Tag Archives: Friendship

The Liars, the Broken, and the Cheaters

Last night, I was cleaning the kitchen up a bit before cooking dinner.
I’d decided to try listening to music, despite the fact that earbuds hate me, and turned on my John Denver album. It’s surprising to many people that I love John Denver but, much like Bastian from ‘The Black Swan Company,’ I like almost anything, as long as it’s good.

‘Annie’s Song’ eventually came through the headphones, as I was washing the counter, and it brought tears to my eyes, or more…the memory attached to that song did.

I had a roommate my first year of college, and only year in the dorms.
I never knew that I could get along so well with anybody. When I left for winter break, I remember her running after my boyfriend’s truck in the rearview mirror, dramatic like we were in a movie. We both cried and laughed at the same time, as we knew how much we’d miss one another.

At the end of the year, I downloaded a whole bunch of songs that had her name in it, and we sat there and listened to them together. I’d never heard the song that bore her name by John Denver before, and as we listened, we both burst into stunned yet touched tears…the lyrics were so beautiful, that they acted as a catalyst…an avenue, an excuse to let out the pain that inevitably comes at the end of an era.

Annie was my last friend as a ‘child.’ Yes, I was 18/19 when I met her, but age doesn’t always determine what constitutes adulthood…not in the real world. That was the last year of my life that I was coddled, fed, and taken care of by people. The most difficult thing that we give up, in my oh-so humble opinion, when we become adults is the purity in our relationships.

When we are children, anger, sadness, happiness…they all come through with an honesty most people check at the door of adulthood. We feel love and trust and loss with such intensity, and feel compelled to chase what we want without scruple. When we pass through the veil of adulthood, it contaminates us; money, status, others’ opinions, jealousy, pain, responsibility…they function as the metal bars between us and our happiness…us and our sense of loyality…us and reality, the real yearning for what we want.

Being a child wasn’t easy for me, but my God…I miss the friendships that I had.
I miss the raw honesty between people.
I miss the undying loyalty we had as friends.
I miss the way people would stop at nothing to feel happiness.

When I passed through the veil, I stuffed all of those things under my shirt so that it would never be tarnished…and sometimes, it feels as if I was the only one who did.

When things aren’t correct, it bothers me.
If I’m not happy, I can’t just pretend that I am; I just can’t pull it together, or step up, or drown myself in responsibilities, then refocus on trying to swim to oxygen, the way most people do it.

When you’re young, people impress upon you the American standard: Go to school, obtain employment, marry, reproduce. They swear it’s the path to happiness and security.

I’d like to tell all of you young people, right here and now, that it’s all bullshit.
BULLSHIT.

Being one to heed the warnings and advice of others, to watch those who’ve gone before me so as to avoid their mistakes, I’m telling you now, most people in their 40s are fucking miserable; they PRETEND to be happy, but they’re not. From what I’ve observed, every person in their 40s either doesn’t sleep, is in an unhappy marriage, is unsatisfied in general, or all three. Being either sleep-deprived, in a terrible relationship, or unsatisfied makes them lash out…they’re angry, they’re vengeful, they’re backstabbers, they relish in others’ misery…they’re bored, they make problems out of nothing so that they’re entertained…they’re judgemental, they’re hypocritical, they gossip, they compete with each other, and most of all…they LIE.

And since THEY lie, they think everybody else lies.
And since THEY cheat, they think everybody else cheats.
And since everybody else lies and cheats, they think it’s ok.

The worst thing one can do is lie to oneself.
Let me show you why.

The man who endeavors to cheat on his wife, trying to make it so that she’ll never know, is trying to fulfill a need or solve a problem…only, he hasn’t the tools to solve it.
Maybe he’s not in a sexually active marriage.
Maybe he’s not really in love anymore.
Maybe he’s isolated.
Maybe he’s an addict to sex.
Maybe he just wants to screw around on his wife.

So, he cheats, but he is caught.
He and his wife go to counseling together; the counselor advises him to no longer be in contact with ‘the other woman,’ and he abides.
They try to make things better, but the trust is gone.
The wife stops sleeping with him; she can’t move past the betrayal…maybe she wants to, or maybe she just doesn’t want to be on her own…maybe she doesn’t want their children to have to endure a divorce, and neither does he. Maybe their families are pressuring them to keep their marriage together, or maybe they don’t want their families to know.
They stay together and, damn it, they put on a happy facade, but they’re more miserable than ever.
She’s more afraid of him leaving or hurting her than before, and he’s more isolated than he’s ever been.
Since she’s not wanting to connect physically or emotionally anymore, anyway, he wants to cheat again, but this time…it’ll STAY a secret. And if it doesn’t, who cares? They’re already in absolute misery…he just needs to make SURE it stays a secret and that he doesn’t leave her because it’ll destroy both her and her family.

