Sorry I haven’t blogged in the last week or so when I technically try and blog daily, I’ve been super busy and oddly sleepy.
I’ve been reflective the past few days, despite being busy. I’ve been reflective over the past, but not in a bitter, angry or consuming way. It’s nice to be able to think and reflect on the past but feel free from it. As usual, it reminds me to thank karma for finally stepping up, but as a friend of mine says, maybe karma only started kicking into gear because you (I) finally gave it the opportunity to do so.
There’s plenty of things about myself that I have not changed and have no desire to. The only things I had to change about myself to improve my life were the way I looked at the people who treated me with zero respect, kindness and value. Among those things I will never understand is my complete inability to comprehend how a person can knowingly screw someone else over and have zero guilt about it whatsoever. I’m glad I don’t understand that. I’m glad I’m a better person than that. I am not a perfect person, I have flaws I am fully aware of and I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but when I’ve hurt someone, I care and I do what I can to apologize and give them closure.
I’m glad Liz and I had an opportunity to have a few conversations last winter. It was nice to feel like there was some closure with what happened between us. We never did really try to resume our friendship, and I’m realizing that’s completely okay. The more I think about my time in Crossville the more I realize that we’re just not compatible as friends. That doesn’t poorly of either of us, we’re just different. A lot of things she said and did ended up being extremely hurtful to me for many reasons and I realize that went both ways. Upon reflection I think what it came down to is that on a pretty important level we don’t understand each other. While every person is unique and comes with a very individualized set of experiences that have shaped the adults we have become, in order to be friends there has to be some level of shared understanding of each other’s approaches and emotions, and it helps of course to have some hobbies in common as well. I think we bonded as friends initially because we have very similar senses of humor, but in living with her I learned that’s where our similarities ended. I did consider her to be my best friend, and I wanted to be close with her but the harder I tried the more of a struggle it became. The details don’t matter anymore, and they are in the past, but I ended up feeling extremely lonely and it felt like I had no one in my corner at all. Of all of the things I have felt in my lifetime, loneliness/isolation, and being dismissed and put down by people you care about, as a combination is by far the worst.
I’m not sorry I went out there, though, despite the fact that it didn’t turn out to be a positive experience. Some situations, while not positive, are still important because they make you a better person, they help you get to know yourself better and they help you shift your path to inner peace. Liz hurt me, a lot, in a lot of ways but at the end of the day, now that time has passed, now that we’ve had the opportunity to find closure, I’m thankful that I knew her. I don’t think I’d be where I am without having had the experiences I had with her, either physically or emotionally. I think it’s good that we are not in each other’s lives, but I hope she’s doing okay, I hope she’s happy, I hope that despite how things ended between us when our friendship dissolved, that she’s better for it like I am.
I do still struggle a bit with others from my past whom have never shown any type of remorse or even acknowledgement of the things they did to me. My unresolved feelings don’t consume me or hinder the quality of my life anymore, but like I said earlier, I do not have the ability to understand how you can treat someone horribly, be fully aware of how much you are hurting them, and feel no guilt about it whatsoever and as well as feel no need to apologize or acknowledge their value and autonomy. I know now that nothing I could possibly say or do will change that about them. I tried too hard in the past. I did things I shouldn’t have done just to try and get them to understand how much they are hurting me. I wanted them to understand. I wanted them to acknowledge the things they did. I wanted an apology and for a while I became consumed with trying to figure out how to get through to them that I needed and deserved that.
The fact that I had to come to terms with was that they DID know how much they were hurting me, but they just didn’t CARE. You can’t make someone care. You can’t force someone to grow a conscience. You can’t pierce a wall of arrogance. What I had to learn was that the fact that you can’t force someone to care when they don’t does not say ANYTHING about your value, at all. It doesn’t mean you don’t matter. It doesn’t mean your feelings, your viewpoints and your autonomy are not 100% valid. Their inability to take responsibility for their behavior is 100% about them, and 0% about you.
This past week a few more unexpectedly pleasant things happened to me to increase the good luck streak my life has been on lately. Well, I say “good luck streak” but at the same time, I do feel like I deserve it. Not in an arrogant way, but I do feel like life is saying to me, “If the people that hurt you won’t treat you with value, I will make sure others do.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate the good things that have been going on for me, I actually appreciate them, and the good people in my life, A LOT.
I appreciate that the fact that I am willing to work hard is acknowledged, and I appreciate that my skillsets are being utilized. It still feels a bit surreal that something I used to do willingly, without a dime of compensation, I now get paid a living salary for doing. I actually enjoy going to work, I enjoy the things I do for a living, and I love my co-workers as they have all become my friends in and out of the office. Getting paid a living salary to hang out with your friends and to do things that challenge you that you truly enjoy; if that’s not the goal of life, what is?!
Even more than that though, I appreciate the little things such as my opinion being asked even on decisions that have nothing to do with me. I appreciate that my observations are actually sought out from others both in and out of the office; my thoughts/I am valued, considered.
It makes me think about the countless people that judged me without knowing me, just because someone talked negatively about me to them. I wonder if they realize how hurtful it is, because to them it’s probably easily dismissible to say, “I don’t know you, but so-and-so said you’re a bitch so I’m going to twist anything I ever see or hear you say because I assume they’re right.” I mean, you’re not losing a friendship you never had if someone makes a false assumption about you, you’re probably even bonding an existing friendship even further by just deciding by default to ‘not like’ someone your friend doesn’t like. But it’s at the expense of someone else, and that’s the downfall of it. Security in a friendship gained by hurting the feelings of a stranger seems like a pretty empty victory to me.
I’m a flawed person. When I’m hurt or under stress, sometimes I make bad decisions. When I’m under attack, I defend myself, like most people do. I’m not sorry for doing that, but I am sorry that, in the past, I’ve let the way others treated me push me to such extreme levels of trying to be seen/heard.
But I’m also a person who would do anything for a friend, who cares, who feels guilt when I’ve hurt someone, who has a sensitive heart and soul, who has the spirit of a writer, who has a passion for animals and for helping those who are in bad situations they have no control over. I do have a best friend and I feel fortunate about that. My best friend is someone I have known for years. We don’t have everything in common, but at its core, we are always there for each other, without judgement, when we’re going through hard times. That right there will make or break a friendship for me; the willingness to be there for someone regardless of whether or not you understand or approve of the choices they made for themselves. I don’t know if I would have gotten through the last year without the support of my friend, and now that he is going through his own difficult time, I’m doing everything I can to be that same supportive friend to him as he was to me. Not everyone has someone like that in their life and I’m very grateful.
I suspect that of all of the people who treated me poorly without bothering to know me at all, some of them might have liked me if they had taken the time to get to know me. I think that if we were not consumed by the one thing we all had in common and all of the “mean girls” politics it required, (the concept of having to impress people at the expense of/going over the heads of others, etc) if that was never part of the equation, some of those people could have turned out to be nice friends to have. But the past is the past. I look around at the present, at the people who respect my reservations about getting close to others and yet listen when I need to talk, and I know I have a place in this world, I have value in this world, I have things to contribute that help make the world a better place. I have people who look at all the things that make me ME, and actually welcome me into their lives not in spite of who I am but because of it – and I know now more than ever that there was NOTHING wrong with me for people to treat me the way they used to treat me. It was all them, and their issues, and their poor choices, and their lack of insight. When you truly, finally realize that deep in your core, you no longer feel angry or jilted. You just feel sorry for them, but appreciative that the people in your life are more genuine and kind than those people ever were.
It’s amazing how quickly and vastly life improves when you finally learn to write off negative people and focus on your own strengths and passions. They’re the ones missing out, not you. J