Love of Friends

Louis CK on self-love verses self-awareness (I completely agree that self awareness is much more important than loving yourself in some circumstances) and being an asshole. I think true best friends are the ones who will risk wrath/hatred/resentment to tell you something you don’t want to hear, whether it’s about yourself, your decisions/actions, philosophy/view(s) or your life/situation. They’ll do the things in your best interest especially, if you lack foresight or perspective (i.e. the big picture) because they love you enough and they believe your friendship is strong enough to weather through the temporary stages (e.g. the five stages of grief).

Thusly, two weeks ago I had help packing up everything that reminded me of Beck (stuffed animals, other mementos, journals, etc.) into three boxes. As my friends help me shift furniture to make room for some new additions, I didn’t notice one had disappeared with two of the boxes until I smelled something burning. PTSD is triggered and I frantically search for the source of heat that smells like it’s in the house: where’s the fire! When I turn in desperation to the remaining two, I notice how calm they are and how diligently they’re standing in front of the doors and by the windows. I bolt for the backyard because I can see the smoke but I don’t get farther than the screen door as one bars the doorway with his frame and the other wrestles to keep me inside as I’m screaming and screaming at what I see: my boxes of memories are burning! It takes the two of them to drag me down as I’m cursing and using my surprising strength to get outside and save the things I know are beyond saving: I still have to try.

Me: I fucking HATE you, S! How are you such a motherfucker to BURN MY THINGS! Yo, if you don’t get off me J and C,  this instant, there’s going to be hell to pay in the hours and days to come!

S: There’s nothing worth your time in these things! Get it through your head: Beck used you for money, stole your youth and couldn’t man up to own it all. You know who that damn near sounds like?

Me: SHUT YOUR FILTHY MOUTH! Don’t you dar-

S: Jed! Now what are you going to do? I’m over here, in reality, and you’re back there straining to save and protect nothing that’s worth it.

Me: God, I hate you! I fucking hate all of you! Get out of here!

J: D, you gotta learn to see when people take advantage of you and then, burn em like you would anyone else…

Me: You fucking agree with him?! What the hell, J! You’re supposed to be my friend-

J: I AM! We all are and I know your fury would scorch the Earth, seeking vengeance if I ever told you that someone I dated and someone I loved did to me what Beck did to you.

S: Hear that, D! Is she getting it yet? Is the tigress angry enough yet to tear into and bleed out what was just another poor excuse of a man, I mean meal!

Me: S, SHUT THE FUCK UP! I wasn’t talking to you and you didn’t know him so, take a play from your book and stop talking shit about someone you don’t know! Cause if you don’t, there’s going to be an unholy amount of a mother’s tears soaking into the soil of your grave!

S (laughing): She still has a snarling mouth to go with scratching claws, meeeeow!

C (trying to keep me on the floor but laughing isn’t helping): Ouch! D, that kick hurt!

Me (kicking and thrashing): Good, the next one goes in your stupid face. Mocking me isn’t good for your health, S!

C: No, seriously, stop! Man, if this guy had been worth your energy, time and resources, we wouldn’t be here right now! We’re trying to help and you’re being a bitch.

J: Shaddup, C! Let the grown-up’s talk. What we’re trying to get you to understand is that people take risks when they’re relatively unencumbered by responsibilities outside themselves. But in doing so they should also recognize the possibility that they step into the middle of a difficult life lesson and not the dream they imagine. Beck was only living for himself, he didn’t weigh the outcome on his family or you and you didn’t see it in time. I’m not saying Beck is a bad guy, he couldn’t have been truly evil because you saw something good enough in him that was worth your love, attention and time. The reality remains that you need to stay away from him: ten months or 100 years down the line, no contact.

Me: You guys realize how sorry you’ll be when I finally get up?! Who are you to judge?! Is your record so spotless and all your actions so pure/thought out that you can be the jury and executioner, too?

S: She’s not getting it or clearly isn’t well, guys. Switch! C, come keep adding stuff and let me get some sense into her.

Me (bucked up): S!

J: No! Man, stay put-

S: C’mon! D, we’re saying fuck Beck outta your system, literally-

J: What, no! We’re not!

S: SEVEN years of only one dude! Then, she stops after ONE rebound for God knows what reason, J! She’s owed like a baker dozen’s more at least and there’s definitely no shortage of quality men and women who would give up their lives for one night with D. We’re doing this my way now because your nice guy route hasn’t helped.

J: Jesus-

C:  I think D should do what she wants because she’s happiest that way.

Me: Thank you, C! Maybe I’ll consider maiming you instead of scarring you for life

C: How’s that fair! I’m the only one on your side right now!

S: D, how long has it been since you and Beck broke up? Two months?

Me: S, don’t fuckin talk to me.

J: It’s going to be three months soon.

Me: Wha-

S: I’m glad someone is keeping count because my calculation says you should be on rebound #5 or 6 if we’re going by a slow schedule. If you’re on the glacial pace, it should still be #3. You stopped at one, why? Don’t you want to get laid?!

Me: I want to hurt you slowly and excruciatingly for as long as possible! For every minute that fire continues to burn, I want a decade of your agony, S.

J: Stop with the threats already, D. You know you’re going to feel better-

Me: I was FINE until I made the mistake of befriending all of you-

S: Too late for regrets now, sugar: 15 – 20 years too late. Stop looking at me like you can set me aflame with the fire in your eyes! You know we’re right and we’re doing this cause we love ya.

J: You were the one who told me that the ones who love you the most will do the hardest things in your best interest even if you can’t/don’t understand it, right now. You’re the one who told me the black sheep, the scapegoat is the most valuable player because we all need someone stronger than ourselves to carry out what we’re all too scared of/too weak to do or say: someone to blame if it all goes wrong. You’re the one who told me who told me the most misunderstood person is the one living on the highest peak of human refinement and the most lonely because few dare to be so brave. I’ll take your place on the summit until you want to and can be everyone’s beacon again. Even God had to rest on the 7th day.

S: Gassing her up isn’t going to help us in the long run, bro.

J & C: The hole in your face needs to be stuffed – SHUT UP!

Me: Guys, I’m so tired. I want to step down and lie on the ground without climbing the mountain of life lessons again, especially where love is concerned. How did I not see it coming that Beck is as fallible as the rest?

C: Because you only see the best in people. But, you should know people aren’t perfect, more so men than women.

Me (eye roll): Of all people, I know how unattainable perfection is but I think we should still strive to be the best versions of ourselves in a way that we benefit and so do our loved ones and even perfect strangers who get near that circle of trust. Is that so wrong or so flawed? I don’t think it’s wrong to believe in someone’s potential. But God All mighty, I never thought Beck could or would sink so low. I thought I knew all the signs after the hell I lived through with Jed! That’s why I’m not dating or fucking everyone that comes across my path, S – it’s not my style but I also don’t trust my judgement right now. My self confidence took a real hit and I’m just asking you guys lay off me and let me have until the new year to seclude myself and reflect.

S: Isolation makes people crazy though I don’t think crazy can make MORE crazy, ya know? Celibacy or just not having enough sex could make you crazy, too.

We just look at S in stunned and confused silence for a minute.

J: Go watch the fire and just make sure D’s parents don’t come after us. One fire was bad enough and that was an accident… who knows what another would unleash?

Me (turning purple): Not another goddamn thing is going in there!

S: I’ll stop if you promise to have another lover BEFORE the new year! Or at least a string of encounters to spin into tales that can amuse and regale us.

Me (with a glimmer of sass): Roman or Chinese calendar?

S (laughing): There’s my girl D! Western New Year- actually, no. You have until your birthday and coincidentally, you’ll be the same age as Christ when he reappears in the Bible. Though, we all know you’re the anti-Christ or maybe your daughter could be, either way, you fit the description: popular, charismatic, a leader and beautiful.

C: Who’s gassing who up now? And stop misquoting the Bible! You just described Lucifer.

S: Go fuck yourself or just move an inch so D’s legs get the purchase she needs to kick your ass. Lucifer was the most beautiful angel and God’s favorite: “the bringer of dawn”, the Morning Star. Daisy, the day’s eye, get it?

C: At least I know I’ll be alive but you, you have no hope in Hell, sucker! The day’s eye is the SUN, jackass!

J: I’m sorry it had to be this way – I know how much your scrapbooks and mementos mean to you. You have to surround yourself with loving memories and those weren’t helping.

Me: Damn it! You know nothing about me if you don’t understand why I like the tangible reminders that hold even a tiny spark of a person. Their essence is rubbed off onto the pictures, gifts, stories and art that may be all I have left of a person. I cherish people, I don’t discard them and I don’t make selfish or hypocritical demands of them if I know I can’t/haven’t walked my own talk.