So, what’s the answer?
It’s simple:

Stop lying to yourself.
Your marriage is over, American Dreamers. Get divorced.

I can keep this going; I can find a woman who will go along with it, and we’d both know exactly what we were getting into.
You mean, a woman who is broken, has no self-respect or foresight, no self-preservation instincts, and doesn’t realize (or doesn’t mind) being thought of as a walking vagina to you? It will end eventually, and when it does, somebody’s going to be hurt. But hey, as long as it’s not YOU who gets hurt, it’s ok, right?
Step up. Stop being a candyass, and divorce your wife.

But I don’t want to desert her.
Tough titties. You should’ve thought of that before you CHOSE to sleep with somebody else instead of coming to her when you had a problem in your relationship.

I still love her, though…and I took a vow.
Sticking around for her is the worst thing you could do. If you’re at this point, all that you’re doing is stealing her time by keeping her from finding somebody who’ll love her better than you are able to.

She’s afraid of being alone, though, and it wouldn’t be right to leave her.
Interesting assessment, but try this one: Maybe she’s codependent. Maybe she hates herself. If you honestly love her, you should be the one pushing her to be happy, even if it’s not with you. She’s fooling herself into believing that she’ll never be better than this, and you’re enabling that notion. Shove her out of the nest and set her free; she’ll learn what real happiness is once you stop chaining her down.

But what about our children? They need us to stay together.
Oh? How so? They NEED to learn what a(n unhealthy) relationship looks like so they can go out and have one just like yours? You want your own children to be just as miserable as you are?

If you think you won’t get caught, that nobody will be hurt, that you’re not using your mistress as a sex toy, that anybody who would be a mistress isn’t a broken fucking person, you feel honor-bound not to desert your wife, that you are being nobel and wonderful by sticking to your vows, that you’re a hero because you’re obliging your wife’s fear of being alone, that your families will think better of you for staying together, or that your children will benefit from your broken relationship staying together…
…if you believe that having a successful marriage is the only way to be happy…
YOU
ARE
LYING
TO
YOURSELF.
And you’re bringing everybody involved down with you, you selfish bastard.

If you’d caught this before the damage had been done, if you were honest with yourself, if you could’ve admitted you were unhappy and had done something to fix the situation, it’d be ok…and if you are in that position, do the right thing now instead of falling onto the quick and easy path.
You can sit there and rationalize your lies all day long, but rationale doesn’t equate to the truth. Until you WAKE UP and realize that you’re not only fucking yourself, but others, as well, you will continue doing harm to everybody around you.

A child may really hurt your feelings when they spit their food into their hand and yell ‘NEH!’
A child may annoy their parents when they throw themselves on their backs, cry, and scream ‘I DON’T WANT TO!’
But FUCK, at the very least, they’re being HONEST.

Sometimes, we need to oblige the child inside of us, no matter how harsh we perceive the impact could damage our lives, because two to one, doing all sorts of sneaky, dishonest shit to make ourselves feel better will fuck everything MUCH worse.

I may be a lonely person who shuts out the liars, the broken, and the cheats because without them, it’s a smalllllllllllll fucking world, buddy.
But I’m ok with that.
My tears from the night before serve as a reminder of what did exist in this world, and I believe, in ALL honesty, what can exist again.

The truth will set you free; don’t let anybody take that away from you…especially yourself.

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The Strangest Kind of Blessing

At the very end of last month, I wrote an email to a stranger.

It was a really emotionally trying thing to do, and to be honest, I put off writing it around a year and a half because I was terrified.

What were you terrified of, Luna?

I was terrified that I would pour my heart out to this person, and he would read my words and ignore me, maybe not even read what I had written, or think that there was some motive behind my email that simply wasn’t there.

What had happened was somebody had inspired me with his passion for his career, and it was at a moment when I was in dire need of motivation. The whole situation was so profound to me that I needed to share it with him.

So, when I tried to find this particular man’s email address, I found out that, well…he…umm…how do I put this? In his…field of work, he is kind of a big deal. Well-known. Bumps a lot of important elbows. He’s in such a high position, he could be easily used by fake people if he were to not be suspicious, and many people would want nothing more than to dialogue with him for their own gain.

Me being me, I had no clue as to who he was, and to be perfectly honest, I was so disappointed.
…Scratch that: Depressed. I was so depressed.

