that to be true in all the venues we entered 🙂
JP: “Actually, marriage is moving forward – it’s not ‘going back to where you were’ cause you were only bf and gf then.”
Me: “You’re not helping…”
JP: “You know how we Albanian men can be. I’ve said mean things just to be spiteful and I didn’t mean it!”
Me: “There! Right there is the shit I can’t tolerate. We’re supposed to be older, more mature and pass that point! Don’t you agree?”
JP: “We may be older 😉 You know you still love him and if he pulled out the ring, you’d take it. Am I right?”
Me: “I’m going to be spiteful and not answer your question.”
And laughter all around the pool table ^_^ Here’s to 14 years of friendship, guy! *huggles* Much more to come ❤
In the car:
Me: Thank you for the driving directions that *only* drivers (for the most part, I’ve only met one other person capable) can give. I can’t tell you how many times it’s been, ‘Stay straight on here and you’ll make a left soon … (silence)… THERE! Ah man, you missed the turn!’ and it can erupt into an argument b/c I was in the far right lane to begin with! The assumptions non-drivers make about where everyone’s eyeballs are looking is absurd as is pointing through the windshield at some object they’ve trained their eyes to see but can’t give you a description of its location or appearance in a coherent and timely manner, ya feel me?”
JP (laughing hysterically): “Yeah, yeah! I totally get you – my girl scares the shit outta me with her driving! It’s completely high speeds weaving in and out of traffic. I’m saying, “Baby, baby, take it easy! The other driver probably didn’t see you in his lane and – LOOK OUT!’ I can have a heart attack in the passenger seat and I wonder if she realizes my life is in her hands when she’s driving!”
Me: “Dude, Chris, my ex, you remember? Was the WORST road rage driver I’ve ever gotten into a car with (in fact, I‘ve found a correlation between guys/girls, but mostly guys, who have low self-esteem and the intensity of road rage), and he was the type to chase another car at around 80-90 mph, catch up and just start screaming obscenities out the window!”
JP: “Yo, my girl will not stand down, either!”
Me: “The worst time included him chucking plastic AND glass bottles out the window at the friggin car!”
JP: “She hasn’t gone there but if she did, what can I do? She’s driving, so the car’s moving, do I jump out?!”
Me: “Of course not! But I did curse him out afterwards (and mostly because that time, he pulled up so the other driver was on MY side so who can now get hurt by bottles and other shit, ya know?) and I told him I didn’t give a fuck if he died in a car accident because of his road rage! But he had to remember that I was in the car, too, and my life was in his hands.”
JP: “How’d that go?”
Me: “He sulked like a fucking 7 year old and acted out passive-aggressively. [*as an aside: I eventually learned I was safer on my own than with someone who was a beta-male and had the need to take out his aggression on females because there was no way in hell he could take on someone stronger, smarter and overall better than him.]”
I’m still young and there’s time for marriage way down the line and children (it helps that I’m Asian and my youthfulness has frozen in place until I’m about 65 or 70, tehehe). I’ve learned my brutal honesty can be met with approval and acceptance by a complete stranger who understands where I am in terms of any romantic interest. I don’t know how to stop being in love and still love someone, but I suspect it’s more something I can’t learn than just letting poignant memories and their respective feelings fade away. My date (the one sanctioned even by Beck) didn’t place any sexual pressure/emphasis on me for the hour we spent talking and let me cut the date short, if somewhat reluctantly. Another check mark, the boundaries I set with my date weren’t met with spite/resistance. I feel comfortable knowing that, like my friendships, a second date can be next week or never again romance wise. Emotionally, I have a very delayed reaction and need lots of time to myself to digest and analyze. Often, I need to write out all my feelings but eventually, I regain my balance. Like now, I’m working my way back towards a steady keel ^_^