Why are relationships so hard? I feel so very confused much of the time. What is my place? Where do I fit in the scheme of the relationship? Do I really matter? Do I have too many expectations? What is my role in the madness? How long do I stay? Am I just being a coward? Am I actually standing up for myself. Should I let more things go?
I am not a person who has a large social network. Rather, it is quite non-existent. The circle has always been small by design, but now It’s hardly a circle. I feel safer and less confused this way. But oh so terribly lonely as well. My husband is great. He’s my best friend. But there are times I need someone else to talk to, spend time with. I joined a kickboxing class as a social activity. I suppose it can be labeled as such because there are several people involved, none of which I actually talk to. I may smile in acknowledgement, here we are again. No lasting relationships will come out of my participating. I am torching some calories, so that is a plus. Also, its an hour I actually find I am out of my head. Jumping around to techno music for an hour, trying to follow moves and hear the instructor over the blaring volume is humorous. I’m no slouch, I give it my all. I came to play.
Two relationships in my life are precarious right now. I don’t know if that’s my fault or anyone’s fault. Maybe it just is. But, once again I do not understand why. One fellow was a part of my Depression in Sobriety meeting and probably the first person I totally and completely opened up to after my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I dropped heavy bombs of emotion, suicidal plans, paranoia, psychosis, hospitalizations in a rather short time. He took it. He held it. He held me. I could say anything to him and he would not flinch. He would be there with me and remind me to breath. There were other times I would sit at his house for hours crying not able to say a word. Not one word. I was so distraught and bowled over. He just let me be. He never once tried to change me. During a most recent mixed manic episode I took off to the beach. I was feeling quite depressed and suicidal. I swore to my husband I was not going to hurt myself. He begrudgingly “let” me go. Before I would not tell a soul and once I arrived let you know. I had made progress.
My friend texted me and wanted to know where I was. At that moment, no joke, my phone froze. I couldn’t send a text message out. I tried several times, so several minutes went by. Once I turned it completely off for a few minutes it seemed to come back to its senses. So, I sent the text of my location as I was not hiding from him. He was upset with me it took me so long to get back to him. He told me it made him uncomfortable that he asked a question and I took my time to answer. I got angry at this point. My yelling text replied, I did fucking tell you! My texts would not go through. Its not my fault. I think some other words were exchanged until he halted communication. That was 2 months ago. The next thing I know I am getting a text from him letting me know our friend hung himself. No conversation around it. Just passing on information I guess. I don’t know what to think. Maybe he’s processing. Maybe he felt obligated to let me know and wants to leave it at that. I don’t know. Here I am confused. How do these friendships work? I don’t want to try too hard. I don’t want to seem like I care all that much. I had resigned myself that I needed to move on. But, the truth is: of course I fucking care. I have shared so many intimate moments with this man. Plus, I just fucking care! Period.
He reached out this morning to say hello and ask how I am doing, just like old times. He used to do that everyday. I feel like the incident at the beach changed things. Maybe that was the moment he no longer had patience. The moment he decided I am too much. The moment he decided the friendship wasn’t serving him anymore. I don’t know if I will ever know as I am afraid to ask. I don’t want to upset an already upset apple cart. But. My heart hurts. There is a hole he used to fill. For better or worse. We bonded. We shared secrets. We shared pain. We shared triumph no matter how big or small. We shared space in a way I have never felt before. Knowing it was difficult to express myself verbally, he encouraged me to write. I began writing for his blog a few years ago. It really gave me a voice and an outlet as I am quite an emotional being. Then all the sudden, he stopped posting what I sent him. I obliged and stopped sending what I wrote. Eventually I started my own blog. He is now asking for the address. For some reason I am hesitant to give it to him. I’m not sure I want him to see that far into me anymore. We are like driftwood in a slow moving river, occasionally bumping into each other, which then just sets us further apart. He is asking. But, why is he asking? I shared something I wrote about our friend that committed suicide a few days ago. That sparked his desire to see the blog for some reason. I am not ashamed, I can say that. What I can’t label is whether its vulnerability, anger or wanting to protect myself.
My other friend can become a ghost as well. She has drifted out of my life for years at a time. Her initial disappearance was upsetting, as I believed her to be a close friend. But, I would settle into life without her. It was almost to the point where she was never really a part of my life. Then poof she would reappear. She would find a way to come back into our lives. She is a woman of many moving parts. She is intellectual. She is spiritual. She loves to laugh. She loves to dance. She tries to honor the present moment. She too can hold your emotion. She can hold some of the darkness I carry. She professes to have darkness of her own and therein an inherent understanding is born. She can be Jekyll and hyde. She can accuse you of not being spontaneous enough. She is afraid to mark things on her calendar too far in advance. I get the feeling she is afraid of missing out on other opportunities, so likes to “keep it open.” What is subtle at first is her selfishness. Trying to make plans for dinner, I may suggest a place I think would be great, only to be trumped by somewhere she rather go. If I say let’s go east, she will say nah, how about west. One day she is fun loving and full of positive energy. The next day she is shrouded in the mire of her own mind and can barely come down to earth to be with you. I don’t fault her for that, as I can easily be the same way.
We are 40 years old. We are in a time of taking responsibility for self. She doesn’t always seem to do that. If I am rude or act out inappropriately, I have to own that. Even if under the guise of bipolar disorder, those were my actions. Events over the course of the last few weeks have left me feeling like she doesn’t truly think of others. She arrives, takes off her jacket in dramatic fashion, and then the night begins. No matter the night had already begun by all intents and purposes.
Maybe I do have expectations. Maybe I’m not allowing her to be who she is. But, what if that, the supposed being who she is, is infringing upon who I am? Are you confused, because I am. The tough part is when she mosey’s back into my life for a short time, I begin to like having her there. I begin to trust again. I believe she is in it for us, as friends. Ultimately I am left disappointed. Sometimes, I don’t think she sees an “us”, more a her and them. Is being a them okay with me? Should I just roll with that premise, knowing it will probably change at some point.
My relationships right now are fucked up. But, I’m fucked up too. So, shouldn’t I fit into the equation somehow. Doesn’t A+B=C. I don’t remember having this hard a time with friendships as a young adult. Maybe it was easier because we were all partying and living it up. The real stuff, the shit storm of life, wasn’t upon us yet. I don’t know where I belong. If I belong. If I want to belong. I do know I am lonely. My house is cold and lonely. The big bad world is cold and lonely. The road I have travelled, my journey, has been traumatic as of late. A good friend would not only lighten my load, but allow me to get out of my own head and be there for them as well.
Maybe I need to redefine my definition of friend. Maybe I need more than people can give. Maybe I don’t deserve to be here. Maybe I’m the selfish one. So many maybe’s just fuel the confusion.