I figured that this man was just a ‘normal Joe’ who just loved his job.
That would’ve been a good thing…a very good thing.

If I’m honest, the idea of trying to talk to or form a relationship of any kind with a socially ‘important’ person makes me tired.
I don’t use people: Period. I don’t look at anybody and think:
Hmm…I’d better try to get into their life. Just think of what they could do for me…muwahaha…
But, I know others do, and without scruple. And because of them, there’d be an unspoken rule that I would need to prove that I’m not like that. Besides that, when a person is socially ‘important,’ it seems as if they can only make time for people who are like them; they don’t have time for ‘normies’ like me.

Here’s my take: If I’m not rich enough, important enough, or trustworthy enough to talk to, well…you can fuck right off. I don’t care who you are. I don’t treat people like that, and I sure as hell won’t tolerate being treated like that. The creatures who are important in MY world are important because they’re kind, genuine, and good. There is absolutely no sum of money or anything else that can serve as a substitution for a place in my heart, ever.

Wow. I think I really needed to get that out.

Anyway…
Once I realized who he was, I immediately figured any email I sent him would go unread, deleted, and/or ignored.

Why even bother? It would be a complete waste of time to put the effort and emotion into something he won’t even read or care about.

So…I dismissed the situation altogether.
The Universe, however, wouldn’t let the situation go.

I told somebody about what had happened (somebody who I knew WOULD care), just to get it out of me when I was on the way to work. I trotted in as I normally did, grabbed a box of unsorted historical records, and put on my white gloves to start working. The first thing that I grabbed that morning was an antique booklet, and when I opened it to a random page to figure out what the booklet was about, the man’s name was written in cursive on the top of the page.
“REALLY?” I screeched. “Fucking really?”

That’s just one example. I dealt with a freaking year and a half long case of the Baader Meinhof effect until I was forced to confront the situation. TO MY CHAGRIN.

So, I wrote the damn email. It took me about, oh, two or three hours to do, and it took quite a bit out of me, but at the same time…it felt good. And what do you know? His name and the name of his company stopped popping up everywhere. It was like being told that I did what I needed to do; I had a certain role to play, a wheel to set in motion, and I did it.

Oh, yeah; I don’t mean to be suspenseful. I DID receive a reply…an auto-reply saying that he was somewhere else and would get to answering emails later that day.

There was an unsettled feeling in me, despite the strong intuition that I’d done what I needed to do. So, I explored it:

Why are you unsettled?
Because I knew this would happen…I knew I would be doing something for nothing at all.
So, you’re unsettled because he didn’t reply?
Of course I am! Why wouldn’t I be? It feels terrible to share something important to you with somebody who doesn’t give a shit.
Why does it feel terrible? You’ve unburdened yourself, haven’t you? You told somebody about something they’ve done that touched you…how is any of that bad?
Because I feel rejected, ok? I stayed away from this whole thing because I KNEW he wouldn’t answer and I would feel rejected, and that’s exactly what happened!

OHH.
That’s what this was all about.

I thought of the previous times I had experienced rejection from others: How did it play out, who did it to me, why did I feel the need to put myself into those situations?
And the more I thought about it…I realized that the people who had rejected me…the people I had worried over and put up on a pedestal…they had turned out to be some majorly unhealthy people to be around. I would’ve landed myself in some very bad situations if they HAD accepted me.

It was as if my sense of logic had grown a hand and smacked me in the face: It was suddenly so obvious. This thing that I feared so much and tried so hard to avoid was actually my friend. This monster under my bed was helping me my entire life; it actually gets me away from the people and situations I’d be better off without. I should never be afraid of rejection; it’s an unlikely kindness….it’s the strangest kind of blessing.

It’s been nearly a full 19 days. I haven’t received a reply from him and I’m not going to. And you know what? I’m ok with that. As a matter of fact, I’m better than ok. I wrote one damn beautiful email that I’m genuinely proud of…I followed my intuition and did what I believed was right. I ran at my fears, knowing the consequences. But the most important thing that I can take away from this situation is that I’ve had a friend who I’ve been neglecting for far too long for all of the wrong reasons.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a plate of cookies to push under my dust ruffle.

Quiet Because You Care?

I was lying in bed this morning after I had woken up, just having a few quiet moments to myself. These quiet moments bring about thoughts, and these thoughts are typically painful memories that I haven’t quite reconciled with my emotions, and I wind up pining over missed opportunities to speak up or regret having played a part in the situation at all.

The particular memory which came to mind this morning was a phone conversation with a friend from college that happened about 5 years ago.

