Tuesday, July 17, 2018

You don't fight to keep people

I have been told in the past that I let people go too easily.  I don't fight to keep people in my life, personally or professionally.  I usually just let people vent that feeling towards me but I don't usually have a response.  What am I supposed to say?

Do I let people go?  Absolutely.  If someone wants to boot me from his/her life, should I really be fighting to stay in his/her life?  The one time I did explore this issue with Soul-sister, my explanation was this:
     If someone is a friend, I have declared them my friend, then I am obligated to 
respect that this person thinks their life would be better without me. 
 If someone says they want to leave, should I make it harder on
 them to leave?  That doesn't seem fair.  Cutting a friend out of 
your life is not an easy decision, why would I want to cause
 the person more pain by demanding they stay?  

I guess there is a part of me that feels that if I beg someone to stay and they still leave then I would hurt even more than just accepting their good-bye.  There is, of course, a part of me that believes I deserved to left by all of my friends, that I am too awful to deserve friends.  

I don't know.  Maybe I should fight.  Maybe I should make promises and compromises.  Give up me in order to keep them.  Here are some of the problems I have with those ideas:
  1. If I make a promise, I plan to keep it.  Can I really change myself enough to keep the promises required?
  2. Is someone who wants me to change, worth keeping in my life?  If they don't want me as I am, do they really want me at all?
  3. If the road that brought us to this impasse in the first place comes up again, won't I just get dumped again?  Better to break it off now rather than later, no?

So anyways, I don't fight to keep people.  I will fight with people.  I will grow with people.  I'll learn from being left.

That does not mean that I don't feel the absence.  Even now losing Soul-sister hurts.  I run into former friends and it feels like I'm dying.  People who knew me.  I let them in.  They said you don't have enough good in you to keep you around.  People who were family who are now strangers.  People that I said "I love you" that now won't meet my eye.  It hurts.  I haven't heard from Soul-sister in about 4 years and even now I cry over the loss.   Did I let her go?  Yes.  Did I fight to keep her?  No.  Do I miss her?  Yes.  Can we ever reconcile?  I don't know.

There are times I describe being painted into a corner.  You make decisions that put you in a fight or flight position.  Once you lash out or leave, can you ever go back again?  Now that those "friends" have left can we ever find our way back to each other?  I guess only time will tell.  I know I have lost friends permanently so there is no chance to reconcile.  That makes me want to reach out.  Apologize.  Compromise.  Life is short and tomorrow is not promised.  Can I forgive the past?  Can I move past the pain?  Even if I can, would they be willing?  

I did reach out to Soul-sister when I finished my doctorate.  She was the most excited person when I started the program.  The response was cold.  It hurt to be dismissed but I respect that our lives simply do not intersect at this moment.  Maybe someday we'll run into each other in a coffee shop somewhere and the cold and pain will wash away and it will be like we were never apart.  Maybe . . .


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Saying good-bye or saying see you later

Today makes 2 years that a friend from college passed away from colon cancer.  I have and have had many mixed feelings about it.  This was one of the first friendships that ended badly and it was an ending focused on me being dropped because I didn't fit in/ I didn't have enough good stuff to outweigh my bad.  Seems like a strong theme of my life - if I am me, me completely then no one wants to deal with me.  I write that but of course, DH would argue that can't be true since after over 20 years he is still with me.  I also have other friends who have been with me for years and years.

But I digress, back to the dead friend.  Before she passed, she asked me to visit her while I was in Baltimore working on my dissertation research.   At that point in our lives we were Facebook friends but not call each other have actual intimacy friends.  I didn't make the effort.  I made excuses.  Actually, she never followed up with me while I was in Baltimore so I decided it was an invitation made due to old memories and an actual want.  I feel guilty.  She was dying.  Within four months, she would be dead and I didn't bother to respond.  I couldn't have known.  I was selfish and still harboring feelings of hurt from almost 15 years previous.  I was an asshat plain and simple.

I am a bit melancholy today.  I am dealing with my dad's colon cancer.  We have a strong rotation of family through our house.  People wanting to see my dad, make sure they do it before things turn bad.  It is a good plan.  Almost 2 weeks ago, my dad was rushed into surgery for what turned out to be a 2nd cancerous tumor.  The wait, the anxiety, the fear of watching my dad be admitted to the hospital.  To watch a simple doctor's visit turn into surgery was scary and exhausting.  Our stay in Temple went from 2 nights to 5.  From budgeted to a budget buster.  From simple cancer diagnoses to cancer treatment.

Melancholy - it is a good word.  I am thinking and feeling rather than talking.  Staying silent usually makes the melancholy worse but the feeling that I can't talk to anyone traps me in a cycle of feeling sad, feeling lonely, being scared to reach out, so then I feel sad, I feel lonely, which makes me more scared to reach out and you know the cycle become a spiral of sadness and shame.

I am ashamed of how I treated my old friends.  I should have reached out.  Met the offer to meet with kindness and effort.  I didn't.  I can't change it.  I can learn from it.  I'm not learning very fast as I was again recently dropped for being an awful person.  Maybe one day, I'll meet an old friend who hurt me for coffee and I'll smile and it will be okay between us until then I'll work on keeping my eyes open to the opportunity.