J: It’s one of the best and worst things about you. You see into a person’s very soul and your light reflects the image you see into the person’s heart and mind if they can’t see their own potential and worth. Yet, you don’t seem to see how many of us look upon you as the epitome of a friend, lover, daughter, sister and relative. I can’t stand to see how diminished you are with every failed relationship, platonic or romantic-

S: We can’t stand it. You’re a cut above all the rest, D. I know you think you’re badass and hide your true thoughts and emotions very well but you can’t hide your soul from the ones who fought and got passed your defenses. Every one of us feels your pain just as we share your elation wherever you are and whenever you step into a room. All eyes wanting your acknowledgment and all hearts desiring your personal attention for a nanosecond. Every one wanting to possess some part of you and going where you go, the highest of highs.

Me: Guys, I don’t want to be at the top. I want someone to look up to and aspire to be. I don’t want to see them at a distance either. It’s like mountain peaks being within view of each other but isolated all the same.

J: You don’t need a relationship as a crutch. You’re strong enough on your own and needing to satisfy you.

Me: Duh! If it were the case that my happiness exists only in relationships, I would have swung into a new one by now and you guys seem to think that’ll solve all my woes without considering that I need the solitude for a little while.

S: I want to see you act selfishly and use people only for sex or whatever gratifies you.

Me: Why?! Will my pussy fall off if I don’t use and abuse it!?

C & J are laughing hard enough for me to twist my body out from under them.

S: Dude! Catch her! She’s going to kill me!

As I keep shaking C and J off from one limb, I’m actively pursing S and telling him all the horrible shit he’s about to endure.

S: I’m sorry, D! J convinced me to go along and no, I don’t think your pussy will die from lack of activity, it’s fine! It’s actually perfect the way it is: I just don’t think it’s fair to deny the people wanting to be with and date you because the last guy fucked up.

Me: Keep running your mouth, S, let’s see you talk your way out.

S: I was just trying to remind you that there are plenty of more fish in the sea!

This scenario went on for another hour or so as the four of us regressed into junior and senior high school students with banter and wrestling and general silly mayhem. I managed to safe house the last box and I’m really glad I wrote this out when I didn’t think I could because it’s all that’s left. They were right, you know, about friends stepping up to the plate to dish out the things you don’t want to hear or acknowledge. A friend puts him or herself in the way of hurdling emotions and endures the force when the nuggets of truth are laid out for all to see.

People are angriest when they recognize something as true (especially if it’s unpleasant/unflattering) but aren’t ready to confront it because the truth is scalding and gut-wrenching even if it’s the size of a grain of sand. Denial is a cozy warm place and the grain of sand is a pain to sore eyes that need only be washed away with tears of understanding. That’s a convoluted analogy, heh, my bad. What I’m trying to say is that our defenses go up and stay there the more we think we have a lot to lose by admitting to any part of a friend’s brutal observation(s). I’m normally very good and ready for confrontation if I have to be the bad guy and dole it out. It’s been interesting being on the other side of that because I don’t find myself there often. Only the very courageous and confident seek and accept the truth. Then, s/he can/will present it to an unsuspecting audience, to damn hell their response, because there is conviction in what s/he has learned. However, it can be an isolated road to travel with few familiar faces/hearts  willing to go on the journey with him or her. It brings to mind the adage, “Do not walk behind me for I do not lead nor in front because I do not follow. Instead, walk beside me and be my friend.” Beck was that friend for me and we were best friends. I’m so close to fully accepting that he has someone new to continue with him on whatever path to wherever it is that he is going. I’d rather not have him than keep him away from happiness: I understand his loneliness and need for emotional support.

I’m still upset with my friends but only for some of the reasons I stated above. Being on my own and working my way through has only been productive because of the support I find myself sheltered with. I haven’t dreamt of Beck in a week now – the turning point being my release from negative feelings and thoughts. I’d rather forgive and move on than try to rationalize or understand Beck’s motives for being a good boyfriend to someone new, in the exact same manner as when he and I met. The eeriness/repetition is something I look at with a quizzical eye but no desire to go beyond looking and turning away. The stranger he’s become is fading him from my heart and mind into the static of the world’s population. It’s a comfort knowing I’m not the first or last person Beck has maltreated. If he’s in a manic phase (like how we started painting his PS3 or scrap-booking together), then I hope angels carry him through when things dip. I hope his vulnerable state is sheltered from loved ones and strangers; it’s sometimes ironic Beck will trust a stranger more than his close friends/relatives. He was my best friend and we shared every thought/feeling – often times/on the regular we were rolling into one gigantic cloud of psyche and synchronicity. What he had with me, he will never have with someone else because an individual is just that: as is their stories/abilities. I’m grateful his parents have been genial and friendly. His extended family has been amazing and I don’t know how to go about their affection for me when we aren’t together. I do know I can follow their lead and do it gracefully and with poise. I miss my handsome man and that’s all there is for today.