I was looking through my phone, and realized that I hadn’t spoken to this friend since I had graduated college, and I wanted to reach out and see how she was doing. After I had asked her about her life, we spoke about mine; I updated her on the status of my relationship, and she asked if I was still with the boy I had been dating when I graduated, and I told her I wasn’t.

A quick aside: The boy in question was an abusive person who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which went beautifully with my now former codependency issues, and our relationship was a 2 year long tornado of dysfunction.

This friend then went on to say some rather harsh and insulting things about the way that I had behaved while I was participating in the relationship.
“You were obsessed with him,” she said.
I was speechless…at first.
“What do you mean, I was obsessed with him? I wasn’t obsessed with him.”
“All you did was talk about him and your issues with him, and how you just wanted it to work when you should’ve just walked away.”
No shit… I thought to myself, rolling my eyes.
I went on to tell her that it was an unhealthy relationship (the most unhealthy relationship I had ever had with anybody), and what she perceived as ‘obsession’ was constant fear of the relationship falling apart.
Yes, the relationship should have fallen apart; I wish it would have FAR earlier than it actually had. But what this girl had failed to understand was that my anxiety about the relationship had very little to do with the boy or the relationship, itself: It was about my self-esteem, which was completely wrapped up in the outcome of the relationship. In my mind, if the relationship failed, it meant my failure as a worthy human being.

When you see it this way, it makes it a pretty damn valid situation on which to fixate, but only if you choose not to view it as what it is…which, I did.
Why would I make a choice like that, though?
Did I enjoy the idea of being miserable forever?
Was it fun for me?

No. It was because I just didn’t know.
I didn’t know my behavior was due to codependency.
I didn’t know that my self-esteem was wrapped up in my relationship.
I didn’t know that there was the option of looking at my behavior for what it actually was.

I honestly can’t blame this girl for being critical of my behavior; I can’t blame her for being honest. I’m not angry with her for that.
That being said, though, I am a bit perturbed.
Why?

We had grown apart as friends…it happens. She was living in a different state, and had a career and a life, and I understand that. It was painfully obvious as we were speaking that she didn’t feel the need to step tactfully around her words because we had already grown apart and we were living about 5 hours away from each other, so we probably weren’t going to completely rekindle our relationship or run into each other at the gas station. I, again,  can’t blame her, because it was an accurate appraisal of the situation. The way she probably saw our interaction was a situation in which she had nothing to lose, so she felt it was fine to openly share what she felt about my behavior in the most direct way (even a bit negatively, in the form of vague insult).

But, where was this direct-speech when I was actually involved in the situation? Why would you tell me when I was recovering from the situation, when you no longer actually care about me?
I could have really used somebody to say:
Fuck being polite! I’m sorry if this hurts you, but you need to know the truth! You’re being a MORON! Can’t you see that you’re hurting yourself? You know he’s an asshole, you say it all of the time! You’re constantly miserable…have you ever even really sat down and asked yourself WHY you’re still with him?

I was upset because she didn’t care to say these things when they were actually relevant…because not once did she say these things to me when I actually needed to hear them.

I can’t say with any authority that her words would’ve changed my life and I would’ve seen the light and broken up with that boy; I have no freaking clue what would’ve happened if she had confronted me about it. I take responsibility for my own actions, so I’m not blaming her for my involvement in the relationship.
But, since she chose to say these things to me in the way she did, and when she did, I remember her as ‘the girl I wish I wouldn’t have called that day’ as opposed to remembering her as ‘the friend who cared enough to open her mouth.’ Her view on the matter became the equivalent of kicking an already broken leg.

The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes, you need to risk rocking the boat or even losing someone if you see them being self-destructive. It’s just an unavoidable fact of life, no matter how unpleasant it may be. It may not further your reputation, it may cause conflict, but if you honestly love that person in any capacity, it’s the right thing to do. People may be insulted, they may not listen to you, they may even walk away from you…but at least you cared enough to say it.

The Trouble with Tulips

I’d say that most people I know maintain their friendships the way a gardener maintains pansies or roses:

If a pansy should begin to wilt, stick it in the sun and throw some water on it, and it will perk right back up.
Roses, though…they’re different. They need constant attention, lots of sunlight, pruning, et cetra, but if the gardener is consistently paying mind, the payoff is fantastic.

Lately, my friendships, seem to be the most comparable to the gardener and the tulip:

The gardener plants a bulb, spring comes around, and the plant grows extremely fast. The petals look strong and vibrant, and the colors are bright and happy.
However…
Just when the gardener has gotten used to seeing these beautiful flowers everyday, the petals fall off and they’re left with nothing but the green stems. No matter what the gardener does, that tulip has a shelf-life of a couple of days and there’s no way to extend it. They pop up very quickly, and just as quickly, they disappear.

