Maybe I was born this way?
First they say “be yourself” and then they say “goodbye”. It’s something I’ve experienced all my life, and I have to say, it’s incredibly confusing! We all pride ourselves on having friends that last a lifetime. It’s one of our greatest achievements. Nothing spells success like friendships that last over 20 years. You are experiencing all that life has to offer and so are your friends, and it feels so good to share! It doesn’t matter that you end up living in different cities of countries, go through relationships, get married, have kids, have surgeries – the friendship stays constant.
We swore we’d be friends for life.
From 1992 to 2017 we were, and then we weren’t!
Honesty, clarity and heartfelt communication. The things that get me in trouble! Growing up, I was always thoughtful about learning my lessons about life. This was serious and going to be useful down the line. I would make a mental note and tell myself that I should remember that always. Like that one time when I was about 8 and we were at a funeral, and I heard someone say that the ‘poor thing’ who had just passed on had been found unbathed for days and when the family had to clean the body, they had to struggle through dealing with nasty body odour! I remember deciding right then and there that I would always shower every night before bed, because I never wanted to be caught dead and with smelly armpits! They weren’t kidding when they coined the term, ‘impressionable mind’. Things we learn as kids really do set us up for a lifetime of habits, ways of thinking and attitudes towards things and people.
When I was in the 8th grade, I remember experiencing my very first heartache caused by a friend who didn’t want to be my friend any more. I simply couldn’t understand it. What did she mean? How could she just switch off a friendship? So I tried to get to the bottom of it by attempting to talk it through and apologize for anything I did to offend. Still, she didn’t wan’t to talk or be friends again. I was also taught to be willing to say sorry, but imagine wearing your heart on your sleeve and getting more rejected for it? I felt misunderstood!
At this stage I learnt another lesson – always protect yourself from being hurt emotionally. I then proceeded to go through life being very careful about never getting too close to anyone, because I knew that people eventually get disappointed and leave. No point getting hurt. Rather stay safe than sorry.
So, for most of my adulthood, I made great friends, but after we moved on with life I’d never keep in touch. Many people have complained to me about this, but they didn’t know that all I was doing was keeping my heart safe. After all, friendships fizzle out, don’t they? People move on, make other friends and do life. Things can never be the same and it is what it is.
Nothing can prepare you for the intense claustrophobic feeling of shock.
It’s like falling flat on your back and having the wind knocked right out of your lungs! 25 years of friendship ended with just a click of the unfollow button on Facebook and for reasons whose depth didn’t match over two decades of knowing someone.
Had I been right all along? Would I change things if I could? I can’t say, but this one thing I know – when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade!