You know, I guess the truth is that I am just stubborn. I don’t like for things to end until I’m ready for it. Just call me an ostrich, because if I refuse to see it then it’s not there, right? Right? (Fact: Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand when scared, they do however have very small brains, which is a trait I tend to exhibit when confronted with abusive behavior towards yours truly.) Isn’t this the worst kind of ignorance; stupid on purpose? I really wanted to believe that I’d figured out how to take the blinders off and be honest with myself. Apparently I’m not as good at that as I thought.
I am breaking up with (one of) my best friends. I still can’t figure out if I’m mourning or if I’m angry though. A piece of me feels like my “give-a-damn” is busted. A few weeks ago when I found out about this last betrayal, this last among a whole string of betrayals, I felt sick to my stomach with disgustshockreliefsadpissed. Yeah, one word because those emotions were so jumbled together I couldn’t even begin to separate them. I asked myself: why am I so naively and steadfastly loyal to shitty people??? From the outside looking in, it seems like the shittier a person is to me the more I doggedly keep on keepin’ on.
In bemoaning this situation with my inner circle of friends, one of them was exclaiming how she had had a friend who did XY&Z to her; she recognized the relationship was toxic so she ended that friendship. I quipped that for sure she’d never have to worry about me doing that sort of thing to her. A flippant remark from her spouse really drove the point home to me when he said “Yeah, you could even slap Talya across the face and she’d still be your best friend.” Ouch…….I think my ego is still sizzling a bit from the burning truth of that statement.
Dude, this “friend” bitch-slapped me across the face over a cupcake! After I drove 3.5 hours in the middle of the night to arrive at 01:30 AM for a stupid birthday party. And what did I do? Absolutely nothing. Nothing but be the most supportive best friend I knew how to be for 18 more months! She confessed later to being worried she was a budding alcoholic (ya think?) and that was why she slapped me, because she was “inebriated.” So I tried to be considerate of her fragile sobriety. Seven months later I threw a bachelorette trip that she ruined by getting drunk and picking a gigantic fight with me. (Sobriety out the window y’all.) I wrote an email pouring my heart out and drawing all kinds of protective lines around myself in the figurative sand only to try and forgive and forget it all because she still wanted me in her wedding. There’s more to this list, both before and after the shot heard round the world, except it wasn’t a shot it was a ringing echo inside my head and a red mark on my cheek for 30 minutes. Pity it took me 18 months to hear the echo, I guess I’m a little deaf. Did I mention stubborn?
What a shabby gift disillusion is. People don’t want to break up with friends, it feels like something one just shouldn’t have to do. It isn’t the same as leaving a lover. When your lover betrays your heart people nod, and say “How could he?” (Or she.) Yet we just expect it to happen, it’s normal, c’est la vie. There’s tons of self-help books and DVDs, support groups and supportive friends. But when your best friend betrays your heart it is so unexpected. I hear it said all the time, that once sex enters into a relationship everything changes. Sex is such a convenient scapegoat. So if there’s no sex going on because you’re friends then what possible excuse can they have for being so treacherous? Other than that they might just be a shitty person? I guess there isn’t one. And I guess that’s why it seems so unexpected to feel the knife crash through one’s shoulder blades – we all want to believe in one another’s “goodness” and better nature. I think we enjoy giving people the benefit of the doubt because that’s the “nice” thing to do. It’s socially acceptable and politically correct to look the other way from a problem. You know, ignore the big elephant in the room?
Women in particular are so conditioned to be sensitive, supportive, and considerate of other people’s feelings. God forbid she ever think I didn’t care about her feelings, literally, I really didn’t want her to think I didn’t care. I tried so hard to care! All the time! About everything! I suppose when she called up my boss for dinner and proceeded to tell him and his wife what a horrible person I was because I completely demonized her and crushed her spirit in my email, that she was thinking about my feelings? I suppose when she complained to them that I ruined her bachelorette party by getting drunk and nearly pushing her in the river (ummm, wait, she pushed me because she was drunk) that she was really showing me she cared? I must see that when she said I nearly ruined her wedding (presumably by giving her the opportunity to gracefully retract her wish to have me in it) that she never meant to anything bad by it? I suppose when she told them that I had slept my way through the office, she was just worrying about me and trying to help? I guess when she stated that I was a severe alcoholic and she was so concerned for the welfare of my son that she was considering taking her “concerns” to my ex-husband, because clearly expressing all these concerns to my BOSS wasn’t enough of an intervention, that I should have felt loved?
Hmmmm, yes, in all those things I can see that she was being considerate of my feelings. That’s what true friends do right? They attack your integrity as a person, as a professional, as a mother. I’ve never had anyone so maliciously try to undermine me for absolutely no reason at all. At least not for any reason that I can comprehend. Not even my exes went that far. I think she defines the word frenemy.
In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald
“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
This is what I have to say: I will remember the experiences we shared together. I will remember that at one point we were friends and we had fun. If your purpose in my life was to teach me to have healthy boundaries, to open my eyes and see people for what they are instead of being perversely loyal to an ideal, to stop sticking my head in the sand when I don’t want to see the truth, to stop making excuses for people who mistreat me, then damn, you taught me well. I choose to let go of anger and bitterness. I choose to forgive you. I don’t think you’re truly a bad person, just lacking love in your life. I don’t believe you even think you’ve done anything wrong, but someone who can do those things and not realize that they are wrong is not someone I want in my life anymore. So thank you for the good and the bad. It is what it is, and now it is over. Thank you for teaching me these lessons that I needed to learn. This was a growing experience to enable me to have better, stronger, deeper, more truthful and genuine friendships. I am a better friend now, because of you.