What a bitch.

My ‘tulip’ friendships began around the time I was 26 or so.
I never really had much trouble making friends in the past, but as I got older, it got increasingly difficult for me to find new friendships with staying power. The friends we make in college move away, people have babies, priorities change, and then we’re left in this late-20s rut. Gone are the days of striking up a conversation with the person smoking outside of a building at school between classes or lab partners. Co-workers are sometimes far too different to form a real relationship with outside of the workplace. So, how does one make friends with people in this semi-isolated state?

I was able to find that ‘rare gem,’ that wonderful stranger I found by happenstance a few times, and form a friendship with them over the last four years. About 90% of the relationships have died, and one is currently dying on the table, seemingly unresponsive to any attempt at resuscitation by my hand, or mouth, in this case.

When this first started happening, it really hurt me. To be blunt, it sucks to think of how nonchalant people are when it comes to dropping another person out of their lives. I’ve always seen every person I’ve ever known as a one-of-a-kind original…something that simply cannot be replaced. It’s always been a damn near inconceivable notion for me to just drop a relationship, as I believe there are ways of working our issues out. And there will be issues, as almost no two individuals will never have a misunderstanding or fight of some kind during their relationship. Nevertheless, people will loosen their grips on those with whom they have even the smallest of conflict.
The other issue I have are people who I get along very well with, who are too busy to include me in their lives. This usually happens with people who have children, and I have yet to find a way to break through this barrier.
Either way, I felt like the others were to blame.

After some reflection, I was able to break out of blaming and ‘victim mode,’ and tried to think critically about my role in these tulip friendships. Could I honestly be completely innocent? Could it really be that everybody else in the world is a perpetrator, just waiting to hurt me?
Cue panic:
It IS me! It MUST be! If it were just one or two people who this happened with, then maybe I just found a few bad eggs, but it just keeps on happening! What if this is it? What if I never make any friends ever again? Is this my life? Oh my God…I’m a completely dysfunctional person! I’m too stand-offish! My standards are WAY too high! Nobody will ever care about me the way I care about them!
I’M FUCKED.

Once I calmed down, I thought about the last few friendships that the petals had fallen off of, one of them being a girl who lived a few minutes away from me.
Before she had a job, we spent lots of time together, but after she found full-time employment, every time I asked her if she wanted to get together (like on my birthday), she’d be busy, but she’d call me every two weeks or so at around 9:00 pm, on a weeknight, drunk, telling me to come over. She’d somehow make time for other people, was constantly throwing parties for her other friends…hell, I even helped her make Jell-o shots for a party to which I wasn’t invited, but I couldn’t manage to plan anything with her. She would do these things, then proceed to call me her best friend. I just couldn’t take the mind-fuck of it all, and I had to walk away from it. But, I tried, oh lord, did I try to make it work with this woman because I cared so much about her. Even now, I’m worried about whether or not she’s eating right or drinking too much or if her marriage is alright.
I had a choice to make: Hurt myself and endure, or hurt myself and stop more pain from happening?
I chose the latter.

Pain like that makes you want to go outside and dig up every single fucking tulip bulb in your yard. I swear, sometimes, I just want to hide, to run away, to stop trying anymore: To be frank, there are times I actually do.
Why even bother anymore? What’s the point? Everything turns to shit, nothing lasts, and people don’t genuinely care about each other. All they care about are people who can provide them with money or sex, and no matter how much of yourself you give to them, you will always be second fiddle to them. A throw away…do you want to be a throw away? No; you’d rather be alone.

So, what does it all mean to somebody like me?
What IS the point?

The point is that these people have taught me so many valuable lessons. Sometimes, they were to blame for the deterioration of the relationship, and sometimes, I was. Sometimes, the petals just fell off, naturally. Either way, there were always lessons for me.

Even though I was hurt by my friend, we had some really good and meaningful conversations and provided each other with the intimacy of a close friendship (for at least part of the relationship, anyway). She was there for me for a particularly trying time in my life, and if she hadn’t been, it would’ve been even harder. Most of all, though, she taught me that I do have the strength to walk away from a relationship when it’s hurting more than enriching me, and that is something I didn’t know I was capable of before.

I still want roses, though.
Hell, I’ll even take pansies. I think they’re both a lot prettier than tulips (and smell better, too).
However, the tulip isn’t all bad. The sight of the tulip signals the ending of the cold, lonely winter, and inspires the hope of warmer weather to come…the kind of weather in which roses thrive.